Career Story: Licensed Cosmetologist And Salon Owner

Licensed Cosmetologist And Salon Owner

Job Title: Cosmetologist, Salon Owner

Type of Company: I own and work in a small hair salon for men, women and children.

Education: Licensed cosmetologist, Wilfred Academy of Cosmetology

Previous Experience: I started as a receptionist in a salon while I was attending cosmetology school, then worked as a junior stylist for a couple of salons before opening my own.

Job Tasks: My primary concern as a cosmetologist is making sure that I communicate well with my customers.

I begin the day by checking my appointment book to make sure I have ample time for each customer, then greeting each client as if they're the only person I've encountered all day. Communication is the key, spending the first few minutes discussing what it is my client wants. I see an average of 17 to 20 people a day for a variety of services. A typical color service (where I mix the color, apply, process and rinse) lasts for an hour or an hour and a half. I then cut and style as needed. A haircut can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. When a client is in my chair I devote my entire attention to her. That's very important.

Another thing I provide is wedding and prom services. I always do a trial run with each client, so that on the big day there are no misunderstandings. I welcome each client and always have a small gift for the bride, or bits of information for a prom-goer. Once in the chair, the client's transformation begins: either updos, curls, braids, or just blow-dry and style... they are all part of the service. Manicures and pedicures are popular add-ons to the wedding packages too.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is having a client so excited when you are finished! You see an amazing transformation by the time her appointment's over! It's great too when a customer refers her friends to you.

The worst part of the job is misunderstanding what the customer wanted... and the style/color is not what she expected. It is upsetting for both of you.

Job Tips: When in school, pay attention to what you are learning. Don't think that you know it all: ask MANY questions and practice as much as you can. Don't expect to get your license and be a master stylist. It takes time to establish a career. You learn the basics in school, but mastering things takes practice! Continuing education is one way of staying up-to-date. Always take the classes and go to the shows. Learn continuously. Every day brings new challenges, so do your best and LISTEN to the client. Have fun experimenting, but be respectful of the client's wishes.

Additional Thoughts: One thing that I never expected with this career, is how much actually goes into it. People think just grab a box of color and put it on, and it will look just like the color on the box! Well that's not exactly true! You have to adapt the color to the hair that you are working on at that moment, and learning how to do that takes time. The same goes for cutting. Each style starts with the basic cut, but has to be refined and tinkered with. Take your time!

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