I have worked in six different salons over the past eleven years. I graduated from high school, went to college, and did a couple of other things here and there, but I was basically working in a salon for 90% of that time. Every business that I've worked in has been completely different, and there were things that I loved, loathed, and learned about every one of them. Another one of my secret wishes is to have a perfect hybrid of all of them.. Maybe some more than others.
I aspire to be a business owner some day, preferably within the next ten years, but don't think I don't know what I'm up against. It is incredibly difficult to run an efficient hair salon with a great staff who puts out consistently great work and has a great time doing it with no complaints whatsoever. It's nearly impossible. Nearly. I think that I could pull it off with my experience, an ocean of patience, and the right attention to detail.
I already have a fantastic clientele of terrific people and it would be my pleasure to continue impressing them with my skills and increasing success until I'm old, cranky, and arthritic. Physical debilitation will be the only thing that will stop me from my pursuit of Hair. So that's where I stand, because I would die of mortification if one of my employees ever felt the magnitude of the embarrassment and frustration that I've felt over this seemingly endless decade of climbing the Beauty Totem Pole one painful knotch at a time.
I felt embarrassment for a number of different reasons at different times, but the one that stands out to me most, cumulatively, is embarrassment that the clients that I'd gotten to know and respect had to see various episodes of obvious misconduct right there in front of them on the salon floor... from dirty surfaces and tools to outbursts from employees and owners alike.
I've seen, for example,
- A salon assistant with a hangover fast asleep in one of two chairs in the waiting area.
- An owner be an average of thirty (30) minutes late every day, except for the day after repeated claims of turning over a new leaf. That was about four (4) times. I eventually became unofficially responsible for starting that client's services unless he or she specifically requested otherwise. Then she would have to stew in her own juices.
- Verbal fights erupt between two employees on the salon floor. I am not citing a single instance because it happened more than a couple of times in different arenas.
- A well-established salon owner scoffed at me when I told him about some of the health and cleanliness regulations that I learned in early cosmetology school. I brought him the photocopy and everything. I guess money was more important. He did this in front of clients.
- Shampoo Technicians who allow clients to recline on shampoo sinks coated with hair and residual color from past clients. The reason? "We were really busy." ..I wipe down my shampoo bowl AND the chair before every client. It only takes about seven seconds if you know what you're doing.
- An owner who has a hoarding issue fill her salon with excess inventory and clutter that can only be described as an interpretation of what Santa's workshop might look like.
- BAD Receptionists! My largest and most overwhelming pet peeve! She's the first person you meet when you walk in the door, and sometimes she's not even paying attention. She's on Facebook between smart phone texts. She might even be rude to you. She might make you second-guess your salon choice. THAT MAKE HAIR HEROINE ANGRY!
- Employees gossiping about clients to other clients. They might as well just shoot themselves in the hands, because they won't need them anymore.
- I have seen...deep breath... "Surprise" Price Tabs on services. Highway Robbery in the most literal sense. Look, I want to make money as much as the next person, but if I were given services without agreeing to their prices first, I would feel angry and violated and...un-trusting of that shifty salesperson in future business. I guess stylists such as myself want you to have beautiful hair with enough pocket money left over to go out and show it off. If you like to go out like I do, that's a good chunk. And we deserve it, don't we?
- ((((#1)))) I have seen stylists make an error with a haircut or color service and spend ..as long as it takes.. to convince the client that it looks good. Bad move. they never believe you, Silly...!
- I, myself, have made errors in my beloved salon habitat, because you might say that I literally grew up in salons. So many errors.... I didn't know that they were errors at the time, but a good salon professional observes her mistakes as learning experiences. I don't ever forget about them though.
The above experiences didn't occur in different places all over the United States, they all happened in Westchester County, NY; And I was absolutely there.
The reason that I've told you all of this is simple. I want you to have a great experience in your hair salon, and these are some of the obvious symptoms of a disease that no one needs to contract during their prized relaxation time.
Your Hair Heroine