By AHP Staff
As hairdressers and barbers, we are trend setters. We educate ourselves on both the latest trends and classic styles to show our clients. We educate them how to style their hair, what products are best for them to use, and which tools are essential for them to maintain that awesome look at home. We also teach our clients how to treat us, something you may not have considered before.
We all agree that we don’t want our clients, or anyone for that matter, to think of the Frankie Avalon song “Beauty School Dropout” when they think of us being “just” a hairstylist. But, are you conveying to your clients what you are doing to elevate the stature of what you do? Maybe you recently attended an advanced class and learned some new cutting or coloring techniques. Tell your clients how amazing the class was and what you learned. Maybe you donated your time, skill, or money to a charity or person in need. Don’t be shy about sharing your experience of volunteering or talking about your favorite charity. Have you come up with a new marketing plan, or purchased new salon software? Are you a member of our industry’s professional association—Associated Hair Professionals? All these actions will help your clients see that you take your career seriously.
In the hair profession, industry leaders talk about elevating our industry. It sounds great when reading an article or listening to someone on stage, but do we understand what it means?
What does it mean to elevate our industry?
It ultimately boils down to wanting hairdressing and barbering to be recognized with the respect and appreciation it deserves. We want to educate the lawmakers that deregulating the cosmetology industry is not a good idea, and to recognize that what is accomplished behind the chair cannot safely be done by kitchen beauticians. All hairstylists and barbers should walk with their heads held high, knowing they are educated, respected, appropriately compensated, and capable of changing and improving lives.
Why should you care?
Many of us march to the beat of our own drum and aren’t overly concerned with the opinions of others. We may have an “Unless you’re paying my bills, keep your opinions to yourself” attitude. Well, think about this for a minute. Our clients are paying our bills, and everyone is a potential client. It’s important to all of us that the world view the hair profession with the esteem it deserves. When the true value of our skills is recognized, it can positively impact how we are compensated financially and emotionally.
How do we do it?
The short answer is, together. There is strength in numbers. Elevating an entire industry requires an entire industry—every single hairstylist and barber needs to be involved and committed in raising the bar. Think about this. Every legitimate profession has an association that works to improve the standards of excellence in that industry. From the American Dental Association to the American Psychiatric Association, members of professional associations are up to date on the latest and greatest education in their field because associations do the legwork to ensure the information is credible and to make it readily available to members.
The simplest way to show that you are at the core of our industry, dedicated to education, professionalism, and challenging the standard, is to be a member of a professional association, and proudly display that membership certificate so your clients know you are a serious professional. Believe us, they will start to look at you differently. If they don’t know what it means to be a member of a professional association, you can dispel all their preconceived notions of hairdressers with your response!
Associations also show unity within an industry. They can rally to defend scope of practice and licensure. They create autonomy and raise the status quo. They foster networking so all members can reap the benefits of a group effort. Being a member of a professional association shows you’ve made a serious investment in your career, believe in your profession, and have stock in our industry.
It is time to show our clients who we are and how to treat us. It is time to demonstrate that we are professionals. Hairstylists and barbers are amazingly talented and artistic businesspeople and it’s time to be recognized as such. Let’s dispel the “beauty school dropout” mentality from every one of our clients. Elevation is the only direction we want our industry to trend, and we can do it together.
Not yet an AHP Member. Join today!