Alison has been a stylist for almost 15 years. She was working as a receptionist in a salon while in college and was really drawn to the environment and the culture of hairdressing; in particular the science of hair color. So she dropped out of college her junior year and went for it!! "While in school I had the opportunity to mentor incoming students and that’s when I caught the education bug! It's hands down my most favorite side of our industry and the most important." I was truly impressed with Alison's work on Instagram. I also love the fact that she is an educator. We decided to partner up and do a facebook LIVE on balayage techniques a few weeks ago. It was the first time we met face to face, although I felt like we knew each other from social media. She was so warm and welcoming, and I can say I learned so much that day while I was filming. You can tell how dedicated she is to her craft and to educating others. Her hard work has definitely paid off. She was named one of Modern Salon's top 100 Stylists and was also a Behind the Chair One Shot Finalist 2017. As always, we hope this interview will motivate you, inspire you, and encourage you, to continue to share your love and passion for the beauty industry. Enjoy!
1. What advice would you give to a stylist coming out of school? What should they expect? First I would say it’s important to have a clear vision of what kind of career you want to have. In our industry there are so many levels and avenues to pursue and ultimately you will get what you put into it. It’s the most incredible part of being a hairdresser…. the ability to be in control of what we do and what we make. That being said, be prepared to WORK. When you’re freshly out of school you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. Work weekends, fold towels, stay late, come in early, etc. And invest time in following a stylist, doing models, and practicing your craft.
2. You are an educator for J Beverly Hills. Can you tell us a little bit of the process and some advice for stylists wanting to become an educator?
Education is very close to my heart. My advice to starting out is to reach out to your sales reps. They, along with your distributor, will know how to introduce you to becoming an educator at a local level for each brand. This is the easiest way to get your foot in the door. Just please remember that educators teach for the love of education. It takes years and years for education to be a supplemental form of income…but the advanced education, exposure, and hair family you will receive is a priceless payoff.
3. You have quite a presence on social media. Can you give some tips on how you utilize social media platforms to attract new clients?
I started my social media journey with the sole intention of gaining new clients and rebuilding a book after starting over in a new salon. I am so blessed that my Instagram has really taken off. But my first and most important goal is to gain clients; so its important to remember that that is your audience. Make sure you are using hashtags that potential clients would use like #yourcityHAIR or #yourstateSTYLIST. Before and after pictures are great too. Start to think of Instagram as your personal business card and use it to market your strengths and your specialties.
4. Besides giving a great cut and color what do you feel is also important in terms of retaining clients and growing a book?
This is such an important question. I really believe in good consultation skills. That, and being honest with your client. Under-promise and over-deliver ALWAYS. Understand your strengths and weaknesses and don’t be afraid to say no or refer a client to another stylist if you are not comfortable with a service. I believe that honest and up front communication builds lasting client relationships. If you can establish trust then you will have a client for life.
5. What is your biggest accomplishment? What are you most proud of in your career?
I think the thing I am most proud of is never having given up. There was a time in my career that I thought that I had made a mistake and that doing hair wasn’t for me anymore. I sat down in January of 2017 and made myself a serious goal list for my career and I am so excited and proud to say that I hit every single one. That is for sure what I am most proud of. My biggest accomplishment would have to be being named one of Modern Salon’s 100 Artists to follow. It’s like a dream. It was such an honor.
6. What advice would you give to a stylist that is starting to lose their passion for this industry? How do you get that back?
First, I would say “I understand. I’ve been there”. It’s easy to find yourself burnt out, uninspired, and feeling deflated. The good news is nowadays there are so many ways to get inspired and refocused. Social Media is a great tool to search out like-minded people, to find stylists that inspire and educate, to reach out to the hairdressing community in a way that creates meaningful and lasting relationships.
My next piece of advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and take classes!! Whatever technique or service you may feel “isn’t for you”; find some local classes and go. Stretch your mind and challenge yourself. You’d be amazed what a little confidence boost can do for you.
7. You are a balayage specialist. What are some tips you can offer to help another stylist create the perfect balayage?
Balayage is all about placement and layering. There are so many ways to section and part for balayage applications. It’s important to remember where the hair falls naturally when painting highlights and lowlights. The only way to get better is through practice. As much and as often as you can. Watch tutorials, take classes, and paint often. Another really important tip is to understand and know your limits in lifting with traditional open air balayage and adjust your formula or technique accordingly. Balayage is a technique that can achieve multiple looks and results. That being said, don’t forget that it’s not THE ONLY technique to achieve a lived in feel.
8. If a stylist wants to receive recognition for their work on social media how do they go about that? What contests should they enter etc?
I really believe that if you put in the time and work on your social media platforms then the recognition will come. So many people forget the “social” aspect of social media. You MUST engage with people and pages. Comment on posts, ask questions, introduce yourself to the community. By participating you will be noticed. Check in daily with your favorite feature pages or publications. If they’re having a contest, enter, comment, be a part of what’s going on.
Make sure you are utilizing your hashtags correctly and tagging the appropriate pages and brands in your work. There are SO many feature pages out there. Start small. Change up your posts. Grids and before and after photos are very popular. It really comes down to what you put into social media. You will get back what you’ve put in tenfold…. But you HAVE to be active.