Laci was of course another fabulous find on Instagram. Her beautiful balayage just caught my eye! I love that she is a balayage specialist because she has great insight on technique, price, and how to build a solid book of balayage clientele. As I was reading through our interview, I was so amazed at how quickly Laci has become a success behind the chair. She is 100% booked, 6 weeks out, and just hired her first assistant. Why is this so incredible? Because after attending school she assisted for 1 year, and has only been behind the chair for 1 year and 1 month! WOW! It really is true. Raw talent and hard work really does pays off. In our interview, you will learn how the importance of social media, and how she booked 14 NEW clients in one week, just from Instagram! 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? I would say one of the most important things to do is to is not to wait until you have graduated to start figuring out where you want to work. By the time you are half way through school you should have at least targeted some of the salons you would want to work at and/ or someone who you would like to assist. At a minimum, you should begin thinking about going into the salon and introducing yourself. I would no doubt tell anyone that the single most important step after school is who you end up assisting. Try to find someone to assist who you look up to not only as a talented stylist but as someone who has truly navigated the hair industry with success. I would say that you should expect to have to work really hard and be extremely reliable, never being late. I have seen lots of talented stylists in my short time in the industry and the only thing that separates them from talented and successful stylists is hard work.
2. What makes you a stand out in the industry? What is your specialty. Well, I don’t know if I stand out in the industry or not but I would say that one thing my clients tell me is that they love the natural look that I give them. I think I have been successful at taking someone who has been unhappy with their hair and transforming their look into a natural, low maintenance look and making them feel beautiful in a way like they never have before. I try to bring that same feeling across in my pictures too. I try to give them more than just a look. Something more like a feeling. I spent 12 years as a full- time model and I always loved the sun kissed beach waves feeling that it seems like every client wanted. I would say that right now most of the clients that come to me want a sun kissed, beach waves type feeling in their color and styling.
3. How did you decide this was the career for you ? When did you know this would be your career path? After 12 years of working with some great hair stylists, I always had an interest in the industry. I had learned some pretty cool tricks over the years and I thought to myself, “Hey, I think I can do this.” I was 33 yrs old before I decided I would make a run at it but I knew if I was going to do it I would go all in and give it 110%.
4. You have quite a presence on social media. Can you give some tips on how you utilize social media platforms to grow your business behind the chair? Social media is crazy !! This is a daily conversation I have with people and it’s surely a dynamic one! I use Instagram the most and Facebook very little. I literally don’t have the time to use any other platforms. People always ask me, “How do you get so many people in your chair off of social media? What are your social media tricks?” My first piece of advice is that you need to practice your photography to the point where you actually have an understanding on how to take a picture that accurately showcases your work, utilizing whatever light is available in your salon. While your practicing that, it would be a good time to also clean up your social media. Start deleting any pictures that don’t reflect your best work. Don’t feel like you have to post a picture just to post one or because everyone else is posting three times daily. Delete the food pics of what you ate last week or of your dog sleeping upside down. This is your brand and this is what everyone will remember you for. This is also step one to the foundation of your growth behind the chair. When you post, try to make your overall page look uniform using an app like Instasize to resize ALL of your pictures so that you have a uniform page. I would say with regards to Instagram, if you can get 16-24 really awesome pictures of your work in 4-5 months you will do just fine, it’s not an overnight platform. Don’t force it and remember people will judge you by the worst picture that you present to them. Instagram works, I booked 14 new clients last week all from Instagram. If I can do it, you can too.
5. Besides giving a great cut and color what do you feel is also important in terms of retaining clients and growing a book? I get a lot of first time clients because of Instagram. As a result of that I don’t have the history of knowing a client or how their hair responds to color etc. I always tell them before we do their blow dry that if there is anything they see that they are not crazy about to say something and we will fix it because I want them to be 100% satisfied. I don’t want them walking out the door without absolute satisfaction and I try to stay in touch with them after the service to make sure that if there is anything or any touch ups I need to fine tune, I will. I never want them to feel like I will be upset if they want me to change something. I want them to know how lucky I am to have them as a client.
6. What is your biggest accomplishment? What are you most proud of in your career? I set pretty high expectations for myself. I just hired a full time assistant. I feel that growing my clientele to the level I have in a salon like Muse Salon and Spa, that is loaded with talent has been quite an accomplishment. I can’t take all the credit for my success so far. My mentor Daniel Mason Jones has definitely helped me with so much and has taught me so much about the industry as well. I also have great co-workers and that is definitely a bonus as they motivate me continually. It definitely makes me feel good about what I am doing when a new client come to me showing me pictures of work that I have done on someone else as their dream hair.
7. Using only 4 words. Describe the most important attributes of a successful stylist? Work, Work , Work , Work
8. You are a balayage specialist. What are some tips you can offer to help other stylists create the perfect balayage? I would say that you should know the rules of balayage for one reason, so that you know how to break them. Have a vision of how you want someone’s hair to look before you even start painting it. Think of placements and how they will appear, sometimes less is more. Don’t take too much of someone’s natural backdrop away, so that way you will have the most visible contrast in their overall color. I try to paint so that it looks like their hair has naturally grown out of their head the way I painted it.
9. How would you recommend pricing a balayage? Starting price, toner included? Thickness and length of hair? Give us some tips on where to start. I would start your pricing based on your location and time spent painting. You definitely need to do your market research. You also have to have an awareness of what your value is to someone. If you’re doing a lot of color corrections, you might want to step back and realize that you’re doing better color than a lot of people that are around you. This might increase your value. I would not price a balayage with a toner included because some people don’t need toners. This is another area you can set yourself apart. A la carte pricing offers some advantages when you get more custom in your services and prices. Some people may think you are cheaper, when in fact you aren’t cheaper, you just aren’t charging for services someone doesn’t need. This increases your actual value from a client’s perspective. I try to price balayage by full head and half head. If I am painting from top to bottom, this is definitely a full head balayage. I don’t ever fix a price based on thickness of hair. If you are really confident in your work and you have the workflow, I would say you should be priced where you are starting at about $80 per hour.