FEATURE STYLIST SEPTEMBER EDITION
Meet Erica! She is kicking some major ass in this business. Her advice is on point and her realness is so relatable to so many artists in this business. This is Erica, and here is her story!
”According to Erica, everything begins with a vision. Therefore, her love for this highly visual industry comes as no surprise. L’Oréal Professionnel Artist, Erica, is a triple threat, nationally certified in design, styling and balayage. She focuses on turning hair goals into hair realities by creating personalized shapes and state-of-the-art styles that complement each individual client’s unique personality and lifestyle choices. Her understanding of how cut and color work together allow her clients to feel comfortable in their own skin and leave them feeling excited for change.
Her creative vision within cutting easily translates over to session styling. With a true love for all things editorial, Erica too excels within the styling world. Her session work has been featured in blogs, magazines, and music videos both nationally and internationally; she has styled for Charlie Price and The Beauty Underground, backstage at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week and for the international Avant Garde hair legend Charlie Le Mindu. Moomey took second place at the 2017 Intercoiffure Fall Atelier for her Avant Garde entry in the Keune Inaugural Excellence in Hair Awards, competing against hundreds of other contestants from both the United States and Canada.
Thus making her one of Saint Louis’ most sought after stylists. Working behind the chair five days a week Erica has been a leading force at Dominic Michael Salon for the past 8 years where she doubles as Artistic Director and stylist. As an educator for L’Oréal Professionnel she uses the power of connection to customize classes that impact stylists from all over the country.”
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. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and check out more of her beautiful work behind the chair! Enjoy! #stylistssupportingstylists
1. What advice would you give to a stylist coming out of school? What should they expect?
You must be present to win. Contrary to popular belief this industry is not easy, clients do not appear out of the thin air, and success will not just show up on your front doorstep. You must be present. You must be willing to learn, willing to fail and willing to try again. There is no secret to success; only you can aide in your own victory.
2. How did you decide this was the career for you? When did you know this would be your career path?
For the majority of my life I struggled living in my own skin, from a young age I wanted to be anyone else besides me, because of this I became obsessed with changing my appearance. When other girls at my school started noticing they craved to be part of it, wanting nothing more than to fit in, I accepted. In high school I had a “salon” in my bedroom, come to find out I was actually pretty good at it; (as good as a 15 year old and box color can be) so cosmetology school it was. I guess you could say I decided this was the career for me in high school, however a few years into working behind the chair I realized my intentions were all wrong; I became part of this industry because other people accepted me for doing so. Ironically the person being accepted wasn’t me at all; it was a version of me created over years of pretending to be someone else. Needless to say once I realized this, I had a major freak out moment (I like to refer to as my “quarter life crisis”) during this time I did a lot of soul searching, made some major life modifications, and finally understood why I was destined to be part of this incredible industry.
As a stylist and educator I am able to offer a safe place for individuals, regardless of their gender or non-gender, sexual preference, race, age, religion etc. not only to discover and embrace their exceptional beauty but also their individual identity. When another human sits in my chair I have an opportunity to alter how they view themselves inside and out; I can help others experiencing the numbing pain and self-loathing that I dealt with for so much of my life. Every day I can make a difference in the world. Once I recognized this I realized that I never actually “decided on this career path” because for me this is so much more than a career, this is a lifestyle, and each and every person I am able to make a connection with is another reminder that I am living the life of my dreams.
3. Besides giving a great cut and color what do you feel is also important in terms of providing a 5 star experience?
Consistency and Communication are LIFE.
4.What is your biggest accomplishment? What are you most proud of in your career?
If you could see my completed “to-do lists” you would understand how challenging answering this question is for me. In this moment I feel that my biggest accomplishment is the launch of my personal brand ericaleemoomey.com which is not only an online portfolio and blog but also home to my video series Beauty is Equal. I think it is safe to say fear of disapproval can breakdown the best of us. Therefore making the choice to put my work (work that I have put my whole heart and soul into) out into the world to be criticized is by far the toughest yet most liberating accomplishment to date.
However, becoming an artist with L’Oréal Professionnel is where I take the most pride within my career. Having the opportunity to be part of the number one beauty brand in the world has been nothing short of life changing, and for that I am beyond thankful. Through an insane amount of hard work I have been given a platform alongside some of the most beautiful and influential humans on this planet. A platform where I am able to unite, impact, and inspire others in the same way each and every hairdresser I meet does for me.
5. Using only 4 words. Describe the most important attributes of a successful stylist?
6. What do you do to keep your clients coming back? How do continue to wow your clients year after year!
Customization. As hairdressers we are taught the basic foundations to cut and color hair. However, it is our job to take these tools and create one of a kind works of art that leave clients feeling confident and ready to take over the world. I make sure to let my clients know they are the first and only to rock their cut and color because it has been created solely for them based on them.
7. What is the one thing you wish you would tell your younger self that is just getting started in this industry?
Stop trying to be like everyone else. This is one of the few careers where embracing your own unique self will not only be noticed but praised. Have an idea? Execute it. Perfect it, Post it. Make it a thing. Stop listening to that degrading voice inside of your head telling you your ideas will never be good enough. THEY. ARE. GOOD. ENOUGH.
8. What are the top 2 ways you are attracting new clients?
Documenting everything. I take pictures of everything I do behind the chair; last month alone I had 18 referral clients from social media.
Offering change. I offer something new every time someone sits in my chair, even to those that repeatedly say no. Something as minute as adding additional layers or showcasing a different way to style their hair at home can be a total game changer. When your clients look and feel “on trend” they are going to make sure everyone knows about it.
9. Tell us the importance of offering retail to your clients? What are some tips you have to help other stylists feel more confident while talking retail?
Retail is EVERYTHING. I personally cannot stomach the idea of cutting a bomb haircut that ends up in a ponytail for the next 6 weeks, let alone spending hours on a Pinterest worthy color only for it to fade due to lack of take home care. To avoid wasting our time we have to educate our clients on how to recreate looks as well as what we are using and why. I am a total nerd when it comes to the products I use. I want to know what it is and why it works. In turn I catch myself talking about my product selections with my clients; before I know it they are sold without me ever once making a sales pitch. If you are passionate about the product you use your clients will become passionate about it too. Passion is contagious (literally a scientific fact) Google it.
Braided photos by: George Rodriguez.
Avant Garde photos by: Erica Moomey