Ellen Cieslak has been working in the beauty industry for 15 years. She started her career as a receptionist and worked her way up to an assistant, junior stylist, and is currently a master stylist at Hello Beautiful Salon and Boutique in Allentown Pennsylvania. She dedicated 4 years after graduating beauty school on apprenticing and continues her education to feel confident while working behind her chair.
Not only does Ellen hold her cosmetology license, but she obtains her esthetician license as well. It was an easy decision for Ellen to work in the beauty industry because she is passionate about building others up look and feel their absolute best. Being able to show individuals that they are beautiful inside and out is what she prides her career on. For Ellen, working in the beauty industry allows her to exercise her art and creativity with personalized touches for every client’s experience.
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 Ellen on Instagram and check out more of her work! Enjoy! #stylistssupportingstylists
Q: What is your why? Why did you choose this industry? What drives you besides your passion and love for hair?
A: I chose the beauty industry because I have always had a vision for beauty and fashion as a whole. As a child I always remembered playing Beauty shop with my sister. Shortly after graduating from high school, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to pursue as a career. I wanted to attend beauty school but was continuously persuaded to go to college like the rest of my peers. I attended Community college for two years with the intentions of taking the radiology program. Soon after starting the program I knew that my focus wasn’t there and college just was not for me. Eventually I decided that I was going to get a job in a salon as a receptionist to see if the atmosphere was something I’d enjoy. Needless to say I knew at that moment, being a hairstylist was what I ultimately wanted to do and being in a salon was where I needed to be.
Q: What was one thing that shocked you the most when you started working in a salon?
A: One thing that shocked me the most when I first started working in a salon was the reality of the long hours that stylists and business owners behind the chair worked. I quickly learned that it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication in order to be a successful stylist.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face being a hairstylist?
A: One of the biggest challenges I face being a hairstylist is that sometimes clients think your comb is a “wand.” I am not a magician, but I am completely capable of giving my clients realistic results based on the existing canvas I have to work with. As we all know “slow and steady wins the race.”
Another one of the biggest challenges I face being a modern day hairstylist, is keeping up with social media. Promoting yourself and your work is crucial in the beauty world today. Most people rely on social media for trends in fashion, beauty, and hair.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about our industry?
A: One of the biggest misconceptions about the beauty industry is that the earning potential is low. Many people view “doing hair” as more of hobby then an actual career.
Q: What is the most rewarding about being a hairstylist?
A: One of the most rewarding things about being a hairstylist is the emotional satisfaction. As a hairstylist I touch the lives of my clients in more than one way. Whether suffering from illness, or celebrating life milestone events (prom, weddings, graduations,) I have the opportunity to influence their lives and shape part of their personality. Having the ability to impact and transform the lives of all different types of people is what truly makes me happy!
Q: Is there anything stylists can do to better prepare for working behind the chair?
A: As a stylist behind the chair, in order to prepare better, it is important to be addicted to education. Learning new techniques means you have more to offer your clients. Attending classes and seminars also shows your clients the enthusiasm you have for the industry. Also, going the extra mile for your clients will make them feel amazing from start to finish. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Q: What is one piece of advice you give to a new stylist just coming out of school?
A: My piece of advice is to take advantage of every available opportunity and try to learn something new every day. Learning is endless in the beauty industry. Having experience and as many classes under your belt as possible will help you become a successful confident stylist.