Job Description (What the job involves)
Making the decision to be in one of the most fulfilling, creative and rewarding careers is not one to be taken lightly, so here is some useful information about the dos and don’ts to help you in discovering whether you’re cut out for the industry.
Hours and Working Environment
Most staff members will expect to work a 40 hour week, usually from 9am, working every Saturday with a day off in the week. The salon hours will be usually on a staggered shift basis, i.e late start if working until 9pm.
Hairdressing may be glam and fashion based but the hours are incredibly long and it takes immense stamina being on your feet all day whilst wearing a smile! Portraying a cool edge and promoting the industry is key as this will sell your skill and craft.
Hairdressing is extremely sociable and generally there is a good buzz in any salon and energy due to the creativity flowing. A day in the life of a stylist can be so rewarding. There is nothing better than seeing a client you have just re-invented walk away with the biggest smile!
This job is seamless in the sense of re-locating abroad, or working for yourself, or even owning your own salon.
Skills and Personal Qualities
Some of the qualities and skills that are essential to be a Stylist/Technician:
- Great communication
- To use own initiative
- Have good organisational skills and to have the understanding of what time management means to running a column
- To have an eye for detail
- Have a creative edge
Different Approaches to Training
There are various methods of training to be a Stylist, one being by working for a franchise. If a student approaches an organisation (i.e Toni and Guy, Saks, Headmasters etc.) the training structure would be to qualify to Levels 2 and 3 with in-house training weekly, to cover the foundations. Back in the Eighties, it was more popular to start an apprenticeship. This would be work-based learning within the salon whereby the student would get paid a small wage to support this. The more prominent approach is learning with a training provider. This involves attending a college one day per week and spending the rest of the time in a salon. This too involves a small wage whilst training.
• Aim for a good, reputable salon for excellent training and enquire about how they represent their name, i.e shows, presentations, training etc.
• When approaching a training provider ask what their success rate is and the student/teacher ratio
• If starting an apprenticeship ensure that there is some kind of agreement stipulating the terms and agreements, i.e training, pay etc.
What to do when a student has qualified
After a student has gained the relevant qualifications, it all depends on the next step of further development. Toni and Guy incorporate a six week vardering system. This entails daily workshops and presentations with the art team and directors at their academies, learning precision cutting and the classical approaches to colouring. This programme ensures there is a quality assurance no matter where in the world the stylist/technician may be. After this is achieved the Stylist will return to continue at their development and to keep up with the companies collections.
The Different Avenues to the Industry
Level 2 is the first rung on the ladder, followed by taking a level 3. Level 3 illustrates more creative ways of cutting and colouring techniques, with an overview of marketing and some business.
There are lots of different directions you can take in hairdressing, this is the beauty of the industry. You may not find the area you will want to specialize in immediately, but here are a few:
- Specialist (Session work, Magazine, Editorial, Films, T.V)
- African Services (weaves, pressing, braiding, plaiting)
The two year programme for learning the basics of hairdressing has been established for years, however due to salon trends and time scales, some salon owners are verbalising how there could be a different method. Being more commercially viable and accessible to the client is key, and some salon owners would like to see an internship as a way of developing this. In theory this would be excellent, however lack of funding would be a hardship for the student in some cases. An internship works more by closely monitoring each assessment and thus maintains high quality, for example, Vidal Sassoon.
Demands are so much greater from the client now due to accessibility from the media, travel and technology. A client is much savvier with their hair than say 20 years ago. Clients can access fashion tips, ideas and trends now from 'the tablet, internet, YouTube, magazines and travelling. Keeping up with continued personal development (CPD) is crucial in order to maintain trust, loyalty and a high turn-around of your client base.
Resources and Advice:
Get advice: Good Training Guide Academy. Advisors can guide you with the best approach, firstname.lastname@example.org
Organisations: Regulating bodies i.e HABIA are a good centre point for contacts for info on guidance, careers, development, legislation, H&S, education and skill.
The Internet: careersworld.co.uk , a guide on training and careers
Tips for Interviews: learndirect (Virtual Job Interview)
View all the latest hair job vacancies
Visit our career hub for hairdressing career advice
Potential Salary and Benefits
- 16-18 years old - minimum wage rate bracket, around £6.19.
- Over 19's – slightly more
- Fully trained stylists are likely to be on a wage of £10,000-20,000, dependent upon location.
- High rollers working in a high end salon or abroad can potentially earn up to £30,000 plus and tips on top.