First off, I want to preface this by saying that our WORK Folks' focus is not on Sara just because she is my hairstylist. But she is, and she's good! And anyone who can take you from dyed jet black hair to buttery blonde and then back to black ("Just this one last time!") without knocking you over the head, deserves a little attention. But her creativity stretches outside of doing fabulous hair, she sews (I actually find myself envious of her daughter when I see the beautiful outfits she creates - she's a toddler, by the way) and takes beautiful photos (often of the hair she has done). Point being, she is exactly what WORK Folks is about; individuals who turn their craft into their business, people who NEED to be creative in just about every aspect of their life. It's simply a coincidence that she gave me beautiful blonde locks last night.
Sara's been in the industry for 7 years and has been self-employed for five, now residing in her private space at Nomad Studio in Richmond' s Scott's Addition. Like the previous WORK Folks, I asked her a few standard questions, on her craft and her work ethic.
How did you get started/interested in this field? My mother has been a hairstylist for 35 years and I spent many Summers helping out in the salon making appointments, sweeping, laundry, etc. I studied fashion merchandising in college (VCU class of 2005) and ended up not perusing that industry. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and did have a knack for hairstyling so I decided to apprentice for a locally owned salon chain that had a great education program at the time.
What particular tools and inspiration help you continue to do this to the high standards and quality you insist upon? Oh man, I am a product/tool junkie! I've tried it all. I think that helps me to stay on top of the best products for the services I offer as well as to know which products are NOT the best for me. I am willing to spend a little more on better tools, etc. because they also HELP me in the long run. I'm also a big advocate for continued education and try to take at least 1-2 classes per year. Techniques and products are always changing so it's important to stay on top of the trends!
Is there someone in particular that inspires you or inspired you when you started? Well, my Mom for one since she has been in the industry longer than I've been alive! I also love a few "Instagram famous" hairstylists who are not only insanely talented but very open with advice, techniques and even color formulas!
Our brand (WORK Labs) focuses a lot on work ethic. Can you describe your work ethic? Short-cuts you will not take, things you won't give in on, even if it meant more business, money, etc.? I strive to create a healthy work/life balance for myself. It is easy to get pulled into working late, coming in on your day off, etc in this business (especially being self-employed) but I really try to adhere as best as I can to my business hours. If I am burning the candle at both ends (I have an almost 2-year-old daughter as well) then I'm no good for anybody. When I was apprenticing I needed to practice and therefore did my friend's hair for free at home but once I was licensed that had to come to an end. You won't get ahead in business always offering discounts or free services because there is always a reason to discount a service! I charge what I charge and I stick with that, no apologies.
Any advice to individuals starting out in a similar field? When times get tough (unhappy clients, not that busy,etc.) try to stay focused on why you are in the beauty industry in the first place. Hairstyling is a passion and not everyone is cut out for this work. It can be very discouraging when you get repeat redo's (it happens to everyone!), or you have a couple of slow weeks (oh God, do they hate me?!?!) but stay on course and know that if this is your true calling the clients that you eventually want in your chair will find you. Also, use Instagram to your advantage! Free marketing!