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Will You Hate Being A Hairstylist?

I hope not! I love this industry and hope you will too!

I have been hanging out with Hairstylists for the last 35 years. I am both a Hairstylist and an Educator to Hairstylists and during my years in this business, I have watched hundreds of Hairstylists come and go.

There are many reasons why being a Hairstylist works for some and others decide to “get out”.

Here are some reasons I have seen Hairstylists move on, over the years:

  1. I hired Andre as an assistant in our salon. Andre had just graduated from Cosmetology School and she was lacking in “salon readiness skills”. Her work and timing were not up to salon standards and she was slow. That wasn’t the problem, brand-new Hairstylists are always lacking in these two skills, and it’s to be expected. The problem occurred when Andre was too defensive to take direction. Andre got frustrated, blamed others, and quit.

  2. Joe had been assisting in our salon for a year. He was open to learning and had developed into a really great Hairstylist. Joe had attended all of the education our salon provided, and it was time for him to start taking his own clients. I sat down on multiple occasions and worked with him on a strategy for bringing in clients and building his clientele. Building a clientele consists of daily promotion and marketing. Joe insisted that he was an introvert, didn’t like to go out, and didn’t like social media. Joe did great as an assistant but never built his own clientele. Without a clientele, you don’t make money. I think he is still a Hairstylist, but it has become more of a hobby than a career.

  3. Jane and I worked together for years. I watched Jane slowly burn out. She was busy and talented, but she undercharged and discounted her services. Discounting and not charging enough for your services wears on your self-esteem and value, and burnout is what follows. Jane didn’t adjust and grow in her career. She eventually went back to school, left our industry, and started over in a whole new career.

  4. Sophia kept making lateral moves. She would start and quit a job in our industry every year. What that meant was that Sophia never established her direction as a Hairstylist. She moved from one salon to another, from one city to another, and from one job to another. She worked as an assistant, then a Hairstylist, then an educator, then a manager for a chain salon, and on and on. After 10 years in the business, she didn’t have a clientele, and her resume showed her inability to stick with a job. The last I heard she quit our industry.

  5. I have interviewed dozens and dozens of newly graduated Cosmetology Students, and most of them I didn’t (read: wouldn’t) hire. They lacked the ability to “sell” themselves. I’m guessing that most of them probably never “upped their game” and were not hired to work at a salon.

  6. A different scenario, and one that our industry provides and offers, is that some people get introduced into our industry and then realize they are more suited for education, product development, or climbing the corporate ladder in a beauty industry company. My assistant Nick finished his year with me and then got interviewed and hired by a Beauty Supply Company. He liked a 9 to 5, clocking in, group insurance, having sick days and paid vacations.

  7. Leslie was a talented Hairstylist, but had a lot of parental pressure at home. They had hopes of a daughter with a traditional career, and had always shown their disapproval of her being a Hairstylist. They had never encouraged her in her pursuit of doing hair, and after 2 years as a Hairstylist, Leslie moved back in with her parents and started working in an office.

  8. Stacy started working at our salon, and she was competent and talented. However, Stacy just couldn’t get to work on time. Her “car broke down, she didn't feel good, there was traffic, her boyfriend had an emergency”, and on and on. Growing a clientele and establishing yourself requires discipline, and she didn’t have that. I lost track of her after letting her go.

  9. Julie was a beautiful girl, amazing with her clients and incredibly talented. But…Julie had worked most of her adult life in the restaurant industry. After spending some time as a Hairstylist, she realized the restaurant business was a better fit, and changed back to that industry.

  10. Sean was working in a salon culture that he just hated. He didn’t like the clients, the other stylists, or the management of the salon. He didn’t realize it was the salon he hated, and that it might be better in a different salon, and he quit the business.

I’ve only known being a Hairstylist as a career, so I am not sure if these are common scenarios for many other careers, or if these are just unique to Hairstylists. I’m grateful for a lifetime career that I love and that has worked so well for me. My career has allowed me to call the shots, adjust my work days, and hours to fit my life. It has allowed me to give myself a “raise” when I deserved one, and to be creative every single day.

I would LOVE to hear from other Hairstylists who stayed or left our industry, and what the reasons were for either decision!

Elevating The Industry,

Karen Spinelli


Cosmetology Students and New Hairstylists My intention with every post is to give New Hairstylists all over the world the tips, shortcuts, and tools they need to quickly achieve success. I would love to hear from you! You can reach out here, on my site, Instagram, or Facebook. Sign up for my newsletter to receive my weekly blog sent to your inbox.

Cosmetology Schools and Teachers I would love to talk to your students! To book Karen as a speaker at your Cosmetology School, click here.

Karen Spinelli is from Pasadena, California. She was behind the chair for thirty-five years, as well as Salon Director of Education for New Hairstylists for the last twenty years. Karen loves Hairstylists! She loves to be a part of “AHA” moments and to watch New Hairstylists grow in their confidence and skills.

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