Best and Worst of the Week

Thank you for all of your questions and outreach of support.  It took me by surprise when my inbox became flooded with hairdressers reaching out to talk to me anonymously.  I was also approached by many companies that can majorly help you as an entrepreneur.  We are in the thick of a very exciting time for hair and change is often overwhelming.  In business, not everything is easy.  In my quest for answers, I encountered an example of the risks of business. 

I am so grateful for your input and curiosity that I have put together some research this week for all you hairdressers making sense of your career.  This will be an ongoing process and I encourage you to check back. 

Style app- Stylie is a point of sale app that also allows you to organize appointments all from your smart phone.  I just love that this platform allows you to do both functions at the same time for a very reasonable price.  I write everything down to keep my prices and client history straight.  There are so many times that I completely forgot what I charged a client that these two features together are exactly what we need.  I spoke with Deborah Hudson, Stylie’s Success Manager to learn more about this tool.  Stylie’s head developer created this app for his Free Agent Hairdresser friends who are independent hairstylists! Now that is a good friend.  There are many salon apps and iCloud platforms on the market but what makes Stylie different is that it was designed specifically for independent stylists from day one.  Before it’s launch, it was tested by hair industry friends to make it perfect; and it is.  Let me say, this app really sets itself apart.  Some apps do not translate down to the needs of freelancers and independent stylists.  I am in the process of testing this app and will update again on more in-depth advantages as they launch new exciting features.

Salon bank loans-  BEWARE!  This week I had remote banks contact me to attempt to sell me small business loans for up to $150,000.  One bank advertised itself from Miami, Florida.  I researched both banks to find pretty inappropriate content.  I do not think a legitimate bank would post pornographic pictures on the beginning of it’s Instagram!  BEWARE hairdressers.  Scammers are trolling social media to trick you into sending sensitive banking information.  I have began to research reputable small business loans and will be updating this story as I gather more information.  Trust me, if I had not dug deeper on these bank's background, I may have believed they are honest organizations.  In my research, I have come across many “consultants” who are claiming to be experts.  Thousands of followers does not make a person or organization an “expert”. However, Neil Ducoff is a must follow on social media for all hair industry professionals.  I have followed Neil and his consulting agency, Strategies, for years.  He offers phenomenal advice, tips, and tricks.  If you are needing business support as you get up and running or a master reset, this is the place!  

Hairchitect app-  If you are looking to build your own education platform, this app is a game changer.  Head forms and diagrams are difficult to articulate.  Joffre Jara (follow on Instagram @hairchitect_the_app)  has created an app to handle the complexity of displaying elevation and angles.  There are so many ways that we can use this app that $5.99 is a solid investment.  

Hairdresser to watch: Kristen Baker (@kristen_ba)  is the definition of "Free Agent Hairdresser".  She has a unique style and her work is amazing!  I came across her Instagram like many of us do and I was sucked into her fresh take and eye for content.  Follow her to submerge yourself in the life of a Free Agent Hairdresser that lives hair as a lifestyle. Follow her!

Book club: Steal Like An Artist Review

This book appeared in front of me at the perfect moment.  I am a hairdresser that entered the business world of beauty a few years back and 2016 was my year of evaluation.  

This year taught me so many lessons.  One of which, is that not everyone you work with or for is interested in being your mentor.  Not everyone you work for is looking to set you up for success.  That is a hard lesson to learn.  You must always ask for what you need and be prepared this may not also be the path of least resistance.  I am an artist and actively seek out learning experiences.  My platform is to help hairdressers to grow as professionals.  We, as artists, think that our artistic ability can only be used behind the chair.  As I redirect my artistic journey, this New York Times Bestseller appeared on a shelf next to me in Fed-ex.  

Austin Kleon’s description of the artistic process is SPOT ON.  This book greatly influenced my passion for my new venture.  Here are his rules to help you unlock your creativity:

  1. Steal like an artist
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started
  3. Write the book you want to read
  4. Use your hands
  5. Side Projects and hobbies are important
  6. The Secret: Do good work and share it with people
  7. Geography is no longer our master
  8. Be nice (the world is a small town)
  9. Be boring (It’s the only way to get work done)
  10. Creativity is subtraction 

Hairdressers- I urge you to read this book!  Austin’s short book with fun graphics is music to hairdresser’s ears looking to reinvent their careers.  It is a great quick read on your commute (if you take the train haha) or in between clients.

Questions Of The Week!

** I don’t have all the answers but I found the people who did!

Q: I am an independent hairdresser and I am having trouble picking a brand that is not on Amazon:

A: There are plenty of brands right now that are not sold on Amazon.  Even brands who do not want to be, are thrown on their by people selling a brand illegally.  The diverters are your enemy not the brand.  Diversion is a huge threat to our industry and equally as damaging to a brand.  It’s a confusing topic and a hot debate. Tough love here but if you are creating the right culture with your clientele it does not matter where something is sold.  Find a brand or category that means something to you… like clean beauty!
 I am seeing great options in clean beauty and haircare.  Many great bands hopped on the band wagon early but clean beauty is making some amazing advancements.  Clean beauty is unique and a great healthy option to offer your clients anyway!  Right now I am enjoying Oway.
I am not the most educated person on clean beauty.  I try my best to be responsible with what I put on my skin, but I admit I could do better.  This week on Good Morning America, there was a segment on how much your body absorbs parabens and other potentially harmful ingredients.  

Here is the link if you're interested:

Clients will be happy to hear your suggestion on products for this reason.  Clean beauty is a lot of research and clients will trust your conclusions.  I am a big believer in NOT pointing fingers and honestly I could care less if a product is sold down the street or anywhere.  
I feel if I am doing my job and taking ownership of my clientele in the way they should expect, they will not buy from anyone else but me, the professional.  I am their hair expert! Not Amazon.  

Q: My boss who owns the salon will not let me have my phone on the floor.  How do I take pictures for social media if I am not allowed to have my phone:

A: I have been in this situation and it’s not fun.  You are an adult and should be allowed to have your phone on the floor.  I understand wanting to be treated like an adult and a professional.  However, let me ask you a question….. Is that all you are doing with your phone? I do not work with you so that is not me to decide.  Salon owners make no cell phone rules because stylists get wrapped up in their phones as may people do these days.  The problem is, when a client comes in and does not get greeted the way they should it is a problem for salon culture.  If everyone has their heads down in their cell phones, we sometimes do not give the clients the attention they deserve.  
If your boss insists on no cell phones, my suggestion is to sit down and try a compromise first.   Staff could take turns having their phones.  The person with their phone is on social media duty.  This person would take pictures for everyone.  This controls the awkward atmosphere of everyone distracted on their phones yet always getting pictures for Instagram.  

Q: I just got out of beauty school.  How do I find a mentor to apprentice? 

A: I would suggest offering to do the Instagram for a stylist looking to learn or too busy to do it.  This could even be a stylist of a “certain age” who knows everything you need to know about hair.  I recently helped a “veteran stylist” (so many meanings to this word) how to look up hair inspiration and videos.  Look, your first salon doesn't have to be the coolest salon.  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.  What I will say is the best hair I ever learned was from a roller set queen.  Sets are the foundation of everything!  
I am honestly afraid for hairdressers today that they are starting in a time where messy beachy hair is all the rage.  Quite frankly, beachy hair is easy: even easier if you have a Sarah Potempa Beachwaver iron!  I really wish that young hairdressers starting to assist would attach themselves to a good ole’ veteran and learn some old school hair!  
Pretty soon perfectly polished hair is going to come back again and you will need the foundations of hair.  Please respect it and let your first mentor be the person you can find who has worked behind the chair the longest. 

Q: Why do I keep losing followers on my hair page?

A: Because you're not giving any love.  You are so focused on posting what you want to show that you are not liking or commenting on anyway else’s.  Social Media is a community.  Not interacting is like standing silent in a party and wondering why people walk away!
I love to see what people are doing.  Talking is my specialty and sometimes too much, but I love interacting with other hairdressers on social media.  The beauty industry is my sport and social media is my girly version of fantasy football.  I shouldn't care so much but I DO!  Treat it like the community it is and start talking and interacting.

Q: I am having trouble building my social media for my salon. What am I doing wrong?

A: It could be that you are not consistent but it also may be that you are not giving people a reason to follow you.  I grew up in a small town and did not really understand a neighborhood until I moved to Jersey City, NJ.  
Living in Jersey City taught me what shopping local really means.  There really is no competition in a neighborhood.  In JC, restaurants worked together because they understood people feel like different types of food depending on their mood.  Working together kept all the diners in the neighborhood.  Your salon Instagram should be the same.  Are you posting about a fabulous new business?  Are you giving anyone else on the street some love? This begins to build those relationships and your followers will grow as that is returned.  
No one drives that far for their salon.  Find who has the biggest following in town and go strike up a partnership.  Don’t just post a place you enjoy.  Go make friends and work together.  I have even worked with salons in the same town that refer clients to the other salon for straightening treatments and that salon refers bright vivid fashion colors to the other.  You can both have a specialty.  Be a good neighbor and your social media will grow.

Q: How do I find new staff?

A: In the salon industry, poaching stylists is the most frowned upon practice.  It is perfectly reasonable to post job ads and social media announcements to make the industry aware that you are hiring.  Part of looking for new staff is to be creating a place where a top stylist wants to work.  This process starts way before you are actually in need of new staff.  If you are creating a positive work environment, you most likely wont even need to go looking.  You will have a list of hairstylists waiting to join.  Good and bad news both travel fast. 

Q: What is the best insurance for an independent hairstylist?

A: I talked to a lot of hairstylists this week to ask what they like best.  Insurance is unique to each individual and incredibly personal.  Yet I was amazed a lot of you told me you love Salon Gold by Hiscox.  I checked the out myself and was so excited to see all that they offer.  Check them out and inquire for pricing.  We are so lucky to have this kind of resource these days.  Total game changer.

Fragrance Innovation: Beauty Shopping Experience Will Evolve

Talk of digitized fragrance is nothing new.  If you are a cooking show fan, you have probably wished that you could smell what was cooking on tv.  Rachel Ray often jokes about the need for “smell-o-vision”.  I always loved the Jetson’s as a kid.  I am certainly ready for Rosie, the Jetson’s live-in robot to help me out with these chores!  We may not yet have flying cars, but it seems we are living in times where digitized fragrance has become a reality.  The possibilities excite me for the beauty world.  Fragrance has always been the subtle way of heightening a customer’s emotional experience but now we can use it to connect to people through their cell phones.

International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF) is an international powerhouse bringing the sensory aspect of products to major households and luxury brands.  In April, they announced a partnership with Cyrano, a new digital scent speaker system.  With the download of an app Onote, you can choose many different mood enhancing settings.  “Get Relaxed” , “Get Free”, and “Get Energized” is only the beginning of all the feels.  The Cyrano cartridges are replaceable while the overall size of the system fits in the cupholder of your car.  The unit retails for $149.99 and cartridges are $19.99. 

Surprisingly, Cyrano is not the only game in town.  Scientist Adrian Cheok has also created a handheld digital fragrance device beginning its life as a novelty in Britain two years ago.  Scentee is a small device as well and not much larger than an Eos lip balm that connects to your phone along with an app.  It emits a vapor similar to an e-cigarette creating an aromatic experience as the unit glows bright blue.  It is possible for 300,000 unique aromas to fill the air.  Available flavors include: bacon, coffee, buttered potato and more.  I don't know about you, but they had my attention at bacon!

At this point of my career, I should not be so easily “sold”.  Unapologetically, I am a sucker for fragrance.  If it smells amazing, somehow I am convinced its function is equally impressive.  I fall for it every time.  Many stores we shop use fragrance to their advantage.  Carefully curated fragrances fill the air to subconsciously draw us in, create a mood or feeling, and connect us emotionally to a product.  When we are all done with the product we begin to miss the fragrance and buy more.  

The power of fragrance in beauty is beyond dispute.  I am not alone in having worked with brands that have a signature scent carefully designed before even a name is chosen.  A face cream, lotion, or any other beauty potion could be a miracle product except with the wrong fragrance it is a dud.  A fragrance is a driving force behind return customers.  Do we become addicted to the fragrance or the moment it brings us back to?  I myself love when a friend notices the fragrance of a new product I am wearing.  This is a typical conversation about the haircare line I am wearing in my hair.  It always results in a description of the product and I usually receive a text message from my friend letting me know they purchased my suggestion and they too smell delicious!  It all starts with the smell they recognized having not stepped one foot in a store.  This new technology will allow us to harness that transaction and convert it even more to online sales. 

As Amazon takes over the attention of consumers forcing many brick and mortar locations to keep up or close their doors, we also lose certain experiences classic to shopping in a physical store.  The lighting, fragrance and fashion choices of associates all contribute to the background esthetic of your shopping experience.  Professionally, I of course have a strong appreciation for brand’s digital strategy but sometimes there is just nothing like feeling, touching, and smelling a product up close and personal.  I can’t wait to see where these digital fragrance platforms take our industry.  It has the potential to bring back my favorite part of shopping even if I’m just clicking away on my phone.

Amazon is a shopper’s dream allowing you to receive deliveries within as little as an hour.   Amazon’s Echo is becoming our real life Rosie the Jetson’s robot.  It can hear your verbal orders and place them for you.  At the same time, this can be a nightmare for a small business owner looking to compete.  The retail experience is on its head and beauty brands large and small are racing to digitize their business strategy.  It makes sense that fragrance was next. Beauty brands will now begin to take it seriously that fragrance has been transformed into a radio wave.  Brands will harness that much more of the remote shopping experience and recreate a more emotionally connected shopper in the convenience of their home.  

Beauty brands, hair salons, cosmetics boutiques, or any other beauty business - continue to digitize your product and services.  How will your brand incorporate digitized fragrance in your brand strategy?


Get Your Glow On: Haircare Regime


Why your haircare is just as important as your skin care...

We are so accustomed to our skin care regime, we forget our body regenerates in many more ways than just skin.  Treating your hair with the same respect, will reveal your best glowing hair.  You may even be able to air dry it!  Wouldn't that be nice?  Well cared for skin cooperates after time and attention revealing benefits such as less product usage and smoother application.  Building a strong beautiful foundation makes a glowing base to shine through.  This always makes your favorite products perform at their best. Revealing your best glowing skin is like taking a mask off.  So why not uncover the same beauty your hair may be hiding? 

Winter is a great season to start.  You are spending less time in the sun.  You can get a jump start on your progress before the summer scorchers.  The beach is the dry mohave desert to your locks.  Winter is the lesser of two evils.  The ways we may keep ourselves warm this winter, can also be drying on the hair. Be mindful of the conditions your hair encounters.  It is a game of hydration; just like your skin.  Turn that heat from your car’s vent away from your hair and you will help to save it’s glow.  Consistent baby steps are the key to success for any regime.  Here is your new philosophy and regime to reveal your most beautiful hair that you have been hiding.  The kind of hair that glows! 

Cleansing with Purpose: 

    Shampoo needs to be reparative.  Too often we abuse our volume shampoos and over time with constant use, we crack and damage our hair.  Volume shampoos are formulated to open the cuticle.  This is what you need for a night out to pump up the volume.  The problem is, we love the word “volume”!  If we overuse our special occasion products in our daily routine, your hair is too tired or damaged for the big show!  You need to be using your repair shampoo the most often.  Saving your volume products for when it’s important will keep your hair in good health.

  • Ouai Repair Shampoo and Conditioner $28/ $26

Hydration Drain and Over cleansing: 

Don’t over wash.  Shampoo’s main function is to strip the oils from your hair.  Since hair health is a game of hydration, giving your shampoo such power is risky damaging if over used.  Now we know a daily shampoo should not over cleanse or strip your hair’s essential oils.  This will rob your hair of it’s natural glowing shine.  No poo’s and sulfate free shampoos are a great way to protect you hair’s shine.  They do not need to replace your shampoo but are great to be added to your regime. Shiny hair is a result of glossy healthy cuticles reflecting light like glitter! The right shampoo regime will take care of your hair to let it shine like diamonds.  Alternate your shampoo with a cleansing conditioner or no-poo.  Only the days you want to wet your hair but can get by without cleansing try this new product we love.

  • R+Co Analog Cleansing Conditioner Foam $16

Exfoliate The Scalp:

Parisian Hair God, Christophe Robin, understanding how to make hair glow.  Believing in the health of your scalp to obtain glowing hair, he has created a magical scalp exfoliator and wow are we impressed! Just like your facial exfoliators, this amazing product will reveal a healthier more awake scalp to promote your best hair growth.  

  • Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying crib with Sea Salt $52

Hold On, Maybe Dry Shampoo Instead: 

For a dry shampoo that doesn't keep your hair parched, we love Oribe.  Many times low quality dry shampoos can build up and leave a residue on your hair that takes away shine.  Oribe has created a power backed formula that hydrates while wicking the excess oil away.  Magic!

  • Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo $44 

Condition, Condition, Condition: 

Leave In Conditioners-  got a bad wrap for weighing down hair.  These days, the formulas are new and improved to leave your hair feeling weightless.  Many times you can not even feel the effects of a leave in, however the less you feel it, the more complex the formula.  

  • 7 Seconds Leave In Conditioner by Unite Haircare. $22 This super light yet deep nourishing formula leaves our hair feeling quenched but not disturbing the volume.

Hair Masques- Sunday afternoons are for relaxing with a cup of coffee and a hair mask. After washing the week out of your hair, gently dry you hair with a cotton t-shirt.  The soft cotton is easier on your hair and will remove the excess water without damage.  Your hair should be 50% dry and no longer dripping wet.  Apply a small amount of mask and work it through roots to ends.  The longer you have to sit with it on the better.  When you are done jump back into the shower and rinse it out well.  Your hair should not feel slimy when you finish.  Hair masques repair flexibility and hair structure making for beautiful bouncy blow outs. 

  • Rene Furterer Absolue Keratine Ultimate Renewal Mask $54

Heat Protection: 

 Protect those locks with a lightweight nourishing Hair Oil will keep your hair polished and happy.  If you apply a high quality hair oil your body will begin to produce less oil to keep up with shampooing.  Davines Ol is pronounced “oy”  and described as an “absolutely beautifying potion” how can you resist? Ol is pronounced “oy” 

  • Davines Ol Oil $44

Hair Vitamins: 

Hairdressers may not tell you their secret weapon is often hair vitamins.  Biotin and/or pre-natal vitamins are simple over the counter supplements.  Biotin is found in everyday foods such as eggs and almonds.  Often times, poor hair health is a reflection of a vitamin deficiency. Your doctor can help you best to determine what may be missing.  Talk to your doctor before making the decision.  

  • Try Ouai Haircare’s Vitamin Supplements for hair health from the inside out $24 per pack available at

Silk Pillow Case: 

    This is a curly girl’s secret weapon. Take a page from her playbook and get yourself a silk is softer and more forgiving on your skin and hair while you move in your sleep.  Not only will this preserve your block out allowing you to wash your hair less, but also to make less friction on your hair at night.

  • Drybar ‘Slumber Party’ Silk Pillowcase $45        

Warning: Be careful of color glazes from the drug store.  Clients often abuse these at home glazes not realizing they often contain hydrogen peroxide.  That’s right.  The dreaded burning liquid your mom put on your cuts as a kid is the same agent that is sometimes used to open the cuticle to deposit color glazes.  Over use can lead to breakage.  Your hairdresser knows how to control these products just like your esthetician controls your professional acid peel so leave this one to the pros!

With time and consistency, you will be flooded with glowing reviews on your glowing hair! Shine on.

Let Us All Be Thankful For Snapchat Spectacles !

I really try to stay as current as possible, but things move so fast, how could anyone know everything that is happening in this world!  I can not sit around all day reading and need to get on with my work day.  Quick content such as 10 second clips can really help can't it. ::wink, wink::

 That is why when I see a long mysterious line in midtown Manhattan, I look down immediately to my phone (get bumped around as I walk) and Google what must be launching today.  How ironic that I look down to google search results of the launch of Snapchat’s Spectacles!  Google Glass DID try the same idea a few years back. Awkward…. What will Snapchat’s Spectacles do differently than Google Glass? Everything! That’s what.

For starters, the market is READY.  This is always key when launching a new product.  You can not create excitement around something the market can not begin to understand.  We just weren't ready.  You do not have to be the first out of the gate with an idea.  Nor do you need to be the most diverse necessarily. 

Google is an amazing company doing amazing things.  But it seems Snapchat is going to carry out this concept the best so far.  Snapchat, arguably focused on one platform and providing the best experience in order for the diversification of it’s users to come to them.  “If you build it, they will come.” .... and then they will buy it! 

I comment a lot on the misunderstood young people so many executives and business owners can not wrap their brains around-just yet.  It seems as though so many companies work backwards towards accepting millennials and now Gen Y aged groups.  So many times I find myself defending this age group and target market.  You have to find ways to sell to this age group! Snapchat’s launch is a home run in this philosophy.  Can we NOW take them seriously?! Finally. 

As consumer’s needs and wants are picking up at lightening speed, steady focus on this group is winning!  Snapchat has turned down huge buyers offering billions of dollars in pursuit of their ultimate goal: Monetize. This is their first solid step in their efforts.  Not too long ago, I was reading all about writers making fun of Snapchat’s founders for passing on such huge sell out deals.  Did we not learn from Facebook?  Today, we can only guess what else they have up their sleeve.  This is a huge win for my age group and I for one am excited!  

Copywriters, Content Editors, and anyone in Marketing will be lit up with excitement today with the ability to take 10 second videos from a pair of glasses retailing for $129.99.  Get in line folks, as this will be the way to market to the wildly criticized young people we have all been analyzing as of late.  I have said it before and I will say it again, don’t be late to the party.  Embrace the change that is here.  Google Glass was just catalyst to the market and now Snapchat has run with it.  I encourage you to resolve yourself to wearing these very funny looking yet super cool glasses and capture that content. I look forward to seeing everybody and their grandma wearing Snapchat's Spectacles this holiday season and even you, skeptics.  This year, we should all be thankful for Snapchat!

Consultant Life: How To Say "No."

Thankfully, my consulting business has been very successful this year.  I am so very proud of the experience I have gained, relationships I have grown, and experience I have shared.  It has been a wild ride! At times, the success is hard to specifically measure. If you are beginning to work for yourself, I hope you are finding it surprising how in demand your services and talent have been!  What a great problem to have. I have found it takes the traditional rules of business and hard work.  None of which have been surprising.  However, this week, I encountered my first project that did not feel right to me.  As I build my client base, skill set, and experience, it never occurred to me that I would have to say no.  Especially not to a project that would be simple in comparison to others that I have taken on.

I am in the beauty industry, but this contract was more specific to the salon industry. Like anything else the salon industry is translatable to other industries you may be consulting in. If you are consulting, I bet you are savvy and well versed in your field. I have worked on branding, social media, marketing strategy, market research and hiring and training of educators.  

A large part of this contract was to recruit staff for a high end salon looking to grow it’s staff. Honest enough! Every business needs to expand and they need new talent to do it. After all, talent recruiters are a great asset to businesses looking to grow or fill a role.

 After the meeting, I began to think how I would approach this new contract before I officially accepted the project. As I began to brainstorm, my intuition did not feel right and slowly it occurred to me that this would be a conflict of interest for my business and possibly my reputation. I work with many salon owners, up and coming beauty brands, and various personalities in the beauty industry.  I assure you New York City is much smaller of a community than one would think. As somebody who regularly travels for work I can argue so is the whole country! News travels fast and your reputation is your brand. I recalled the quote “Your network is your net worth.” 

What would a salon owner think if they felt I had actively poached a high performing employee for this project, taking a possibly 6 figure earner away from them? How would I feel if I had a relationship with “Kate Capko” and come to find out she is convincing staff to leave me? The situation was clear. I needed to pass on this opportunity.  

No ambitious person ever wants to turn down an opportunity. This is a very hard decision to make.  This project was the first time I had to listen to what my gut was shouting at me.  By no means am I accusing the business owner looking to hire me of unethical practices.  Again, recruiting is valuable. Yet in our field this is different. I am not implying a sneaky proposition was made by any means.  It is very possible that this business owner simply did not understand the risk involved or the ethics of the salon world.  It is also true that the risk was greater for my business and not his.  This can happen to anyone. All of which is fair enough.

I politely sent a professional email turning down the opportunity, offering a fair solution of a respected recruiting firm that is unbiased instead and wishing them well in their search.  As my blog promotes consistent personal branding, I know this business can recruit talent effortlessly by simply sticking to their brand message.  Talent will be attracted to your brand esthetic if it is enticing and clear to them.  Turning down this contract, really put my mantra of staying focused to the test.  I am not building a business of showing beauty business owners how to be dishonest. I am in the business of assisting them in building their own brand and this should never come at the direct expense of another small business trying to do the same.  Especially not one that is in your network.

As a consultant, small business owner, and or freelance artist you already know “Your network is your net worth.” Your integrity will fuel your success. Every industry is very small.  A bad reputation will always lead you to a bad place.  Simple. I now know to take even more time considering a contract before accepting and I hope you will too. When building your business you do not have to jump to say yes.

There is enough success to go around for everyone. Being ethical should be of most importance while building your brand. If you are working for yourself, I hope you listen to yourself as well. Listen carefully to your intuition. Good Luck!


This week Estee Lauder obtained Too Faced Cosmetics for a cool $1.45 billion. I can not help but think of the salons who have no social media strategy. The two are most certainly connected.  Too Faced Cosmetics is geared solely towards millennials in the beauty scape. They have 7.3 million followers. Mac Cosmetics, another millennial targeting brand has 12.4 million. In others words, millennial's business is worth billions to a rock solid conglomerate like Estee Lauder.  Can you now explain to me how come you do not mind having less than 100 Instagram followers? 

I have traveled the country meeting with the top salon owners in the industry. My heart breaks when a salon owner reveals the struggle of doing business in this day in age. More often than not, these struggling salon owners were wildly successful in the 80’s and 90’s. For the life of them they CAN NOT understand their modern day struggle in the beauty industry. Every time this conversation arises, I promise you they all have one thing in common: They do not have an established Yelp or Instagram persona. They have a pitiful social media presence across the board or are flat out using it wrong. These salon owners are JUST getting a Facebook account going, not realizing that is light years behind. Facebook mostly markets to existing customers! Each platform has a purpose. They are not created equally.

Recently in my consulting, I spoke with the owner’s of an app that brings beauty services to your door. If I owned a brick and mortar salon, I would be studying these mobile salon apps like crazy. I apologize if I sound harsh, but the truth is the stylists that source these apps are professionals who are fed up working for an old school salon owner. As hard as this is to hear, this will help you answer your own question. Any app that provides services on demand at your home or office has an established social media strategy. This social selling funnels new business in their lap.  It generates so much cash flow that they do not need a physical location saving tons on overhead. Genius. 

Salon owners, I am sorry to say we have created this problem ourselves. Every time an owner makes a “no cell phones on the floor policy” you are losing DOLLARS. You are losing CONTENT.  You are showing your dated and toxic relationship with technology. Embrace it. I know your old school business strategy tells you that it is rude for technicians to have their heads down in their phones. That is absolutely true. However I assure you clients won’t mind becoming a stylists content on Instagram. Clients are flattered when their hair looks so beautiful that the salon wants to share the results. The ego boost will help them forget to be offended everyone has their phone out. Restaurants do not ban cell phones even though patrons barely look up to order anymore or enjoy expensive ambiance because of their cell phones. Let go of what is shooting your social media in the foot. New business generated from your social media advertising will make your salon hum again and no stylist will have time to have their head in their phone! If your stylists can not have their phones, they can not take pictures and will not have any content for the salon to post and your social media will attract no one. Ahhh let’s take a breath and let it go!

The saddest part of this is the simple solution you have been ignoring this whole time. This solution is as elusive to you as the market Too Faced just bought.  MILLENNIALS! I know for a fact you at least one if not ten walking around your salon RIGHT NOW.  There is always a young hair stylist in a stagnant salon that has the answer. They are always ignored and even preached at by said stagnant salon owner rather then embraced. I have been said hair stylist listening to said stagnant salon owner preach out dated info at me and my coworkers.  I stopped arguing and left those salons long ago. I now use the ideas they wouldn't listen to and have done very well. The same owners are exactly where I left them. The last posts are the ones I tried to help with. I say this so you do not continue to lose valuable customers. If you continue to lose customers you lose valuable employees who will just go out and prove you wrong. 

The salon industry is a special kind of stubborn. I have done hair for 15 years full time and on the side. I started my career in one of the most affluent areas of the country in a salon that was an institution in the neighborhood. I had just gotten out of school and hearing all about the economy crashing. Yet in the salon, those blow dryers kept humming away. I was going home at night with hands full of cash. As my friends could not find jobs out of college, I was paying off my student loans blow dry after blow dry. I became comfortable in what I was doing and naively felt bullet proof. As things started to rebound for the economy, the salon industry experienced a delayed down turn of sorts. Like a rubber band finally smacking you in the face.  New salons opened around us with cheaper prices and trendy decor. People needed to save money and justify their spending to repair their households and as a result we slowly lost business. This was my first experience to understanding the constant need for new business. 

What if I told you now, that you have a tool in your hand that generates qualified leads in the palm of your hand? Would you brush it off?  Social Media equals QUALIFIED LEADS.  I know change is scary but that’s all it is.  They are following you because they are interested. In the 90’s salons and hairdressers paid for publicity. Thousands of dollars went to ads that generated new business that hopefully you could accommodate. When salon owners can not embrace social media strategy I am perplexed. They know they must constantly pursue new business but they can not water it down that followers are just business leads. 

We know human beings are not receptive to change. Historically, it takes some time to get people on board to new ideas. I am 31 years old. When I want to make a change, the first thing I do is check a business’ Yelp reviews. Then I go to Instagram and see what I can learn before I even waste my time walking in. Millennials want things fast. That includes a fast return for their time and effort. Like it or not, this is how they operate. You are simply not important enough to waste their time if your business does not meet their needs. This is how millennials think. I am an older millennial and see many problems with their mindset but in my opinion the customer is always right. Get them in your pipeline. 

Also this week, Nasty Gal announced the business would be declaring bankruptcy. If you are not familiar with Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso coined the phrase Girl Boss and that she is! If you don’t believe me read her book. After my own personal interest in what happened, many articles surfaced on what exactly crippled this company. It’s a very interesting story that is translatable to beauty. I will speed it up for you and give you “a quick return on your time”!  The brand was cool because nobody knew about it. Hard stop. How can you keep what makes the brand cool and also capitalize on it’s fame? This is a common theme in luxury as well. If you consider yourself a luxury salon, please think about my point here and research the other missteps that went wrong.

So now you are probably saying to yourself, “First you told me to get the word out and be cool and then you are telling me being cool is not profitable.” What I’m saying is, create your social media to reflect why people should visit your salon. Stay consistent and soon you will see a consistent flow of new business.  There is nothing new age about that.  Know who you are marketing to. Cough cough MILLENIALS. I promise this will get the new business leads flowing and you will be wildly successful once again! If you still don't trust me, I’ll leave you with this thought. My 17 year old cousin who doesn’t even need makeup buys way more of it regularly than my mother who may need it as a CEO. One of them gets ideas for their next shopping trip from Instagram and one of them rarely buys makeup. You be the judge but get the millennials in your pipeline!

Milan, Venice, Munich, Prague & Paris: A European Adventure

Over the holidays I had the pleasure to take a long dreamed of trip. After stepping away from behind the chair, it was the first time I could take such a long period away to take a globe trotting journey! Beginning this European tour in Milan was quite the culture shock. Milan is a hustling bustling fashion destination with every designer you could imagine. I have grown up in the shadow on NYC my entire life and even still the aggressive nature of Milan was as "in your face" as the fashion walking it's streets. 

Next stop was Venice.....arriving after dark by way of water taxi onto an ancient sinking island with no cars in site. Being dropped off in a foggy, barely lit cobble stone alley will never leave my memory. I will always remember the sound of my luggage wheels echoing through the winding alleys to the hotel. The hotel being centuries old provided us a room with a window overlooking a narrow Venetian lagoon. During the night, every so often a far off wave from a gondola making it's way past our window was eery but exciting. Was I really here? I enjoyed Venice as I always dreamed it to be. Most of the time sauntering around after fantastic meals over looking the Grand Canal or sitting el fresco at a cafe or bar. I hope everyone gets to experience the wonder of Venice at least once in their life. It will slow down the most fast paced of go getters. 

Munich was the next destination. Immediately I am embarrassed of New York's public transportation. Regardless of how much more new Munich's system is, it creates a culture to be admired. My entire stay I did not get in a taxi or car once. Munich has incredible outdoor markets serving delicious food and hand made anything. These markets are in pedestrian friendly shopping areas surrounded by high end department stores. The culture of Munich celebrates food and social life. Rarely will you find somebody under dressed and they are unlike New Yorkers and are unapologetic of fur fashion. Munich reminding me of my Norwegian background at every turn. On one day of this stay, I reluctantly took a day trip to the memorial Dachau Concentration camp. The things I experienced there made me have an even deeper understanding of the terror and the history that took place there. If ever you find the opportunity to experience this I recommend you take advantage of such a life changing experience. 

Prague was my biggest surprise. I did not expect to fall in love with this city like I did. Prague embodies what I imagined Europe to be. Every building is preserved as if you are stepping back in time. This city was largely preserved through World War II by Hitler ironically. Food and fun is inexpensive here and in fact will shock you whenever the bill comes. Americans, I would suggest to ask for the bill and not the "check" as this confuses the Czech locals! haha. 

Lastly on this journey was Paris. Paris is as romantic, as breath taking, and as grand as it is depicted in every fashion magazine, every movie, and every novel. I will never get tired of returning to Paris and I hope life finds me back there again one day. The food, the wine, the shopping. The Louvre can swallow me up any day. Growing up not knowing what it is like to see Manhattan for the first time (as for me it has always been there), I am lucky to know this feeling in Paris. The first time seeing the Eiffel Tower in person takes my breath away as I describe that moment. Pictures will never do justice for the Palace of Versailles. "We will always have Paris...."

I found an incredible amount of artistic inspiration during my trip to Europe. I find that since I have returned that my styles are a bit different. My mind wants to translate what I saw into recent cuts and styles on clients. I am very thankful for this experience. 

Fashion Show

Last Monday, February 24th I participated in a fashion show for the dress line Saborama. Me and my incredible coworkers put out 24 models with beautiful hair and makeup. We were asked to use inspiration from periods in history such as the 1960's depicted on the hit show Mad Men and also looks from the 1920's featured in The Great Gatsby. This was a challenge being the stark difference in these two styles however the result really worked. Our makeup artists created gorgeously intense sexy eyes with bold berry lips that popped.  On the style team, we set the hair in vintage patterns and techniques in order to give the hair an authentic feel while we pinned and placed the hair in a more modern vibe. We impressively finished ahead of schedule which for runway work is rarely achieved. I am so honored to work with the team I do. We had a lot of fun on this job and the finished result really made me proud. 

The fashion show took place at a rooftop lounge, Skylark. The venue was classy overlooking Time Square surrounded by not only the Crysler building but also the Empire State Building making the view breathtaking. The bartenders were making signature drinks using Four Roses Bourbon.  

A big congrats to Nancy, the designer for  Saborama for a job well done. These dresses are even better in person when you see them move and come to life. Pictures do not do then justice so here is a link to a video of her with a few of the models. The model in the black and gold dress was one I did!


Thank You!

I would like to begin my blog with a big thank you to all the people pictured on here in the "Portfolio" section. It is just a small sample of the hair I have done but they were too good to keep to myself.  I had a lot of fun styling all of them! Beach weddings to winter black ties they all brought me a different kind of inspiration. Not always pictured, is the way my clients feel after their hair is styled. I will forever love the first reaction when they look in the mirror and the excitement they feel. Please continue to check back for updates. I have a lot of exciting events coming up this season. At the end of February, I will be styling for a fashion show being held at Skylark, a rooftop venue in Manhattan. Should be fun!