People ask me, “How do you stay in the same job for over 30 years? Don’t you get tired of it?”
My answer is always the same, “Absolutely not!” Every haircut, every haircolor, is different. Even after all the years I’ve been a hairdresser, when I’m working with one of my longest client relationships—a client that goes back 30 years with me—each visit is new, and that’s what keeps me engaged and inspired. I see the appointment as another opportunity to make my client happy. To deepen the human relationship and to give her a haircut she can style at home, that works with her lifestyle/hair type/face shape/styling ability. For me, it’s got to be about the client and what she wants and needs.
I have many clients who want the same cut or color every time. This doesn’t get old for me—first, because that’s become their signature style, and they can replicate the styling very well, and it’s one less thing to have to figure out—how to style a new cut—but also because every time I get to cut their hair, I am working on improvements. Not only does hair change over the years—curls and waves tighten or loosen, cowlicks move—but I still take classes and watch cutting videos to learn new ways of doing things. Continuing to learn and be inspired by education keeps the spark alive for me and helps me be more inspired in my cutting.
I also have a design style. Most hairstylists do. Mine tends to be more precision-based. I do like a nice clean line. I think it grows out well. So I’m always looking to refine the straight lines in these cuts. I start the cut on freshly washed, clean, wet hair, then dry it and refine the cut once I can see how the hair falls and how it will be styled. During the blowout, I will show my client how to get the fringe to fall right, or how to get volume on top if that’s what they want.
Many of my long-term clients are my age, so we are all learning how to navigate our age, so I do understand the challenges they are facing with their hair. We have common interests and swap restaurant recommendations, travel reviews, and best products for our skin and hair.
It’s amazing what you can fit into a haircut appointment. Hair that makes them happy and a visit with a good friend—It’s what I love about my career and my clients. That’s such a privilege and a gift.
Founder, Atelier Salons
San Jose, Ca.