Why kids can’t come with me to work

I often think of opening my own salon just so my kids can be there too. After all, what is the problem with children anyway? They are just smaller, younger versions of us. I dream of a mommy hair salon where there is a room dedicated to just the children for playing, and I imagine it being very busy during the day, because quite frankly, mothers can now get their hair done without having to also pay/find a babysitter. That way my kids can be there too. I can work for my family, and also be with my kids.

Over the years I am certain one of my three daughters will be interested in my craft and will learn a lot just by being around it. Maybe I will be benefitting them in the long run.

The problems
1. Health: It is not the best environment for young growing bodies to be exposed to regularly. There are chemicals and debris.
2. Neediness: My children are very young still and often want me to hold them. If I can’t because I am in the middle of applying a highlight- and one of them (or even two) are crying- that is a huge disappointment to them and even worse it is a distraction to me and my client.

The advantages
1. My kids can learn that women can work too and kids aren’t taboo.
2. My kids will learn and see the practice of business skills and ethics that I mostly learned by mentoring the salon owners and colleagues I had from my own young career days. Sorry mom and dad (who probably will never read this because he isn’t a thoughtful parent) but you didn’t teach me much about business when I was young.
3. Convenience for me and other mothers who also tote kids with them everywhere.

I am always spotting little salons that are out of business. I could also quickly move into a small houses that would be easy to convert because the separated rooms are already in place. It is just a matter of getting the upfront funding to open, and marketing for the clientele. Which I have learned is not that difficult if you have done it before and know what works and what doesn’t.

In all honesty, it is a dream, but will probably only ever be a dream because it isn’t worth it for the two problems. If over time we overcome the second, the first will always be a deal-breaker.

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Secret #1: Value of communication

Communication: This must be crystal in order to know what the client wants. Not only words, of course communication is a whole body experience. Touch their shoulder before you touch their head to reassure them of your grace, this establishes trust in contact. Look in their eyes so they know they have your attention, listen to their choice of words in describing what they want, and analyze where they are coming from. Ask the questions that feel natural for you to comprehend what they need from you, and give them an understanding of the limitations you have (whether it is time, training, or their hair is simply not going to do what they want). Let them know your rates for their request, offer alternatives to their service and pricing if you aren’t sure they are certain or dead-set on what they want. Have consistent pricing too. People hate going to the hairdresser and having the surprise ending- that she is now charging you more than she did before but forgot to tell you. I always quote the work before I begin. It’s the only way to be fair to both the client and yourself. Don’t just come up with something either, have a base and structure additionals consistently.

Make sure you are actually connecting with your client, tap into the way they understand the world, look at their hair from their perspective. Ask as many questions as necessary, in ways that speak to that person…

Every now and then I will have a client who says, “maybe I didn’t tell the last girl what I really wanted, because look at it, it’s______.” That undesirable trait may or may not be your idea of foul play, but it most certainly is according to the client (who is no longer patronizing the last hairdresser). Communicate clearly to avoid repeat offending. My response to this is almost always, “I am the professional here, it is MY responsibility to make sure I know what you want before we begin.” Don’t argue with a client about whether their hair is gold or not, accept how they see it and make sure you do it how you have agreed.

Additionally, it’s not enough to know what someone does want, you must know what they do not want.

For all the readers who are clients, this series of articles is a valuable tool for you too. Make sure the hairdresser doesn’t proceed until you are comfortable with the communication.

Stay tuned for the 2nd secret….