How difficult is it to become a hairstylist ?

I have been asked this question many times in my career,
‘How difficult is it to become an hairstylist?’

I always smile because in the past in Italy (not many decades ago!) this fascinating ‘combination of arts’ was seen by parents as a lazy alternative for those who didn’t want to attend school.

Well, I can’t really blame those parents, as in those days it wasn’t seen as a proper career. And at that time the only way of getting trained was to steal the knowledge with your own eyes. Nowadays it is a lot better for many trainees. In the hair industry in general, the training and development of staff members is a vital part of any business that wants success and longevity.

But for me, there has still been something missing …

Being a good hairstylist doesn’t just mean giving a haircut that is technically well executed. Of course, that is always important, but these days a good haircut is the least a customer expects.

The quality of time we give to customers is a big part of their experience in our salon. Whether they will return or not – to the stylist and the salon – will depend largely on how good that time was.

When we opened Shine Newington Green it was at the beginning of a long recession. My business partners and I knew that we had to make it work right from the very beginning – there was no room for mistakes whatsoever!

But to have a team of stylists who only had great haircutting techniques wasn’t going to be enough. A focus on 360 degree client experience was the only way to stand out from the crowd. And that’s why we decided to create 360 degree training for our trainees.

Being a part of the Shine team is a privilege for many reasons – one of them is how focused the company is on developing its own staff members. And only people with the right attitude can succeed in our intense training. No pain, no gain!

In order to deliver a high quality haircut within a quality experience, our trainees will learn the best cutting and colouring techniques for the first two years. In the third and final year they will gain communication and body language skills, and also learn the psychology of our fantastic job.

It’s a long journey and requires the right attitude and commitment from trainees, but if you talk with our new qualified stylists, they would recommend this experience to everyone. It has been a fantastic experience and a big learning curve for me, but thanks to our training method, we now have a team of great hair stylists!

I would like to thank Paola for sharing this adventure with me, and I would like to congratulate Rita and Marco who have recently passed their final exams and stepped in the hair stylists’ world. Thank you for your complete commitment!

So to answer the question ‘How difficult is it to become a hair stylist?’ What I can say is that it is not an easy journey, but is there ever an easy journey towards a great achievement? But whatever the journey I always try to remember that attitude is more important then ability.

By Alessandro Conforti
Owner and salon manager, Shine Newington Green.