Why it’s important to find the right beauty establishment to start your cosmetology career; The founder of Salonch tells her story.
Starting a new career is both exciting and scary. There are so many possibilities that it’s hard to know what path to take. I would like to share my story of how I almost left the beauty industry because I didn’t find the right salon to start my hairstylist career.
I had moved from Seattle to San Jose, California, halfway through cosmetology school. Because the Bay Area was new to me, I was less familiar with the salons in the area. As graduation approached, my focus was on preparing for my state board exam. I was not overly concerned about where I would work, thinking that that would be the easy part.
Now with my cosmetology license in hand, I hit the pavement, visiting salons within a 10-mile radius of my apartment. As I visited these salons, I found some of them to be very intimidating and unfriendly. I was unsure of what I was looking for but knew that I wanted to work in a salon that was both progressive and offered makeup as a service.
After visiting a handful of salons, I walked into a small family-owned salon. This salon had a computer system with the latest technology for helping clients try out new hairstyles. I was impressed and thought that this salon must be progressive because it was the early 80’s and most salons didn’t even have computers. The salon also had a nice makeup line. What sold me on the salon was that the owner was friendly, put me at ease and took time to talk with me. She offered me a stylist job and, after a couple of days, I accepted the offer.
I was super excited to be starting my new career as a hairstylist with my first job! The salon had a clientele for me so I was busy right out the gate, putting in long days and coming home exhausted. That was okay: I have always liked working hard and being busy. I was very motivated and wanted a successful career. Six months into my new career, it was time, to be honest with myself. I hated my job. My career so far had not been what I had hoped and dreamt it would be. I confided in one of my coworkers that I trusted. I shared with her that I thought I had made a mistake by choosing a career as a hairstylist. She listened, then said, “You are a talented hairstylist, this is the right career for you. You are just in the wrong salon.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but the salon was not the right fit in so many ways. I was not happy or proud of where I worked. My coworker gave me some suggestions for salons that she felt would be a better fit for me. I went to visit the salons and started looking into my options.
With six months into my career, I had a better idea of what opportunities I wanted in a work environment. I found a salon that offered career path incentives, ongoing education, mentorship, and walk-in foot traffic. I thrived at this new salon and became one of the top stylists. I had a full clientele in less than two years. Best of all, I was excited again about my career and loved coming to work!
Looking back on those early days and thinking that I almost left a career that I have loved for over 30 years, all because I started out in the wrong salon.
The cosmetology industry has a very high attrition rate for new professionals out of school. This is an industry where stylists, nail techs, estheticians and barbers stay in the industry for less than two years or over twenty. Why is this? I believe the number one reason is that they don’t find the right beauty establishment to start their career. It is crucial to find a salon, spa or barbershop where you will be mentored, given a career path and feel supported so you can thrive. The first two years in this wonderful industry is very difficult, and that is why your environment is so important.
So how do you find the right salon to start your career in cosmetology?
The Salonch app is a great place to start your search. Download the Salonch app to learn detailed information about beauty establishments in your area and what career opportunities each have to offer.
Don’t wait to graduate before you start your research. Visit salons and make note of how you feel when you walk in. Is the staff friendly and helpful? Get all the details on what is offered to employees. Find out what will be expected of you if you take the job.