Why the box tickers should stay out of improving the industry.

Why the box tickers should stay out of improving the industry.

To move hairdressing and beauty forwards let’s have a little look back in time.

rewind 10 years

“What drove the boom in barbering?

The Internet. YouTube & Instagram specifically.

It was the lifestyle and the exposure it was given by a generation of YouTubers and Instagrammers. Today’s young people are not short of inspiration. But they are short of attention. I see many on the internet advocating for regulation and registration yet It wasn’t an NVQ or an association that drove our industry forwards. It wasn’t regulated to popularity. My point is you don’t make an industry popular by adding more rules. 

In the 1960s a young man from East London with an exotic-sounding name brought British hairdressing kicking and screaming into the 20th century.

That guy, Vidal Sassoon drove the cool Britannia boom in hairdressing. He brought a new glamour to the mainstream that was in demand from all over the globe. Hollywood came knocking on a young Vidal’s door. The explosion in creativity captured the hearts and minds of young people from all backgrounds. The free ’60s inspired by the music, love and moon landings inspired a generation to want to aim for the stars.

Vidal
Vidal considered his young apprentices the “the most important people in the room”

30 years later

90’s Britain was all about Cool Britannia – a Union Jack was a fashion symbol all around the world. Staffords & Toni & Guy made hairdressing Rock ‘n’ Roll and it was promoted on national TV. It wouldn’t have captured the nation’s imagination unless it was rock n roll.  British culture & style were revered all over the world. It was powered by an embryonic internet and made Britain the place to be. Especially if you wanted to be cool.

Throwback to what inspired to join the Hair industry.

Fast forward another 30 years to 2020. What will drive the next boom in Hairdressing?

In the 2010s the acceleration of social media platforms made it easy for any individual to create their own brand. As long as they were consistent and turned up every day with a message and a hook. They took it upon themselves to create.

The biggest organic social media accounts specialise on one thing. One technique or one signature look or style. Sometimes it’s their authentic personality. The point I am trying to make is that we are in an identity crisis and trying to be everything to everyone doesn’t work. Aggregation works for some accounts but they are living off other people’s work. They are faceless and in most cases do not have the longevity needed to have a long and fulfilling career. Gimmicks can get you noticed but it’s the consistency & authenticity that keep you at the top.

Bruce Lee quote, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times."
Governing Bodies take note.

It’s a fallacy to think that the number of hairdressers delivered through colleges and education centres is proportional to what is spent on their education. It’s very hard to find the data that confirms this. But judging by the think tanks and discussion groups I have been involved in, the education system is the main area of concern for all established hairdressers and barbers.

If there is a legacy to be left in this industry, “It’s leaving the industry in a better place than when we found it.” In 2020 this task is not insurmountable. The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to rethink how we can set up young people for success.

If we treat hair & beauty education like a one-stop-shop for every technique available in the entire industry. We are encouraging failure. The piece of paper the candidate receives, does nothing but give them a false sense of security that they know what they are doing. It does give them the ability to get insurance and trade legally but I think this protocol increases the chance they will drop out of the industry in the first stressful situation they find themselves in.

I don’t believe that they should be forced through the education system to become an all-rounder. Students should gravitate naturally towards a niche and work on it. Students should enjoy the process.

Salon owners take on a disproportionate amount of risk to reward when it comes to decisions that affect their business. Each member of staff they employ, each apprentice they give an olive branch, each service they work into their price list and each brand or corporation they allow to showcase in their windows. Salon owners are dictated to in every situation.

Hey governing bodies. You have to let the salon owner have more say in what areas the student/apprentice has to focus on. This has to happen more seasonally than the current every 5 years. Now, what is current changes daily.

Salon owners that have to deal with the damage limitation if something goes wrong. We have to work on the individual skill sets that are needed to be successful. We have to focus on the individual, training should be bespoke and not bundled together. We need to reduce the layers of training. Increase the amount of time spent in each category. We need a way to test attitude as this is the best indicator of a long and successful career.┬áBruce Lee’s quote about 10000 kicks is so true. If we can’t use the wisdom of legends then only kick we will need is when we kick the bucket.

About the author @aarondornhair
Aaron Dorn is a hairdresser with twenty years of experience. A background in finance and computers. He continues to cut hair and is a consultant for several companies within the hair and beauty industry.

Gosalon GoSalon is a platform that enables you to sell via recommending whatever you want to your customers. We make it easy for you to earn money from your favourite products. It’s brand new & It’s free to join and is available by reserving your namespace here