Becoming a great hairstylist requires at the very least a ton of schooling – as well as learning new techniques over the years – and consistently marketing yourself to new clients. While you have utter control over how much schooling you undertake, it can feel daunting to stay on top of evolving your unique style and marketing it effectively. Especially today, when there are so many people posting regularly to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and everywhere else. Separating yourself from the pack can be challenging, but it’s far from impossible.
To give you a sense of how to market effectively, we wanted to highlight two hairstylists we came across who we think are doing this well. They both have upwards of 29k followers and have learned through their trials and tribs what it takes to keep advancing as a top hair stylist. You can tell they put a lot of effort into their online presence but clearly they’re having fun and enjoying their professions too! Take a look – we’d love to hear who else you enjoy learning from or following in this industry.
Ambrosia Carey (@ambrosiacarey)
Ambrosia Carey is based in Portland, OR. As she details in her blog, her rise to fame was challenging but her ability to persevere and keep her mind right was what helped her succeed over time. She’s someone who doesn’t believe in following established boundaries or expectations set on you by others. She believes, “the only expectations are those you have of yourself.” She encourages her followers to create and pursue their own expectations.
Developing Her Style
When it came to growing clientele, Ambrosia did it in a way anyone can admire. She made a decision she wasn’t going to let other hairstylists out work her. She came into the shop early, stayed late, worked consistently, and surrounded herself with the stylists she admired. Ambrosia learned from them, grew through watching them, and took notes on what made them so successful in her eyes.
It’s a principle so many other successful people follow: Surround yourself with the people you want to be like.Doing this gave her all-access passes into what these stylist were doing with their time to climb to the top. Ambrosia also entered into hair competitions which further developed her style and grew her network among top talent. Not to mention, these competitions also helped build her confidence.
Growing Clientele on Social Media
When it came to growing clientele via social media, Ambrosia did this again by putting in the time. She’s focused on posting meaningful and inspiring work that makes her followers feel more connected to their passion and her style. Ambrosia also always makes sure to respond to anyone commenting on her blog or Instagram feed, whether it’s sharing the technique she used or just thanking someone for their compliments. Being active on your social media channels is so important because it’s where you get to connect with people who you have something in common with regardless of where in the world you are in that moment.
Ambrosia has been able to put all of this work and dedication into her craft because she loves it so much. You can feel it throughout all her posts! She loves being a hairdresser, she loves interacting with her customers, and she loves knowing she’s made a difference in someone’s day.
Neal Malek (@Nealmhair)
Neal Malek is based in Orlando, FL. He has a whopping 84.5k followers on Instagram. He started from humble beginnings, working at a booth rental salon where he assisted some great veterans of the industry for six months. Like Ambrosia, this allowed him to grow and learn a lot from the people around him. He was then able to work in a Ulta Salon and start climbing towards getting a full book within a year’s time. He continued growing his network, taking to social media to show people what he’s up to and how his style continues to evolve.
Tips For Upcoming Stylists
One of the most consistent tips Neal gives – and lives – is to be confident. Always be confident in the work you do and in your abilities to work with anyone and everyone. Neal has said the reasons for his success is his confidence. He is confident enough to walk up to anyone anywhere and talk to them about their hair. Talking to potential clients like this is risky but certainly gets their attention.
Walking up to anyone not only allows you to grow your network, but also allows you to market yourself. You can market yourself by handing out your card, giving tips, and proving you know what you’re talking about. You are able to illustrate your love for hair and being a hairstylist, which people enjoy seeing. When people see the passion coming through you, it makes it a lot easier to trust someone. You see they are not just doing it for the money, but doing it because they can’t control their passion! They want to be styling your hair in that very moment.
Using Social Media
Neal believes you need to regularly change what you’re doing and step outside of your comfort zone, if you want to be successful. One of the changes he made in his own business was committing to having each of his clients stay an extra 30 minutes to make sure styled their hair exactly how they wanted. This showed his clients he was truly invested in them,and would do whatever it took to make sure they were ecstatic leaving his styling chair. Neal believes going above and beyond leads to a world of success.
Why He Loves Being a Hairstylist
Neal loves that the lifestyle allows him to work on his own time. It allows him to be creative everyday and follow his own rules. He has said he was never a fan of school and would get into his fair share of trouble growing up. Learning he wanted to become a hairstylist was an amazing relief; he could finally set upon something that kept his attention.
Neal also loves the inspirational aspect of his job. He knows after he is done styling someone’s hair, their self esteem goes through the roof. Knowing he has the ability to help people find their beauty is truly amazing. Everyone should feel beautiful and he feels it’s his gift to show people their beauty.
Standing out in the hairstyling industry can be challenging, but these two hairstylists are great examples of everyone’s potential to start from the ground level and become inspiring influencers. Key is tapping into your passion, and then chasing that passion with hard work everyday as soon as you wake up in the morning. As a freelancer, it’s such a gift that we get to do what we love everyday and are able to positively affect the lives of so many people around us. With a little bit of confidence and perseverance, there’s no reason you can’t be the next Ambrosia Carey or Neal Malek.
Oona from Lance