-MY JOURNEY TO BUILDING THE BOLDER DREAM-
Boulder and Cherry Creek has some of the best-trained hairdressers in Colorado.
There are still hairdessers being trained by what I call, "The Greats," which are notorious hairdressers that have been doing hair for at least 40 to 50+ years.
The most famous Greats would be Vidal Sassoon, Toni and Guy, Oribe and everyone they ever trained who went on to establish themselves as hairdressers, educational leaders, and product developers.
The Greats represent the best, economically privileged, hard-working, and contemporary-traditional salon education there is in our industry, either worldwide or locally.
At my core, I am a product of that education from one of our own in Colorado.
But ultimately, I built my exclusive brand of contributions on top of it.
So let's start at the beginning....
One of my fondest memories as a child was always of beauty. I remember my mother getting ready in the mornings; blow drying her long beautiful hair, doing her makeup, and the fragrance of her perfume. She would always take me to the salon with her, which was quite often between her hair and nails, and I had soon decided (at the age of nine) that I would be a hairdresser.
My mother had high-maintenance blonde hair that always looked amazing. She was also close friends with her hairdresser. But when we moved to Boulder, that all changed. I remember her first devastating cut and color. Until that day, I never knew hair could be done so poorly. I was shocked to say the least.
What I remember most about that incident was where she went to get her hair fixed.
She went to a specialty salon named Charisma in Boulder. They ended up having to cut all her hair off and gave her a pixie cut with a multi-dimensional blonde color. It was the most beautiful and miraculous work I had ever seen. I was in absolute awe, and at the age of fifteen, I decided that I was going to work at Charisma Salon as a Color Specialist.
By the age of sixteen, at Boulder Tec for Cosmetology, I was known for my tenacity with color. Our instructors gauged their teaching of haircolor by my tests, and my performance was top of the class (having missed only two questions out of five hundred on our school baby boards). Because of those facts, I was notified of an opening at Charisma for a Color Assistant and I went for a preliminary interview while completing my hours at school. I went to a second preliminary interview with one of "The Greats" of Boulder who headed Charisma's Color Department.
After passing my State Board exam right after my eighteenth birthday, I went for my official interview at Charisma and got the job.
My job as an assistant was to shampoo, blow dry, get clients refreshments and magazines, do laundry, rip foils for highlights, handle client formula cards, mix color, keep everything clean in the backroom, and clean our color area; all while I was learning the techniques to be a Color Specialist. These were jobs that I would continue to do while I was building my clientele, until we had another assistant. There was always something to do for the salon or another stylist. There was no down time.
My training was very strict. I was given Logics brand color education (no pre-mixed colors, custom mixing only), I was drilled on client formulas, timed on my services, and was graded on my color services on salon models. I was trained to be the best at color. I was trained to be a team player. And I was trained to be clean and respectful in my salon environment.
I also became known for my relaxing scalp massage techniques during shampoos and for my volumized and smooth blowouts. These qualities also helped me earn great tips while on an assistant's salary. I learned early on in my career that going the extra mile in services had the greatest value and appreciation from clients.
After a year as an assistant, I went on the floor as a new Color Specialist. It just happened to be during Spring, and as most professionals know, this is the time of year for boxcolor to occur throughout Summer. Our owner made advertising our corrective color services a priority and we always got new clients in our doors. It was at the age of nineteen, that I started developing my own techniques for color-corrections and began my reputation as a prolific Color Specialist.
THE GREAT RECESSION
I worked in Boulder for nearly ten years. I spent the first five years at Charisma and we were treated the best. We had affordable group health insurance, we had a 401k, and all of our in-state and out-of-state continuing education was paid for.
But ultimately I wanted to do more with hair than just color, and my clients agreed. So I cashed out my 401k and re-invested nearly $5,000 on my cutting and chemical capes, smocks, all styling tools, styling product, clips and combs, shears, all of my color, my first few weeks of booth rent, while also paying my normal bills. It was the first time that I really got a taste of how much it costs to go out on your own as a booth renter.
I went from being an employee to being my own boss and branched out on my services, including cutting hair (during the high-time of the textured haircuts craze of the early 2000's created by Toni and Guy).
Then the first local recession hit.
A lot of my clients worked in tech and two major tech giants, Level 3 Communications and Sun Microsystems, were doing mass local layoffs because of merging and acquisitions. It was my first experience with an economic downturn and the realization of how fragile and dependent an economy can be on one source of business development. Massive housing developments went into foreclosure, people were moving to different states to find jobs, and local businesses suffered greatly.
This first recession took a huge toll on my books, so moving to another state wasn't far-fetched for me. There wasn't anything else to lose. So I moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; a beautiful ocean-side retirement and tourism community, also home to the structured southern belle.
There is something about the ten year mark for a hairdresser that makes them think of trying something different. You start to realize the daily depth of the discussions you have regarding your client's lives or the climate of the world, the weight on your shoulders to constantly turn out your best work every hour, and the physical toll it takes on your body.
Every hairdresser goes through this.
Especially the burnout of young Instagram hairdressers of today having to juggle hair and constantly be on social media.
When I went to HHI (Hilton Head Island), it was under the pretense that I would do a simple job anywhere that would hire me, but the Universe didn't feel the same way.
So I started doing hair at one of the two most prestigious salons on the island.
Fringe Salon was a small boutique salon and we were the busiest I had ever been at that point in my entire career.
Southern Belle's are all about pre-scheduling, and before iPhones, it was all about them bringing in their daily planners and scheduling out on the spot.
This helped facilitate my skills for pre-booking.
I also got my first taste of Haircut Corrections which greatly effected and influenced how I cut hair today.
I saw so many heads of hair that had been butchered by texturizing shears, that I tossed mine out and developed my own freehand texturizing skills to correct bad haircuts and texturizing.
We were also so busy that I developed "water on the knee," or permanently swollen knees, which can cause permanent damage to tendons and ligaments from stretching.
We never took breaks to eat and I barely had time to pee. We were simply too booked.
While I loved how beautiful it was on HHI, and the money and economy was amazing, it wasn't enough for me to stay.
I knew in my heart that I needed to come back to my Colorado people.
It was 2008 and The Great Recession was already severely impacting Colorado, though I didn't know much about it at the time. I came back, moved to the Broomfield/Boulder area, and took some college classes.
I also didn't know that I was battling PTSD from all the hair I did in HHI, but I did know that my swollen knees needed a break.
College has a fantastic way of changing your perceptions about everything.
College education in Art greatly changed the way I perceived hair, and college writing courses helped me put the art of hair into words. Experiencing advanced education is invaluable, but for me the experience was cut short.
After about a year of college I found myself in the middle of a catastrophic personal experience which changed the course of my life. Everyone has one or more of these experiences, that's just life. At the time, I couldn't fathom why it happened to me, but little did I know just where it would take me and how profoundly it would change me.
A DECADE OF WORK IN THE GREAT RECESSION
I did not know the depth of how much the salon landscape had continued to changed in Colorado.
Salons had started favoring booth-rent-only business because it was guaranteed money.
Many salons simply weren't hiring or had a much much smaller hiring quota.
Even prestigious salons in Cherry Creek were roughing it, with some of them eventually closing, like Paul Garcia's Salon.
(For those who don't know, Paul Garcia was and will always be known as A Great).
And even The Greats were effected.
What could be more catastrophic than that?
New salon businesses that were cropping up were compromised of bad and worse business tactics.
Proper stylist training seemed to be a thing of the past.
The sad thing is, if you've only been in this industry since 2006 to now, you wouldn't even know what it used to be like.
There are tons of stylists who don't know what salons used to be like in their Golden Days.
They only know Recession Salons.
Colorado's Artificial Inflation.
People are paying $1500+ for a single bedroom apartment nearly everywhere in Colorado and salons have the audacity to only charge $35-45 for a haircut? How can a hairdresser survive, or even expect to thrive here?
Between Colorado's Great Recession and Inflation, I had officially experienced the worst of our industry.
For about a year in 2009. I moved to SE Aurora/ Parker area for the only job that could afford to hire me. It was the worst salon I have ever worked at in my entire career. I worked hard and built a clientele within a year, and then went on my own. After another year on my own, I had to close my books to new clients, until I took on an apprentice protege.
How did I do that?
By being consistent and always turning out my best in every aspect of the salon experience for my clients,
using all of my branded techniques. And my business grew exponentially from referrals.... and referrals only.
The Recession experience in Colorado had fired me up and made me work harder than I have ever worked before.
Not only was I taking care of my personal business in the salon, I began producing materials at home for my own salon business consistently over the next ten years.
ELEVATING THE CRAFT
During the Great Recession, I began planning a decade in advance for my Bolder Brand.
I began to ask myself, "How can I run a growing business better than anyone I've ever seen? How can I train stylists better? How can I create the best possible environment for stylists?"
This resulted in seven Bolder Branded books,
the creation of two provisional patents for my color program (and I'm working on my final patent this year),
the successful training of a protege, and the successful teaching of Bolder Brand hands-on color and color-correction workshops.
I have taken everything that I have ever created for hair over the last twenty-four years of my career and turned it into Bolder Salon education. More importantly, I have made considerable personal sacrifices over the last ten years to create my business model for the benefit of everyone: clients, stylists, partner owners, and investors.
So I am absolutely and personally invested in it succeeding.
My experience in different locations other than Boulder helped me realize what other stylists go through who have not had the level of education that I was lucky enough to be taught outside of school.
That kind of education allowed me the ability to elevate myself independently.
It made me realize the true inequality of education after cosmetology school and I'm hoping to help change that with the growth of my Bolder Brand.
Creating my color program based on my new color theory was the biggest endeavor and is a game changer for stylists.
Bolder Training will allow hairdressers to be successful in education, successful in hair, successful in income, and be able to be successful in Life. Especially in Colorado.
Bolder Stylists are selectively hired, rigorously trained, their starting price points are higher, and their commission goes higher than any salon in Colorado.
I look forward to hearing from you!
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