The last two weeks for me have been a re-education in the hair industry. I received a copy of Joseph Kellner’s The Real Hair Truth and immediately, I was taken to a place where I was forced to think about everyone who had ever touched my hair. Remembering back to age 10, I could recall just about everyone who made my locks lovely to the one who butchered my long fab coiff a few years ago. My mind stayed in one very happy place, remembering the incredible talent I had promoted and marketed in the Chicago market. I was proud to represent the talent who worked as hard as I did to maintain that artistic and technical edge. At times, I would even attend the education sessions to better understand what the stylists and colorists went through to meet requirements and maintain client trust. Everyone seemed to take such pride in what they did and knew where they wanted to go and what they needed to do to get there. From this vantage point, I was shocked to see the variable of responses collected by Joseph Kellner and fully understood the reasons behind the answers. Based on one of the last experiences I had, I fully see the need for continuing education and accountability for higher educational standards in the salon industry. It has been best said…you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
While watching The Real Hair Truth for the second time, I stopped the video to collect my thoughts and write…the first time I Tweeted throughout the film and wanted to capture pertinent details. A rush of thoughts came forth. The first, all the wonderful professionals I have had the honor to interact with in the industry. These professionals get it. They have single-handedly been able to create a name for themselves in this industry and in a very powerful way. Expressing my gratitude to them in this post is the humblest homage I can offer. J. G. – A consultation with this man is worth its weight in gold. When I met him, I represented a salon on Oak Street in Chicago. An hour with him is like saving yourself 20 years in growing pains. To have him as a mentor for only an hour made my career. His contributions? I now know about Luiz Alvearez and Aquage hair care (and the continuing education surrounding the brand). I know about better, more streamlined ways to effectively market a salon/spa business (I amazed myself by incorporating his words and generating 10K a month in sales volume). Of course, much more was learned, but these two stand out most. Martin Rodriguez. Phil Stone. Maurice Tidy. Shane Talbott. There are many, many others. Two of the common threads that brings them together is their passion for the industry and maintaining high standards across the board!
If you were asked to cite the qualifications of anyone who has touched, cut or colored your hair, what would you answer? When I lived in Germany, answering this was a no-brainer. Everyone who touched hair, unless they were actually participating in an apprenticeship, was required to go through a rigorous four year apprenticeship where the master stylist would stand over the student instructing and ready to step in if needed. My hair dresser, Lilo, was incredible. When I promoted salons in Chicago, I could confidently answer this question with impressive answers…more like bragging about the credentials of the talent I helped.
How much continuing education does your hair dresser participate in annually? #TheRealHairTruth When asked in an open interview, one hair dresser admitted to the required six hours and attending two shows. The salons I worked with in Chicago participated in regular if not weekly education classes. Are you aware of the qualifications for beauty students to be able to graduate? Some states require 1200 hours while others only require 1000 hours. What kind of testing is required for beauty students to receive their license? Written or computerized theory. There are no standard practical requirements in finalized testing.
Diversion and No-Diversion
Another real hair truth that was once again brought to my attention…product diversion. For those who are not aware of the definition behind the word…basically it boils down to a company who sells their products to one type of business or many types of businesses. For example, a product company who only sells their products to only salons can say their brand is a no-diversion brand. There are companies who claim their products are sold only in salons when they are sold in discount and other retailers outside the salon industry. This is an example of diversion.
Keeping this in mind, I watched as Joseph Kellner approached countless retailers in an attempt to find out the reason why products that were labeled ‘sold only in salons’ were brightly displayed on the long side counters of discount retailers. No one seemed to be able to provide an answer with a closed ending. Do you know if the beauty products you use that are suppose to be sold in salons and spas are pure to their commitment to remaining sold only in these professionally serviced/licensed businesses? This has been a question asked by many over the years. I never really gave it much thought until I started working in the salon and spa industry and was held accountable for selecting unique brands not found in chain businesses or mass and discount markets.
What would you think if you found your favorite hair care product at a major retail chain, on sale only to turn over the bottle to see the words “Only Sold In Professional Salons” in bold lettering? Would you be so inclined to hold off buying or take the deal? IF you were salon owner who signed a contract with a major hair product company and found the products you sell in your salon at a discounted price at a major retailer, what would you think? What would you do? Would you hold the hair care company accountable or would you keep quiet? Would you trust a product line that sells under these conditions? Would the sinking sensation in your gut and disappointment of a first-time offense finding, make you want to change directions? How can something designed to finish and make pretty become such an ugly situation?
The Reason Behind The Truth
One salon owner and ‘industry watch dog’, Joseph Kellner, saw a need to bring this and other topics to the fore front and educate those in the industry about these not-so-best practices and other ‘hot’ issues. His movement is called The Real Hair Truth. The Real Hair Truth is a collection of interviews conducted by Joseph and his team to find the answers to these and other hard-hitting questions surrounding the glamorous world of hair. In this documentary, long term industry veterans tackle mainly the don’ts and should nots in the industry.
In summary, I fully understand and support how educational standards need to be increased and maintained. Students need to be taught theory, practical and marketing skills that will set them up for future success. They need to work with a master within an apprenticeship program to enhance and encourage skills. Practical skills should be required to graduate as well as a higher number of hours. Students need to be made aware of what they want to do when they graduate and be educated as to what is out there in the industry for them. Making educated choices yields better results. Continuing education standards need to be raised and maintained. Where as it concerns diversion, I applaud those companies who have the control over their business that results in them being able to say they are a no-diversion product company. Joseph Kellner, thank you for bringing these and other issues in the industry to the fore front.
Have a good week.