Hairdressing and barbering are two of the most fabulously exciting career paths you could ever choose but, like anything else that’s worth having or achieving, learning your craft and the tricks of your trade takes hard work and dedication. Believe it or not, every successful stylist began their journey as an apprentice or salon junior, wishing they could jump straight to the scissors, clippers and colours and sidestep the less glamorous jobs like cleaning the mirrors and sweeping hair off the floor. Unfortunately, though, there are no short cuts to excellence. Be patient and know that every day, with everything you do and learn, you’re laying the foundations to becoming the most talented stylist possible. It all starts from day number one and showing your new salon employer you’re the apprentice with the ‘wow’ factor they’re looking for. Here’s how you do it…
Arrive on time and be ready to shine
Be punctual, dress smartly, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking an 8.30 or 9am start means you can grab a coffee, scroll through your social media and be ready to concentrate half an hour later. Hairdressing is hugely rewarding and gives you bags of opportunity to be creative and express your personality but it also demands commitment, discipline and a great work ethic so make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before and set your alarm early enough to be able to get ready without rushing and arrive at the salon with a few minutes to spare. Don’t forget that even though you’re an apprentice who’s learning the job you’re already an important member of the salon team, so take pride in your appearance and be smiling and professional as soon as you walk through the salon door. After all, you won’t just be doing this on your first day, you’ll be doing it every day for the rest of your hairdressing and barbering career!
Be enthusiastic and ready to learn
Being an apprentice is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to master the ins and outs of your trade, make (and learn from) your mistakes in a supportive environment, and show your manager and mentors you’re determined to be the best that you can be. Be prepared for anything and be ready to say yes to everything, whether its answering the phone, greeting clients and taking their coats, making coffee or sweeping the floors. Talk to the other stylists and offer to support them whenever you can. Ask plenty of questions and don’t be afraid to ask if there’s something you don’t know or aren’t sure about.
Learning never stops
For most hairdressers, hairdressing isn’t just a career – it’s a vocation. It’s something they were meant to do, and they could never ever consider doing anything else. The chances are that’s the way you feel about hairdressing too, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.
The thing about learning is that it never stops, no matter how long you’ve been in our profession. There are always new innovations, new techniques, new products, new ways of doing things.
The best apprentices don’t stop learning as soon as the working day comes to an end. Do your own research, talk to other professionals, look at style magazines and stay on top of the latest trends. Don’t just limit yourself to reading about hairdressing. Expand your knowledge of art and colour, go to galleries and exhibitions, and soak up everything you can because you never know where inspiration is going to come from next. After a while, learning wherever you go will become second nature and your managers and mentors (and, later, your clients) will be dazzled by your wide-ranging knowledge and brilliantly creative ideas.
On top of that, you’ll also have plenty of interesting things to talk about when your own customers are eventually sitting in your chair!
Never forget your mentor believes in you
Being an apprentice is hard work. Some days will be easy and other days you’ll feel so overwhelmed and frustrated you’ll wonder why you thought being a hairdresser ever seemed like something you’d want to do. But don’t forget that you wouldn’t be here if your mentor didn’t believe in you and have a very, very good idea that you can succeed. Just like your tutors at the LHAA, your salon manager and mentors know you’ve got what it takes even on those days when you don’t think you’ve got what it takes anymore, so trust what they’re telling you and don’t let your own doubts get in the way of your progress. Your mentor was once an apprentice or salon junior too, and they’ve no doubt worked with plenty of other apprentices who have all faced their own obstacles from time to time. They won’t expect you to be perfect, but they will expect you to watch, listen and learn and keep working hard to get things right. The best way you can repay their belief is by doing just that. Before you know it, even the tasks and techniques you’ve had the biggest problems with will become second nature.
Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd
Even when you’re an apprentice, you can still take what you learn to the next level and find your own way of doing things. That doesn’t mean you should second-guess what your mentor is teaching you (every artist knows you’ve got to understand the rules before you can break them) but, once you’ve learned those rules, don’t be afraid to experiment and give them a little bit of your own style. Being an apprentice isn’t just about learning, it’s also a process of self-discovery and there are few things more exciting to salon owners and mentors than watching an apprentice embrace everything they’ve been taught and turn it into something that suddenly becomes uniquely ‘them’. It shows you’ve got true passion and creativity, and maybe even a spark of genuine hairdressing genius. Those are qualities a lot of hairdressing apprentices share but many of them become so focused on sticking rigidly to what they’ve been taught that it takes longer for them to find their own personality. If you can begin finding your personality while you’re an apprentice, you’ll already be way ahead of your competition.
Put those five suggestions together and we guarantee you’ll be an apprentice who’ll impress their way to success! And if you’d like to know more about becoming an apprentice with the LHAA, fill out the enquiry form on this website or give us a call – we’re looking forward to hearing from you!