Small Town Hairdressers ROCK!

I live in Small Town America, in the Deep South.  I work as a hairstylist.  These are the only attributes that qualify me to write a post about this, but I want to share my feelings about what it’s like to work in the beauty industry in a small town, and give a real account from someone who knows. I have to start by saying, small town hairdressers rock!  I have eighteen years of experience behind the chair, not including the year and a half I worked as an assistant in a salon during college.  Yes, I have a college degree, and no, I didn’t use it to obtain my job, but I definitely used it to build my career.  {I have also put my education into great practice these past couple of years, crawling my way into the blogosphere and the online marketplace, with nothing but hours of reading and a yearning for business to guide me, but that’s another story.} *Update:  I have since left the beauty industry, which you can read about here.  My love for the craft and respect for those who do it well still remains.  

small town hairdressers rock

hairdressing is not all about the runways and the red carpet.

I love working as a hairdresser.  I use many different terms interchangeably to describe what I do, depending upon who’s asking.  If it’s a young-to-middle-aged prospective client, I usually answer, “I’m a hairstylist at A Head of Times”.  If an elderly person asks, whether just making conversation or a prospective client, I would probably say, “I’m a beautician” or “beauty operator”.  These are all common terms to describe my profession here in the Deep South.  I’ve always loved the term ‘hairdresser’, though some may find it outdated, because it just sounds classy to me.  No matter what you call it, it’s what I was born to do, and what I have done for the majority of my adult life.  I have only worked behind the chair in three salons, all in the same small town (the assistant job was in a neighboring state, where I attended my last two years of college).  I’ve built my clientele, lost a few, gained a few, and leveled out to three full, long days a week in the salon (sometimes four, especially during wedding season). I’m dedicated to my clients, and I strive to bring them fresh, new ideas.  I work hard to stay on top of what is trending, and I take every client who sits in my chair seriously. That’s not to say I don’t have fun at work…sometimes, maybe a little too much fun….but I do want to please each and every client and give them a positive experience when they visit me.

I want to share my feelings about what it's like to work in the beauty industry in a small town, and give a real account from someone who knows. I have to start by saying, small town hairdressers rock!

Hair by Martie.

The thing is, hairdressing is not all about the runways and the red carpet. The beauty industry is full of hairdressers whose clients leave happy, wearing hairstyles that make their lives easier and their self-esteem higher, but their photos are never displayed in a magazine.  These hairdressers are  sort of the “worker bees” of the beauty industry, and I am one of them.  I’m proud of my profession, and I’ve worked extremely hard to get where I am.  It’s not a goof-off career choice, and it’s not an easy job, physically. Long hours on my feet and late nights away from my family have taken their toll on me over the years, even though I haven’t had one celebrity client, or any awards or accolades.  Coach and I both work full-time, and we both provide for our family equally, which is why I see my career is a blessing.  It provides an income that helps us reach our goals for our family, our children.  It pays the bills, and rewards me intellectually, artistically, and emotionally. It allows me time to pursue other interests and income avenues. Yeah, I do some shampoos and sets each week, and I thank God for each and every one!  I love my clients, love seeing them each time they visit, love hearing what they’ve been up to.  They seem to enjoy my company, as well.

I just hope the small-town hairdressers of America never feel like they aren’t as qualified, or as talented, as what we see in the magazines and all over the internet.  We work hard, we do quality work, and we could probably work circles around someone who charges $500 for a haircut and pays out the nose for multiple assistants, while we run from back bar to chair to back bar to chair all day long, day in and day out.  We tear our own foils, we mix our own colors, we rinse our own perms, and we go home at night with a feeling of satisfaction and a job well done…and achy backs, legs, and feet.  We often have to drive 20 miles or more to purchase supplies, juggle clients with kids’ schedules, and spend time off answering texts and calls to book appointments or give advice. We share real photos of our work, photos that haven’t been photo-shopped to death, and we’re proud of the beautiful styles we turn out, and we don’t do it for a glimpse of our name in lights or on a Playbill.  Did you know that the median pay for hairdressers in America is $11.40 an hour? That’s only $23,710 a year. That’s not much for the amount of work that goes into our jobs, and the long hours on our feet.

Am I complaining?  Heck no!  I’m counting my blessings, because I’m doing what I love, and if you work at what you love, you never work a day in your life.  The smiles on my clients’ faces and the kind words from their own mouths is all the reward I need.  I’m simply pointing out that SMALL TOWN HAIRDRESSERS ROCK! You do REAL  hairstyles for REAL people, and you endure a lot for the craft that you love!

If you are a hairstylist in a small town, whether you have 40 years of experience or just enrolled in cosmetology school, then give me shout out! If you live in the Big BIG City, and only have to work two days a week to afford your apartment, Mercedes, and weekly grooming for your poodle, I wouldn’t mind hearing from you, either! Leave a comment with an amen, a hallelujah, or a GTH, whatever comes to mind, but sound off and let’s tell the world we’re here, making people beautiful, one head of hair at a time! Small town hairdressers rock for many reasons, but one of those reasons is our ability to be a huge presence in the beauty industry, while keeping close, personal relationships with our clients.  Be a presence here, on this post.  Comment with your general location and lets see how many small town hairdressers this post can reach! Share it and spread the love to all your hairdresser friends!

We shouldn’t see each other as competition, but as brothers and sisters in the beauty industry, each with his or her own story to tell. We’re talented, we’re dedicated, and we are real. Small town hairdressers rock because we plug along every day, forming unbreakable bonds with clients and their families, and sometimes sitting on our duffs while the ‘elite’ of our small towns drive hours, one way, to pay three times as much for the same services. But I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way!

small town hairdressers roc

Cheers, from one small town hairstylist to ALL of you others…I give you all two big thumbs-up!

X,O,X,O,   Martie