Children, I have been doing hair for almost 27 years and although I can be a cantankerous crabby queen – I cannot imagine doing anything else. My dream growing up was to be a famous artist, movie director, architect or you guessed it -- a hairstylist! In some ways, I feel like I do a bit of all those lofty pursuits, which makes me happy (well, as happy as an ennui-ridden, middle-aged Goth like me gets, that is). Here are some basic tips I have for future divas that are entering the craft.
HONEY, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT! If you don’t wake up loving your job every day (especially in the honeymoon-phase of the first years), immediately find something else to do. Nothing is more cliché than a brokeass, unhappy hairdresser.
EDUCATE YOURSELF, ROSEBUD! Go to as many classes as early on and as often as possible. This will help you navigate the industry and chart the trajectory of your career. Once you identify people whose work you admire, stalk them, kill them and take over their identity (I don’t really mean that, that was way to much hyperbole). But, DO strive to surround yourself with the people you want to be like as much as possible.
SET GOALS, GUURL! Establish the direction that you wish your career to go in by making short term goals (3-6 months), mid-term goals (1 year – 5 Year – 10 year), long term goals (15 plus years) and ultimate goals. In other words, what would you like your legacy to be in your old age as you look back at your career? Then I implore you to write them down! They will evolve as you do over time and that’s okay. Refer back to them and, with a little luck and astuteness on your part, your destiny will reveal itself. But if you, yourself, don’t know where you would like to go then you will never -- as they say -- “arrive.” One last thing on this tip -- you must realize that YOU and ONLY YOU are the custodian of your dreams. No salon owner, no colleague, no friend, no manufacturer, not even your mommy, can coax success out of you. One must procure it for oneself, end of story.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF HAIR. Once you build a solid clientele in a city you love, STAY THERE. That can be your base and your source of security for life. Then, and only then, gradually go out and take advantage of what this industry has to offer. Become an educator, work on fashion week, get your oeuvre of work published in trade magazines, represent a manufacturer, become a platform artist, do porn (just kidding). While keeping my clientele chugging along in Denver, Colorado, I have been able to travel the world and do all these things and more (except, alas, porn). Seriously, though, I truly believe this has kept me in this job for over a quarter of a century. Ultimately, you must keep seducing yourself. Leave no stone unturned to enjoy success and to remain fulfilled in any field. Rise to the top and achieve longevity. We need to constantly engage and re-engage in our industry, not just in the cities we live in but nationally and internationally. If we do this, and do so properly, we can make lots of money, travel, create beauty AND art all day, EVERY day and maybe get famous in the process.
Now, go out and make momma proud; but first, bring me a box of wine.
CHARLIE PRICE is one of the most recognizable faces in the American salon industry. He is a popular platform artist who has seen his photo work published globally and has won many prestigious awards. Price was the first American to be named NAHA North American Hairstylist of the Year twice, the first ever NAHA People’s Choice Award winner, is a 23 time NAHA nominee and was named International Hairstylist of the Year by The Canadian Mirror Awards. He has created looks at NY Fashion Week, as lead hairstylist for scores of designers including Jeremy Scott, Jason Wu, Catherine Malandrino and Cynthia Rowley. Price has, represented, collaborated with and endorsed manufacturers such as Aveda, Rusk, Revlon Professional, Roux, TIGI, GK Hair and is currently The International Creative Consultant for Scruples Haircare. Finally, Charlie made a memorable appearance on the Bravo TV reality series Shear Genius.