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The client/stylist relationship

A reflection

I have been taking stock of how the client and stylist interact with one another. Mostly for the positive, but there has been a little of the negative as well. I shall elucidate the subject beginning with the positive.

It is a wonderful thing to develop a kind of friendship with your clients. You, as the stylist, learn about their lives, their thoughts, their opinions, and more. The time spent behind the chair is such a boon to social interaction. You can help your client to feel beautiful and exactly the way they want. As a stylist, I can also provide support in their life experiences and help them work through things. Although, sometimes the lines get blurred between the professional and the casual. I consider many of my clients my friends. And most of the rest are certainly more than an acquaintance. I call it the coffee test: If I would go to coffee with the client outside of the salon, then they are a good fit for me. As I hope I am a good fit for them.

I am a skilled hairdresser and I like to be able to share those skills in the world. It always makes me happy and proud to hear things like, "I don't trust anyone else with my hair" or "You are the best" or "You deserve to get paid for your skill". I try to not let it go to my head, but there is a bit of ego stroking involved for myself. I have spent over 20 years honing my craft. I am sure there are still areas that I can improve upon, but everyday is a new day for the learning of new things. I want to deliver a quality service to absolutely everyone that is in my chair.

Now this means that when we see the negative sides of things, it is difficult to not take it personally. When a client decides that we are no longer matched well and chooses to see a new stylist, it can be a bit of a blow to the ego. Especially when the new stylist works in the same salon as yourself. I do my best to not be sore about it and wish them well. I appreciate when a client actually lets me know that they are looking for someone else, it shows respect and gives me room to improve my business. However, they don't always say anything. And that is the hardest part, due to not knowing why they chose to see someone else. Is it that the other person is a better fit? Is it that I failed in some way in delivering a quality experience? Did I not give a good service or meet expectations? I don't know and I can start to feel insecure about it.

Also, getting a bit too friendly in the relationship can cause me to not choose to charge the proper amount for my services. I am well aware that it is not up to me what someone chooses to pay for their hair, but I can still undersell myself, because I want to be nice. This has been a real problem for me for a long time. I know that I am worth a whole lot, but I, sometimes, feel guilty for charging what I am worth.

There are wonderful and not so wonderful parts of my relationships with my clients. The good far outweigh the bad. I can't imagine doing anything else with my life and my career. I do look continually forward to the lessons learned and ideas expressed and interacting with the best clientele.