“Twenty-seven years in this business and I’ve watched very talented hairstylists pass on and there has to be a GoFundMe page, because they never protected themselves or their investment,” said Stephanie Ballwin, a stylist who is also a financial professional with New York Life.
Ballwin’s remarks during the introduction of vendors were just a few of the gems dropped Sunday afternoon thanks to CCG Consulting Group’s presentation of “The Chair: Advanced Education for Salon Professionals.”
Some of the region’s top stylists, salon owners and product providers gathered to get down to business about their industry and learn more about marketing, finances and industry trends.
“I’m trying to encourage all of the stylist and small business owners make sure that, with all of this hustling and grinding and living your best life, make sure that you’re protecting everything that you are building – because if not, it’s like building a house on sinking sand,” Ballwin continued. “It doesn’t matter what you accumulate. If you pass and it all dies with you, it becomes a memory.”
Media and marketing company Brainstorm Media Group, Celeste Harris, owner of PBC Inc. products and business consultant, and St. Louis native and celebrity hairstylist master hair artist DaRico Jackson were on hand to share tips and tools regarding moving forward in the industry.
“You need to put in the work as far as the business goes,” said Harris. “Because, if you don’t put in the work, the business will work you to death.”
She discussed developing income streams, managing expenses, and making their business make sense and profits as they attempt different services for multiple revenue streams.
“The first thing I think about with new ventures to make money, is, ‘How much does it cost me?’ and, ‘Is it worth my time?” Harris said. “Is it worth being on your menu? Can you take it off? Sometimes yes is the answer. For me, braiding was not bringing in enough money for me and it was killing my hands – so I took it off. If you spend eight hours in the salon and you’ve only made $300, that’s a problem.”
In addition to earnings, Harris kept it real about expenses, taxes and savings.
“There’s no one size fits all, but you don’t know what you need to save if you don’t know what your expenses are,” Harris said.
Jackson, who is currently a top artist for Clairol and has worked as a celebrity stylist in Los Angeles for nearly 20 years, used a portion of his session giving those in the room props for their work – and the work of the local cosmetology community for giving him the tools he needed for Hollywood.
“In everything I do outside of this city I am always representing St. Louis because this is where I came from and this is where I got my training,” Jackson said.
Though his days of working for 10-plus hours on end at Crazy Combs on Natural Bridge are over, he sees his hometown as a fertile breeding ground for the entire industry.
“The best hairdressers in the world come from right here,” Jackson said. “Even our worst hairdressers are better than what I’m seeing in my community in L.A.”
Jackson’s talk was as much about motivating, inspiring and empowering as it was about hair care trends that included lace front wigs, weaves, cuts and color.
He commended getting the necessary education to remain relevant in the industry as well as investing in acquiring more knowledge and protecting their profession as deregulations threaten the field of cosmetology.
“You’re not going to trust some nurse or some doctor without education to work on you,” Jackson said.
During his talk, Jackson was presented with a resolution from Alderwoman Shameem Clark Hubbard.
“I’m so honored to be able to present you with this because I’m a fan, “Clark Hubbard said. “I’m a stylist as well. I’ve been doing hair for over 20 something years. I remember you were so inspirational to us when we were in beauty school. We were like, ‘I want to be like Rico.’”
She told him that anyone who researches city records on November 1 will know his name, accomplishments and contributions to the city of St. Louis.
St. Louis loves you,” Clark Hubbard said. “We claim you and you continue to be an inspiration and a model for hairstylists, like myself, that look up to you.”