In anticipation of our upcoming Master Classes, we are going to be running a series of interviews with our guest educators so that you can learn more about them and walk away with tips that you can use to improve your salon business.
This week, we sit down with Kristen Ewing (@kristen.lumiere) of Lumiere Salon.
1. What inspired you to pursue a career behind the chair? Did you have a different career before pursuing hair? If so, what finally helped you take the leap?
I really didn’t want to do hair when I first enrolled in beauty school!
When I was 18, my passion was makeup. It was my cousin, who did hair, who told me to go to beauty school. She said it would be better if I had a few things I could do instead of just one.
Once I got to beauty school, I realized it was all hair. Though I hated it at first, I found a passion for it. I actually fell in love with cutting first. The geometric shapes really clicked for me. It wasn’t till later I found a passion for color and balayage specifically.
Before I did hair I was on the road to competing in the Olympics. I was a competitive equestrian my whole life but when the 2008 economy crashed my expensive dream got a reality check. Then the cousin was in my ear about beauty school! Fast forward almost 10 years and here I am!
2. What advice do you wish you had when you were first starting out? / What’s one mistake that you see new stylists make all the time?
Oh, I wish someone would have convinced me to join and stay in a 1-2 year assisting program. The road would have been so much easier for me if someone helped mold my skills. There are so many things I have lacked over the years that has been very hard for me to figure out. I would say that is my one mistake. I absolutely love that I literally am my own creator, but man it would have saved me some headaches if I had a little more balance from the beginning!
3. If you could change one thing about your career’s trajectory, what would it be?
I honestly wouldn’t change anything at this time!
I have changed the course of my career over the past year into more education and team support. My dream one day would be to step away from doing hair so much behind the chair and just help other artists grow. I have a huge business mind and see so many stylists in our industry struggling in the behind-the-scenes work.
My goal is to help others not only up their technical skills, but to save effectively for retirement, stop living paycheck to paycheck, and how to build wealth. To me, wealth can be money or it can be life style.
4. What (if any) role does social media play in your business? Has the way that you use social media changed at all in the past few years?
Oh a huge part! I built my clientele in one year spending $0—all through instagram.
I moved to Austin from San Diego in 2017 with no clientele to my name. Went immediately into suite rental and kicked my butt to build a clientele. I had about 14k followers when I moved, and now I have almost 70k! My books boomed, and I grew out of my small single suite in 6 months. I now do not use my social to build a clientele.
My reputation builds for me, but I do use it to speak to and support the stylist. My social is geared towards stylists and building them up along with showing my classes that I offer.
5. Did you ever doubt or question whether or not you were cut out (no pun intended) for this business?
I would say in November of last year, yes. I had a few girls who worked for me expect me to give them the world when it would have really sacrificed my family life. They left in a super nasty way and it made me really question if I was meant for this. I slapped myself mentally and just choked it up to people not understanding what it really takes to run a business. I forgave and moved on for my sake and sanity. Here I am now, more passionate than ever!
6. How important do you think it is for stylists to conduct a guest consultation before performing any service? Why is it so important?
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER!
If you want to set yourself up for success, I suggest you throw everything into your consultation. You should be chatting with your guest a minimum of 30min before you even begin the service. 25% of clients will stay because they love their hair, 75% will stay because they loved the experience. Crazy numbers, but they are a fact.
The consultation is a time to really get to know your guests and show them that you have a genuine interest in what they do so you can give them the best hair and routine for their lifestyle.
7. Are there times that you forgo (or would forgo) a consultation?
No, not ever. Well…maybe if I get a big red flag from a guest. Then I would offer another stylist instead of myself, but I would never do a service without a consultation. New guest or return, it always needs to happen before the service starts.
8. What are the most important questions that stylists should ask their guests during the consultation?
Great question! Here are a few of my go-tos:
- Tell me about your lifestyle. Do you prefer to get up and go, or take some time to get ready?
- How often do you want to come into the salon for maintenance?
- How do you wear your hair normally?
- What kind of job do you have?
- Do you plan on using professional products at home to help maintain what I do today?
9. Do you have any tips for stylists who struggle in perfecting their sectioning?
Sectioning is child’s play. Stop stressing about it and just take a look at the head and how the hair lays. Now imagine the pieces of light coming through the hair where you want to see them. Now section the hair and paint it.
Really, an effective treatment is less about the sectioning, and more about the placement. I normally just have a 4 quadrant section and do smaller subsections as I go based on what I want to see in the hair. This takes time, but trial and error you will get it! Don’t get frustrated and just have fun!
Want more tips about foiling? Check out all of our Foiling Tutorials!