In anticipation of our upcoming Master Classes, we are 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 Jacob Khan (@jacobkhan), owner of Jacob K Hair, who walks us through his career and dishes tips that you can use to better connect color and cut.
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?
When I was a teenager, I was in the punk/hardcore music scene in my town and everyone wanted fun hair, but no one had any money (haha) so I kind of became the resident haircutter for a group of my friends.
I started hair school when I was 18. I thought I wanted to be a stand up comedian when I started school, but after getting into doing hair more seriously, I really started to love it! It became my life focus, and has remained my first and only career.
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?
Before I started school, I didn’t realize that hairdressers had to find their own clients. I thought the salon just had clients and you came in and took whoever came in. I guess some salons are walk-in only, but I didn’t know how much effort would go into building a book. Luckily, I learned that fact Week One of hair school (haha).
I think most new stylists want to run before they walk, and it gets them into trouble. I know that it did for me. I thought I was the shit, and if I had been more realistic about how much I needed to grow, I could have grown a lot faster. I see that happening all the time.
3. If you could change one thing about your career’s trajectory, what would it be?
I would become the supreme overlord of all cosmetology. Ruling with a ruthless, yet righteous iron fist…
But in all seriousness, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love my career. I love where it is, and I am excited to see how far my team and I can take it!
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?
Social media of course plays a large role in the promotion of my business. People use social media the same way they use Google: It’s the first place we look for recommendations on all kinds of services, food, fun—everything!
If you want to stand out on social, you have to really step it up. I am always thinking of new ideas to make more interesting and effective content for my followers.
5. Did you ever doubt or question whether or not you were cut out (no pun intended) for this business?
No, not really. I don’t think it's difficult to be “cut out” for our industry. No more difficult than it is to be cut out for (and successful) in any industry. It takes focus and hard work.
I have seen all ranges of personality types and people become successful with hair. As long as you are motivated and put in the effort, this industry can be a great path for anyone!
6. What is an area of focus, and why is creating one so important?
When I talk about an “area of focus” I am referring to using the shape and lines in a haircut to direct the attention to (or away from) a feature of your client.
If you’re just cutting and not thinking about why you’re cutting, and what you are trying to do with the haircut, you are missing a big part of the craft!
7. Stylists (and guests) don’t always think about making sure that their cut and coloring/lightening treatments are complementary to each other. Can you speak to the importance of this?
Cut and color working together is obviously important. You can have a great cut, and ruin it with the wrong color. Or vice versa. Nobody can pay attention to their beautiful tone and blend if their bangs are jacked up.
8. A lot of stylists either just cut hair or just color/lighten. Is there anything wrong with this? Do you have any advice for a colorist who wants to try her hand at cutting, or vice versa?
I don’t think that there is anything wrong with departmentalizing. For most of my career, I’ve done both, but I worked in a salon for four years where I only cut and styled hair. Some of the most influential companies and hairdressers of all time were departmentalized.
If you want to cut and you only color, or vice versa, I’d say just got for it! I have learned most of what I know through trial and error.
9. You like to speak about the “importance of presentation” Can you elaborate on what this means and why it’s so important?
When I say “ the importance of presentation” I’m talking about the way we present ourselves, the execution of our craft during our client services. The difference between a $20 cut and $100 cut can be something as simple has how you pick up a section, or how you comb a client’s hair.