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What constitutes a great hairdresser? Is it years of skill training under another great hairdresser? Along with the many hours of dedication and disipline so that every time they do some thing the out come is amazing? Or is how pretty they look on stage? And/ or behind the chair?

I know that this is a problem in every industry and it has been around for soo long that i am just beating a dead horse. But i feel like what we are seeing On stage and in our class rooms are the hairdressing versions of the New Kids on the block or nsync. You may have a few hooks but it is mostly just the cheesecake pop hooks that are playing. What ever happened to the Kurt Cobains or Bruce Springsteens that dont care what they look like but care about their message and their art?

I heard a story once that Paul Mitchell went on stage in the bathrobe from the hotel he was staying at, because he believed that it was not about what he looked like but what he did that mattered. I wonder if that bathrobe was BLACK? Like all if the uninspired uniforms that every manufacturer/ salon is telling us is our dress code. I mean come on there are meems about how all we ever wear is black. How much more beige can we be?
am not saying to dress like hell what i am saying is why and how does looks and dress effect what we can produce?

Also in a craft like ours that is 100% about our skills.. (NO NOT TALENT BUT SKILL. I dont Care what your parents or clients say you are not Talented. God gives talent and he is not going to say Poof your a great hairdresser... you learned your skill by learning under some body who is much older than you are) Why do we put sooooo much emphasis on youth? The job of the young is to learn their craft, the job of the older is to teach it!!! Why do we not respect our history, which is a rich history. Is it because we can go on YOUTUBE and watch 2:15 min of a haircut and we can pretend we got it???

All i am saying is in this business its not who i am that matters its what i do!!!

In closing Here is a quote from Justin Timberlake
" I just wanna tell you that I had enough.
It might sound crazy,
But it ain't no lie,
Baby, bye, bye, bye"

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"Also in a craft like ours that is 100% about our skills."

I think this is where the issues is. It's not 100% about our skills, it's very little about our skills. I mean, depending on where you want to go with hair...

I think of the hair industry a lot like the music industry. I am a very good guitar player (think Steve Vai) and I spent 10 years mad at the whole world because Blink 182 was selling tons of records with 3 chords and I don't think any of my bands have ever had a legitimate fan. But I could "meedly meedly" circles around that Blink guy... The people buying music don't care if you're a virtuoso, they care that the sounds you're making and the style your putting out there will fit or inspire their mood, and that can even be done with 2 chords. Connecting with listeners sells records. Being a shred head virtuoso solo masher, though, means you can teach guitar lessons to the guys who spent the money on the album, spent the money on the guitar, and will spend the money on you. It'll also get you props from other people who understand guitar (but it still won't help you sell records to anyone but them). The music industry and hair industry are not professional basketball, where ability, talent, and skill, are provable by stats, to show us who deserves to be paid more and watched more. To sell the records the music industry need to push the ones who connect on some level with the people who have the money to spend. This is hair, too. You see more "fluff" on stage than talent because the fluff and glamour sells brushes and tuition to beauty school, while only a small handful want to reach virtuoso status in hair (why would they? the industry doesn't favor them because it doesn't sell!). I blame American Idol, everyone wants attention, and to be a star for nothing, and I hate to say this, but I know like 10 barbers and hairdressers who are less than 5 years into the industry with dreams (that I'm watching come true) of being big time educators. Mastery is now unnecessary to make money in hair, or to gain popularity, as long as they look the part and talk the talk. "Sell some shears and brushes and I'll get you on main stage!"

Be the change, Ryan. I'm with you. 

In addition to what ADH expressed about the music industry and "fluff sell" stuff that passes for music,there is sadly a tragic educational crisis in the American classrooms across the board.The American educational system is in crisis, and our classrooms have fallen behind in producing innovative ,thinking ,disciplined citizens that can help America compete on a global scale. If you want to know more about this crisis,you can google "educational crisis in America" etc...
There are many reasons cited for our educational woes... some students say they were only taught to memorize information and pass a test. Not to think or analyze....or to work in a group setting to problem solve. Many teachers say they spend a large amount of their classroom time just trying to maintain order out of chaos because children aren't being taught at home how to behave and work together in a group setting.So inside this educational deficit of gaining real learning skills at school... you have a lot of young people getting a warped sense of what it really takes to get ahead in life. Then they graduate from high school, get a license,then they come to your salon for a job ... with all their bad learning habits in place.Of course not everyone is like this... but enough that we are always discussing it here in HB forums. As we all know it takes a lot more than memorizing rote info and passing a test,to really get ahead in life,and a lot of hard work to really hone your skills.
I suppose there will always be those individuals who get ahead by being fluffy and flashy... And the people who exploit them,and the people who like to follow them.Probably can't change that. But you can raise a standard above the fluff and noise... which is what I think the HB Teach-In's are all about... Education Without Promotion.
I think that those individuals here at HB who love our craft,and know the hard work and hours and personal discipline it takes to be really good,to be highly skilled... will make the change nessasary to rebuild a better educational process within our industry. Like most things you have to acknowledge that there is a problem... Then rally the folk that agree with you. Then get together to create solutions... Then roll up your shirt sleeves,dig in and build a better educational system.
Well said!
Just for fun... One Grand Master teaching another Grand Master... Shows your never too old,or grand and lofty to love the joy of getting better at what you love
(Hope this link works... It's Chuck Berry teaching Kieth Richards the song "Oh Carol")

Where are the Springsteens or the Cobains?  It's a great question.  I don't have an answer.  I just wanna be the Johnny Thunders of our industry.  Just leave a grease smear on the industry and have a few people think I was cool. ;) 

See you in May, buddy.

What I was expressing in my response is... at our foundation... Meaning in America... our educational system is failing our youth. When you are looking for answers to problems, and in this case ,why do people think they can acheive greatness or become accomplished at something in 5 minutes... You must go to the root... It starts at home... and then at school. Think about it.
While I agree with you on the lack of quality in the education department, I believe Andrew has once again hit the nail on the head. My contribution to this thread is why, rather than being reactive to this deep rooted issue, aren't we proactive. The golden days of honoring the history, culture and quality of our industry just isn't valued anymore. People don't care about the Beethoven's, Shostakovich's or hell, even the Paul McCartney's. It's the Biebers' and Beyoncé's that sell. I believe that we are largely responsible for this. We've allowed for this to happen by not changing with the demand. I don't see this as a bad thing. I see it as an opportunity to present something old and rich in a new way. Evolve or dissolve. Now I don't plan on compromising the quality of my education, but I'll always be searching for ways to keep it relevant because that's what will keep me competitive. Here are a few things I think more of us should do.

1. Keep this community strong. Hairbrained is strong, in vogue, values all the things our industry is lacking, and growing. Let's keep it that way.

2. Evolve. It won't help us to reflect on the good ol days of our industry. Times change and we have to learn to change with them. Yes the past is important but so is the future. I would even say more so. Because the future is what keeps us moving forward. Which brings me to my next point.

3. Go back to school. One thing I see a lot of within this community is a lot of school bashing. The conversation leans heavily on schools hurting our industry. But that won't change. So rather than complain get involved. Volunteer and guide these kids at a point in their career where they're easily influenced. We can complain all we want about their egos, and self entitlement but how many of you are working to change that?

4. More hair shows. I love everything everyone's been doing with teach ins and and guest spots In salons. It allows for people who may not have the access we do to be apart of the movement and conversation. We need to more of it.

I'm with you guys 100. Let's make some shit happen

There are no more Gate Keepers ! I  personally don't like all the BS that goes on at hair shows , but i respect the hustle .  Its up to each individual to create their own Tribe . 

I agree with a lot of what's said here.

But I also see a hair industry that is stuck in the past.

Many salons don't have good social media marketing or online booking systems (or have ones which are unwieldy and annoying to use). They don't profile their staff on their website properly or promote their work. They don't have a ton of before and after pics of clients. I see customers educating themselves about hairstyling via youtube, not their hairdresser. Customers are buying their hairdryers, brushes and tongs from any old brand or store, not the obvious place. Salon owners are still pushing stylists to sell products, instead of being happy for the stylist to build a relationship and trust with clients first (I sell far more since I worked at a place which doesn't set any product targets). Salons are still expecting people to turn up at the salon during opening times, instead of being flexible (having said that, I do not agree with working on Sundays and never will. That's the day for friends, family, loved ones).

This doesn't apply to many of the people on this forum but still. It's no wonder young people don't get it with the hair industry.

Great hairdressers are usually people who continually strive to improve the whole package. Better technique, wider repertoire, more knowledge, patience and understanding/love, better communication, presentation, customer service, personal management. 

I was just having some fun with my earlier answer.  But really, "What makes a great hairdresser?"  You could ask a thousand different stylists and get about as many answers.  I suspect everyone that is a member here either is a great one or on the path to becoming one (and really, do any of us ever really leave that path?  Probably not).

I just concern myself with myself and my tribe.  I try to keep relevant and growing.  Train my staff.  Train my students.  Get training for myself.  Some will get it and crave more.  Others will not.  However, that doesn't always dictate who is successful.  

I'm just grateful that I landed in this crazy industry.  My worst days are still pretty good days.

I do agree, for the most part but.... there is a certain degree of natural talent that can't be taught, it's the EYE, the ability to see what a persons hair could be. This combined with technical skill is a the recipe to become a good hairdresser. The Eye can't be taught but it can be developed by constant exposure to beauty, art, design and nature.

The EYE... I never hear anyone talk about developing the eye, it's refreshing. The first time I learned about the EYE was at a bumble course in New York. It changed me.


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