When you lose your compassion for those in need, when you cast aside your capacity to care, when you ignore the plight of your fellow man, then the qualities that once allowed you to rise above and the virtues that once made you human are gone.― F. Paquette
For the most part I truly believe that people have compassion for others. Although when I watch the news or read comments on social media, it’s a little disheartening sometimes.
With the good comes the bad.
When it comes to the relationship between Hairdressers and their guests, there are two types: those who represent why they chose their profession and the few that cause them angst.
I was inspired to write this post on my blog after I read this:
@xo.farhana.balayage A draft to serve as a gentle reminder that ✨ kindness is always the move. ✨ Swipe and and lmk which client you would rather accommodate in your already booked and busy schedule.
To the stylists and salons who deal with messages like this on the daily – I know your professional, patient, “people-first” attitude is constantly being tested but remember, there are 100x more of the sweet, understanding type of clients who feel so lucky just to sit in your chair, who realize we are doing our absolute best to take care of them, and who remind us why we love what we do, so damn much. Let’s make more room for those type of clients and consider releasing the ones that cause us angst. You feel me? ⚡️
Farhana Premji is a Hair Stylist and the owner of The Beige Label Salon in Calgary, Alberta.
It saddens me when I read comments like this – especially considering how challenging the last year has been for Beauty Professionals across Canada.
The Ontario beauty industry has been decimated.
Some Hairdressers in Ontario have been unable to work since November 2020. That is insane, considering that human interaction is at the foundation of their profession.
It’s an eerie feeling when all the noise around you stops suddenly.
Although I think the overwhelming majority of guests will be overjoyed by the fact that they will be able to see their Hairdresser again, there will be a few who will be demanding and inconsiderate.
So next month as hair salons reopen, please keep the following in mind.
But all we want is the
right to safely work and earn money like
I have worked SIX weeks this entire year.
Some of my friends TWO weeks.
And some of them NO WEEKS AT ALL
THIS YEAR. Let that sink in or put
yourself in our shoes…
So I repeat – put YOURSELF in THEIR shoes. Imagine their frustration.
(1) Knowing that you have the ability to keep yourself, your staff and clients safe but are unable to work – make a living. (2) Knowing that other professionals, who also work in close proximity to guests/patients, have been able to work throughout the last lockdown.
During lockdowns retail stores could offer curbside pickup; restaurants – takeout. For salons however, the majority of revenue comes from one-on-one services. Retail sales (hair products, tools and color kits) only represents a small fraction of their business.
I don’t want to get into the politics, because I believe there are many people outside and within the beauty industry that have failed Hairdressers and salons.
I have spoken to many Hairdressers and they have expressed having feelings of anxiety, depression and uncertainty of what the future holds.
It’s like being invisible. And that is a paralyzing feeling.
When salons reopen in Ontario in Stage 2, depending on the region, they will be rescheduling and/or booking appointments for hundreds of clients all at once – after being closed from upwards of 7 months.
This will be a huge undertaking – contacting clients, ordering products, scheduling appointments while taking into consideration all the Covid-19 safety measures in place.
Also, you know how hard Mondays are – getting into the groove again after two days off. Imagine how it would be after months of not working.
If you have not been affected financially by the pandemic and have the means to do so, please consider being generous with gratuities.
Also, skip Amazon, drug and big box stores and choose to purchase your hair products and tools from your salon.
I have always held the hairdressing profession in the highest regard. My Mother took pride in her craft and would not let anyone put it down.
She taught me that to be a Hair Professional takes a combination of knowledge, skill, passion and an innate ability to communicate with people.
Thinking of all the other Hairdressers I know – aunts, uncles, cousins, friends – there is something that connects them all.
They are unique – they standout from a crowd – people are naturally drawn to them. But I think Nobel Prize Winner, John Steinbeck said it best:
It is my considered opinion that the hairdresser is the most influential person in any community. When the public goes to a hairdresser, something happens to them. They feel safe, they relax. The hairdresser knows what their skin is like under the makeup, they know their age, they don’t have to keep up any kind of pretense. People tell a hairdresser things they wouldn’t dare confess to a priest and they are open about matters they’d try to conceal from a doctor. When people place their secret lives in the hairdresser’s hands, the hairdresser gains an authority few other people attain. I have heard hairdressers quoted with complete conviction on art, literature, politics, economics, child care and morals. I tell you that a clever, thoughtful, ambitious hairdresser wields a power beyond comprehension of most people.John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
When salons reopen in Ontario, follow all the safety protocols, be on time, don’t cancel or no-show for appointments and don’t ask for discounts on services.
Sometimes hashtags are used to rally support for a cause or movement, other times they are just a social media trend and don’t always ring true.
Throughout the pandemic, we have not been in this together.
There are people that have worked tirelessly on the frontlines, some have worked from home or cottages, and some haven’t been able to work at all for months at a time.
Certain industries have flourished, while others have been absolutely decimated.
Some people have profited, while others have lost thousands of dollars, businesses they built from the ground up and their livelihood.
Some people were protected, some were left vulnerable while others were forgotten.
We have to abandoned this utopian way of thinking – where we all have the same opportunities and experiences in life – because we don’t.
Please remember that.