I think everyone aspires to have a career that they love and look forward to going into work each day.
When passion and talent come together, it’s a beautiful thing.
Here is my interview with Bruce Saikaley, he knew he wanted to be a hair stylist at a young age and is still loving every minute of it.
Co-owner + Artistic Director
Silver Scissors Salon
Co-Owner | Water Salon & Spa
What drew you to pursue a career in the beauty industry and where did you do your training?
I knew at a young age that I wanted to become a stylist. Every time I went into a salon with my mom on Saturdays while she got her hair done, I loved the energy and excitement that went on. Everyone looked stylish and glamorous and I loved watching the transformation.
Then I started getting my hair cut from my cousin Eli who gave me guidance on becoming a stylist. When I was 18 I did my training at Marvel Beauty school in Ottawa and advanced training in Toronto before I started behind the chair.
Early on in your career did you have a mentor?
Yes, my cousin Eli and business partner whom I’m still working side by side till this day. He guided me with his skills knowledge and expertise in running a salon and behind the chair.
When did you know you were ready to make the move from stylist to salon owner?
Right away! I’m a hard worker dedicated, passionate and love doing hair, and knew I wanted to become a salon owner but I also enjoy the business side of the industry.
I love my job!
I think some new stylists tend to get caught up in the glamour of the beauty industry. This is the double edge sword of Instagram. Success in real life and success on Instagram can be two different things. Although social media can help stylist gain exposure, having the techniques, people skills and the ability to work quickly and efficiently is what really drives success.
What advice do you have for people coming into this industry?
There are no overnight successes.
It’s a competitive industry – it takes years to build a clientele and establish a brand. You need to work hard, start early and stay late, don’t refuse clients, skip breaks and lunch, give clients your full attention and focus. Really listen to what they’re saying, give them an experience that’ll make them want to come back.
Perfect your craft.
Stay on top of the latest trends, go to as many hair shows and courses as you can – now courses can be taken online from the comfort of your own home.
Post your work on Instagram so you can gain exposure.
But most importantly…
Love what you do and you will be successful.
You are an industry veteran, what have been some of the best and worst hair trends you’ve seen?
Some of the best hair is what’s in right now: balayage, root melt, pastel colors, bobs and lobs.
Some of the worst…
At the time I’m sure they looked great but when we look back the eighties signature “mall” hair with the teased bangs with enough ice mist hairspray to withstand a wind storm, spiral perms, crimped hair, mullets – which by the way is making a comeback.
What is the biggest issue being faced by the beauty industry?
The beauty industry is always growing, there is a lot of competition out there.
But don’t worry about your competition.
Competition is good, it makes you work harder.
Focus on what is going on in your salon. Post your work on social media but keep in mind, in the end, word of mouth is always king.
I strongly believe that salon owners who don’t have a partner are at a huge disadvantage. I think it’s important to have someone else with a long term vested interest – to share the burdens of running a salon. Do you think that having a family run salon, played a role in Silver Scissors success?
It’s important that when you’re not around that there is someone there that you can count on, someone you trust and has your back.
Having a family partner works well with us because we know how to work with each other. We understand each other – have the same mentality and work ethic.
We started from a young age working together in the family restaurant. We learned how to work hard, stay late, deal with customers and give the best service possible – never refusing customers. This is still what we do today.
What is the best thing about being a hair stylist and going into work everyday?
Seeing my clients leave my chair happy and smiling.
Clients come in sometimes in a bad mood because of work or personal problems, and for a short time while they’re in my chair I turn it around and make them forget their problems. Sometimes it’s not only about the hair, it’s about being taken care of and someone listening to you.
Also seeing my talented team working together makes me happy. A good team is the key to success.
You still go to a lot of industry events and workshops, how important is networking and continuing education in this profession?
Never stop learning!
I’ve traveled to many exciting places in my career and still continue doing so. Hair shows, hair courses and events are very important to keep you inspired and passionate for your craft. Before we had our son and daughter who are teens now, I traveled for courses with my wife Danya, who is also a hair stylist.
Meeting stylists from around the world is inspiring – talking and sharing with them, hearing their stories and experiences.
Keeping up with the latest trends so you can give your clients the best and latest style for their lifestyle.
Networking helps to expand your business and find new clients – being involved in the community, volunteering with charities, social media.
Working with people every day, what are some of the most important lessons you have learned from behind the chair?
When you’re with a client you make sure you’re focused – give full attention and listen. It’s all about your client, making them feel important, giving them excellent service so they can enjoy the experience.
Never talk about yourself and what a bad day you had, they’re not paying you to hear about your problems, it’s their time to feel and look great.