Bring Back The Beauty Shop Community

03/03/2021

I want you to imagine a different time in the hair world; One filled with community, support, and long-lasting friendships. There once was a time when a woman (or man) would find their stylist or barber for life. They would go to the salon every week either for a shampoo set or neck clean up and shave. Women planned their lives around that weekly blowout and not only was it expected at this time, but anticipated. Hairstylists would create this network of women who were their friends, confidants, and ultimately, support (both financially and emotionally).  There was a sense of community that went with this way of doing hair. It not only meant that we made them feel beautiful, but we were an integral part of their lives. 

Now imagine today’s world; Large salons have started to disappear, hairdressers work alone, and we spend more time getting people in and trying to make money to survive, rather than focusing on the best part of our career… the community. I am not saying that we don’t invest in our clients, because I think we do, but I also think in this time of our industry we have created a barrier between us and the client. We no longer fully invest ourselves in our clients, and nor do we feel the need. It’s quick services and even quicker chats. The client no longer takes off her shoes (rhetorically speaking) and leans into the conversation with their stylists. Our lives now move at a different pace, good and bad. 

We rely on social media to be our guide instead of doing what us hairdressers are gifted with – our ability to have a conversation and listen. As an educator, I am in a special situation because I see both sides. There is the hustling stylist trying to make ends meet by working 40+ hours a week, and then there are the clients. She anticipates her appointments, saves the money, and plans accordingly to get those 2 hours alone with the stylist. They not only love our craft and what we do to their hair, but they love us. They want to see us succeed. They cheer us on when we win and cry with us when we lose. They invest in us enough to try to learn about us, and we need to get back to doing the same. We have hustled for so long we have lost the reason people used to come back every week. To make them feel beautiful and to give that pick me up, knowing that we are a community and support them. 

I encourage a movement. One that invites clients into our lives to foster community. One that says I want to see you every week because I love you and am here as a friend and confidant. I can guarantee that if we invested in our clients the way they invest in us, we would not only have a different way to run our business, but an opportunity to thrive in this community.

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Whitney Parr

Residing in Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex, Whitney Parr has been a hairstylist for 11 years, 8 of which as an educator. Known for her color work with redheads and blondes, Parr is a Wella Design Team artist teaching all over the US and has worked for the Global Team in Geneva. When she is not working in her studio or teaching, Whitney spends time with her husband of 14 years and 3 children. She loves to read and do DIY renovations on her house.

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