Saturday, 16 August 2014

Advice For Therapists: Hayley Winder's Story

Hi everyone, I am Hayley Winder.  I am 30 and have just opened my own salon with a hairdresser friend of mine.

I have been in the industry for 16 years.  When I was 14 I started my work experience at a local salon, this is where my journey began.  

I suppose officially my first experience was when I had my first gel nails applied, aged 13!! Whoops!!  Funnily enough I was never one to paint my nails or anything, that was my sister’s hobby.  I went straight to the false nail kits at boots!  If you’re going to do it, do it right eh?! 

During work experience I was shown how to wax and perform manicures, I was even allowed to do clients!  The salon owner then took me on to work during school holidays and Christmas where I gained more experience, then showed her my acrylic skills. God knows what they looked like back then, we didn’t take photos like we do now.  The clients were happy enough so this enabled me to get the practice in and learn the importance of client experience and education.

Originally I was actually supposed to go to Music College but decided to do a beauty course so that I always had a practical skill to fall back on.  At 16, after finishing school I started my 2 year BTEC national diploma applied science (beauty therapy) course. I loved it all and this is where my interest in new technologies within the industry grew.  Needless to say, I never went to music school afterall.  

A selection of my work

I was always keeping my eye on new brands and techniques and feel that this has been a big part of my survival within an ever changing environment. During my college days I always worked in salons which was the best thing I could have done as when I came to leave college, I was fully confident I could safely carry out a treatment and to a good standard. A lot of my college friends didn’t work during these 2 years in a salon and I know a lot of them gave up due to not having the experience and confidence which being ‘hands on’ provides.

My new salon, Pura Vida Hair and Beauty, Stockport

At 18, I became self employed as I was sick of working in salons where I was practically running the place and getting no benefits from it.  I rented a room in a hairdressers which was really successful. Apart from trying to provide the best possible service I could, I would leaflet drop, get clients to recommend me by offering a discount when a friend came in etc. The one negative from this time was over stretching my finances to ‘keep up’ with trends. I got a credit card to open an account with a well known tanning brand which cost £1000 with all the good intensions of paying ‘x’ amount back every week. I got stuck with this and was unable to swap to the 0% cards as I was self employed. So a lesson learnt, only buy what you can afford and buy the best possible products you can afford. You can upgrade as and when your business grows.

Karen has told me that she wants honest thoughts on my training so here goes...

Stockport College 
During the time I was there we received very thorough training and assessment.

In 2006 I attended the induction to liquid and powder,  purely so I could buy their products but really enjoyed the course.  The are really professional and thorough.  I then went on to the skill builder course to refine skills and again, really enjoyed it.

I spent alot of time there last year during an education program.  Whilst the course content was good, the tutor treated the students like children which I found unnecessary, this was only one out of a few I saw.  The one thing I would say is that they did make students go away to build a portfolio before issuing a certificate to make sure they practiced which I thought was good.

My new salon, Pura Vida Hair and Beauty, Stockport

I completed a 2 year certificate in education course, then became a lecturer at my local college.  I continued to do my clients from home, whilst teaching but stopped taking on new clients.  I left teaching when I had my daughter and when I was ready, I started back at home.  Once again pushed to build clients back up to a level worthy of opening my own salon.

In this new era of social media, I have a Facebook page which update with offers and pictures.  I also will get my friends to share my posts. I did email offers back in the day when emailing was popular and I could guarantee that every time I did this someone would book an appointment.  I still use email as not all clients use Facebook so it's important not to leave people out.  I did have a website years ago but personally found it didn’t get me any clients.

A selection of my work
You will have quieter times but use this time to put some offers together and attract new clients.  You will lose some for no reason at all, don’t get disheartened as this could be a number of things apart from you!  Remember for every one you lose, you will replace with someone new.
During the 16 years I’ve been in the industry, I have always continued to educate myself, attending courses to either learn new skills or refine existing skills.  I always tell clients if I am learning a new skill as they like that I keep up to date and appreciate my investment in myself and in the service I provide for them.
Right now we have nearly completed our first week in our new salon.  It has been great, the support we have received from clients, our family and friends and of course, Facebook groups!!!

My top tips for client retention/building a client base:
  • Be professional and friendly.
  • Provide a great service at a fair price
  • Continue to educate and refine your skills
  • Attend trade shows and always know your industry 
  • Only buy what you can afford
  • Advertise with Facebook, leaflets, friends, family and encourage them to recommend you (I give them £5 credit for every friend who has a treatment.) Email or text them, whatever you have access to - always keep in touch.
  • Never put down another tech's work.  You can say yes I see where the problem is, let’s see if we can fix it.
  • Keep work areas clean and sanitise tools, you'd be surprised what clients notice.
  • Stay positive when you have a tough client.  I used to have one who wanted a particular radio station and would comment if I had forgotten to put it on before she entered the room!
  • Try to remember what clients have told you, even if it’s only one detail.  This helps to build a relationship.
  • Leave personal problems at home.  As hard as it can be, no one wants to hear you moaning, they have come to be pampered.
Shellac Black Pool with Lecente Pink Champagne Glitter
I still have clients now that I met at when I was 18, back when I was first renting a room.  I now do their daughters nails/beauty treatments and this creates a whole new set of fresh clients. 

If you enjoy what you do this will show.  Practice practice practice, you will get there and don’t be afraid to ask for help and watch more experienced techs. Search You Tube for example, of course LiverpoolLashes etc can provide you with many hints and tips.

Good luck on your journey x

Here are my salon details - why not get in touch if you're local!

Thanks Hayley!  This post was written as part of a series to help new therapists.  To keep up to date on the latest posts, please follow my Facebook page 

More posts can be found directly under the banner in the 'Advice For New Therapists' tab including posts I've written specifically on building my client base, advertising and much more. 

1 comment:

  1. Love your top tips and the Blackpool and lecente pink champagne combo! Glad I read this piece, thanks x


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