You’ve been married for 40 years. How many years have you been involved in the beauty business?
I’ve been a hairdresser sinceI was just 16 years old! Fast-forward 44 years and here I am today, still doing hair and loving every minute of it.
How did you become a hair-dresser?
People in our business dream about hair, do it from the very beginning of their work life, or they fall into the business. As for me, I fell into it because my mother was a hairdresser andI knew that if I worked for her,I wouldn’t get fired! At the beginning of my career,I wouldn’t have wanted to hire me. Then one day, I had a wake up call – it was more like some-body hitting me between the eyes with a two-by-four. I hada client who sat in my chair and said, “Chris, don’t cut my hair today because I’m going to Montreal to get a good haircut.” That was when I had to decide to either quit or go on to find out what that good haircut was all about. So, I’ve been pursuing it ever since. Along the way, my quest got me hooked on educa-tion. I don’t care whether you’re a hairdresser or a nuclear physi-cist, the more you understand, the more you know and the more successful you become.As much as I hated that woman at the time, she really made me who I am today.
Do you have a secret for suc-cess that others might imitate?
I believe that the biggest differ-ence between people who are successful at what they do and those who are trying to be suc-cessful, is practice. I always laugh because doctors call their businesses practices, but I don’t really want a doctor practicing on me. And that’s what I say to hairdressers: “You shouldn’t be practicing on your clients; you should practice on your own time.” Eric Clapton would never go on stage and make up a song. He’d always know which songs he would be doing beforehand and he would know them per-fectly. Stylists shouldn’t be any different. You practice your skill-set until you get good, then bet-ter and, and if you’re reallytalented, become the best.
What is one of the greatest things about Redken entering the Russian market?
Redken is not only instrumental in building life and hairdressing skills, our company is alsodedicated to improvingbusiness skills. Part of the latter is helping hairdressers under-stand how to make a betterliving at what they do, hence live a better life.
Let’s talk about business for moment. How do you tie busi-ness to a creative career like hairdressing?
Hairdressers start off as very creative people who approach their careers from an artistic aspect. This creates a bit ofa catch-22—a no-win situation— because a salon has to be treat-ed like a business, whether you’re a stylist or a salon owner. In order to have a good busi-ness, you have to be able to make decisions that take into account the financial aspect too. Here’s an analogy: The business that you’re in is like a jouey, so imagine that you’re going to see the pyramids in Egypt and you’re with 10 or 15 people, and have a camel and some water. In order to get to the pyramids, everybody has to take tusriding the camel and drinking the water, including the camel.(The camel is the salon; the water is the money; the people are the team.)
Unfortunately, unless stylists are also business owners, they don’t always understand that the salon also has to drink the water along with everyone else. And to get to their destination—in this case the pyramids — they must walk together as a team. This means that they some-times have to do things that they don’t want to do—like walk as opposed to ride the camel or wait until it’s their tu to drink the water. When all team mem-bers understand and accept their roles in this jouey, then everyone has a much better chance of reaching the pyra-mids or, in reality, having a suc-cessful salon career.
You are the Global Artistic Director of Design for Redken and also represent the com-pany’s academy program. What makes your presenta-tions so special?
First off, we believe that the only way to touch people’s lives is to be genuine, because peo-ple see fake right away. Secondly, we know that stylists want to be involved when they attend our classes and lea while being entertained at our shows. Why entertainment? It’s part of the leaing process and helps people to retain the infor-mation. This is why everything we offer—which ranges from pure education to pure show—includes interactivity or enter-tainment, and sometimes both.
You once said that you have failed your way to success. How so?
Well, here’s an example: After having won some major competi-tions, a company came to me and said, “Do you want to doa show?” My head swelled to mammoth proportions! But, because I had no stage skills,15 minutes into the show we went from playing to a packed house to half of a crowd. By 30 minutes, we were down to about 20 people. By the three-quarter mark, we had one person left. She was still there because she had just woken up! I think that she stayed until the end because she was too embarrassed to leave. After that experience, most peo-ple would be considered masoch-istic if they wanted to do it again! But instead of calling it quits,I leaed from my mistake, sought out the education thatI needed to become a much bet-ter stage artist and carried on with my career.
At the exchange, we teach peo-ple how to be stage artists. When I talk to hairdressers who want to do platform artistry,I tell them that the first thing they must lea to do is cele-brate everything — their wins in life and their mistakes. So, when I say you fail your way to the top, you have to be willing to make mistakes; that’s the way you lea and get better at whatever you do.
Being ultimately successful involves much more than just being an accomplished hair-dresser or stage artist; it takes a strong belief in who you are as a person. People always have a little voice that says, “You can’t do that.”
I have a voice that talks to me;I call him Christopher. He’s six years old and has glasses with tape in the middle. I tell him to “shut up” all the time. I have several coaches from Sales Partners that I work with to keep my little Christopher quiet. All of their information is on Salespartners.com.
It sounds like the company is all about sales and, in reality,it is. Why? Because life is sales, whether you’re selling an idea,a product or yourself. You can’t be successful in any of these endeavors unless you first believe in yourself.