Bridal Hair As A Career

I worked with another amazing stylist yesterday. Like so many of my students, she is determined, creative and hardworking. She is also a mum.

She opted for a career change after having babies and has decided that the hair & make up industry works for her. She has been a bridal hair and make up artist for a while now, but like many of us is struggling to grow her business alongside her young children. Her confidence has taken a pounding and she feels that her ‘go to’ styles are starting to look a little dated. She’s got the skills in her locker, she just needs some help getting the door open..

We discussed what she wanted to achieve and I created a bespoke lesson to get here there. I gave her ways to cut her times, simple techniques to update styles, tips on breaking down hair photos so that they can be recreated, the confidence to use them and ultimately to grow her business in the time she has.

More and more women are either starting or growing their businesses as their families grow and their needs change. I started both of mine just before and after I had each child – I want to say something cool and heroic here like; I started my business to show my kids that they can be anything, and what the power of hard work can do. But I didn’t. I just always knew it would be this way –  I’ve been bought up as a ‘Y’ generation kid, to believe that I can achieve anything if I work for it. I have that thing in me that wants to be good at what I do, but on my own terms.

Although weirdly, following on from that sentence..My biggest failing is confidence and sadly sometimes a lack of knowledge. I often feel like I don’t know enough about something business related, to know if I’m making the right decision and feel I can’t retain the required information. This can leave me feeling frustrated and like I’m not ‘adulting’ properly **Everyone else seems so ‘on it’ right?  

**I have since learned that this is quite normal!

I always knew I wanted to work with hair and to be creative in any way I could. My dad always told me if I was going to be a hairdresser, I must not just work in a salon, I must own it. To DREAM BIG, travel the world, work on a cruise ship ( The height of sophistication in the 80’s dad, I’m sure! Erm..No thank you )  ‘Anything, just don’t get stuck working for someone else’.. He’ll deny it, if he reads this. But I remember it so clearly!

 I also remember my mum once saying ‘’ A ship is safe in the harbour Jo, but that’s not what it was built for’’  Hmm..I wonder where I got my ambition from!?

So many of my peers did what they thought was the right thing, and it was at the time. They did  well at school, they went to uni, got great jobs and did what they were meant to do ..They probably laughed at my decision to go to beauty school. (Where ironically, I did drop out!) But I quickly picked up hairdressing and am still loving the industry nearly 20 years later (gulp!)

But when they started their families, priorities changed. Mum’s don’t want to work in the city any more, or travel, never seeing their babies, getting in after 7 and dreading the summer holidays (6 weeks of chilcare!!??)  Their life/work balance goes to pot. The pension and benefits promised don’t matter any more. They want to spend time with their families, do something for themselves, they want MORE And why not?

So what do they do?..

For the majority of us there are 3 options here…

1)      Carry on and be bloody miserable but probably better off financially (the Great British way)

2)      Get a job doing something /anything that works with your childcare but probably won’t give you much job satisfaction or even touch on those talents you have been harbouring

3)      Or start your own business. 

*Insert panic + career change + creative course + possible lack of confidence & self doubt followed by feelings of freedom and joy*

My point is, I knew from an early age that I wanted to work for me. I just didn’t always know how to do it, but many women make this decision later in life or post bubba. There has been a huge increase in number of mums working on self-employed or freelance basis of nearly 30% in the last 2 years alone. Mums are choosing flexibility over traditional jobs, coz we’re clever like that.

This matters to me, because I see it all the time in so many of my students, many of whom are looking to grow their business as their children grow, but mainly because I have a daughter about to take her GCSE options.. The same little girl that came with me to work, patiently waited as I grew my business and now wants to be a part of it (as well as a surf instructor, photographer and a ton of other cool things)

Obviously, I realise I’m doing the future generation of budding bridal stylists out of a inspiring and creative hair course with me here, but..  I strongly feel that girls of school age should be taught about what happens when they have families – Business studies should be compulsory, or at least explained what the benefits of these tools may mean when they hit their 20’s or 30s and their lives change if they want to start a family.

Aghhh  I fear this is coming across a bit ‘Little Women’!! I don’t mean to sound sexist and to be fair; I live in a house where everything is split down the middle and if anything, my husband does more than his fair share when it comes to our children. But that’s our choice and because I am self employed / work addict!

It’s that old proverb of giving a man a fish for tea or giving him a fishing rod and teaching him to find his own food and feed his family forever  –  Let’s teach our girls to be self-sufficient, confident and clued up enough to create their own jobs that fit in with their families if they want to. They may not? But it’s a nice choice to have, don’t you agree?

And as for choosing beauty industry as a career? Listen up.. When I trained to be a teacher, waaaay after I had set up Lovehair, my tutor was giving examples of ‘student types’ and what makes particular students choose particular courses and he said, and I quote:

 ‘’…And then you get the hairdressers and beauticians, who do the course because they’re not clever enough to think of anything else. .‘‘

 He actually said that. Well, you can imagine how I felt!  I almost spat out my double mocha chocca latte. What a Moron! – I probably earned 3 x more than him and worked half the time. Douche! Makes my stomach flip even now, but this is the kind of crap we have to listen to!  We can’t possibly be clued up if we chose the beauty industry!? Just wow..

If I hadn’t been bought up to think ‘I COULD AND I SHOULD’ , I can see that comments like that would knock a girls confidence and make them potentially, think again about this as a career. After all, this was a ‘real’ adult speaking! 

Being a hair stylist or make up artist isn’t a job you choose because you didn’t do too well at school..If you are thinking about a career as stylist or your son or daughter is interested, don’t dismiss it as fanciful, there are not many jobs that bring equal amounts of joy, freedom, money and creativity.

10 Great reasons to train as a bridal hair stylist

  • It’s one of the highest paid jobs in the hair industry -You can earn a full time wage in part time hours
  • You will be fiished by 3 latest, on a Saturday rather than 6 in a salon!
  • It constantly changes and no 2 days are the same
  • You can be creative and work with creative/inspiring people every day
  • You have the opportunity to travel
  • You can work around your children, if you have them and still make it to the school nativity
  • Your hair & nails are tax deductible *ahem..* Not a reason to change career but good to know 😉
  • The wedding industry is MASSIVE and ain’t going anywhere, so the opportunity for growth is limitless
  • Trends and styles are constantly changing and so does your work so it’s never boring
  • The space for personal development, education and growth is endless and perfect for ambitious creatives

Don’t let someone tell you it’s not a career. It’s one of the best careers there are! AND it can be enjoyed alongside your family and life. Erm yeah – #nailedit

I run a range of courses from working with absolute beginners who are looking for a step into the bridal hair industry, to confidence building, skill fillers and creative workshops for all of the people mentioned above and more. You don’t have to be a mum, or even female! Just passionate/creative and willing to learn.  So if you need a creative fix, a confidence boost or just to be told you rock, give me a shout. I won’t be a douche I promise!

Peace love and badass babes

Jo x


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