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Everybody needs somebody sometimes. No one with a successful career in the hair industry got to where they are today by being a one-man band.
We all need a little help and support from our industry friends sometimes. So how does one make said industry friends?
It's so easy in cosmetology school when we're learning together every day for the better part of a year. But what can we do once we've graduated and left the industry incubator? Here are some tips to help you:
Be the friend you want to have. It seems like the golden rule, but it's easy to get wrapped up in your own career and forget to reach down to pull up the next generation or even to provide real support, not just lip service. If you want to have real relationships with industry professionals, you have to be willing to share your experience, lend a helping hand, and teach your skills.
Be positive and uplifting, a real cheerleader and life coach at the ready, when a fellow professional needs a little spark thrown on their passion. And, super important, be an advocate for your pals. Promote their work, send them referrals, and speak even more highly of them behind their back than in front. When you hear of an open position or new opportunity, sell your hair best friends like you're their agent. Help, genuinely contribute to their success, and they will do the same for you. That's what a real industry relationship is all about — hair professionals supporting hair professionals.
Get out from behind your chair. Building relationships with the industry professionals within your salon is important, but it's not the end. There are bigger ideas and newer techniques to master beyond your salon. The way the professionals in your building do things is not the only way; get out and explore all this beautiful industry has to offer. Attend industry events to immerse yourself in hairstylist inspiration surrounded by passionate peers.
Make a point to attend in-person education for some real facetime with like minded professionals in an easy setting to begin building relationships. The professionals who go out of their way to attend IRL events are hungry for industry relationships — just like you. Reach out, say hello, and make the connection while it's right in front of you. Then follow up and keep in touch. At the very least, interact, share, and comment on industry social media pages. Check in with and support fellow professionals.
Create community among the hair professionals in your town. It's not as hard or daunting as you think. If there aren't industry events happening near you (even if there are but you want more regular connection and relationships with your peers) be the one that gets everyone together.
Hosting a simple gathering of hair professionals in your town has never been easier with Associated Hair Professionals (AHP) Roots. AHP Roots develops a new topic and talking points pertinent to hairstylists every month — things like customer service, marketing, retail, staying inspired, etc., with a resource book, discussion guide, and all the marketing materials you need to get the hairstylists in your town together for some real talk, real connection, and real community. These AHP Roots are happening in towns all across the US, creating real relationships between industry professionals and bringing our industry together.
Just as it can be a bit more difficult to make friends in a new town when you're no longer in high school, it can be slightly more challenging to make friends with fellow hairstylists once you're out of cosmetology school. But building relationships with industry professionals can still be super easy —we all want to be friends.
Simply be the friend you want to have, get out from behind your chair, and create or get involved with the community among the hair professionals in your town. Everybody needs somebody sometimes and your career will thank you for it.
AHP has taken all the work out of hosting a local gathering and would help you get one started in your town. If real talk, real connection, and real community among hairstylists sounds like something you want to be a part of, here's a good place to start: www.associatedhairprofessionals.com/roots