Hairbrained Q&A with Jesse Gaines

At Hairbrained, our team knows that there’s nothing like the power of positive thinking to get you excited about reaching to achieve your goals. With that in mind, we want to know: “What inspires you?” Whether its time spent in the great outdoors, popular culture, fashion, music, or architecture – we want to hear from you; what drives you to go after your dreams?

This week, Hairbrained wants to shine the spotlight on one of our top members: Stylist, educator and owner of Moss Salon, Jesse Gaines of Eugene, Oregon. His long-standing status as a stylist can serve as an inspiration to craft hairdressers who are just starting their journey, and his ever-changing goals can help to remind even the most seasoned of stylists to resist stagnation. Keep reading to discover how Jesse has developed his brand, and how Hairbrained helps to keep him thriving.

Q. You’ve been working as a stylist since you were very young (18, wow!). How have your ideals and goals changed since that time?


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A. When I first started out as a stylist, I kept my goals pretty simple: I wanted to secure a position in a salon and fill my schedule with clients. But of course, as you travel through life, there’s a natural growth process that takes place. I can honestly say, I feel like I’ve hit every point, it’s been a very organic progression: I’ve worked as an apprentice, a commissioned stylist, and an independent contractor. Today, I own Moss Salon in Eugene, Oregon with a dear friend of mine. I like to think that I’m always growing, that I’m resisting stagnation.

As I became professionally stable, I began to feel the desire to give back to my craft hairdressing community (which I’ve developed a really deep love for). This love for my community has brought me to education. I feel like it’s the ultimate goal realized, educating the next generation, and offering them the proper tools for success.

So, I guess you can say that I’ve come a long way, as far as my professional goals and ideals are concerned. I like to think that, today, I’m looking out for the greater good.

Q. You’re a big believer in education, and work to develop your knowledge base through hands-on training and courses. What’s the most impactful class that you’ve taken, and why? 

A. Without a doubt, the most inspiring and career-shaping class that I’ve taken to date, was taught by ZGAT Academy, which I took at Federico Advanced in Sacramento, California. Mario Mesaric (Creative Director of ZGAT) and Ivana Spicer (Team Manager of ZGAT) absolutely blew me away. Their work is impeccable. So impeccable, that when you look at images of it, you wonder if human hands cut the hair, or if it was photo shopped into existence. But I assure you, watching Mario and Ivana work can be likened to a religious experience (and it’s 100% genuine).

The meticulous way that they comb, section, cut and blow-dry, exercising such extreme care and attention to detail – it’s truly impressive. Its challenged my way of thinking, and more importantly, it changed my behind the chair work. A year later, I still feel like the methodologies and ideologies I learned in the class are playing out in my day-to-day work.

Q. Each hairdresser has a personal style, something that sets their finished product apart from that of other stylists. What do you think that is for you?

A. Personally, I’m very drawn to short styles that have some flare, a point of distinction, if you will. I like to play around with disconnection, because I find it gives my clients a lot of versatility, plus it can make at-home styling more simple.

Q. What are you hoping your clients will gain from their time in your chair?

A. Above all, I want to give my clients a great experience. Making people feel good is an art form, and it can be tricky to do, especially with new clients. As soon as someone sits down, I start paying attention, I start gathering information; I really want to get to know them! If you watch closely, your client will give you cues as to what excites them, whether it’s a subtle smile or a general air of excitement. They’ll tell you what they want, even if they’re not using verbal cues. Ultimately, I’ve built my clientele by being a really good listener, because I realized a long time ago that everyone wants to feel like they’re understood.

I feel like a stellar haircut can set the world right, and I want each person who leaves my chair to feel positively charged, with a smile on their face. A happy client will give the best referral that you could ever ask for, and happy clients talk

Q. What inspires you? What keeps you motivated to grow and develop within your craft?

A. Just as my goals have evolved, what motivates me today is different from what motivated me in my youth. Today, I get my inspiration from being an educator. Helping my fellow stylists to put the right (figurative) tools in their bag – that’s a really powerful thing. Giving back is personally gratifying; it just feels good and right.  I get to travel, which keeps things interesting, plus I get to meet such a diverse sampling of people. If I could do only one thing for the rest of my life, and education was it, I would be more than happy; it would be a life well lived.  

On a day-to-day basis, I try to connect with my craft hairdressing community. Hairbrained’s unique approach to social media has really allowed me to deepen my community connections, and take my classroom relationships home with me. I’m so grateful for that. Whether I’m sharing images or ideas, I find that I’m equally engaged and inspired.

Q. If you had one piece of advice for stylists that are just starting out, what would it be?

A. From what I’ve observed in my time as a hairdresser, the stylists that ‘make it’ have one thing in common: perseverance. I have seen so many stylists that have crazy amounts of raw talent, but haven’t been able to hack it in the professional world (in many cases, it’s been because their personal life was out of order, so be sure to nurture that too). Stay true to the craft, take care of yourself, and keep showing up a little better each day – and sooner than later you will have a thriving business!  

Not a member of Hairbrained? Push your artistry to the next level by joining our like-minded community of craft hairdressers. Visit today, and download our fully mobile app, for a revolutionary social media experience.

About: Hairbrained is a community of hairdressers that share a deep passion and desire to celebrate the craft of hairdressing, online socially.The community was founded by two hairdressers, Randy Taylor, a photographer / hairdresser; and Gerard Scarpaci, a world-class educator/platform artist. Both have love for our industry; its people, and the craft of hairdressing. For more information visit