Climbing to the top can be grueling – but it can begin with something as simple as landing the right job. Or, as Hairbrained ‘Top Member,’ Aaron Lacy, would say: your dream job. But how exactly does a stylist go about getting the position of their dreams?
First and foremost, it takes hard work - but hard work is only half the battle. To take your place in the ‘perfect,’ salon space, you have to know what you’re looking for, what you’re trying to achieve – and where you want your career to take you.
Read on to discover how veteran stylist, Aaron Lacy, became driven to find a position that fit him, perfectly – and take the first step towards achieving a long, and satisfying career as a craft hairdresser.
Q. You’ve been a craft hairdresser for over a decade. At what salon did you get your start – and how did it shape your career?
A. When I was fresh out of cosmetology school, I began assisting at Dearinger, in La Jolla, Ca. Because I had known the owner, Mark Dearinger, for quite some time, I put a lot of trust in him. I felt confident that he would guide me, personally and professionally, in the right direction.
I can honestly say that my education was top-notch from the very beginning. The salon definitely set the bar high – it was necessary to master certain skill sets, right away. I started with blow-dry classes, and continued these for 3 months before I ever picked up a pair of scissors. Mark is a perfectionist when it comes to educating his assistants.
I feel really fortunate to have gotten such a fundamental, precision-based start in my career. I know that it has shaped me, and it’s given me a discipline that I might not otherwise have.
Q. When did you first realize that you were ready for the ‘next phase’ of your career?
A. In September 2015, I took the ‘Salon Creative’ course at the Sassoon Academy in London. I’m a huge believer in education, and for some reason, it felt really important for me to travel to the hairdressing ‘mecca’, where it all began with Vidal Sassoon. My educators for the week, Kristof Pacura and Daniel McCourt, have a gift for working with hair; the entire experience was truly inspirational, and fundamentally life changing.
That week of education ignited a spark inside of me, and I found myself wanting to grow, artistically. I returned back to San Diego with a fresh set of looks and a shift in perspective.
Q. How did you first learn about theFactory, and at what point did you realize that it was your ‘dream job?’
A. Though I’m a San Diego resident, I wasn’t aware of theFactory and their stellar work. Ironically, I didn’t learn about their team, until I saw them presenting on-stage at IBS New York. I was really blown away – and totally inspired – by their on-point aesthetic and precision based cutting.
So much so, that I felt motivated to reevaluate the focus of my career. All of the sudden, I felt driven to elevate my craft, to take my hair cutting techniques to the next level. Also, I felt like I shared the vision of theFactory team: keeping education in the forefront. Ultimately, the teams talent, focus and education driven culture made it evident, that theFactory would be the perfect place to cultivate my career.
Q. Ultimately, how did you get your job at theFactory? What was the process like?
A. I started by sending in my resume, which I followed up with phone calls. Eventually, I was able to get a meeting with theFactory salon owners, DJ Muldoon, and his father Michol. From the start, it just felt right to me. I was all geared up for a heavy interview filled with stereotypical questions, but DJ kept it casual, which I thought was really refreshing. By the end of the first meeting, we set up a second meeting; DJ wanted to go over my business and career goals.
One thing I took note of, was that the stylists at theFactory are a tight knit group – they have a really impressive culture. Because I wanted to make absolutely certain that this would be a good long-term fit for me, I requested a working interview (which I recommend every stylist do before they take a position). During the working interview, I spent the day cutting hair alongside DJ and his team. For this portion of the interview, I chose seven models, each with a different contemporary look (some of which are pictured, here). I was so preoccupied with making a good impression that I felt really jittery and nervous, but the entire team at the factory worked to put me at ease, and made me feel right at home. Luckily, the day went off without a hitch. I was really happy with my work – and most importantly – my models loved their cuts.
Then, the definitive moment: Before I started to cut my final model, Michol officially offered me a position at theFactory, which I of course, happily and humbly accepted.
Q. If you could give young stylists one, career-shaping tip, what would it be?
A. Work hard and never stop learning. Find a mentor whose vision aligns with your own, and work closely with them. Take responsibility for your career, and if you need an extra boost, don’t be afraid to make a change. To achieve your goals, you have to know what your goals are. Keep track of them by writing them down – and never loose sight of your ‘end game,’ your ultimate vision.
Q. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
A. I’m pretty excited about where I am today: working alongside a great team, with a strong culture, inspiring others to strengthen and elevate their craft. Above all, I believe in giving back to the hairdressing community, so eventually, I’d like to take on the role of educator. I feel really fortunate because, at theFactory, the door is wide open for me to explore my full potential.
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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 www.hairbrained.me.