#Blessed: How Instagram Changed My Life

Whitney Vermeer uses Instagram to champion the greater good and showcase her work

What was life before Instagram? The picture-centric platform was practically tailor-made for beauty-industry creatives. Here, seven stylists share their Instagram stories.

Constance Robbins
Hair colorist and Matrix Artist

Instagram has honestly changed my career almost 180 degrees. I realized that just because I didn’t have the connections to do photo shoots didn’t mean industry magazines wouldn’t notice me. I turned my everyday services in the salon into photo shoots and used Instagram to get my work out into the world.

Before Instagram I was a busy stylist and educator for Matrix, but now my clientele is custom-catered to the exact type of hair I love to do, so I’m inspired every day I’m in the salon. I’ve also tripled my prices. Effective social media is all about storytelling. As long as you stay unique to what you believe in and know why you believe it, like-minded people will seek you out.

Detra Smith
Hot Tools Artistic Director and Matrix Artistic Educator

I became more serious about social media two years ago, embracing it as a way to interact with clients and other stylists, and to showcase work that makes me proud. When new guests started booking appointments and asking for the looks they saw on my Facebook and Instagram, I felt excited and recharged! I started intentionally posting more pictures and learned to use hashtags to my advantage. After the first year, my income grew by 25 percent.

With social media, I’ve been able to attract the kind of work I want to do in my salon. I use my influence to nurture and encourage other women. And as an educator, I have been able to share formulas and techniques with other stylists.

Gina Devine
Hairpainter and Redken #RTeam member

Almost three years ago when I graduated art school, I needed to make a living, and fast. I had left the beauty industry, but thought I would take clients to get back on my feet. I started using Instagram simply to gain clientele, and to document my work publicly—my schedule filled up in less than six months with a ton of new faces who all found me through Instagram.

I’ve always shared not only my work, but also my process and mindset. I noticed I was affecting my followers when people started asking a ton of questions about the way I worked and how I was accomplishing what I was accomplishing. I simply responded and gave as much information as possible. Work, create, and share to the best of your abilities with good intention. Be open, raw, and honest. You will be surprised how much better your experience on social media will be.

Josh Velazquez
Barber and Baxter of California Global Educator

I embraced social media around 2010 or 2011, when Instagram first came out and was only for iPhone users. I got caught up in how simple the layout was, with super cool filters—just post a picture with a caption and you can speak to so many. Even though I’m a professional barber, not every post is about hair or men’s grooming. I say my feed is a men’s lifestyle page—I love denim, boots, leather goods, coffee, tattoos, etc. Most of my content is about love, inspiration, hard work, looking good and feeling good. If you’re not living what you’re posting, it’s a waste of time. Be authentic and don’t limit your creativity.

Whitney Vermeer
Baxter of California National Educator and Hattori Hanzo Platform Artist

At first, I posted solely professional images of my work, but I noticed that I wasn’t increasing the number of Instagram followers by much. After some consideration, I decided to start incorporating more of my day-to-day life
and slowly my following began to grow.

I believe that everyone has a voice and yet I also understand that our voice is only as loud as those who are listening. As a member of the LGBT community, a woman who is a business owner in a male-dominated profession, and someone who strongly believes in equal rights for everyone—including both animals and people—I try to use my account as a positive influence for the greater good.

Shelley Gregory
Colorist and stylist

I first embraced social media in 2011, when I realized I could use it to market to people who wouldn’t normally see my work, and it was free to do in my off time. When people would tag their friends and comment with how they felt, I realized I could make others happy through the hair—and career—that made me happy.

Social media has not only changed my career, it has changed my life. It has brought the whole beauty industry, and the entire world, to my fingertips, which has led me to working with people and companies I have admired for years. My best advice is to be consistent; post the kind of content you would stop to stare at; and remember that whatever you put out there, even if you delete it, never goes away, so be positive and professional.

Jason Backe
CEO, Master Colorist for Ted Gibson Beauty and L’Oréal Professionnel Brand Ambassador

I embraced social media immediately. After Facebook, I became a Twitter junkie. When Instagram popped up, I became obsessed. Once I tweeted that I was so excited to be using #lorealpro for a #pantene commercial—the advertising agency immediately pulled the girls from the salon and fired me. Yikes! It felt terrible to be fired, but that was when I knew people were paying attention—and that I had a voice.

My social platforms are all about elevating the hairdresser and, by default, elevating our industry. I am consistently optimistic and positive in my posting and in my comments. I want my platforms to be a place where artists feel special, confident and important. Be interested and interesting—it’s about building connections and relationships.

Many thanks to our sponsors Redken, Pureology, Matrix, L’Oreal Professionnel, Baxter of California, Level Loyalty and Salon Centric for making this Digital Supplement possible.

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