Guest Blog: Beth Minardi’s “A Day in the Life"

Clients might think that a colorist simply arrives at work, waits for clients and starts working.  But, as an artists and a businessminded individuals, we understand that the "process" of our day is far more complex. 

In fact, most of us begin preparing for our day before those clients hit our door. Most successful colorists take the time to look ahead.  We look at our schedule to see WHO is coming and WHEN they are coming. We also check that our time is being correctly managed and that we will have sufficient time to correctly color and care for each client.  No one is happy when they are told, "Yes, you need highlights, but you are not booked for them, and I don't have time. We will highlight you next time.” Nope! That’s what I call a "smile killer" for the client. 

And, during the day before, it's smart to make sure you have everything you might potentially need for your clients: color, developers, lighteners, color care products, accessories, etc.  When we eliminate the stress of last minute mayhem like searching for things we might need, everyone is happier and the day goes much more smoothly.

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So THIS COLORIST practices all of the above, and encourages others to do this as well.

My day begins at about 6:45 a.m.  After feeding "Mango" and turning on the coffee pot, I turn on the Today show and do lots of intense stretching. Sometimes our legs are still tired from the previous day’s activity, so I massage with a stimulating cream from tootsies to the waistline.  Believe me, this really DOES help me start my day, and I'm now ready for COFFEE. 

Most people tend to skip breakfast or eat something that's really not so "healthy." I've been trained to eat some protein. My doctor gives me a special shake drink (used by numerous very famous rock stars), and on other mornings I will eat a hardboiled egg or plain yogurt with fruit. Let's face it: We can't start an engine without adding fuel. So, do yourself a favor and eat something GOOD as you start your day.

As I finish my coffee and breakfast, I apply a moisturizing mask to my face and neck, and for the next 15 minutes I attempt to answer my e-mails and send few messages, texts and tweets. Then, it's into the tub before slapping on the makeup, doing the hair, getting dressed and meeting with my assistant, Kristina, who keeps my JOICO/BETH MINARDI SIGNATURE SHADES life in order, and THEN, I’m "outta here!”

I zoom to the salon, either on foot (10 Manhattan blocks) or, when the weather is lousy, by cab. As I arrive at the salon, I make it a point to say good morning to everyone and to check that my assistant has organized my records and stocked my work cart. I LIVE WITH my custom made Takara Belmont color cart, which I wheel around with me all day. Top shelf is lined with a towel and contains prepared Beth Minardi Artistic foil (both long and short), a bowl with clips, combs, room for applicators and/or bowls, and my cell phone, which is set with the buzzer activated and the ringer silenced.  Second shelf: coil cotton, rolled towels with plastic clips, a timer or two, a roll of paper towels, and a small supply of gloves.

And, then, here come the clients!  As I recently said, "It's not only what we do, but it is HOW we do it.” A luxury hair color service includes a significant percentage of "schmooze factors.” Greetings should not be hasty. The "welcome" can really set the tone for the entire visit. A sincere and welcoming "hello" (perhaps a hug) and a word or two that conveys that you share a social history helps set the tone. Then the client checks in with desk personnel, changes out of street wears and into a salon color smock, followed by reception's correct storing of the client's belongings. Thus completes the transformation from client into prepared and ready "patron.” As I escort my client to our work area, I inquire about any refreshments she may enjoy. My assistant knows to correctly seat and drape the client with a towel before retrieving the client's beverage. 

As I said, the SCHMOOZE is the thing.  I believe the word "consultation" is a bit worn out, and it doesn't correctly convey the real importance of our next important step: the pre-service interview, which I call the VISIT. For some clients, this takes 45 seconds.  For others, this could take up to 10 minutes.  USUALLY, a treasured client has developed some level of trust and friendship.  In addition to talking about how her hair may have faded, or how she might like to either "just stay the same" or consider a new tone or a pop of highlights, there is usually a personal story she wants to share: a report about her last vacation, an update about her kids or other family members, or a story about her husband, boyfriend, divorce or recent home renovation. It's just something they really want to share.  And, the longer you see clients, the more detailed their "visit" becomes.  And you are secretly looking at a clock, knowing that you need to start working.  I mix my color, with the help of my assistant, right there in front of the client so we can "converse “as we begin the artistry portion of our visit. 

The way I color hair has evolved over the years.  I believe we are "painting" a living canvas. And while covering gray or adjusting level and tone of the "root “is important, what we do to bring real life to the hair lengths turns hair coloring into an art. When I am not coloring hair, I THINK about coloring hair. The intermixable shades I created for BETH MINARDI SIGNATURE offer almost endless possibilities. I believe that the interplay of various levels and tones really presents the hair in the very best light; AGE does not matter. These color differences—extremely subtle to more pronounced—become the signature result I truly enjoy creating. 

My world works best when I schedule clients every 45 minutes. I take three clients, back-to-back, then “close my book” for one hour to "finish “those I have done in those first three slots. Then I schedule three more clients, with another hour "closed.” Then it’s two more clients, and that's the day. Almost every single client I see requires dimensional color so adequate time is needed to produce a signature look and a significant salon ticket.

Connecting people is rather enjoyable! I just love it when two clients begin a great conversation with one another. As we know, the word "salon" means a place where like-minded people gather, and while we are there for BEAUTY, the "salon" feeling makes a remarkable impact on the entire salon atmosphere.

A happy, enthusiastic exchange of ideas between people in a room really creates a wonderful situation for everyone. The time we need to create what we do really does "fly by" when people like this "engage.”

I understand how important it is to keep hydrated.  So I drink water and tea throughout the day. On occasion I have some lunch, but that doesn't usually happen now. I check my Facebook questions and e-mails throughout the day, and I start thinking about the next day. I do find it necessary at some points to sit in a quiet place, stop speaking and close my eyes. It might be just for two minutes, but it renews me and clears my head. This helps me keep the energy flowing and let's me think of varying ways to create fresh, wearable, interesting hair color results. As I spend more time doing what I do, I really am immersed in the art of hair color. My professional goal is to elevate salon hair coloring to an art form. 

As I end my day, I return a few phone calls and I leave the salon ready to begin the "personal" part of my life.  At times there is an event, a social invitation or someone very special to meet, but most often, it's home for dinner, a long hot bath and some guilty-pleasure TV or a book.  I work on details for upcoming color classes, speak to my daughter, my mom and my pals, and then, Mango and I call it a day. 

I do go to the gym. I do walk my dog.  I do grocery shop and run errands, but those things all tend to fit right into my "day in the life" of a colorist.

About: Beth Minardi has dedicated her professional life to the elevation of  salon haircolor to an art form.  For almost thirty years, she has worked both behind the chair as a star colorist, and has been instrumental in the development of several of the top color brands in use today.  Beth began her colorful career at Clairol, where she became director of education.  At Redken, she traveled, training thousands of color professionals, and penned the monthly Shades EQnewsletter. As an integral part of her current work at Joico, Beth created her own exclusive brand of professional Color:  Beth Minardi Signature Shades, a collection of 77 intermixable conditioning colors. With industry legend, Sam Brocato, she opened STUDIO B Hair, a salon oasis located on Manhattan's luxurious Upper East Side.  She continues to lecture and teach extensively.  Beth resides in New York City with her Poodle 'person'. Mango.

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