I love this column because it gives me a forum to share information on what's closest to my heart, and at the top of that list is education. I don't ever want to stop learning. Education is what enables me and every other hairdresser in the world to grow. Think of what happens to a plant when it stops growing—it wilts and eventually dies.
Considering that education is the lifeblood of our industry, it's easy to understand why Essensuals has made it one of the key pillars in our 70-strong salon foundation, from assistants to new product and new technique training, personal growth management training and customer relations. We feel that one of the keys to business success is ensuring that we have the right education system in place so we can help "float the boat" of each and every team member.
Our training program literally commences the moment employment begins. New stylists are paid full salary as they navigate their way through a "vardering" program that encompasses six weeks of cutting and six weeks of coloring training. Our goal is to make sure that our staff leaves the program with full confidence, which will be a win-win for all concerned as they grow their clientele.
Fostering creativity in the color department is likewise a priority. We've put classes into place that help push our color technicians' creative boundaries. Case in point: Our specialized Essensuals Collection Training (ECT)—a course developed by my right-hand man and Essensuals international creative technical director Antony Keen—has been devised to literally bring the new collections we shoot to life. This enables us to feel comfortable knowing that these looks aren't just spring/summer and autumn/winter trend predictors, but instead are doable techniques that are actually being taught throughout the salons, and which each team knows how to execute inside out. We're quite excited about this new initiative, since it means that any client who walks through the door and asks for one of the haircuts or color techniques on the window posters will get just that.
Beverly C, left, and Essensuals artistic director Stephen Glendinning congratulate Essensuals Assistant Competition second-place winner Elizabeth Howard, second from right, and her model.
To continue the momentum, our international art team visits every salon up to six times a year to present live demonstrations. Not only does this give them a great opportunity to seek out fresh talent for our creative team, it also keeps each salon team motivated and updated on current techniques. All in all, this is but a tiny snippet of what we have to offer in terms of education. I urge every salon owner to take a day out of their yearly calendar just to seek out and plan the education available to their team and work out how best to use the systems to ensure each team member gets whatever they require to keep motivated, keep busy, keep growing, keep happy—and keep on working for you!