Industry Rant 6 comments


This is a reply of mine to a thread over on Hairbrained.

Why the people who should be publishing good stuff aren’t:

#1. There really aren’t as many hairdressers who are really good, and very artistic, and professional, and intelligent as most people think there are.

Most just have one or two of those qualities (a great hairdresser but being unprofessional crosses you off the list, being professional but a crappy hairdresser crosses you off the list, etc…)

#2. With very few exceptions, the people who meet all the criteria in #1 are really busy, all the time.

#3. It takes more time and effort to put out good “hair stuff” into the ether than most people think.

You have to plan it, find models, or take the time to write something, either find a website up to your standards to publish on, or make your own – and that is like having a part time job. And the people who pass point #1 will get stuck here because of point #2.

Why you get a mountain of @#%$ when you google anything related to hair:

#1. Hairdressers don’t support good hair websites, magazines, or publications.

In one of the seminars I attended at NAHA last year, the speaker asked the crowd (of about 300) how many people knew about a bunch of popular hair websites (including hairbrained) – myself and 2 others raised their hand. That’s it.

#2. Hairdressers do support crap. BTC is what it is because hairdressers made it that way.

There aren’t any good trade publications because hairdressers keep supporting heavily endorsed magazines, or magazines published by salon supply companies.

#3. Hairdressers are greedy.

They have this mentality that if they break a sweat doing anything, boy they better get big bucks for it! If it takes actual effort to make something, they ain’t just giving it away – but they will give away vacuous crap dressed up as good material. Look at any other trade. Any one, and you’ll see websites and forums where the level of information being passed back and forth is at a much higher level than in our trade – and in those other trades, it’s done seemingly for the love of the trade.

The way a photographer lit that shot that he took for a magazine cover is an integral part of his ability to make money – but he’ll draw a diagram and explain in detail how he conceived and executed the shot, and share that information with other photographers freely. And that behavior results in a higher level of conversation within the trade, and elevates the skill of the trade as a whole.

When’s the last time you saw something really well put together, really useful, that you didn’t already know, that improved your skill as a hairstylist, given away for free?

Now ask yourself this: When’s the last time you saw something kind of ramshackle and poorly put together, moderately-to-not-very useful, that you did already know, that didn’t effect your skill as a hairstylist, given away for free? Or that you actually had to pay for?

That’s just about every hair related video I have ever seen on the internet, anywhere. In fact, Josh Flowers, DJ Muldoon are the only ones I can say have given away real content for love of the craft.

#4. Hairdressers aren’t on the inside of their own trade.

We’re outsiders – all the publications that are supposed to be “inside” the industry treat us like marks. There is no difference between how companies and publications treat Joe Schmoe on the street, and Joe the Hairstylist. They’re just selling their wares, but at least they’re honest about it when they’re selling to the hair muggles – when they’re selling to people within the industry, it’s more like a con game. They con hairdressers be telling them that they’re getting special information, treatment, recognition, etc.

And hairdressers eat it up for some reason. We aren’t going to get good magazines or websites until we stop feeding the ones that are just cleverly disguised merchandise catalogs.

#5. Hairdressers just don’t care.

I think this is the final nail in the coffin. Do you know how many people I’ve met that have ever bothered to look up anything hair related? (on the net, in a magazine, in a library, anything at all)

I can count the number on one hand. I’ve yet to meet a single stylist who has ever participated in the culture of hairstyling – by that I mean been active on a website like this one, read anything hair related, watched a dvd, read a book, or hell, even googled for hair stylist stuff. What does that say?

And it’s not because they don’t know it’s out there. On the contrary, anyone who’s met me most definitely knows it’s out there. They just don’t care. They’re satisfied with only being exposed to the limited range of things they see daily in their own salon, and maybe once a year doing a class taught by someone who’s from the same city they are in.

It’s a sad state of affairs.


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6 thoughts on “Industry Rant

  • Chantelle

    I completely agree. I am a hairstylist ( love cut, colour, and hair extensions) from Ontario Canada and I feel like every bit of learning we come by is like pulling teeth. Mechanics, plumbers, electricians,etc don’t behave that way. It can build character however it can also be discouraging and irritating. Thank for the great blog. You hit this topic on the spot.

  • J.Renee

    I’m about halfway through Cos school in the dreaded ‘States’ but I fully agree with this post.
    (Also, I just wanted to let you know that I ADORE your blog. Super informative and relatable.)

  • interested noob

    Wow!!! This totally confirms my frustration. I’m considering changing careers, and am seriously considering barbering/cosmetology. I’ve looked into schools in my area, talked with some hairdressers I know, attended the local annual hair show/convention, and scoured the interwebs. I’ve already experienced or speculated everything you’ve described in this post. As someone seriously considering getting into the industry, It’s discouraging and encouraging at the same time. Discouraging, because I don’t seem to have access into what I imagine is the exciting part of the industry, the cutting edge, the creative and experimental. Yet somehow, for some reason, I know it’s there, cleverly evading me, yet waiting to be discovered. This void is also encouraging, because I see potential for me to help fulfill what is missing, if I do choose to get in.

  • Darci

    I could not agree more with this post! It seriously drives me crazy. How can people be the best at what they do when they have no desire to learn or even admit room for improvement. In my almost 8 years in the industry I can’t even tell you how many color or hair cut correctionsI have done because they have recieved a butch job or nasty colored hair from OTHER STYLISTS! Not even themselves or some idiot they trusted with their hair (although I have had my fare share of those as well), but it is sad that people can totally suck at hair and still graduate and get a job and never be forced to take any other education.

    I have looked for all kinds of blogs, forums, ect. and your right they don’t exist, and if they do they are pointless and hardly worth reading. It was a fluke that I came across this one.

    My husband owns his own lawn service and I often have great envy of their online community. He is a part of a forum that is so great. They always have helpful answers and support and he is on that thing every day. I would love to find something like that for hair and it simply doesn’t exist. It truely is sad.

    I have learned so much in the last 8 years and would love to share with other who are learning, but at the same time there is also always more for me to learn too. Sigh…. what a bummer.