Insights from top Australian salon owner and hairdresser
By Perriann Rodriguez
How many times in your life do you think you will go to a salon to get your hair cut or styled? Let's see, if you start when you're about 2 years old and go 6 times a year until you're about 70 years old, that turns out to be over 400 visits. Even more impressive is the amount of money (over $12,000 USD for average $30 visits) you will end up spending in your lifetime to cut, style and care for your hair. This doesn't even include special hair care products or additional services such as coloring, perms, treatments, etc.
With these statistics, it is safe to say that our hair is an important part of our lives. Finding the right hair stylist and salon is crucial to the end results of any hair style or process. Emiliano Vitale, Creative Director for E Salon in Wahroonga Australia, says, "All clients look to us for direction. It is up to us to listen carefully, understand our clients needs and desires and then to translate this into a style which is specifically designed and tailored to their lifestyle and personal needs." We have invited Emiliano to visit with us and answer a few questions about salons, hairdressers and hair styles. Below are his insightful answers:
Question: Men and women spend thousands of dollars every year going to salons and caring for their hair. Yet most people report that they are less than satisfied with the results. When you read some of the salon reviews out there you will find people that like the look of their cut/color/perm but are very unhappy with the service. Some describe salons with arrogant, rude or inconsiderate hairdressers and staff. Why is E Salon different in this respect? How do you address complaints from clients ?
Emiliano: First of all, hairdressers are a reflection of their leader. You don't have rude or arrogant team members--you have rude and arrogant owners. Hairdressers globally, actually Humanity globally wakes up every morning and wants to give their best. Then they get to work and are rude only because they are not appreciated or lack self worth. It is the duty of every leader to dedicate themselves to their team and to inspire their team to cooperate in a spirit of harmony.
The only reason we are successful is because I dedicate myself to my team. I made a promise a long time ago that when one of my team members leave, they will leave a better human being and a better hairdresser. It is easy to blame our team members for making mistakes and for not being good enough. But I can assure that if we ALL, including OWNERS, realized that the person looking back at us in the mirror was responsible for the state of our life, then this industry, let alone this world, would be a greater place.
I train my people to see themselves as truly great human beings, and by doing this they will see greatness in everyone else. I promise to give them an extraordinary life and that is what my purpose is. My team members are the most pleasant and remarkable people I know.
At E Salon we treat the Human Being, not the hair. We encourage and welcome any feedback. Complaints are an opportunity to show the world what kind of human being you are. Many hairdressers take a complaint like a personal attack on them. As a leader it is our responsibility to train our people properly and nurture them and their spirit.
I am sorry; there are no rude and arrogant hairdressers---just incapable leaders. Always see the human being and give your best in evey moment in every situation. What you give is what you get---it is that simple.
Question: When you first meet with a client that wants a new hair style, what is your mode of operation?
Emiliano: The first thing I do is ask many questions, such as 'Why do you want to change your look? What don't you like about your hair?' I try to find out as much history as possible, including anything he/she has every been unhappy and happy with. Next I like to feel the hair to determine its thickness and texture. Then I look for any unusually growth patterns. Finally, and most important, I look at face shape, bone structure and the clients overall style. I focus in on suitability and I try to enhance the strengths they may have, i.e. eyes, lips cheekbones, etc. Sample photos of hair styles the clients like are also very helpful in letting me know what my clients like.
Question: As a salon owner, how important is it to keep abreast of current hair and fashion trends?
Emiliano: It is imperative that we stay abreast of what is happening in the world of hairdressing. Though it is more important to know who you are in relation to fashion. In today's world every fashion designer and hairdresser is doing his or her own thing. We must find what we identify with in terms of fashion, and with that initial inspiration, make that evolve into something that is uniquely ours.
It is so important to be a leader not a follower and to be true to yourself. In the state of truth you will be able to tap into a universal source of what is fashion anyway. That is a purely surreal experience when you come up with an original idea, and realize that others have had the same idea, very cool.
Question: A lot of hairdressers aim to please and give their clients the hair cut that they want. For example---a client brings in a photo of a hair style he/she really likes and wants to get the same look. Do you ever tell a client that ---NO that hair style or color will not work for you?
Emiliano: Absolutely! If I feel a hair style doesn't suit a client, I will not hesitate to let him/her know how I feel. That is why my clients pay me $110 a cut. Having said that, I must also contradict myself by saying, hair is about the person wearing it, not the hairdresser.
By knowing who you are and believing in yourself, you attract clients who like what you do. Hence you will very rarely have client in your chair that doesn't like what you do.
Question: What salon products do you use and how importat are they to creating workable hair styles?
Emiliano: We use L'Oreal styling products. My favorites are; Gloss Wax, Liss Control and Pure Gloss Spray in the Techni.art range, Smoothing Serum in the Texturline range by Artic (L'Oreal) and Kiwi Blow serum in the Kiwi range.
Without products, I don't believe we would really be able to produce the results we are looking for.
Question: It's one thing to come out of the salon looking fabulous. It's quite another creating the look on your own at home. Do you offer styling advice and training for your clients?
Emiliano: I offer the correct advice on which products to use and how to use them to achieve results.
Question: What can we expect for hair style trends for the Fall 2004? What will be the popular colors, lengths, styles?
Emiliano: From me, you can expect short crowns with longer lengths, creating seamless layers and transition from short to long. I am still working with asymmetry and disconnected lengths. Fringes are still very hot. I love anything Rock Chic looking. I try to make my models and clients look like Rock stars.
Colors are more a technique thing rather than actual colors, though I am working a lot with mahogany and nut browns. Highlights are bolder yet they are peeping through the hair, not on the top of the hair. I have been working with this technique for a couple of years, just varying the placement of color. At this very moment we are working with major contrast in color.
Question: Where do hair style trends start anyway?
Emiliano: I believe hair trends do not start, they evolve. They are definitely started by the hairdresser rather than the client. For example, let's look at the past season. Hair trends have a very sixties and eighties influence. Now that definitely didn't start recently, though it evolved from that period and was adapted to today.
I will try to start my own trends. At the moment I am working with my GARAGE Collection in the salon and my L'Oreal tour. The collection features extremely short crowns, varying lengths, with asymmetry and disconnection. Trends are inspired by something. They can be inspired by a movie, a song, a painting---with inspiration anything goes. You must trust your instincts. Fashion is what you LOVE. LOVE IS FASHION
Question: On a global scale, do you see a trend of how new hair style fashions evolve?
Emiliano: Personally the entertainment industry inspires me. I feel Hollywood has a major influence on setting trends. European hairdressers, especially the English are great translators of this. To take the mantle as trend setter, you definitely need to earn it.
I know many hairdressers look to fashion and the designer's new collections for inspiration. You know that anything goes, and it is usually started by some kid on a street corner who has cut their own hair, and it has caught the eye of some top stylist, designer or even director.
Fashion is what you make it and who you are in context to that fashion.
Question: What are some of the current hair concerns that your clients are experiencing and what sort of treatments do you offer?
Emiliano: In Australia, hair is very good at the moment as we are in winter. If anything, the hair is a little dehydrated. We offer the complete range of Power Dose treatments from L'Oreal. They are quick and easy treatments and make such an immediate change in the hair. My favorite here is the Shine Blonde treatment that is a toner as well as a treatment. Results are awesome!
Question: Do you have hard and fast hair care advice that applies to everyone?
Emiliano: Use very little conditioner. Apply it first to mid-lengths and the ends, then comb it through the rest of the hair. When applying mousse, apply it slowly and with a comb, little by little. Always finish with a gloss spray for shine.
Question: There is a study that says one in two women color their hair. A lot of women do it themselves. What type of color products do you use and why would you recomment that women go to E Salon for color processing?
Emiliano: We exclusively use L'Oreal Professional products. We recommend that clients come to us for color because we are trained professionals. COLOR TO HAIR ACTS LIKE PAINT TO A SKETCH, IT GIVES IT LIFE! The reason I feel that one in two women color their hair at home is our own fault. We need to spend more money on training our people and take responsibility ourselves. We tend to blame the companies for making and selling hair color products in the supermarkets. If we were doing our jobs correctly, the companies wouldn't need to sell in pharmacies and supermarkets.
Question: Finally, what are your recommendations for someone seeking a new hairdresser or salon?
Emiliano: Go in for a blow dry and take notice of all the work going on around you. Look for someone who puts love into his or her work. The are a rare breed and when you find them, cherish them. You will notice they stroke the hair, like you would pat a cat. They put their heart and soul into their work and they look at what they are doing and the way the hair falls. The best hairdressers will ask about you, not talk about themselves. Always pick the stylist in a salon with the worst haircut. The best hairdressers cut everyone elses' hair.
I tend to get a lot of clients by people asking my clients on the street who cuts their hair. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and bring in pictures. When you find a happy and content team of hairdressers, you are sure your money is going to someone who is making a difference in the lives of their clients.
Thank you Emiliano for your thoughts and insights on hair styles and salons!
Emiliano: Final words: Be brilliant and accept yourself for the glorious human being you are, for the SIMPLE reason that you ARE. GOD BLESS ! Emiliano
E Salon, E for Effort, Enthusiasm and Excellence in Hair
Emiliano Vitale operates E Salon along with his father, Samuel Vitale - Managing Director, and his cousin Valerio Domenici - Salon Director.
E Salon first opened in Double Bay in 1994. The second E Salon opened in Wahroonga in 2000 the Double Bay closed in 2001 as it merged with Wahroonga so that Emiliano could focus more on education, shows, seminars and travel - July 2001 to Dec 2001 Emiliano traveled through Europe, UK, USA looking at latest fashions to bring back to E Salon. Now Emiliano travels every year to keep up to date with what is happening around the world.
Emiliano's father, Samuel has been a great source of inspiration for his career as a hairdresser. Samuel successfully ran his own salon, Samuel's Hairdressing, in Hornsby for 28 years before joining forces with his son and nephew at E Salon at Wahroonga.
Emiliano has been contracted by L'Oreal to educate in seminars on haircutting, success, goal setting and the importance of DREAMING, BELIEVING and ACHIEVING. He adds, "My main objectives for my seminars are to inspire hairdressers to GIVE more and to help them discover the tools that will make them truly successful." Emiliano was also selected as Style and Shoot 2004 Ambassador and is the National Judge. Style and shoot has 1000 entrants from across Australia. He will select 20 State finalists, then 1 ultimate winner.
E Salon was voted in top 10 salons by Sydney's Highroller magazine and has received significant press coverage in international and national magazines. For additional information about Emiliano or E Salon, see their website located at: http://www.esalon.com.au.
About the author:
About the author:
Perriann Rodriguez is the founder of http:// www.hairresources.com,an international online resource for hair styles and beauty salons. She has published over 100 articles in various trade publications and is listed in the Who's Who of Executives and Professionals and the US Register of American Writers. For additional information, see http://www.hairresources.com
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