New Professional Career Options

Carlos Valenzuela gets shaped up and chats with a popular stylist, Rick Ramirez, of 977Hair, about the realities of today’s job market for newly licensed salon professionals.

Rick returned to hairdressing four years ago after taking time off to live and work in Mexico. He is a consummate professional, fabulous stylist, knows everyone in the city, works social media like an expert, but will flat out tell you it took him four years to rebuild his clientele to a good income level. He could get by after the second year, but his clientele really didn’t build up until the fourth year.

Rick feels a new graduate needs to prepare well and leave school with the salon essential skills fully mastered. These skills include, but are not limited to, shampooing, haircutting, and color placement, foils and customer service.

With these skills under your belt, Rick suggests you apply at a chain salon where you will be further trained to perfect your hairdressing and customer service techniques. This type of salon will pay you a little over minimum wage, plus tips, but remember you are still learning and building.

After you acquire strong service skills and somewhat of a clientele, you could apply at a commission salon for a stylist position—or if you feel you need more exposure, for an assistant’s job. Rick reminds us that most commission salons want a stylist with a following. How does he define a following? Have least one hundred loyal clients for starters.

You could work in a rental salon if you are lucky to find a salon professional willing to share his /her knowledge and offer a guaranteed weekly wage. Rick does not recommend renting a chair right out of beauty school because of the costs involved in doing business as an independent lease chair person. He says, “You just won’t make it.”

Thanks, Rick Ramirez for your time, wisdom and great cut!