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Overcoming Turmoil and Change in the Beauty Profession

Overcoming turmoil and change in the beauty profession.  If there are two words that best describe the beauty industry today, I’d say they are change and turmoil. I ‘m sure you will agree, our profession is facing difficult challenges due to a changing economy.    All facets of our industry are paying a heavy price for not adapting to change and addressing the growing challenges of owning a profitable business.

Our  new generation of hairdressers and salon owners will especially be vulnerable  meeting these challenges .

In order to raise their standard of living and overcoming and meeting these challenges with confidence, hairdressers and salon owners will have to learn more than how to cut and style hair.   They will need to learn additional skills if they want to reach higher levels of excellence, personally, professionally, and financially. Good is not enough anymore.

While other industries and professions have kept pace with rising business costs  through new technology , advanced educational training and economic growth , sadly many segments in our industry continue to struggle and are in denial. The small independent salon owner and hairdresser continue to struggle personally, professionally, and financially. Because of these obstacles the new generation of quality hairdressers will continue to decline.

Many of our beauty schools are closing and are being targeted by the department of education due to student loan defaults,high drop out rates, and other factors.
Unfortunately most hairdressers and salon owners do not have any meaningful medical insurance, retirement benefits or other benefits compared to other professions. Most hairdressers and salon owners live on a financial tightrope.

The question is why is this occurring in the beauty profession? I believe there are many reasons; resistance to change, apathy, lack of unity among salon owners, a beauty school system that needs curriculum  reform to better meet rising job market and consumer demands and booth rental.

Other factors affecting our livelihoods are  rising business costs, low entry level standards for those entering into the industry, staff turnover,  business interruption, staff pirating, (the practice of unethical recruitment of hairdressers from other salon owners by offering higher commission or booth rental options). Other obstacles include price wars ( we should be raising prices), poor business and management skills on the part of the salon owner, poor leadership skills, unrealistic earning and career expectations by many of our young hairdressers and a learning system that needs reform. A trial and error approach to meeting these challenges and obstacles is just too costly.

Other challenges  are enforcement of minimum wage and overtime requirements and a crackdown by the labor department  towards the mis classifications of workers.

Other industries and professions are making changes to meeting growing business demands.  The beauty industry must also adapt to these challenges by modernizing and reforming our educational system to better meet the growing challenges of a changing and competitive market place driven by business and consumer demands.
Although the beauty industry is expected to grow to a 55 billion dollar industry, hairdressers and salon owners are not sharing enough financially in this growing industry. Far too many of our hairdressers are struggling to make a good living, while far too many of our salons are struggling to survive, while many more are failing. This is just unacceptable. The answer, high end well managed salons, an equal playing field, and business stability and growth.

In my opinion, which I know is shared by many of my colleagues, the beauty industry is product driven and is not responding enough to the educational and business needs of the working hairdresser and salon owner. We need to raise the standard of living of the working hairdresser and improve profits for the salon owner. We must set higher standards of educational excellence.   If we are to achieve these goals, we need to address the deep rooted obstacles that have plagued our industry far to long. If we want to attract an upscale clientele, charge upscale prices, then we must develop upscale salons and upscale professionals. There is a demand.

There is a growing need for more education in the areas of personal growth and development , improved people and communication skills , career guidance,  business management , financial planning , staff stability , marketing and advertising , leadership training , on job apprenticeship or internship , basic commercial hair cutting and barbering skills , positive attitude development , client retention , better work habits , professionalism , salesmanship, a code of ethics , outstanding customer service , and a better partnership between beauty schools and salon owners. Nine months of beauty school is just not enough time to implement all these educational needs.
In defense of our beauty schools and their teachers, (there are good schools and not so good schools), much of the curriculum is dictated by state boards of cosmetology whose main function is to protect the public health and safety of the consumer; beauty school curriculum is not designed to teach job market skills in today’s changing and competitive business climate. As a concerned hairdresser and salon owner,  I formed Hairdresser Career Development Systems free of any special interest group or bureaucracy to fill this educational void. My business goal is to help raise the standard of living for everyone in the beauty industry. I am committed to finding solutions to these challenges.

Currently I am building my digital University of Educational Excellence for Beauty Professionals.

If we are to raise the standard of living for hairdressers, improve profits for salon owners and for everyone involved in the beauty profession, then we must all do our part to modernize our profession and raise the standard of educational excellence.

Personal, professional, and financial success will bring business and professional growth and stability to everyone involved in our profession. Although I am expressing my own personal views and opinions,  I know many of my concerns are shared my thousands of my colleagues, committed hairdressers , salon owners, estheticians, manicurists, sales reps, and concerned and dedicated educators I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the course of my seminars and trade shows throughout the U.S and in Canada. These are the very people who work hard daily, trying to reach higher levels of excellence personally, professionally, and financially for themselves and their families.

Unlike the large manufacturing and product companies , who have time , money , and resources to promote their own self interests , promote their viewpoints , and products , the working hairdresser and salon owner have very little time , money , expertise or editorial medium to fully express their views and educational and business needs towards their own success. Sadly, earnings of hairdressers are not keeping pace with other professions and the high cost of living. The quality of their lives and families are also affected. I am sure many of the special interest groups may not agree with this article and profess everything is well, so they keep the status quo. Far too many are in denial, or are only concerned about their own self interest.

Isn’t it time that those us working daily in our salons,  have an opportunity to voice our concerns?

Until our industry adapts to change we,  as hairdressers and salon owners, must take control of our own educational and business needs, and seek out excellence in education and demand change and new direction. We,  as salon owners and leaders of our team,  must train and develop our own if we are  meet these challenges.

We must find solutions to the educational obstacles and business challenges that have hindered our growth. Although we have many obstacles that need to be addressed , I see windows of opportunity and a coming boom for business minded professionals who are well informed and determined to reach their goals.

Unfortunately many salons will struggle and fail due to complacency and lack of business management skills on the part of the salon owner.  Many hairdressers will leave the profession because achieving success will require effort and sacrifice. Tough times always separate winners from losers, but tough times always present fantastic opportunities to succeed.
The consumer is crying out for committed hairdressers and salon owners who are truly committed to meeting and exceeding client expectations.

As the shakeout continues, there will be a growing demand for top hairdressers, who know how to create a demand for their services, and upscale salons that are well managed and run like businesses. Yes we will have our share of peaks and valleys on our journey to success.

Despite these challenges, I urge you to keep a positive attitude, persevere, develop a competitive spirit, and continue to seek out knowledge despite these obstacles. If you have that commitment and passion to succeed, you will succeed.

Together we can and will make this industry more responsive to our educational and business needs. Our success will bring success to all facets of our industry. It’s time that we unite as fellow professionals to create an industry we can all be proud to be a part of.

There’s more than enough business for everyone. If we are to develop upscale salons we must develop upscale and stable professionals — are we not all on the same team?

I will be presenting  my two day comprehensive business seminar for entrepreneur salon owners on  May 15-16, 2017,  in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click here for complete information.
Jon Gonzales travels extensively throughout the United States and Canada.

Hairdresser Career Development Systems
2872 Coast Circle Ste. 202
Huntington Beach, Ca.92649
Call Toll Free 1-800- 390-4237 or visit
our Website at

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