What does a “typical” day look like for Jessica?
I wish I had a typical day! When I’m on the road, which is about 75% of the time right now, there are no typical days. It ranges from managing every aspect of a trade show to working on photo and video shoots to spending an entire day in airports with flight delays. I will say that every single day starts with a very large cup of coffee. Promptly followed by yet another very large cup of coffee. If I could have an IV hooked up to me with a caffeine drip, I would. Have any doctors out there figured this one out yet? If so, call me.
Tell us everything we need to know about Andis?
There are a few things that initially drew me to Andis as a company. First, they manufacture high quality tools in Sturtevant, WI. It is a fourth generation, family owned company (Matt Andis and Laura Bishop are siblings) with a huge focus on values and education. Overall the company genuinely cares a lot about the wellbeing of the person using their products. We also put a lot of focus on maintaining the integrity of the brand so we try to be very selective with who we bring on our team and what we put our name on. It can be challenging because the company is growing so quickly and sometimes we have to turn opportunities down because we are unable to fully support and don’t want to do anything at less than 100%.
A fun fact is there are a lot of women in management roles… in my department alone, 3 out of 4 are females, and my direct superior is also a woman.
What advice would Jessica today tell Little Jessica on her graduation day from beauty school?
Don’t listen to the negative comments. There will be a lot of them and they’re all bullshit. Eventually people will appreciate you and understand your art. Find your pack, it may be small, but run with them and don’t worry about what other people are saying. You are here for a purpose and you can’t make everyone happy so focus on being true to yourself first.
What was your first job in professional beauty?
My first job was actually working the front desk at a salon in Boulder, CO while I was in college. I joke that I was the “salon bitch” because I was the lowest on the totem pole. The manager was truly awful and tried to “put me in my place” every day… called me stupid repeatedly and asked me to do some pretty shady things. I learned a lot about what not to do and eventually I left and went to work the front desk for an Aveda salon that was incredible and inspired me to go to cosmetology school.
What traumatic hairstyle have you been guilty of rocking?
Too many to count!! I had a perm from Fantastic Sam’s when I was 7 so that was probably the first one of my own choosing. I can blame my mom for the previous ones. I wasn’t afraid to try crazy hairstyles growing up. I wanted to color my hair so badly when I was little that I would use permanent markers to put blue, pink or purple highlights in my blonde hair. Then I tried “Sun In” in middle school because my mom still wouldn’t let me go to the salon (I think my perm days traumatized her) … my whole head turned bright orange! It was hilariously awful. It was so bad that I refused to go to school until she took me in to get it fixed. Sometimes I would spend all night with no sleep getting my hair in the perfect tiny braids for school the next day. All of the photos live in albums at my parent’s house… I’ll have to dig through to find some goodies the next time I’m home! All for self-deprecation.
Tell us what “exotic travel” for work looks like?
I always laugh at this one… people assume traveling for work is so glamourous. Most of the time it’s grueling. No days off. Working every weekend and being available 100% of the time. The people who do the trade show circuit with you become the only family and friends you see. An example of one of my recent trips that miraculously didn’t involve delayed or missed flights:
- Work all week and take a 2pm flight on Friday to JFK. Then take a 10pm flight to London luckily sitting in economy plus (that extra legroom is clutch). There is no wifi on this flight, my seat didn’t recline, the display screens were broken for only half of the plane (yes, I was the special one with no screen) and there was a 2 year old right behind me that screamed for the ENTIRE flight. You can’t make that shit up.
- Arrived the next day (Saturday) at 10am UK time after trying to get any resemblance of sleep and went straight to the convention center for setup. Spent the entire day setting up the booth in 90-degree weather without AC. Thankfully the entire shipment arrived so we didn’t have to spend several hours on the phone with UPS to find our product like some other shows.
- Done around 6pm, go to the hotel to finally check-in, shower, eat and immediately pass the F out.
- Wake up at 5am to get ready for show day 1… have a breakfast meeting at 6:30am and a coffee meeting at 8am. Thankfully this show starts at 10am, most start at 9. Arrive at show by 9am to finish organizing the booth and stage. Spend the entire show herding cats. Don’t eat or sit down once. Barely have time to breathe or go to the bathroom. Literally. “Where’s my coffee damnit?!”
- The show ends 7pm, then it’s a dinner meeting and an after dinner meeting. Finally get to bed around midnight. Get up the next day and repeat. At the end of the show, spend several hours tearing down the booth and break several nails in the process.
- Day after show get on an early morning flight home. No sight-seeing in good ole London Town. Only saw the hotel and convention center which are across the street from each other. Finally make it back to Minneapolis at 11pm on Tuesday. Head to work the next morning and in the evening hop on another flight to another destination to repeat the same process all over again.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your career?
Getting some men to understand that it is not, in fact, a man’s world. And showing women, especially those in the barbering world, that we don’t have to compromise our standards to be successful.
What is your most favorite thing about this industry and why?
I love the creativity. This is one of the few industries where you can show up as you are and be fully accepted. There are so many different avenues you can go down as well… whether it’s working behind the chair, opening your own salon, editorial work or transitioning to the corporate side. You don’t actually need a college degree to be successful.
Your job has allowed you to meet a lot of stylists and barbers. What one key trait do you think all awesomely, successful stylists/barbers share?
They’re humble. Full stop. I won’t work with egos, I work with real people.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Sparkling water with lime… I practice a sober lifestyle, but I’m not plain and boring. I’m not like a regular sober girl, I’m a cool sober girl. 😉 haha
I knew I was a Hair Nerd when…
I think I’ve secretly been a hairnerd my entire life! I knew I was a total nerd as soon as I got to Kindergarten. It was obvious. The love of hair came in about 5th grade when I would style all of my friend’s hair during lunch hour.
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