What inspired you to enter the beauty industry? Was it a path you always saw yourself taking?
Growing up, my father always cut my hair and my little brothers. But, by the time I was about 15, I started to take matters into my own hands. I cut my hair almost ever other week, threw bleach in random spots, and started experimenting. I dated a hairstylist through high school, and that’s when I first started thinking this could be a career. That’s also about the time I went into a professional salon for the first time. I enjoyed the atmosphere and loved the constant creativity of the hair world. I didn’t grow up wanting to cut hair, but once I discovered what it was really about, I wanted to be a part of it.
Being only 26 you have come so far in your career… What tools, social media or otherwise, have helped you get there?
It really is true that you’re only as good as your last client thinks you are. We’re artists, but we are in the customer service industry—our clients need to love their style or cut or they’re not going to talk about us to their friends. The fastest way to grow your business is word of mouth, make sure our clients have cards to share. I’m very selective about my clientele, they need to fit my personal brand and image—I try to focus my “networking” on people I feel are going to love my product and who I want in my chair. And, once someone is in my chair, I go all out to make sure they have an incredible experience—an experience they are going to share.
When it comes to social media, you need to go where your clients or potential clients are—for me that’s Instagram. Instagram is free and has helped me grow my business more than I ever thought possible. The biggest mistake stylists make on social media is forgetting that they are a business, the over-share personal information. 95% of the posts I make are business and the other 5% are personal. Not everyone wants or needs to know that I’m a big Star Wars fan, but they do want to seem my latest haircuts and styles.
It appears you lean more towards a male based clientele. Did that happen organically or was that a choice you have made?
It was completely organic. About three years ago, I began to realize I had a natural talent for men’s grooming. I still have a strong passion for cutting and styling women’s hair, but my ability to find real, workable style solutions for men has helped me create a noticeable niche in the category. It can be challenging to get a man’s hair cut right—the structure and symmetry is critical when blending it all together.
Biggest “AH-HA” moment in your career?
My biggest AH-HA moment happened about two years ago—it was the moment I realized that I was not just an artist, but that I was also a business, and needed to begin building my own brand.
What has been your greatest opportunity as an educator?
There are a lot of places you can get information today about cutting and styling hair. But, my greatest opportunity as an educator is less about giving someone information and more about instilling passion and confidence—inspiring them to overcome their doubts and fears and reach their true potential.
What tool or hair product can’t you live without?
Hair is art. The one tool I can’t live without is my blowdryer—its the key to finishing a great cut. Even the most perfectly blended haircut will be an incomplete piece of art if you can’t finish the style right.
How do you feel about the resurfacing of barbering? Do you think it is taking the industry in a different direction?
I love that there is a growing focus on men’s grooming. Barbering is causing everyone in the industry to open up to different types of grooming styles and techniques. But I think what’s really driving the trend is that men care more about how they look today, they are spending more time and money on grooming and products—they are more aware of their image and it’s pushing leaders in the industry to become more aware about delivering what men really want.
Words to live by…
I love the Roman proverb; “He who chases two rabbits catches none.” You’ve got to find and pursue your passion. If you want to succeed today, you’ve got to focus on being great at one thing—become the expert.
What advice would you give a student or new stylist that wants to follow your path?
Walk before you run. I suggest to every student or new stylist that they assist for at least a year. I assisted for a year and a half, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Work hard and soak up all the information you can. School gives you the basic skills and tools you need to get started, but assisting will help you learn how to turn those skills into a successful career. Determine what you want your personal brand to be (what you want to be known for), then work on becoming the expert.
I knew I was a Hair Nerd when…
Ha! Yeah, I realized I was a hair nerd after having several elevated and highly passionate conversations about how hair should be cut or styled—with people not even in the industry! I’d talk about how important a blowdryer is in breaking down the bonds in your hair so you can recreate looks you never thought possible—only to realize they were looking at me like I was crazy. We’d laugh and transition back to a normal conversation, but I quickly realized—I’m a complete and total HAIR NERD
Where can you #NerdStalk Johnny Snips?
Facebook: Johnny Snips