Fabio Sementilli is currently the North American Creative Director for PG salon professional. A hairstylist for 27 years, salon owner, multiple award winner such as 3 time World Supreme trophy and 3 time NAHA winner… we think he knows a thing or two about our industry.  Fabio has graciously agreed to become a contributing author here on The Hair Nerds. 

What does it mean, are you a professional, are we considered professionals?

Hello, this installment of my blog speaks to the question we hear often and one that I’ve had passionate debates about, are we considered professionals. Now some of you may say, I don’t care what others think or I just mind my own business and why can’t everybody else? I do not agree because I feel as humans we all care what others think. So please allow me to think out loud.

To describe a professional we would probably have to start with the definition: conforming to the standards of skill, competence, or character normally expected of a properly qualified person in a work environment.

My challenge for us is to think in the following context, what does my client/NEW stylist and community feel about me/my level of professionalism?

An important factor in being considered a professional is to be a unified group, together striving to make the industry we love better. Togetherness also includes guidelines, such as the rules of engagement, conduct becoming of a fellow professional in good standing, taking ownership of your skills and ongoing training and your sense of mentorship for future members. We must be very protective of fly by nights or able to defend the licensing of our profession by legislation not conducive to our skills. Personally, I haven’t seen many examples of a unified cosmetology industry especially not for the average JOE.

During my 25+ years in the industry as a hairdresser, salon owner, platform artist and now as a corporate citizen I have heard excuses/jabs such as “stylists are creative so we don’t have the discipline to work towards a common goal or we are individualistic therefore the thought of committees or group decisions turn us off or “by nature if we are individualistic then we must be selfish”. I’ve also heard we are too emotional therefore we can’t make a decision based on reason or facts, what a load of crap.

My Perspective….

History tells us differently, qualities such as passion, emotion, drive and diligence are exactly the reasons why stylists like Vidal Sassoon, Geri Cusenza, Arnie Miller, Horst, JP DeJoria or the Mascolo brothers created legacies and empires moreover continue giving back to the less fortunate or other causes such as the fragile environment.

What they have not been able to do yet is unite the broader hairdresser community and create a strong national inclusive voice that goes beyond brands and the technical craft. I for one am not ready to accept the current situation or the negative excuses I’ve seen and heard whether self imposed or heaped upon us. Instead I want all of us to take ownership in our current and future state. I would like for us all to lead from the front vs. follow or accept practices that are not becoming of a professional. The day we all realize the power lies in us, every salon, stylist, store, school or manufacturer can we begin to build a unified industry.

There are so many stylists earning “poverty line” wages (avg salary is just over $23K) as they begin their career and we the stewards of the industry need to be pro-active in guiding their growth in a positive manner. I feel mentorship is the key and just recently I was reminded of the power of mentorship, Team ICAN, made up of Hairdressers less than 3 yrs out of school WON @ RAW competition in Orlando FL during Premiere Beauty Show.

What have you done lately?

Stalk Fabio Sementilli on his Hairbrained page!