When we think of the salon world and hairstylists, we think of women, I know we do. When we walk into a salon, the majority of hairdressers are female. And when Destroy the Hairdresser started our Masters Conversations series, we could name dozens of people we wanted to talk with...and most of them were men. Most of them were on the coasts. So what did we do when we realized that? We sat down with the most amazing, most enthusiastic, most passionate salon businesswoman who calls the Midwest her home that we know: Stefanie Fox.
Full disclosure: I have had the pleasure of working with her. I have seen her teach. I have watched her develop an entrepreneurial empire in the last five years, developing programs and networks to grow the hairdressing world. She has gone from Aveda Educator to a national trainer for Red Chocolate, to opening her own salon, Canvas, to creating her newest networking venture: Salon Colab. She literally starts our Conversation by sharing the events Salon Colab will be at in 2016.
The big picture is that Salon Colab will be a connector for salon owner to salon owner, and help develop managers that gel with Millennials. Can you imagine; an industry with no finger pointing, and instead focusing on working with a healthy team, financial security, and business stability.
How should stylists show up in a powerful way to make the money they want to make? How should leaders teach incoming stylists to be able to show up?
But wait folks, that's not all.
Stefanie Fox not only helps develop novice stylists, Salon Colab will also help build the 1%: the salon owners. A group we don't talk about often but the reality is is that we all have one. Even if you booth rent, someone's name is on that LLC, and Stefanie asserts it can be lonely at the top. Only through collaboration (Salon Colab, get it?), peer-to-peer mentorship and community can a salon be thriving from the top to bottom, bottom to top. Salon Colab is a business strategy building class; an online education based course where owners learn how to build a strategy, and develop personal leadership skills with other salon owners.
This is why Destroy The Hairdresser loves Stefanie Fox. She saw a gap in our industry and is filling it. Mentorship exists, Destroy the Hairdresser is big on mentoring. While we focus on newer recruits to our world, Salon Colab will work with the salon owners. Developing the leadership positions directly impacts all hairdressers. When owners take a vested interest and grow, they take their team along with them, Stefanie believes. She tells her team at Canvas Salon that her business is not a 'me', its a 'we'.
For the Millennial generation, business and personal lives are intertwined. While we can take as many technical classes and color classes as we want, Stefanie's brand is also to coach about how to feel in the hairdressing world. Client wants a redo? Is critical feedback hard to hear? She teaches hairdressers how to ask for what they want.
Stand ground in a professional way.
How to be grateful.
Have a positive mindset.
Come up with a resilience plan.
Don't be an attrition number.
I love Origin stories. Spiderman, Hulk, my personal favorite is Wolverine. I love Salon Colab's Origin story.
“Did you ever have one of those moments of 'I can't do this anymore, I'm too broke?'” I asked. This was a hard question to ask; I have never seen Stefanie Fox be anything but positive when it comes to industry talk.
“Every day for the last three years,” she answered immediately. “Since I opened a hair salon. I thought 'what the f&%k am I doing this for?' I haven't paid myself yet. But I get into the work and I ride this high and a hairdresser is the same way when they just get out of school. Life is 'yay! Beauty!' and then you get into it and you go 'nobody told me I would be this broke and this stressed and work this many hours and feel this unappreciated.'” That's where the need for powerful leadership came into play for Stefanie. A year ago, inspired and simultaneously weighed down, she realized she needed collaboration, connectivity with peers. Salon Colab was born.
Stefanie's own Origins story involves some kick back; people in her life who thought being a hairdresser was beneath her. She muses on why that is the perception and what did stylists do as a collective to contribute to that. Decades ago if you didn't make it into college, you went to beauty school. Then Vidal Sassoon started the world seeing hairdressing as a visual art, with incredible skill. In the 21st century, we understand that we are people and we are entrepreneurs, chemists, rock stars, architects, psychologists, and daymakers.
Stefanie believes it starts with education. Education from the top down “How to Lead an A Player” and education from the bottom up “How to be an A Player.” With room to meet in the middle, Stefanie Fox is determined to be a connector, and to teach others how to connect. With themselves, with co-workers, with leaders and hairdressers and clients. Kind of like how I pride myself on having a mechanic, a plumber, a bounce house guy and a chain mail guy (because you never know) Connection is vital.