top of page

8 Valuable Lessons for New Hairstylists: What I Wish I Knew When Starting Out

Tips for becoming a New Hairstylist
Annique Louis Owner of Sand + Sol Co.

Have you ever started something and thought later “That would have been nice to know”? Me too! I have come up with a list of things I wish I knew after/before/ in the early stages of becoming a cosmetologist.

Once you become a cosmetologist you are an entrepreneur

I don’t care if you work in a salon and are paid a commission or if you decide to be a suite owner and work alone. You have to market yourself and fill your books to have an income. Even in a full-service salon, the front desk can only do so much when it comes to booking and you cannot solely rely on the salon to bring you business.

Hit the pavement

Old-school marketing is not dead. You should have business cards, yard signs, passive marketing like stickers, and merch just all floating around. I left my business cards at my local nail salon and gained so many clients from that. Sometimes it for sure isn’t what you know, but who you know!

Apprenticeships are not bullshit

As a salon owner, I wouldn’t even consider bringing on a new stylist to hit the ground running without having them complete an apprentice or an assistant program. This is because school teaches you the rules and how to pass the state exam, but under no circumstances does the school provide you with all the scenarios you will encounter and how to solve them.

Always keep learning!

If you take what you learn from school and from your apprenticeship, assuming you listen to me and complete one, you will be an outdated stylist in about 6 months. In a world of social media and imitating celebrities, we need to keep up like we are keeping up with the Kardashians! The moment you don’t know how to do the 90s blowout that is trending on TikTok because Hailey Bieber said so, you’re screwed. Keep up.

Being an educator is not the peak of your career- being a leader is

When I was starting in the industry the career trajectory was a little something like this; graduate, assist, commission stylist, booth rent, suite owner, hire an assistant, become an educator, and live the six-figure stylist dream. Wrong-o babycakes! Let's see the things I skipped, graduating and assisting were done at the same time, I was never a booth renter and I didn’t hire an assistant before I became an educator. Am I an educator now, no. Why? Because educating and being a leader in the industry are different. At this point in my career, leading stylists to beautiful career success with awesome techniques and business tools is way more rewarding than educating a company that doesn’t care very much about you from the educator next to you. Remember when I said becoming a cosmetologist is becoming an entrepreneur- same applies to being an educator.

You don’t have to stop at six figures

I remember starting in the industry as an apprentice making 30k, honestly probably less, I bought this shirt that said “six-figure stylist”. When I bought it it was a goal, when I wore it I felt some type of way because what if someone thought I was, but I actually wasn’t OMG, and then I became one and wear luxury shit and drive a luxury car- but what now? I just chill at six figures? Wrong again, Debbie! YOU KEEP GOING! Once you achieve the industry goal of “six-figure stylist” be a seven-figure stylist, be a six-figure stylist with a seven-figure brand. Be. Do. Have. Baybeee.

Have freaking fun! Above all else have fun!

Your fellow stylists are not your competition. Don't waste your time worrying about what they're doing or saying about you. Instead, focus on attracting the right clients to your business. Find your niche, and don't be afraid to Marie Kondo for your services. Offer only what you enjoy and excel at, and your business will thrive.

Lastly niche down-

You can offer all services, I do, but I only advertise what I want to do and what I am really good at. If I advertised everything I offered my IG would be a cluster fuck and I would be doing a shit ton of services I don’t like. Niche down and Marie condo that ish, if it doesn’t bring you joy, give it to the stylist next to you haha.

In conclusion, starting as a cosmetologist is a journey full of ups and downs, but it's also incredibly rewarding. By remembering these tips and always striving for growth, you'll be well on your way to success in this exciting and ever-changing industry.


Annique L

14 views0 comments


bottom of page