With the previous and current economic climate in Alberta, many people have had to make career changes. At Delmar, many of our students both past and present have found themselves making a huge career change slightly later in life in order to support their families and/or taking the opportunity to pursue a passion that was laying dormant for many years. For many, they find it a daunting challenge going to school full-time and working while raising a family. However, many of our students have proven with hard work, dedication and perseverance, it can be done. Not only do we need to complete school but then we have to start at the bottom (often at minimum wage) in a salon accumulating apprenticeship hours. This can often be a financial burden on families. So why do we do it you ask? For the love of the industry! I reached out to Delmar graduate Juliana who is loving her career change. Here is her story:
Hello DELMAR blog family !
It’s a pleasure to be here and sharing some of my experiences! I’m Juliana Rachewiski , DELMAR May 2016 class graduate and New Talent hairstylist @ HairBenders Salon, Airdrie. I’m passionate about hair and making people feel beautiful! After all, who doesn’t like to feel and look beautiful?!!
Although Hairstyling was always my dream, I pursued a Bachelor in Marketing and Communication and worked at a bank for almost nine years. While it helped pay the bills, I would say I was unhappy because I always liked fashion and the beauty industry.
Transitioning into this industry was a long process, which began when I came to Canada. I really wanted to get involved but I chose to postpone my dream to raise my two boys. I was a stay home mom for 12.5 years.
When we moved from Toronto to Airdrie in 2015, I decided to do something for myself and to help my family as well. I thought about Esthetics and Nails but I felt that hairstyling would be more recession proof and at that time, Alberta was starting to feel the hit 😞. I asked some salons which school they would recommend and everyone recommended Delmar, as it is well known in the industry, they prepare their students for the government exams, and they have a partnership with Apprenticeship and Industry Training. That made my decision easy!
The first week at Delmar was great yet overwhelming. I was the oldest in the group and everything about hair was new to me. I wasn’t self-taught nor did I have prior experience. Some of the other girls had experience taking Cosmetology in High School or they had hairstylists in their family.
Oh my gosh, it was a hectic time learning everything from theory, to finger waves, roller sets, color wheels, cutting techniques, etc. There were so many things I never imagined we would have to learn. Foiling hair on time, and manoeuvring a marcel curling iron were huge milestones to overcome.
However, when I take on a challenge, I put 100% of myself into it! I have a super busy and unique family and it was definitely difficult to manage study time, practicing and finding time to work on all the projects…especially for a perfectionist like myself 😊.
Some people are bolder than others, more courageous I’d say. They go to school and face it without worrying how it will turn out. However, that was not me and I struggled so much in the beginning with the idea of making a mistake! After all, if you cut too much, you can’t glue it back on!
To all those interested in taking on this challenge which requires a lot of commitment, my advice is to use each minute you have in school to practice, do better and overcome your difficulties. If you need an instructor to hold your hand for you to get the hang of a movement with a tool, ask for it. Work as much as you can to build your confidence in dealing with people.
Hairstyling is a beautiful industry and extremely gratifying especially when you do amazing work on your client. There are no words to describe the satisfaction I feel when my client loves her/his creation!
However, it is a tough, competitive industry as well. It is definitely not a 9-5 job where you close your computer and go home. We work many hours and it can be a challenge to build your clientele, the money will be tight for a while and the learning has to be constant in order to offer the 5* service clients deserve. All of those extra hours working made me wonder if I had chosen the right career as I still have a family to dedicate myself to. However, all of the effort and work I have put in so far and knowing my clients are so happy and satisfied with their looks, makes me want to continue to grow and do better each and every day!
I have taken courses in both women’s and men’s cutting techniques, advanced color classes, extensions and business management. When starting out in a salon you will be required to build your clientele. This requires planning, promoting your business to get clients into your chair, upgrading your service, and retaining clients. Product knowledge is very important as well! It is part of the service we offer and it is important to educate clients on how to maintain their style/color and have a beautiful healthy hair. Everything is a circle of trust you build with your clientele.
Never take anything for granted!
- Clients will leave you for other stylists and new clients will come.
- There will be always a stylist that knows more than you; be humble, listen and observe.
- Find a salon that fits your personality; being unhappy at work makes people miserable and I have been there many times.
- Be kind and gentle; helping each other is a true “pay it forward” because everyone was once an apprentice.
Delmar blog family! I will say goodbye for now and I hope I have given you some points to reflect on and consider! Perhaps one day our path will cross 😉.
Whatever you do, do it with love and dedication! It will pay off!
Follow Juliana on Instagram at loveinthehair.by.jules