Monday, September 23, 2013

Working as a hair stylist in Los Angeles

Billy Lowe on set - Fall 2013
I suppose a lot of people wonder what it's like to work as a hair stylist in Los Angeles and in Hollywood.  It's fun to see the stars in peoples' eyes when they see a hair and makeup room or photos of one. It's certainly a unique opportunity and very different from working in a salon day-to-day, however just like any other profession it can have its ups and downs.  

First and foremost, as a hair stylist, clients expect you to be "on" at all times.   Imagine going to your hair stylist and having them grumble and complain during your visit.  But the truth is, hair stylists have good days and bad days just like everyone else.  And whether in the salon or working in production we, too, have those work moments just like everyone else.  

Being on set, unlike a traditional salon setting, means..............
having a bag packed and ready to go at all times and many crew call times can be as early as 5AM and ending at 6, 7, or 8pm.  12-15 hour days are not uncommon.  Additionally, a set stylist can land a "gig" that lasts one day, two days, or perhaps an entire season or more with work often seeming unpredictable.  To build a salon clientele for the stylist that specializes in set work is often quite difficult because the two schedules often collide.

Next, hair stylists that work on set are often dedicated to one or two actors (AKA principles) whereas hair stylists in the salon can see anywhere from 5-10 clients per day if not more.  A steady salon clientele means more predictable income, more consistent referrals, and opportunities to drive your own career.   Set stylists often cap-out at specified union rates and many times don't have the opportunity to raise their day-rates.  

So I guess it just all depends on the type of work one is interested in.  I happen to enjoy both and have kept both on the radar throughout my career.  Much of my work has been with larger corporations helping them with event strategies to drive brand awareness such as sweepstakes winners, product launches, retail sales campaigns, marketing events, executive retreat beauty events, etc etc.  These corporate events can be larger ticket items and last only a few short days, but have huge results on sales and brand enhancement.  Lucky for me - I've been able to enjoy all of the above.  

If you're new to the industry, considering a career change, or perhaps wondering "what's next" for your journey as a hair stylist, I have often enjoyed the opportunity of working with talent, helping shape their careers, and working through some changes in their lives.  I would love to speak with you whether you live in Los Angeles or anywhere else and would be happy to develop any career strategies with you.  Consultations can be as few as 2-3 conversations or ongoing work together.   

If you're not in the industry and reading along just for fun, a hair stylists career is just like any other.  But it comes with a great sense of pride, integrity, responsibility, creativity, and so much more.   My hope is that you let your beauty professional know how much you appreciate her or him for the time and devotion you spend together and the amount care given for you, your beauty needs, and the relationship you have together.  

Yours in beauty, 

Billy Lowe


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