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Hair Stylist Talk with Kristin Lingstadt
Kristin Lingstadt is an entrepreneur and hair stylist in Edmonton Alberta with over 15 years experience in the industry. After years spent working in downtown salons and participating in exciting projects like fashion week and bridal fantasy, Kristin currently styles hair from her home based salon studio. Kristin has a heart for relationships and creativity which she expresses passionately through her work with clients.
Hairstylists and barbers cut and style hair and perform related services. They are employed in hairstyling or hairdressing salons, barber shops, vocational schools, health care establishments and theater, film and television establishments.
People working as a hairstylist have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada. Labour demand and labour supply are expected to be broadly in line for this occupation group over the 2019-2028 period at the national level.
Some secondary school education is required.
Completion of a two- or three-year hairstyling apprenticeship program or completion of a college or other program in hairstyling combined with on-the-job training is usually required.
Several years of experience may replace formal education and training.
Employers may require applicants to provide a hairstyling demonstration before being hired.
Trade certification for hairstylists is compulsory in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, British Columbia, the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified hairstylists upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.
Wages vary across Canada depending on the province or territory.
(Visit the jobbank.gc.ca Canadian Website For Most Recent Numbers)
Full Length Episode:
Complete Episode Transcript
I always love talking to people that own their own businesses because not only are you applying your trade but you’re also owning and running a business which are two entirely different things.
But I want to start your story by asking you what kind of a high school student were you? I was not the greatest high school student.
If we’re talking considering education academic, I was really average like sixties and seventies.
I disliked math but I loved art and English and creativity.
So I worked all through high school to even then I was ready to get a job or a few jobs and be working.
When you graduated from high school, did you immediately start a path down to what you’re doing? Now, or did you do something else? Oh, you did.
OK, so from high schools in high school, like in the grade 11 and 12, just the place has the hair program, like the cosmetology program.
So I was doing that already in high school and finished that program and then just went straight from there to an apprenticeship program at Marvel College at Marvel OK, and that what’s involved with your education at Marvel? AM I pronouncing it correctly.
Or no, Marvel College.
So that it depends on what level you have, but because I had the two years of high school, I just had to do about four months of schooling there.
If you were to go in fresh out of high school with no high school cosmetology, you do a whole year of education program there and it’s involved.
It’s haircutting coloring theory, everything that you need to know.
A lot of chemistry about hair.
What is the class like when you’re going through that program? Are they bringing people? I don’t think you jump immediately into working with people, do.
You or not? No.
Certain people come from like small towns around Edmonton, all over Alberta, even will come to Marvel College.
So you’ll start with because I had already worked on people in with hair in the high school, all those initial programs with a pretty fast track, you just have to like show you that you know all your theory.
So you would start with theory, the basics of hair, even the basics of skin and beauty and taking care of yourself that way.
And then you would move into like just more theory.
So then the chemistry of color, the chemistry and angles, everything about hair cutting basically, and technique, you learn all those techniques and then you eventually get manikins and you would start on mannequins and practicing.
And you’re in a group of maybe 15 people and so you have to pass through all of that and know all your theory on paper and on a fake head first.
And then you would slowly in between each module, they integrate you into the salon setting that they have set up there.
And you basically have to get everything checked with the professional, like your teacher or your coach, and they would take you step by step.
So you’d start with just haircut or just like school or set or just styles and then gradually work out.
But they’re teaching you how to formulate, how to mix color, how to weigh your color and your peroxide or whatever chemicals you’re using as you go.
How nervous are you when you’re working with a person for the very first first time? Not nervous at all now and not much now.
No, but actually I was never nervous.
I was never nervous even in school.
I was just it was fun and I didn’t care if you mess up you there’s always a way to fix things.
In my job, if you’re creative, naturally creative, you can find ways to fix it.
So that was never a problem for me.
I would say that was probably one of my strengths going through college.
They would often my teachers would often grab me to help other students who maybe were a little bit more nervous and support them.
Do you think that’s your personality or do you think it was the education and classes that you were doing that gave you the confidence that when you first worked with someone that you were ready to do it? It was definitely my personality.
I think there just is are these are extrovert, extroverted people.
And so I was just ready to get into and I’m super creative, likewise.
So, I mean, really, I did art a lot and did a lot of crafting as a kid and even was cutting hair when I was in daycare, really.
And so I was already very comfortable with the fabric of hair.
OK, are you called a hair stylist or what is the proper.
You can do? Stylist, hairdresser, hair designer? People have all sorts of terms now.
A hairdresser feels a little older, like I think we’ll go with hair stylist.
So you graduate from Marvel.
Let’s talk about your first experience working in the trade in the industry.
So in when you’re in the college, often salons will come to the college and they’ll put up ads or they’ll recruit even.
So I was top honors and I was graduated early, ready to go out early.
So right away my teacher just was like, Hey, this salon wants a girl, do you want to go? Was, Yeah, let’s go.
So I just went and that was a salon called Evolve and it was right off 124th street in a really, really old house you built in like the 1800s.
It’s so old.
And so that was a really funky, cool setting to kind of start up I wasn’t there for long.
And then I swapped over to another busy salon downtown called Avonte, which was in the city for years and years and years, and really well known.
How does it work when you’re styling for somebody else like I know you, we’re going to get into the fact that you own your own business now but when you’re working from someone else, what’s involved? So in the beginning, straight out of school, like you pay your dues and you work under stylists, so you’ll often do all the technicians show your support, you’ll watch them do a lot of haircuts, they’ll mix color, you’ll rinse clients, wash hair, make coffees and lattes, do runs to the product store, like that kind of stuff.
You really do do that, and then you’ll slowly integrate and work on your own, your own hair and your own clients and that’s actually super integral.
That’s like a really important part, I think, of becoming a really good hair stylist and then there’s different options.
You can there’s commission based hairstyling, there’s hourly pay, there is chair rental, so you can pay a monthly fee there’s actually so many different structures now in Edmonton.
I I would say your best that would be like a chair rental.
Do you think that’s most common? A chair rental? No.
Like if you were to work in a hair salon at a mall or in that type of setting, like a strip mall or chatter, you’d probably getting an hourly pay with a commission base.
And those are the most common.
Mostly, I would say it is shifting now into more chair because hairdressers the hair styling world has really taken off since the integration of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
And so we’re way more able to get our name out there and to recruit our own own clients and things like that.
So I think chair rentals are definitely what stylists want more of, especially if you want to be successful.
You want to make honestly the most money you can make for your time.
Well, let’s talk about some of your positive experiences.
Has there been have you worked on anything that you’re most proud of? Yeah, I think early in my career, working at that salon, Avante, we were really involved in the bridal expo, downtown bridal shows, bridal hair, and that’s super creative and super fun, almost avant garde side of hairdressing and we worked with Fashion Week, Edmonton Fashion Week, and one of my projects that I worked on that I was telling you about a couple of weeks ago was that Johnson, who is a designer and that was super fun.
And we were just it was just so creative.
A lot work, a lot of hours, but a high energy environment and we famous people and stuff.
So that was really fun.
And then even I plateaued into our I moved into my own bridal company for a few years and worked with another salon in the city doing a lot of weddings and just tons of fun up to sales and more creative style.
So that was fun.
And then to working at Yvonne to like we worked with the Oilers, we did a lot of like the Oilers hair and yeah, so I worked on a few Oilers in my early days, which were super fun.
No Oilers that anyone would know now.
Oh, I would.
And for our listeners that aren’t from Edmonton Oilers are a National Hockey League team and in Canada hockey is everything.
You mentioned that it was a lot of work, but is this something that you love to do that you weren’t feeling stress with that? And I know we discussed your personality, you seemed quite confident.
Was there stress when you were working with Betsey Johnson? You definitely have a little bit of like heightened excitement and stuff, but we had such a good team, like we were like a team of style and sort of like 15 of us going together.
So I mean it was busy and we’ve created vision plans and vision boards and planned it out and mapped out this whole thing of creativity.
But so no, I wasn’t nervous, just excited.
You have a skill set that you could basically take anywhere in the world.
Have you utilized that skill set by, by maybe traveling? Yeah, actually.
And even with traveling and going through you know, your twenties and I did a backpack trip through Southeast Asia and Australia and I took my scissors and opportunities did arise that you could cut hair on the beach or elsewhere for, for pay or drinks or just for fun.
So it was really good.
And then going to Australia, I did end up getting a job and it actually did help me even to get immigration papers to move there full time because at the time they were kind of looking for a hairstylist.
So that was a great, great opportunity and super fun.
It’s just so fun.
When you were traveling with your scissors, how did you get your first clients when you were was it Thailand? Is that countries are clients? Like you’re hanging out, you’re talking years what do you do? Where are you from? I’m from Canada.
My hairstyle is, oh my gosh, I need a haircut.
Like it was like that.
It was like, I’ll give you, you know, 200.
But to cut my hair right now, it was very like just random and under the table kind of stuff.
I didn’t actually have a job in Thailand in hair, but I still use my skill set, made friends and relationships, connections.
OK, and where in Australia, where were you and how long were you there? Yeah, so I worked at a salon that was in Melbourne and the Islam is called The Edge and I wasn’t there very long.
I had set up for a program, but when you travel things happen and surprises happen and things change.
So I didn’t stay there very long, but it was downtown Melbourne.
It was really hustling, really bustling and I had just come off of, you know, coming home from Thailand.
So it didn’t end up sitting with where my direction was taking me, but it was still a really great experience learning and being in that setting there.
So you finish your time in Australia, did you come back to Canada and what made you decide to work for yourself and run your own business? So when I came back to Canada, I did go back to my old salon that I had left for a little while and then things changed throughout the industry into my family and my life.
And I had a friend who just said, Hey, I have a space, like why don’t you come work for me? And at the time my salon that I was at was really going through some big shifts and some big changes.
So it was a good time to kind of maybe take that as an opportunity.
That was really scary.
But was with my skill set with with hairstyling, I always knew like I could always go back to a big salon like they love good hair salons to have a clientele.
And so it was like, What do I have to lose? I should try this.
So I went out on my own and tried and it was great.
I didn’t look back.
What are some of the challenges operating your own business? So definitely you are everything, so you are the cleaner I am because I’m on my own in a studio space of my own.
So I’m the cleaner, I’m the receptionist, I’m the email contact, I’m all those things and the hair stylist.
So you do take on a lot more responsibility that way and that’s all communication.
That’s just communication with people, with the public, with your style, with your clients.
And so that’s just a learning curve that you kind of have to grow in as time goes on.
But if you’re a good person, I think, you know and treat your clients well and try to take responsibility for your work, it’s something you can do.
Do you advertise at all or how do you find your clients? Is it word of mouth? Yeah.
So in the early days there was no Facebook or Instagram.
When I first started, it was very new.
So everything was word of mouth 100%, and doing programs like referral programs and having your clients kind of work for you and send you good clients looks like the base of my whole business.
And even to this day, I still have some of those first clients.
So that’s been a long time.
Now with social media and Facebook, you can utilize those tools way more, and people do like they do such a great job helping you to branch out.
They have other challenges.
I think to navigate, but they can be really helpful.
Do you think it’s easier now with all the social media? Do you think it’s easier to get like, yeah, your name and.
Yeah, yeah, I think it’s easier, but I also think the competition is way more accessible as well.
And so people have a lot of options.
I can really Google anything, pull up the hashtag and find ten different stylists.
So it’s different whereas when you’re working on like we’re like a referral basis, someone that you trust who has beautiful hair already has a relationship with you and so it’s just a little bit stronger of a connection.
Social media connects through photos and through a presented image where it’s like a referral is like coming from the heart and someone who already likes you.
Let’s talk about some of the jobs within the job.
You’re not only a hair stylist you’re an owner of a company, but I’m going to take a guess that you also play a role as a bit of a maybe a psychologist as you’re talking to people.
Do you like people? Kristen – I do.
OK, let’s go.
We’re definitely colorful people out there.
And I wouldn’t be a psychologist let me be counselor and listener, a good listener.
I listen a lot, but I’d give advice when advice is ask or sought after.
But you definitely wear a lot of hats, especially working with older population or whole families.
There’s a lot of dynamics that can come into play, like if I cut of wives and husbands hair or kids and like things like that, you you play the role of all sorts of things other than just hairdresser because you are an influence in their life.
So it’s fun, though, listening and hearing people.
I mean, there are moments of sadness.
Like I’ve walked through some stuff with clients over the years that is heavy personal things and personal lives, but I’m honored.
It could be dangerous to know are like, how often do you cut yourself? Have you ever cut a client.
I have had five people I working downtown.
I cut a businessman who was literally in a business suit and I cut his ear actually right here doing a hair cut on his lunch break and it just bled and bled and bled and kept bleeding.
And I thought, he’s never going to come back.
He’s getting this haircut for free, obviously.
But he did come back for years and years and we laughed about it.
But it shot myself so many times.
OK, so there is an element of danger in this job.
I’m I’m glad that he came back to you and didn’t leave because of it.
What do you love about being a hairstylist? I mean, we love I do love the creativity and the control of my time, my job.
And even now I’ve been doing it for a long time.
I can even choose what kind of hair I want to do and what I don’t want to do and things like that.
So I do love that.
But like I said before, I do love people.
And sometimes I find the connection for me is fun building relationship with people is fun or sometimes even cutting hair.
I mean, the gift of giving someone new hair a physical transformation within 3 hours is awesome.
Like I’ve had clients text me back and say, I feel so much better and lighter and just ready to take on my day after this new hair like that is amazing.
But in a client text you says, Hey, you really listen to me and gave me some awesome advice.
I’m so grateful.
I like that a lot.
Kristin, how do you handle constructive criticism? Or maybe if you’ve done something that a client maybe doesn’t appreciate, how do you handle that humility? I really am working for my client.
They are the boss.
It’s their hair, and I want them to love it because like I said, it helps them on their day to day how they feel about themselves.
So I just early on, you take responsibility and you offer to fix it in any way that you can.
And there usually is things you can do if it’s a personality clash that can be a little bit harder.
And sometimes you just have to be OK to say, maybe I’m not the right fit for you.
But often you give it a few tries and more times than not you can figure it out.
What kind of advice would you give to somebody considering in a career in being a hairstylist? I think I would say in the early days, you know, find a team that you can work with, that you love their work or you love what they’re doing, and that’s inspiring and it’s fun and you can learn with them and do that for a couple of years and really make sure you love what you’re doing and your job.
Find a mentor that wants to work with you and pour into you and build that confidence.
I think the confidence in the beginning is really key.
If you want a long career in hairstyling.
And what in what do you love about running your own business? I love the freedom of my time.
I get to decide my time and how much I work, and that’s just huge.
Just in love for life in general, your quality of life.
I have young kids, I have a family that’s important to me as well.
So having the ability to control my schedule is awesome.
What is one thing that you wish you knew before you began your career as a hairstylist? I’m probably how invested I would become even in some of those relationships.
You really build rapport and friendships with people, and I wish I would have known that.
Like, I thought it would be all business and all clients and clients and hair salons.
But actually you become so invested in people’s lives, and I’m not sure I would have changed that or what I would have done to maybe prepare myself.
But I wish I would have known that a little earlier.
What are some of the surprises that you’ve experienced throughout your career? Yeah, I think some of the surprises are how surprised you are as your career evolves and as clients come into your life and as they leave your life for many different reasons.
How that affects me as a person.
I was surprised when someone moved or if a client leaves you for any reason, how much that affected me, not just as losing their hair, but losing them as a friend or as someone that you would see.
Because as a hairstylist, you see people you get to know their life and their family life and everything, and you kind of develop a relationship.
There so I was surprised how much that would affect that affected me.
Kirsten, are there any myths or misconceptions about being a hairstylist that you could you could debunk.
I think one that’s definitely really prevalent now is using bringing in photos.
It’s always awesome to get a photo for inspiration for your hair and where you want to go.
But with the technology today, like I always call it the elusive filter, a photo filter.
So Pinterest and Instagram are amazing.
People use these beautiful light and then they use these high tech cameras and they put a filter on something and it creates this beautiful photo finish and I think hair stylist today really we’ve had to up our game.
Even the products have had to come up because to achieve that type of look all the time can be really hard.
So people have an expectation based on a photo that is fake.
And the hair stylist is supposed to deliver the desired look, which sometimes is impossible.
So the myth of the filter filtered hair, it’s a myth.
And I just want to thank you for coming on the show today.
I think you’ve offered some some great advice to to the listeners.
It’s been my pleasure.
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