For this months Editor Letter, I want to utilize this platform to drop a few gems on what I’ve learned with a newer generation of hairstylists. I’m in an interesting position because I started my career pre-instagram, but quickly learned to adapt and harness the power of social media.
As I’ve grown, I’ve always felt a huge responsibility to share my journey on social media because when I started out, nobody wanted to give away ANY information or knowledge. Even when I started Mane Addicts, I got a lot of pushback from older hairstylists who didn’t understand the idea of giving access or sharing their skills publicly. I wanted to change that.
There’s also an old culture of suspicion and competition among hairstylists, and I always talk a lot about the importance of collaborating, not competing. By sharing your skills with other people in your salon or on set, it will only make you ALL better artists. There truly is enough out there for everyone. Watch YOUTUBE, look at art books, slide into photographers, makeup artists, and other hairstylists DM’s and COLLABORATE. It’s some of the best sources of inspiration and will only make you that much better.
Use the tools you have, especially social media–it’s just as important as your scissors and your irons. You all have a platform and your unfiltered voice, so please don’t take it for granted. Putting your work on Instagram isn’t just about a picture that will get likes, it can inspire someone in any time zone!
Don’t get caught up in comparing your work to other artists because that will only make you overanalyze, question and doubt yourself. Don’t be afraid to put your work and ideas out into the universe! The world is moving so fast now so let it be inspiring and exciting to you. No longer is there just one exclusive group telling you whats good and what’s not. Now, we all have a voice.
Pick your mentors. Watch and work with as many hairstylists as you can, and that will help you come up with your own aesthetic. Don’t be afraid of HARD WORK. Keep in mind that all this didn’t happen for me overnight– I’ve had 10 years of working the fashion shows and dragging my kit around Paris, pre-Uber, might I add. And even before that, it was another five years of discipline + grueling but rewarding work in the salon and hours learning proper set etiquette.
Trust me when I say when things don’t work out, another door will open for you. I recently received an Icon of the Year award at the AHFA’s in Sydney, Australia and it’s so weird that I even get awards. I didn’t invent any of the hairstyles I do. What I did do was question authority, think outside of the box, and didn’t let people label me as only a “hairstylist.” And BTW, I’m still figuring out what I’m doing and learning as I go. From collaborating with the teams at Dyson, OUAI, Calpak, and Mane Addicts. I’m grateful that I get to create in so many different categories.
I hope to inspire you all to be your best and now you have a job. Because of your new tech savvy generation, the old guard sitting in boardrooms can’t ignore you anymore. The future of this industry is yours. I know your generation will be the one to not just concentrate on the dollar signs, but will think about helping others as you get success, and will make the world a better, smarter place.
xx Jen Atkin