With close to thirty years in the haircare industry, Tallulah “Lulu” Marcelin is a skilled hairstylist, makeup artist, and overall beauty image-maker. She is also a salon owner who knows the work that goes into creating a career and keeping it.
While the Covid-19 pandemic introduced a great deal of uncertainty, Marcelin shares some of her tips for salon success, no matter the business climate or outlook. These are five evergreen reminders for all stylists, but especially for someone just starting out.
1. Connect your passion to your problem
Just because you love hair does not mean you like all aspects of it. When you are just starting out, it’s important to try your hand with several hair categories to see what you are most passionate about. After learning coloring, extensions, wigs, braids, styling, and cuts, I was so bothered by unhealthy hair and scalps, and as much as I loved cutting and styling, scalp and hair treatments were the missing link. I had also suffered from seborrheic dermatitis as a child and my Mom spent years experimenting with herbs, trying to give me some relief… it worked! I have never had scalp problems again, my hair was so healthy and I was always accused of wearing a wig, which was a compliment. This problem became my passion, treat the scalp and the hair will follow.
2. Don’t be afraid to work with texture
No matter what your hair is like naturally, think outside the box and explore other textures. This could even give you an edge and allow you to stand out. The salon I worked at was predominantly Caucasian which meant the clientele had mostly straight or wavy hair…the opposite of mine and very exciting. I needed to be able to work with all textures, so I purposely set out to be different. This gained me such great experience, popularity and confidence in my career and I am forever grateful for having the nerve to explore.
3. Think about the future of the client’s hair
Don’t just style, cut or color because the client asks. Make sure that the client has the right canvas for what they desire and if not, this is a great opportunity for you, the stylist, to 1.) Go on a journey with them and help them reach their desired goal by caring for their hair regularly, and 2.) Create a relationship of trust and honesty so they know you care about their hair. Carefully tell them why their request is not the best and offer them an alternative. They will blame you for their beautiful tresses and be a client for life. Great hair starts with a healthy scalp and then preservation of length. Don’t compromise the integrity of the hair and scalp just for a temporary style.
4. Continually seek out education
After you get licensed, get your Masters by continuing to educate yourself on the latest hair styling trends and techniques, even if you don’t perform those services. Take classes, research online, and perfect your customer service. When your client has a question or needs a service you should be able to offer some sort of advice or information to point them in the right direction. For example, at my salon, I Love Lulu, we do not believe in categorizing hair types(4a, 4b, etc), but textured hair clients are very familiar with that system. We view hair in a different way and we take pride in educating our clients and sharing that with them. By doing this, it puts us in a category beyond just hair stylist and heads us in the direction of master stylist.
5. You are always working for yourself
Whether you decide to work for someone else’s business or be a sole proprietor, you are working for you. Your reputation, your integrity and your work ethic follows you wherever you go and should never be compromised based on an employer or client. Don’t hold back and not do your best because it’s not yours or for fear of building someone else’s success. Whatever seeds you sow, you will reap the harvest, so, be professional, be on time, and work with integrity and you will always have good success!
About Tallulah Marcelin
A promoter of strong, healthy hair, Tallulah “Lulu” Marcelin advocates the nurturance of both scalp and strand, and where possible, the use of natural and holistic products, such as those found in her exclusive I Love Lulu hair care line. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Tallulah is a graduate of the acclaimed Carolina Beauty School in Durham, North Carolina, received advanced cosmetology training at Mitchell’s Beauty Salon and Hair Academy, and trained in makeup artistry at M.A.C. Cosmetics. She enjoys servicing a bustling clientele at her popular I Love Lulu Hair Spa salon in Los Angeles, California, where she resides with her husband and three children.
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