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but you may have to learn how to juggle a bit.

For the second installment of “questions I am asked about editorial styling” I am going to tackle the tricky icky subject of salon vs editorial.

Let me start my repeating the fact that I am nothing more than a collection of my experiences and preferences and can only share that which I know. To clarify, this means take when I say and run with it in a positive way but if it does not work for you or has not been your experience, sorry!! 🙂

Moving on.

Let us take a few sample scenarios I have been given:

Starting from O:

Building a strong salon clientele is not easy and neither is building an editorial career. However one can say than in a salon you have a “go to place” that you can pick according to clientele (high-end, young, punky. mens, soccer mom). If you have done your research you have chosen a place with walk-in traffic, in an area that works for you and with the best $ situation for you (rental, commission, base + commission, assistant etc). This means that by simply stepping into a building your chance of getting to do hair are pretty high and it is your job to keep those clients coming back.

With editorial at first, and sometimes for always, you will be working freelance. First of all just like choosing the right salon now you have to choose te right city. What kind of clients do you want? L.a. commercial or N.Y fashion…how about Texas Bridal (all generalizations)? However unlike salon you have no way of guaranteeing “traffic” or pay.

Now the main question – instead of “either/or” can one do both? Sure! I did! I love the salon because I loved my clients so I worked two days a week in salon and kept the rest of my days open for shooting. This meant that a weekend was never guaranteed but bills got paid and I built my book! Did I on occasion have to turn down bookings from one of the two worlds to keep the other one going strong? Sure, but this is where the juggling comes in. If you are nice to your contacts and stay true to your dreams, it all works out like it is supposed to.

Career Shift Salon to Editorial:

So, you work in a salon already and want to start on an editorial path? Awesome, here are a few things to figure out. How flexible can your salon be with your bookings i.e. do you work at the kind of salon that has mandatory shifts or do you rent and come and go as you please? Are you a salon owner and are able to manage your clientele by distributing certain services to other stylists in your salon while you are out without neglecting your clients? Also, are you ready to spend many of your precious off days doing hair and testing to build your book? There is no doubt you are an amazing salon stylist but the shooting world is a little different so this means that even if you have 20 years of salon experience…you may not have a portfolio and it may take a hot minute to start booking paid jobs…or any at all. With that said it can only further your career and bring it to amazing new heights so if that is your dream work out these logistics and make it happen!

A few misconceptions when making the leap from salon to editorial:

“All photo shoots pay a ton of money”– sorry, but no. Sure a Gucci campaign does, but shooting an editorial for an indie magazine does not. You will get paid work eventually but usually, especially in the start  – it will come in the form of lookbooks and web campaigns. So, if you are a busy stylist who is charging 150 for high lights and then 50 for a blowdry and getting 50% commission. . .you may not be seeing the $$$ you are used to seeing. Make sure your motivation is your LOVE for styling hair for shoots and your AWE for the fashion and arts industry, not the benjamins. (yes, I just said that.)

“Working as a session stylist you get to be totally artistic and do whatever you want” – again, sorry, but no. You are working for clients just like in the salon, except now you are responsible for marrying together the hair with make-up, wardrobe and everything else. That or someone gives you an exact image of what they want. I love it because I am always up for the challenge and love making THAT perfect look happen, seeing all the forms of art come together. When I want to be 100% creative, I organize my own shoot and attempt art directing. So in the end a client is always a  client and their needs come first.

“Insert rude comment”– There are TWO very important lessons I took from my college experience that have guided me though my current career (good to know all those loans served for something). First of all, never “yuck someone elses yum”. Explanation? Simply put my style may not be yours. THAT is what makes this career choice amazing. We are all capable of creating all looks if we have the foundations but each one of us has a personal flair which makes a look our own. So where as I may be more soft and ethereal with a classical background another person may be more rocker chic with a touch of anime (who knows?! ). But, who am I to “yuck their yum”, it takes all kinds. The second lesson is that an assignment is not up for interpretation. Like I said before we are hired by a client and have to make them happy, so if that client asked for a 1980’s side pony….I am going to give that client a 1980’s side pony hoping that it either works, or we change it.

The truth?

Both the salon and editorial world are amazing when you love to do hair. They both offer very different forms of rewards. The road and challenges are justified by the love of the art and the desired end result. I encourage you to do what works for you whether it be salon, editorial or both. Who can choose between the no longer bummed client who smiles and thanks you after a new cut and color or the pictures of your work in a magazine…only you!!!

Baci e Buona Fortuna!