Here are Some Windrush Encouragements For Afro Hairdressers Struggling With Their Transition Into Business.
Wheeeennnnnn I decided I was going to become a ‘serious’ stylist, I faced so many challenges and the biggest one (as I have only come to realise) was myself. I was and continue to be my biggest challenge and having spoken to a fellow stylist I know I am not the only one. When I wrote my first blog for Afrocks I did not sleep the night before publication. People, the doubt that plagued me that night…even bush tea couldn’t help me.
Actually, it was our content manager Nathalie that highlighted my issue when she ran the first edit. I had referred to myself as a business woman followed by “lol” and she deleted it with a comment reminding me “no lols you ARE a business woman”. As much as I moaned in another blog about “bad customers” and people not respecting our craft, these past few weeks has made me look at us, the stylists and the responsibility we have to ourselves to take ourselves seriously and respect our own craft.
Due to #GDPR I won’t even go into the events that inspired this but I will say, sometimes the bad treatment we receive from clients is encouraged by our own desire to please. Styling is so personal for some of us, that when we undersell ourselves it is the most defeated of feelings. During this conversation with my fellow stylist, I recognised all of the things she was saying, I understood her way of thinking. Although the event would have left her unnecessarily out of pocket, I understood why she was prepared to undertake this and this is because at the heart of every good stylist is the desire to make people happy. Establishing boundaries is the hardest thing a stylist will face when attempting to turn their ‘hustle’, their passion into a business but it is essential and necessary. The transition is daunting especially in a field with so much competition. Attempting to create means putting yourself out there, vulnerable to criticism and comparisons. When a client says to you “I want knee length, micro braids and I only want to pay £50 and you need to provide the hair” (ok, slight exaggeration but I’m not far off some incredulous customer expectations) part of you may think there is no chance but then the other part asks ‘you who do you think you are?’. The doubt and lack of confidence in your own ability will make you more inclined to entertain haggling over your prices (that and if your gas is on emergency).
As I continue on my Afrocks journey, I have realised I too have allowed doubts and fear to prevent me from putting myself forward. The more I consider the Afro Movement and its significance the more I feel the need for a Stylist movement. The Movement has forced me question a number of things that have made me uncomfortable, sad, angry and humbled. It has also allowed me to meet some truly inspiring people. People who have told me I can when I was saying I can’t do this anymore #teamafrocks, people who have stepped in to care for my child so I could go dream chasing #teamfamily. People who have heard my ideas and even if they were unfeasible they still leant me their ears. So, I have decided to pay it forward and offer support to Afro stylists struggling with taking their business to the next level.
2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the Windrush Generation arriving in the UK, in homage to them, below is some #windrush encouragement for Stylists struggling with their transition into business.
“You are not doing this for no reason, it will pay off. If you are looking for a career with immediate gratification then Afro styling is not for you.”
One One Cocoa Full Basket!
Be patient! You may not have weekly or daily bookings. You might not be doing the type of styling you desire but stick with it. Get networking! This is difficult if you are used to working alone and sometimes cultural norms hold us back. I remember going to my first networking event and hearing my grans voice in my head “but you can’t just go inna yourself in people conversation”. The thought of introducing myself to strangers made me feel both ill and forward. For some of us, it takes time. Be patient with the process and determine what kind of stylist you want to be. One step (cocoa) at a time.
New Broom Sweep Clean But Old Broom Knows All The Corners
Now, I usually hear this saying when talking about relationships, friendships, family. Many will read it and see it as you should not throw away the old for the new but for me and styling it suggests we need a blend and balance of tradition and innovation. When I came back to styling after a 2 year break, I was annoyed by new techniques that I did not know (no lie, it was upsetting). Sometimes we get stuck in our comfort zone, safe in techniques we excel at. This is ok for those that are happy to stick to their preferred technique but if you are only refraining from learning new techniques out of fear then you should consider your professional and personal development. This is relevant to techniques as well as being open to new ways of working.
If You Want Good Your Nose Have To Run!
Be prepared to sacrifice! Sacrifice your time, your energy, your money and your fingers! Every time I have that ‘I can’t do this’ moment, I always end up with my mother’s voice in my head telling me this! If styling is what you are committed to then I am sure you are already making sacrifices but when you take your business onto the next level you may find this only intensifies. If you are lacking in motivation, make this your mantra! You are not doing this for no reason, it will pay off. If you are looking for a career with immediate gratification then Afro styling is not for you. It takes commitment and hard work and there will be times when you want to break all your combs and burn your business cards but just remember this is what you have to do in order to get where you want to be.
Every Dog Have Him Day And Every Puss Him 4’o Clock
Your time will come! Whenever that is! You may see a fellow stylist that is making bigger waves than you, getting more recognition and likes, creating better styles. If this usually compounds your feelings of styling inadequacy please contact me so I can give you a good talking too! Being able to accept that what is meant for you will come to you is a hard lesson but one worth learning. We encourage Afrocks stylists to engage with one another and support each other. Self doubt is not helped by social media vehicles we depend on, everyone is doing better than you, everyone living their ‘best’ life and you’re just trying to catch a break. Recognise it for what it is, make this ‘my time will come’ attitude take you through those bouts of negativity.
“Stop worrying! Easier said than done but if you are reading this and it is resonating with you then you are supposed to style. Lack of confidence and fear holds us back not lack of skill or desire.”
One Hand Can’t Clap
I love this saying! Brings back memories – my mum used to tell me this by means of bribery, her way of reminding me that at some point I will need her so I better comply with whatever she wanted me to do. Teamwork and collaboration are your friends. I previously wrote about a lack of trust within our profession, something that is thankfully changing. As a mobile stylist you work in isolation so it can be challenging when trying to promote your services if your confidence levels have dipped. If this is the case, contact me and I will give you a good talking too. Working with others is essential to your growth!
One Pound Ah Fret Can’t Pay One Ounce Of Debt!
Stop worrying! Easier said than done but if you are reading this and it is resonating with you then you are supposed to style. Lack of confidence and fear holds us back not lack of skill or desire. Once upon a time we were told we were not allowed to have dreams…that is over! We are in a time (and a city) where people are genuinely rooting for you, even if they do not know you (I am one of them!). Mindfulness is so important and remember that hard times are the backdrop of your testimony. Stop fretting and start creating.
Rain Never Fall At One Man’s Door
We are all in this together! At Afrocks we have created a space for stylists to get advice, share and learn from one another. The development of stylists is important for us and will become more prominent as we expand.As an afro stylist, you are contributing to the resounding message of self acceptance and love. You are more than JUST a stylist and you are doing more than JUST hair. The question was who’s loving you? The answer is, it doesn’t matter as long as you start with yourself. As cliche as it sounds, it’s the only way to see past whatever it is that is making you question/undermine your god given talent.
If you are a stylist in need of advice don’t forget to check out the following blog post we’ve written for you:
– Afrocks’ Afro Hair stylists guide to personal health, safety and self-care
– 6 ways for freelance natural hair stylists to get more clients
Hello! My name is Simone, I am Hair & Business manager at Afrocks. I am a London-based self-taught natural hair stylist and braider. Available for booking across London on Afrocks.com
You can also review my work on my instagram page Hairpassion UK