Whether you’re a new or seasoned professional, working as a salaried employee, or you’re a booth renter, there is one thing that all industry professional have in common: you must have your own personal “tools of the trade” kit.
In school, you typically receive a student kit. Student kits are a great starting point as your “tools of the trade” and is an important facet of being a successful industry professional. Usually, your student kit provides you with the necessary tools to master your craft, but once you enter the working world, you'll need to continue building your kit to support your career growth. Certainly, your “kit” should be viewed as a professional investment. After all, these are the tools that you will be using daily to service your customers.
Unfortunately (or perhaps I should say, fortunately) building your kit is an ongoing process. Just as quickly as trends change, so do professional products and tools. It’s imperative that you continue to build your kit throughout your career. Replace items that are broken or that have become obsolete. Continue to research the latest tools on the market to make your job easier and to help you provide your customers with "WOW" service.
Here are some helpful ways to build your “tools of the trade” kit.
Stay Current: As quickly as trends change, so do professional products and tools. After all, these products and tools are designed to recreate the trends you’re reproducing for your guests.
Pay Attention To Industry Icons: Follow top leaders in the industry and review their blog posts about products and tools they personally use. Often, you'll also get exclusive deals that brands share with these icons which will save you money on new tools and products (it's a win-win!)
Subscribe Industry Publications: Sign up to get emails and print subscriptions to your favorite industry publications. These publications are great resources for the newest and latest for industry professionals.
Attend Trade Shows: Throughout the year there are several industry trade shows that you can attend. These shows can be an excellent opportunity to not only hear about the latest tools, but often get a chance to see them in use. Learn more about attending your first trade show here.
Stick To A Budget: If you find yourself in the market to purchase items for your kit, I always suggest making a kit budget. Once you have your budget you can set realistic purchasing goals and buy tools that will bring in money, not waste it.
Use Your Resources: Speak with your salon or spa owner or manager and ask if you can purchase necessary tools/equipment through the salon or spa. Often, salons can negotiate a discount when they are ordering larger quantities.
Network: Network with your local product manufactures/sales reps. Often through outside connections, you can hear about promotions or sales or even purchase gently used items.
Look Online First: Do your research and look for items available online. You'll be able to easily compare prices from vendor to vendor and save time.
Your “kit” is an extension of you and your services. Making the commitment to continue building it is making an investment in you and your customers.
Photo: Shutterstock | Africa Studio
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Patti Wanamaker brings 21 years of experience to the Milady team where she currently serves as an Implementation and Training Specialist. Her intimate understanding of the salon, school, and beauty industry comes from 18 years of hands-on experience as a multi-faceted training specialist, including 8 years of salon and spa ownership of 3 salons with annual sales of $5 million. Her experience in all 3 areas of our industry allows her to think outside the box and develop innovative training that inspires and empowers beauty industry professionals.
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