Is The Beauty Industry Right For You?
For many new professionals, choosing a career can be scary. We struggle with that little internal voice that asks, "Is this career path right for me?” We worry our friends and family won't support our decision or that when others hear we chose a trade vs. a college-degree career they'll judge us. It’s human nature to want to be accepted, supported, and recognized and when we receive that acceptance, it can often provide us with a sense of relief. That approval reassures us we made the right decision.
Unfortunately, when it comes to career choices, not everybody is going to give you the stamp of approval. And that's okay. It’s your life and at the at the end of the day, when you come home from work, feeling fulfilled because you are doing what you love, you will have yourself to thank. Getting the input from your support system for any big decision you are in the middle of making is always a good idea. Use the input wisely, gather your intel, weigh the pros and cons and once you decide, dive in head first and don’t look back.
To help you move past any insecurities about making the decision to pursue a beauty and wellness career, reflect on the three questions below:
- What is your heart telling you and what makes you happy?
- Who is responsible for your happiness?
- Who controls your success?
While we don’t know your answer for the first question, we can tell you this: only you are responsible for your happiness and only you can control your path towards success. If you think the beauty and wellness industry might be a good fit for you, here’s how to enter the industry.
The Beauty and Wellness Industry's Future
Whether you are just starting out or are making a career transition, the beauty and wellness industry is a wonderful career with many different paths. From working behind the chair, to working as a platform artist, to educating future beauty professionals, the choice is yours. The limitless possibilities for paving your own way are what makes this industry so extraordinary.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the beauty industry is predicted to grow 10% in the next ten years; that's 3% more than the nation's average. So, you can stop worrying about finding a job or making a living. Instead, focus your energy on owning your career decision. The only person who needs to believe in your choices, is YOU! Owning your career path is essential to your success.
You should know though, that the beauty and wellness industry is a state-regulated industry requiring licensure to perform any service on another person. Each state has its own set of licensure requirements for Cosmetology, Esthetics, Massage, and Nails. You can find your state’s requirements at American Association of Cosmetology Schools.
Finding Your Dream Job
The goal for most of us regardless of the path we choose in this industry, is to live well and have a little fun while doing it. Most of us measure our “job” based off a few simple tells.
- What does the pay structure look like?
- Is there a training program?
- Is there room for advancement?
- What is the reputation of the company, salon, business?
Although these things are important, they don't give a complete picture of what the vitals are of any business, or whether they're a good fit for you. When considering a new job opportunity, assess these areas.
Ask yourself, “How far am I willing to travel to get to work?” Consider the costs of getting to your dream job as you might not be making much in the beginning. Gas, public transit, and parking can be hidden expenses so prepare your budget accordingly. Also, remember, this doesn’t include the time lost during your commute. If you don’t have kids, these things might matter, but if you do have kids, weigh the costs of commuting to your dream job in the beauty and wellness industry against time spent with your family or doing other things you love.
Where is the job located? If you choose to work in a salon and you are beginning to build your clientele, location, location, location matters. It is up to you to drive your own business. It doesn't hurt when the salon is in an area that has a higher volume of traffic or is in a neighborhood full of fun, interesting people. That's not to say a salon with a less than desirable location will be unsuccessful, but it does mean you must work harder to get people in your chair. A salon in a busier neighborhood might also mean the neighborhood has a healthy economy and therefore, lots of disposable income!
Education usually ends up on the bottom of the list of things most people factor. Because we are part of an ever-evolving industry, we must stay competitive by updating and upgrading our practices. What does their training look like? Some salons and manufacturers have training programs, a few of them have good ones, and a few may not have anything in place at all. Working for a salon with a solid training program will help you avoid some challenges you may encounter early in your career. It's important to get a well-balanced range of education from product knowledge and sales to technical work, customer service, and much more.
Can you grow there? This may or may not be important to you. There are many hair stylists who aspire to be busy and nothing more, and that's awesome! There are many hair stylists who aspire to work in fashion, film, and education. If you fall into the second group, choose a salon with the opportunity to grow in those areas, or at the very least has the contacts or flexibility to support your aspirations.
What's the buzz? It’s important to work with a business, whether it’s a salon, manufacturer, or school, with a solid reputation. There is also the appeal of a new salon gaining momentum and riding the wave to the top. A solid piece of advice would be to do your research and due diligence on the salon or manufacturer before making your choice. Check websites, social media pages, and most importantly, reviews to get a feel for what customers are saying before you commit.
Culture and Core Values
What is the feel of the salon or company? Is it family-oriented or stuffy, high or low drama? Some people may not place a high value in building a healthy relationship with their team as long as they do well. If being part of a family is important to you, find a place where the culture is thriving. If social responsibility, sustainability, eco-friendliness, and community involvement are areas important to you, look for a company or salon that makes these things part of its core values. There are many companies and salons that base their business models off lifestyle. Consider whether the salon or company in question has the values and practices that reflect your own.
Finding your dream job is a lot like renting an apartment or buying a house. Create a list of amenities you'd like to have and when you start looking at places, check the boxes as you go until you find one that matches most. The unfortunate thing is that most people narrow their sights so much they jump into a job that isn't a good fit and costs both the salon/ company and themselves a lot of time and money. Still not sure where you might fit best? We can help you compare careers inside vs. outside the salon.
With so many options, how do you decide if this is the right path for you and once you do decide, where to go from here. Whether you're still dreaming of a career in beauty or are practicing on mannequins in beauty school, it's always a good time to set (or re-evaluate) your future goals. You might assume setting a goal is as easy as thinking it. Sure, deciding you want to open your own salon one day is the first step, but thinking it doesn't help you get any closer to meeting that goal. In order to truly make your dreams a reality, choose a career enhancing move, learn what skills that move requires, and then master those skills. Not only does this prepare you for your next step, it also helps you make more money along the way. Still not sure if a beauty and wellness career is for you? Take our beauty career quiz to explore more career options in the industry and get more specific with your goals. Showing options tailored to your skills and passions, it will help you set a goal and recommend tools to help you reach it faster.