How to be a team player when you work alone.

In my opinion, one of the greatest things about owning your own business is your ability to collaborate with so many amazing people in your own niche.  Lone rangers are just not so cool anymore.  We need each other, y'all, and here are some ways to do just that.

Go social:

I purposely seek out and follow as many local artists and business I can find in my niche.  Why? Because while I might have something good going on my own, magical things happen when we join forces.  I dare you to try this and watch what happens!

Join a cause: 

What are your philanthropic passions? Register your business with a charity and use part of your proceeds to benefit your community. If you don't have that ability, find creative ways give of your time and the services you provide. Not only will this help you make valuable connections but the feeling that comes from being part of the solution in our world is personally life altering. I promise you won't regret it. 

Create a cause:

Let's say you aren't able to find a cause that really tugs at your heart strings enough to get you motivated to rally alongside--create one! It doesn't take anything more that what you're already working with in your chest cavity to start a cause.  

These are just three ways to make your team of one into a powerful force.  

Until next time! 

With all my love and team spirit,

Abby

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Two questions you need to know to get unstuck.

Have you ever been in such a deep funk that you just can't seem to get out of?  A couple weeks ago I found myself in a downward spiral of negativity. I felt empty and then also a little frustrated that I was feeling that way.  A lot of terrible things had been happening in the world and it was really making me depressed--like hopeless and depressed. I literally cannot afford to be uninspired as being creative is a major part of my job description. Several days of this went by and I realized that even though I kept trying to get to the "root" of the problem I was only going deeper and deeper into this sad and frustrated state.  I kept asking myself things like, "Abby, what is making you feel like way?"  and, "Abby, why are you sad?" I thought these questions I was asking myself were going to help me pinpoint where this feeling was coming from but instead I just kept thinking of more reasons I could be sad. It was the most intense apathy I had experienced in a long time. I was starting to get desperate for a fresh breath of positivity but I just felt like I kept hitting a brick wall.  I finally decided that enough was enough and maybe I was trying to hit this thing from the wrong angle.  Einstein says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The feeling of insanity was beginning to get overwhelming so, I went back to the drawing board and started asking some better questions. My first question to myself was,

"Abby, do these sad feelings belong to you?"

The answer to that question is an absolute, undeniable and resounding NO! They are not mine.  So then the next question came naturally,

"If those feelings don't belong to me, what feelings do belong to me?

Just thinking about the feelings that do belong to me instantly felt lighter: happiness, joy, love, peace, restfulness, lightness, freedom, inspiration, etc. It was then that I finally was able to disconnect myself from the frustration and step into a better mental place. Shortly after this breakthrough it's like my inspiration highway was open again--thank goodness! There is just nothing worse than being trapped inside your own mind.  

Have you ever been stuck? What has helped you get out of your emotional funk?

Thanks for stopping by, yall.  Until next time!

With all my love and positive vibes,

Abby

How to be a successful hairdresser.

If you think having the greatest talent will pave your road to success you may be in for a little surprise. While talent is important it could also be your ruin if it's not gently intertwined with these few principles.  

Be teachable.

No matter what, you always have something to learn.  Take correction as a compliment! Believe me, I've been in so many situations where I could (and passive aggressively did) take someones advice and threw it back in their face.  "Don't you know how long I've been doing this?" It doesn't matter.  "Haven't we been hairdressers for the same amount time?" Doesn't make a difference. "What could you know that I don't?" More than I could imagine. Being teachable literally puts you on the fast track. It's not easy sometimes but it is imperative to having a truly successful career. 

Be better than you were yesterday. 

I read this once somewhere and it has always stuck with me.  You are only in competition with yourself.  You are only able to be truly better than you were yesterday.  It's great to look up to people and have inspiration to grow, but true greatness is what happens when we leave our old, destructive habits behind us and reach for who we truly are. 

Don't hate! Collaborate. 

Being a one-man show is not only lonely, it doesn't last very long either. It's amazing what can be created when we work alongside other creatives--it is magical!

Give back. 

Don't be stingy with that talent! Give it away as often as you can. Not only will you help others grow but it will exponentially sharpen your own skills. You never lose when you're helping someone else win. 

Have you ever seen the fruit of these mindsets dramatically reward you? I'd love to hear about it. 

With all my love and hair pins.

Abby

What I like to wear on-site: casual edition.

Over the years I've unintentionally created my own uniform for when I'm on the job.  It's pretty fun being able to actually design a look that sort of becomes your identity. 

 

These Paige jeans are my life. They are super stretchy and distressed in all the right places.  I have big thighs and a full booty so stretch jeans are the closest I can get to being in leggings all day and they offer a little more coverage.   

Maybe it's my age or size but as sexy as heels are to walk around town in, I just can't do it.  I still love them though so these Jeffery Campbell booties (mine are sold-out but these are just as good) are my go-to. Comfy yet sexy with a touch of 'don't mess with me' gangsta. 

The tank I'm wearing in this pic is from Vince and I can't find it (possibly because I've had it for like five years) but this one by T by Alexander Wang is amazing. It's a men's shirt but check the sizing chart and order according to your measurements. I think I might need like a dozen.  

I wear this necklace every single day of my life. It goes with everything and helps break up a boxy shirt. It could be feminine or masculine and just love it so much.  

Do you have a uniform that you've designed for yourself? Comment below and leave a pic!

With all my love and stretchy denim,

Abby

On going into people's homes.

When you work on-location you are usually going into people's homes. This is an incredibly important thing and how you handle yourself can make or break your reputation as a professional stylist. Home is where real life happens. You are bound to see arguments, messes, and your clients in their most comfortable environment.  There is a tangible feeling of vulnerability on your client's part and it is our responsibility to steward that vulnerability with the utmost care.  Here are a few tips to do just that:

  1. Be punctual. Try to arrive to your appointments a few minutes before you're due so you are ready to go the minute they sit in your chair. Running behind happens, and when it does it is important to communicate with the clients it will effect. If you think you may be late shoot a text (or a quick call) to your nexty. Respecting your client's time will mean a lot to them and even if your punctuality isn't perfect it will still help them develop a trust in you.   
  2. Have all your tools with you.  I am constantly moving my stuff around and there have been times when I have left things behind that I need.  While you can usually work around the problem without too many issues you will sweat less and give your client's a more quality service if you have all your tools. If you find yourself leaving things behind come up with a system to keep that from happening like a checklist or bag organization where you can visibly see that your missing an item. With a touch of extra planning you can save yourself mucho sweat beads.  
  3. Don't overstay your welcome. Some of my most beloved friends started out as clients first. We are 'daymakers' and we automatically feel close to the people we see often and make smile. However, not everyone of your clients is your bff and it's soooo important not to get too comfortable in their homes. I always try to err on the side of being "mostly hairdresser" than "mostly friend" even though we are both to them.  Unless they are begging you to stay, when you are finished with your work there, pack up, clean up, and be on your merry way. 
  4. Don't under-stay your welcome. This is where your intuition needs to kick in. Building a good rapport with your clients sometimes goes beyond just doing your job and heading out.  If they ask you to stay or invite you to something fun, by all means GO, but always keep in mind you are still representing your business and your brand so be professional!
  5. Leave them better than you found them. As a mom, this is something that makes the most incredible impression on me. When my daughter cleans up after herself I feel so grateful and it makes me want to keep her around a little longer. On a professional level, your clients should never have to deal with the mess you leave behind.  Always ask for a broom/vacuum to clean up hair.  Have a cloth or wipes to clean any leftover residue or spills on the surfaces you've been working on.  Place hot tools on a heat resistant pad. Doing these simple things will leave an huge impact on your clients and can help guarantee they'll be happy to invite you back again.  
  6. Be trustworthy. We hold more than hairdryers and flat irons as hairdressers, we hold our client's hearts. You may be the only person they share some of their most personal information with some days. It is our job to keep our hearts open and our mouths shut.                                                         

What are some valuable lessons you've learned as an on-location hairdresser? 

Leave me a comment below!

With all my heart and hairspray,

Abby

How to not be afraid of updos.

 

I know a lot of hairdressers that would rather eat dog food than do an updo on a client.  There is something about the unknown when you see an updo scheduled on your books that makes your stomach turn in fear.  I was that person for years until I realized that it's the easiest way to be an on-site hairdresser. Sure, there is a confidence that comes with doing them for awhile, but it is honestly super easy.  I probably shouldn't even be saying this because now you know I'm just a lazy person who can charge money for literally being lazy. Here are just a couple keys I've learned over the years on doing updos that will make your clients so happy and keep you in business.

  1. Make the wand do the work. This is an over-generalization but when it comes to updos, and more specifically wedding hair, even just a little bend in the hair can make the difference between a perfect updo and a pitiful one. I curl probably 90% of my clients hair before pinning it up. The curl leaves a much softer look and gives those pins some traction so they don't slip out.  
  2. Take it in sections. Many clients will bring you a picture of their desired updo. I have been handed some of the most intensely braided/twisted/crazy pictures of hair that have made my head spin.  This is normal, but not necessary.  First, find out what the client likes specifically about that picture.  They may like a part of it that you didn't even notice while you were being distracted by the swirly-whirlyness.  Most importantly, look at the style in sections. When broken down, you will notice that maze of design could be merely a teased-up bun interwoven with a few simple braids.  
  3. Smile often.  When I have a new client that I can tell is not ready to hand their full trust over to me, I smile at them and I keep that smile even when I think they're not looking. Not like a psycho, but just a gentle smile that lets them know I'm not worried and they shouldn't be either.  This small gesture will ultimately make the greatest difference in your work and in winning over your client.

If you find yourself freaking-out about an upcoming bride or updo client think of these three simple keys and watch the work of your hands create amazing things!

With all my love and bobby pins,

Abby 

 

 

Abby in a nutshell

Good morning, all!

I have a favorite time of day. I don't shout it from the rooftops usually because a lot of people find it slightly annoying—but I just can't help it. My favorite time of day falls between 6:00am-10:00am.  I get a little sad when those hours are coming to an end.  I love being ready early enough to have a quiet moment on my own couch or out at a breakfast place in town. There is something about the morning sunlight compared to the afternoon/evening sunlight that makes me feel a little more loved or something. If you haven't tried it--you totally should.  

ANYWAYS....... I thought I'd start out this new blog by putting myself out there a bit. First of all, my name is Abby. I live in Houston, TX with my husband, Chris, our 2.5-year-old Norah, and our French Bulldog, Celine.  I'm a stay-at-home mom/professional hairdresser who works on-location.  I have been doing hair since 2008 (well really since about '01 but legally since '08).  And I think my job is really cool.  Who else gets to go around making people feel hotter for a living?? And get paid for it?? However, I didn't always know I wanted to be a hairdresser.  I actually started out pursuing ministry in a little practical ministry school in the Rio Grande Valley.  Though ministry in a church building didn't turn out to be my favorite thing, I'm thankful it transplanted me to Texas (Illinois native) where I realized winter is literally from the devil and one doesn't actually have to go through that b.s. yearly. I spent my first five hairdressing years in the salon--learning, and using precious, unknowing clients as guinea pigs (do an apprenticeship first, young hairdressers!).  Then when our daughter was born in 2013, the opportunity to work on-site presented itself. I jumped right on that horse and never looked back.  Working for myself has been one of the most rewarding decisions I've ever made and it has kept me home with our daughter that I'm slightly addicted to (more on her later). So, that sums up about the last decade or so for me.  I'm getting really excited to share with y'all some of the ups and downs of working as an on-site hairdresser, some of my favorite people/tools of the trade, and probably a lot of other randomness like about how to have no friends by being a morning person! See you tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by!

With all my love and morningness, 

Abby

 

How to have perfect hair. Everyday.

How often do you have a good hair day?  If you feel like you've lost the battle managing your own hair I have some hope for you.  Change what your hair is saying about you with these few steps.  

1) Know thy hair.  Knowledge is power! What kind of hair do you have? This may seem like a simple question but if you have never taken the time to study your hair or let your hairstylist explain it to you in terms that you understand, you could be missing out on days that could be amazing hair days.  Is your hair course and curly? Straight and fine? Wavy and thick? Each of these types has favorite products and favorite tools that need to be discovered. 

2) Assess the situation. A lot of people wash their hair everyday.  Your hairdresser has probably told you to wash less and dry shampoo more.  I am a HUGE advocate for skipping shampoo days if not for the fact that it's hard on hair (and probably perpetuating your "oil" dilemma) but also for times' sake.  We all want more time to snuggle in our cozy beds in the morning--at least I do. So before you just jump in the shower and lather yourself from head-to-toe, take a peek in the mirror, brush your hair, and see what it needs.  More than likely you can make it at least one more day with the right products.

3) Start with a good foundation.  When it is a wash day, take your time.  Use your best products and blow your hair completely dry and style.  If you know you're not going to have time in the morning to do this, wash your hair the night before and blow it completely dry before bed. Then in the morning all you have to worry about is the finish. 

4) Trouble shoot. Don't just assume because it's an odd numbered day that it's a wash day. Your best hair days could be hiding in day three, four and five!  Give your hair a chance to speak to you. Maybe you just need a dash of dry shampoo, or to just re-wet your bangs and blow them out fresh.  Maybe a quick change of part will refresh your hair for another entire day!

5) Do a midday refresher. Keep your favorite dry shampoo, hairspray, and/or sea salt spray in a travel size with you in your handbag.  If you don't have room for that keep them in your car or office drawer--somewhere you'll know you'll be midway through your day.  

Leave me a comment or question below!  I love to hear feedback from my readers. Here's to many more fabulous hair days!

With hope and dry shampoo,

Abby

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