Blog

Experience is Wisdom

Experience is Wisdom   There is a message that I have been giving to our students at La Luma Academy lately, and it is one that I hope will ease their minds in both their daily activities and development. The message is: do not believe anything that is said by anyone, be it a teacher, politician, scientist or any other...

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Control Your Thoughts, Control Your Life

Control Your Thoughts, Control Your Life   As the year draws to a close it is time to slow down and reflect on the year behind us and begin to start thinking about the coming year. As I am now well into my middle-aged years it has become more apparent to me that the workability of my life has everything...

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How Not to Fill Your Chair

How Not To Fill Your Chair   I had an insightful conversation today with one of our La Luma Academy students who is struggling to build her clientele. The conversation began with her saying, “I am doing everything that you told me to do and it's not working!” This will sound familiar to many of us as we have probably...

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What’s In Your Hair Care?

What’s In Your Hair Care?   It's important for professional hair stylists, and the general public, to pay attention to what is in personal care products. A number of considerations come into play for me regarding the ingredients in the products that we use every day, with just a couple of them being: 1) What are these chemicals? Most of...

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In the business of making people feel good

In the business of making people feel good   This semester, I am teaching our newest class of students Salon Experience. It is one of our longest and I consider it one of our most important classes.  In this course, one assignment that students are tasked with is to go and investigate the who, why, and what of three professional...

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The Fairness of Gratuities

The Fairness of Gratuities   A conversation that is happening in the service industry, particularly in the restaurant trade, is that of gratuities and what to do with them.The question is, is it enough to tip share with the whole staff team? It does take an entire team to deliver a restaurant experience, after all. Is it fair for a...

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Break the Mold

Break the Mold   Over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet many people who did not fit the mold. You know, the person you knew in school that didn't quite fit in. Or the person that made you think “how are they ever going to find their place in the world?” Maybe that person was you. I...

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Working Smarter, Not Harder: Creating Systems that Work

Working Smarter, Not Harder: Creating Systems that Work   We have all heard a million times that if you work hard enough you can have anything you desire. I am not sure this is true. We have all heard various cliches around this subject.  I have spent many years working hard, especially early on in my career. Upon reflection, I...

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It’s Time to Act: Restructuring apprenticeships in Ontario

It’s Time to Act: Restructuring apprenticeships in Ontario   When you decide to enter into a college program with a required apprenticeship component, there is no guarantee that you will be able to secure an apprenticeship. This means that you may be unable to complete your qualifications. You may be an excellent student, passionate about your field, and perform well...

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Hitting Your Goals

Hitting Your Goals   Along with any sales team, there is a set of goals. Goals are an essential target for anyone because if you don't have a destination then you will be sure never to get there. So goals essentially are a destination and it is important to design an attainable one. It is equally important to believe and...

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How to be a successful hairstylist

How to be a successful hairstylist   What does it take to be a successful hairstylist?  What are the top ten qualities a person should have to be a successful stylist?  What does success look like as a stylist? These are three very important questions, and ones that we talk about at La Luma Academy all the time. As I...

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The Weight of Trade Qualifications

The Weight of Trade Qualifications   From my position and worldview, I think it is fair to say that the general belief is that trade qualifications are lesser than any qualifications received at a university level. This is baffling to me for many reasons. For one, many programs are only accessible after obtaining a university degree or are very difficult...

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Are you committed to your goals?

Are you committed to your goals?   This morning I was spending time with our current students, which is always a highlight for me. What I usually talk about with them is my own journey through the salon world, and how La Luma came to be. What became apparent to me as I recounted my story is how life really...

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From Promises to Action: La Luma Salon and Academy Origin Story

From Promises to Action: La Luma Salon and Academy Origin Story   Students often ask me how La Luma Salon and Academy came into existence. I like to start with a little attention grabber like “Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away.” Or, “it was a dark and stormy night.....”  In reality, it was my desire to...

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The Cost of Not Understanding Your Finances: What our youth have missed out on

The Cost of Not Understanding Your Finances: What our youth have missed out on   Something that I have been noticing with late teens and twenty-somethings entering the workforce is the low-level understanding of what things cost. As both a salon owner and academy educator, I have recently had several mind-boggling conversations with this age group that shows that they...

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Apprenticeships Part Three: 5 ways educators can better serve students

Apprenticeships Part Three: 5 ways educators can better serve students   The systems we have in place for students and apprentices to begin their journey in the trades need work—though I don't think we have to recreate them from scratch. In my experience, we have a lot of the pieces already in place. We also only have to look to...

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Apprenticeships Part Two: 7 lessons I’ve learned as an educator

Apprenticeships Part Two: 7 lessons I’ve learned as an educator   As educators, I believe that we need to provide more context for apprentices, specifically when it comes to the purpose of an apprenticeship. By definition, an apprentice is a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low...

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Apprenticeships Part One: Creating a proper work and learning environment

Apprenticeships Part One: Creating a proper work and learning environment   Apprenticeships in Ontario, in my experience of training in them for the better part of thirty years, is that we are unconsciously placing our bright young stars into often unstable, precarious small businesses.  I recently saw a social media post from a small business owner that was describing their...

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Leading Apprentices: What is our responsibility?

Leading Apprentices: What is our responsibility?   Apprenticeships in Ontario need to achieve 2000 hours on a salon floor in order to become certified hairstylists. This is approximately one year of working at forty hours per week. I often hear from apprentices that they are in a hurry to complete and receive their qualifications as a journeyperson. This is interesting...

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From Motivation to Inspiration—and Back Again

From Motivation to Inspiration—and Back Again   A question that I am often asked as a salon owner and educator, is how to stay motivated and how to get inspired. These are great questions and I always start by saying that no one can do either for you. You must be in control and know the difference. Firstly, motivation is...

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What's your problem?

What's your problem?   One of the major lessons that I have learned in life, and this hit home for me as an educator, is that if we see life as a problem, then we more often than not get stuck in a cycle—especially if we are a part of that problem. We may not notice this, as cycles can...

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Multi-generational mentorship as a survival tactic

Multi-generational mentorship as a survival tactic   Those who adapt survive. Those of us that adapt will even thrive.  To put this into marketing language, this is called an early adopter. Stay with me now, but what I am interested in as of late is the topic of mentorship. The dictionary definition that I think makes the most sense is...

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Empathy and Curiosity

Empathy and Curiosity   As the leader of an organization, a family at work and home, and notably—and most importantly—a leader of myself, I am always looking for ways to be clear, inspired and ready to get into action. In my last blog, I spoke about empathy and the importance of it specifically towards oneself. I wanted to take this...

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The Art of Empathy

The Art of Empathy   Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. I am currently in the last week of a course called Positive Intelligence. It is six weeks of identifying and getting to know our saboteurs. Meaning those characters that we consciously or unconsciously have created to survive the world. These characters get created at...

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The trial and error of teaching personal finance

The trial and error of teaching personal finance   One constant topic of conversation that we have at La Luma Salon & Academy is one of personal finances. If you are a twenty-something—or the parent of one—then this post is for you. As a post-secondary institution, we offer excellent information, training and personal leadership skills in our lessons and classes...

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The Gift and Journey of Experience

The Gift and Journey of Experience   Something that I have been thinking about as of late is experience. An old saying that my grandmother would often recite is "if you could put an older person's head on a younger person's shoulders, you would have the perfect match." As I move along in my own life, I can relate. I...

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Shaking up the salon industry

Shaking up the salon industry   I was chatting with a good and long-time friend of mine who has also been in the beauty business for a couple of decades now as a salon coach and educator. We were looking online at the various salon business coaching platforms. At a glance, they all seem to have a similar message: Increase...

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The Future of Our Youth and Tradespeople

The Future of Our Youth and Tradespeople   I recently listened to a thought-provoking news report in which the reporter was interviewing the director of a social agency supporting youth in Toronto with mental health issues. This is a significant and important conversation for parents, adolescents and our young people trying to get established as adults. The mental health professionals...

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What are we worth?: Stylist compensation and challenges

What are we worth?: Stylist compensation and challenges   One of the many challenges I have come across in the salon industry is that of raising prices. This is often a very loaded subject as it impacts humans on many levels. One of the challenges that comes with raising prices is perceived value. This is a big one because it...

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Just a hairstylist? I think not: Juggling the craft, business ownership, and the unexpected

Just a hairstylist? I think not: Juggling the craft, business ownership, and the unexpected   I was recently cutting a long-time guest’s hair when she asked me how I became a hairstylist. I replied by saying "Which version would you like? Why do you ask?” She replied, “You are not the typical hairstylist.” My response was, “I know!” I think...

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Back to School, Back to Resilience

Back to School, Back to Resilience   As a mentor of mine used to say, "here we go!" It's September and students are back in school. As a parent with two in elementary school and the founder of a private career college, it is front and center of my mind. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels What comes to mind is resilience. My heart...

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Team work makes the dream work: Salon structure and stylist compensation

Team work makes the dream work: Salon structure and stylist compensation   One of the things that I have been thinking about lately is salon structure—specifically stylist compensation. For decades the predominant method has been commission, a percentage of service sales and retail sales. Percentages have changed over the years, ranging from 50% to 45%, but as business costs increase...

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Build it and they will come: Let’s talk reshaping the world of trades

Build it and they will come: Let’s talk reshaping the world of trades   I recently read an article in the Globe and Mail by Elizabeth Renzetti titled:  “If you want women in trades, build better workplaces.” I found this article interesting and very relevant as it predominantly addresses the issue of sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace. Photo...

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The Power of Resilience

The Power of Resilience   One of the many things I have been thinking about post-pandemic is RESILIENCE. This is probably not surprising, but for someone like me who has been in the beauty business now for 28 years, it is time to look back at my career as a stylist, salon and college founder, professional business educator and curriculum...

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My Opinion on Opinion

My Opinion on Opinion is this: Replace them all with great questions. Inside of this time of great uncertainty, I have noticed that people are throwing around a lot of opinions, in particular around quarantine, the opening of businesses, and rates of infection to name a few. When do we as human beings typically offer up our opinions? When we...

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Don't Worry Be Happy

Don't Worry Be Happy   I am sure if you are anything like me you are worried, uncomfortable and uncertain of what's in store for us all in the coming months. Last night for the first time in months I woke up in a cold sweat and feeling anxious, thinking about the coming months, post covid 19. A Lot of...

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The Big Pause Part 2: Being Present

  Being present. It’s a very trendy topic in our modern culture. Videos, yoga classes, everyone has bought the t-shirt – but does anyone wear it? What is it to be present? What do we mean when we say, “to be”?     My wife and I grabbed a few minutes to get out and walk while tech-savvy Grandpa and the...

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10 Things to Consider During The Great Pause

Well, here we are in what has become known as the " Great Pause." Inside of these unprecedented times there lies a great opportunity - and a lot of uncertainty.  What will become the new normal? What will the salon industry look like? What changes to salon culture and structure will occur in response to intermittent closures and social distancing?...

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Ask your Beauty School

Want to be a hair stylist? Questions to ask your beauty school: 1. Will I be salon floor ready upon graduation? 2. When do I learn how to fill my chair and make money? 3. Which course teaches me how to manage my money? 4. How will I learn to communicate with guests to help them achieve the look they...

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Apprenticeship or Beauty School?

Apprenticeship or Beauty School? Which one is best for me? There are two different models of apprenticeship. One model is a full apprenticeship of 3800 hours which focusses on learning everything in a salon environment. The other model focusses on classroom learning and supervised salon floor practice for 1500 hours, followed by a 2000 hour apprenticeship. Students spend time learning content in...

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Giving Your Best

What is “your best”? The best you can possibly give, with the knowledge and skills you have, at that place and time. I recently volunteered for a position that began to grow and morph into something different then I originally expected. And I began to grow resentful about the time it was taking and the growing list of tasks. My...

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The Art of Not Selling

To me, selling is when the objective is to get something in the hands of somebody who doesn’t necessarily need or want it. Selling is about the seller, not the consumer. It’s really about manipulation, bullying, and inauthentic strategies all designed to make a buck. In training hair stylists and mentoring team members for many years, I’ve realized I don’t...

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Your Leader's Back

I recently had this experience as a volunteer where the person in charge was failing as a leader. So I had a choice. I could complain about the leader and their lack of skills, the lack of value, the waste of time. Or I could ask what role I play in the leader not succeeding, and decide how to contribute....

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Remarkable

I’ve never considered myself an exceptional hair stylist. I’ve often admired other stylists’ technical skills and quality. There are stylists with new tricks and techniques that are above and beyond the training I received many years ago. Recently, one of my long time guests, came back to me after trying out another stylist, and he said, “I don’t know what...

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The Integrity Question

How do you see the effect of your own leadership? It’s difficult to point at integrity. As an observable thing. Doing what you say you’re going to do. Following through. Honouring your word. One place to look is how your staff are interacting with each other. Are they following through with their agreements? Are they arriving on time? Are they...

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Metamorphosis

Human beings have the unique ability to transform themselves moment by moment into a different way of being, that allows them to create their desired outcome. To me, this is the magic of humanity, warts and all: our ability to change from one state to another to make our lives better. IF we decide to, we can constantly create opportunities...

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The Big Three

Running a business is really about the Big Three: positive cash flow, a stable staff team, and the best possible outcome for your guests. Lots of companies can run a good business, but if it’s not profitable, it doesn’t survive. And there’s a difference between profitability and cash flow. A business can be profitable and still run out of money....

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Problem?

I recently took my wife and small children on a car ride to a cottage for summer vacation. I was nervous about the ride and how long it would take with two small kids. A change in the way we’ve done things. A new circumstance. A problem. That I invented. I recently learned about a new way of thinking, a...

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Just the Facts Jack

How do you make business decisions? Especially big business decisions. Based on how you feel about it, the stories around it, what other people think? Making business decisions needs clear, cold, hard facts, not emotions. Get clear on what’s really going on in your business. Does a location have to close? Are your staff being productive? Is this retail line...

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Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

How long have you been dating your current boyfriend? Since you were in high school? Why do you keep it going? As a hairdresser today, you need to be self-sufficient. You need to be master of your own paycheque, master of your own mind, your own heart, and of everything that happens in your life. How you become masterful is...

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Kit Kat Humanity

I need to give myself a break at times. Let myself off the hook. I’m only human. And I know at times that I’m going to show up as an assassin, ignoring, not communicating, taking people out in my life, when I’m stretched or upset, or think I’m threatened. I can choose to create a different outcome, to show up...

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Nice Gals Finish Last

At the end of the day, we’re going into the world to win, not to lose. What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone? What do you want to be known for? What do you want your legacy to be? Sounds a bit morbid, but none of us are leaving this planet alive, and it’s very...

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Who Keeps the Boss Accountable?

There are two types of businesses, ones that are growing, and ones that are shrinking. There is no in between. Where are you? Really. If you’re really honest with yourself, whether you own a salon or run your own chair. The true test is to go and ask people who will really tell you the truth, and get a real...

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Straight Talk

Salon owners are often afraid to be straight with their team members. It’s important to remember to celebrate when you have wins and your business is doing well. It’s also important to let your team know when your business is not doing well. As they are part of the problem. And part of the solution. When you’re straight with people,...

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Role Models

Stylists are artists. Artists who create every day, six to eight times a day. Day in and day out in the public realm. How do you stay fresh? How do you keep going? How do you stay inspired? Many hairdressers are looking for someone to inspire them, to reignite their passion. All this is good. We can look to exterior...

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Owning your Salon

How do we create a culture of creativity in salons where staff feel safe to try new things, and learn from each other? We source creativity through our ability to be vulnerable. Vulnerability starts with humility, and a willingness to explore who we are, and how we are showing up. Vulnerability comes from questioning everything. Vulnerability means we have to...

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