This is a subject pretty close to home right now. After 8 years in a salon, I’m upping sticks and relocating. 20 miles away. Today’s post is part apology to all my clients, and part guidance on what to do when your hairdresser leaves. I know I’ve covered how to find and talk to a new hairdresser, and those articles will be helpful in this situation. I’d like to touch on understanding the other side of the trauma of your hairdresser leaving. How it is for them and the questions you need to ask them before they departs. I’ll also cover what to do if they leave without saying goodbye, and why they’ve seemingly disappeared.
The initial shock of being told your hairdresser leaving.
Picture this; your hairdresser of many years has just told you they’re leaving. All you can think is ‘how the heck am I going to find a new hairdresser?’. Images of stripy highlights and chunky layers flash through your mind. You want to be happy for them, but selfishly you want to tell them off. Recently, I’ve seen many people go through this process of emotions. Once the initial shock has subsided, you need answers – ‘why?’, ‘where?’, ‘when?’. If your hairdresser is able to sit and have this conversation with you then they should be able to answer them. These are all valid questions and you are well within your right to ask them. However, if your hairdresser is unable to tell you personally that they are leaving, let me answer those questions for you. Starting with the first question that probably came to mind.
Why did my hairdresser leave without telling me?
In short, GDPR. That doesn’t make for a very interesting read though, so I’ll elaborate. This situation only applies to hairdressers who are employed by their salon. Self-employed hairdressers own their own business, and therefore the data they hold on you as a client, is theirs. When a hairdresser is employed by a salon, the client database is owned and held by that salon. In most jobs, you will have some sort of notice period in which you have to work after handing in your notice. This does also apply to hairdressers. But most of the time an employer will ask the hairdresser to leave the workplace almost immediately.
The simple reason for this is so that the hairdresser does not give their contact details to their clients so that they can get in touch and follow them to their new salon. Unfortunately, this may be exactly what you wanted. But from the salon owner’s perspective this will result in a loss of business for them. This bypasses the data laws because you will be contacting the hairdresser. So, to summarise. Your hairdresser is not allowed to contact you after leaving as they do not have a legal right to access your information, therefore they may try to give you their details so you can contact them. This is generally frowned upon as it is sometimes referred to as ‘stealing clients.’ By which we mean, a hairdresser is deliberately taking business away from the salon.
Exceptions to this...
In some cases where a hairdresser is leaving after a very long time, the owner will allow them to tell their clients. Given how easy it is to track people down with social media now, it is becoming more common for hairdressers to let their clients know where they are going. As most people are loyal to their hairdresser, not just the salon.
Should I stay or should I go?
The next debate you may have is whether to follow your hairdresser on to their next venture, or stay put and see another stylist in the same salon. Here’s how it is from a hairdresser’s perspective. Leaving a salon and having clients decide they will follow you even if it is out of their way, is the single most humbling thing. It blows my mind that people are willing to follow me to a salon that is so far from convenient for them. I appreciate a lot of people just can’t face the trauma of trying to find a new hairdresser, and a lot of these people I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful close relationship with them.
On the other hand, I appreciate that it is not that easy for people to fit visiting a new salon into their lives. Everyone has their own lives and commitments, and often their hair has to fit around this. Often if you have been visiting the same salon for many years you will be familiar with other stylists there. So you might even have someone you want to go to without question. It makes total sense that this is the logical thing to do. Doing this will not offend anyone. I can’t emphasise that enough. If you try other hairdressers in the salon but find yourself unhappy and would like to reach out to your old stylist, this is also perfectly acceptable.
If your hairdresser leaves and you leave too.
If your hairdresser is leaving and you are not able to follow them, but also unable to continue to visit the same salon, this is a pickle. This sends you full circle back to my first post regarding finding a hairdresser. But, before your hairdresser departs, here are a few vital pieces of information you should get from them before they go, and a few tips to help you on the way. A key thing to remember is that no two hairdressers cut hair the same. Even if they are replicating the exact same haircut, there will be a few differences. You should also bear in mind that hairdressers are creative beings, don’t try to take that away from them.
What to ask your hairdresser before they leave.
If you have colour, then your colour notes are vital. Ask for a detailed explanation of colour placement if you have foils. Please understand that this may be something that requires a bit of time, and be patient. They may have to email it to you at a later date. Knowing your colour brand will also help finding a new salon a bit easier. It is also a good idea to ask them to photograph your hair (on your own phone) once they have finished. This provides a great visual to take to your new salon. Ask them what they actually do, if there are any tips and tricks they would suggest you share with your new hairdresser. I would avoid trying to get too technical, again you need to be ready to go to your new hairdresser with an open mind.
The ultimate question... Why is my hairdresser leaving?
This is the first question people ask, and it’s the one you may never get answered if your hairdresser leaves without saying goodbye. It can sometimes be a slightly accusatory question, it’s often the initial (understandably) selfish ‘why are you doing this to me?’. Please understand it’s not always a decision that is taken lightly. Most hairdressers work for commission, our client base that we have built is our bread and butter. To move elsewhere and start again is somewhat terrifying and often a hit financially. It basically means we have to start all over again.
Your hairdresser may choose to leave for a better career option. As much as they have to start fresh, it is in an exciting new environment. They may have a promotion to a more senior position. A new client base means creatively having to push yourself, as you can often start to feel a bit stale. It may also be a salon that can offer opportunities to do more competitions and shows (see what I mean by that in this post). On the oher hand thay may want to go somewhere to slow down and have a calmer day to day in the salon without the additional pressures.
Thank you, & goodbye.
In a nutshell, everyone has to move on. Don’t be offended if they disappear, it’s probably not their fault. Likewise, they will not be offended by whatever you choose to do. To any of my clients reading this, I’m sorry. Thank you for the years of loyalty and trust. Remember we would not be the hairdressers we are without people like you trusting us and pushing us out of our comfort zones. Unfortunately, if you will nurture hairdressers in such a way, they will seek new horizons.
The Hair Bones.