Image found at: http://thirstyroots.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/rihanna-hairstylist-3.jpg
For the last few days I’ve written about the nightmare my daughter and I experienced when I took her to a particular African braiding salon. It is very much my nature to try to solve things, so of course, I wanted to post my thoughts about how to identify a professional salon. These tips should work for folks rocking any type of hairstyle.
1. First, do not do as I did and simply do a blind search. Of course, I was under time pressure. However, if you have more time, if you see a nice style, ask where the person got their hair done.
2. Second, I’ve found www.yelp.com to be very helpful because it’s sort of like an informal Zagat rating for almost anything you can think of. Read through the comments and you may be surprised at some of the great insights you can glean (beware of disgruntled customers or people bent on only posting glowing comments). This may also be the time to troll the Internet to find out any additional information on the salon.
3. Third, once you have general background on a salon, call! Have a few things in mind:
a. Tell them about yourself and what you hope to accomplish with your hairstyle (e.g., protective hairstyle; return to natural hair; improve the health of your hair, etc.)
b. Ask about the stylists so that you can identify the best match for you (e.g., where did they study; how long have they been licensed; what do they like and dislike about their current shop; how long have they been employed there; what is their specialty, inquire about timeliness, etc.)
c. Ask about the shop (e.g.., how many stylists; is there a lot of stylist turnover; how many clients; type of styles they specialize in; service costs; policies when something goes wrong- if my hair gets jacked up what is the process to resolve it? if my stylist is late what happens?)
d. Realize that some shops may be hesitant to conduct such an in-depth interview over the phone. Be prepared to go right to #4.
4. Fourth, go visit! Schedule a consultation so that the stylist(s) can introduce you to the shop and you can see things up close and personal. This is also a time to ask any questions from #3 that you didn’t get to discuss over the phone. Also, it’s challenging to do, but try to observe how existing clients are being treated. That is a great indicator! Go with your gut.
5. Fifth, make an appointment. Relax, you’ve done your homework and have hopefully begun a relationship that will last for years. Keep on top of things and don’t be afraid to switch if necessary.
These are just a few of my thoughts and this is not an exhaustive list. What process do you all use to find professional salons and/or stylists?