And at the end of his program, new stylists have someone to rely on and have built good habits that foster the consistency Hoang strives to achieve at Umbrella.
Candy Shaw Codner, owner and educator at Jamison Shaw in Atlanta takes a less structured, but equally effective approach to creating her mentoring program. Although new stylists just starting out at the salon do fill out a form through the mentoring process, they meet with their mentors on their own time once a week with no specific structure.
At Jamison Shaw Hairdressers, owner Candy Shaw works with an associate on a color service. “They talk to their mentor about any situation they may have come up—a difficult guest or hair cut, prebooking, retail—anything,” says Codner. And unlike Umbrella Salon’s formal assignment of mentors, Codner’s new stylists and their mentors find each other.
“Everyone who works for us has a two-week trial period. During those two weeks, they gravitate towards certain people. We have an in-house education director who will pair people up if they are sort of lost, but usually they find each other.”
Once a new apprentice is hired, they begin a three-tiered year-long education apprenticeship that takes them from a model program to a protégée program to a junior stylist (note: in Georgia, stylists are not required to go to beauty school, so many salons offer complete education).
Unlike other salons, a new apprentice is not paired up with a senior stylist.
“If we hire someone in January, they will end up mentoring someone new who comes in February,” says Codner. “If you taught the January person something last week, it’s fresh in their mind. A senior person isn’t going to want to teach how to shampoo—they are teaching people at their own level how to be a six-figure hairdresser, not how to fold a towel,” she adds.
Codner has found if she puts a senior person with a junior person, there will be a level of resentment.
“What makes our program vastly different is the newest person trains the next newest person. It keeps a pecking order and keeps things positive. It makes the person who takes on the new hire feel more purposeful and prideful in their job.”
But that’s not the only thing setting Codner’s program apart from others: her system also encourages people to change mentors throughout their career, so a stylist will continue to reach up to those more successful for advice and guidance.