At Jamison Shaw, the chief mentors are Codner, who focuses more on education and her son, Jamison Codner, who helps with numbers and goals.
“Everybody in the salon has a mentor,” she says. “Just because you are senior, doesn’t mean you don’t have a mentor anymore.”
Hoang also acts as a mentor in his salon, right alongside the four other stylists who were chosen and trained for his program.
At Harlot Salon in Venice, California, salon owner and Sebastian Core Artistic Team Member Marylle Koken does all the mentoring to her stylists.
With a special focus on individual strengths and weaknesses, she has found identifying her stylists’ passions helps her make them better employees.
“It’s very important to find out who you are as an artist and build on your strength,” she says. “I want to guide and build them towards the techniques they really want to do, whether that’s cutting, styling, color, texture or something else.”
To do this, Koken has set up workshops every other Monday where she allows her staff to work on whatever they want, but keeps it to only two or three stylists at each workshop.
“In the beginning I worked with more, but it works better with a smaller group,” she says.
The stylists bring in models, rather than mannequins which Koken stresses is important, so she can observe their people skills as well as technical skills. If she witnesses a stylist struggling with a model, she immediately takes them outside for a pep talk.
“I don’t make them uncomfortable, but I don’t sugarcoat it either,” she says. “I tell them right away instead of waiting until the end of the day so they can correct their behavior, and I really see them grow as a result.”
The Personality Factor
Salons are known for behind-the-scenes drama due to passionate personalities that sometimes clash. So how do you create great mentors and apprentice/mentor relationships with mutual respect and minimal theatrics?
The answer depends on a salon’s culture and how the mentorship program is structured.
Rockquemore believes the most successful people in his salon are the ones who know how to manage personalities, but he also tries to pair the right people together.
“If we meet people who need some discipline, we put them with the best discipliners,” he says.“We want to put ourselves in the best position of retaining associates.”
By the same token, he keeps a close eye on his educators and the qualities that make them good mentors.