After a successful 20-year styling career and several leadership roles at the Van Michael Salon in Atlanta, Georgia, Harry D. Wood felt that developing an educational program that helped stylists excel at their careers and enhance their income was his next entrepreneurial progression. His Six Figure Stylist program and its resulting app is his love letter to the industry, but Wood is finding that it’s opening up even more doors.
KB: How long have you been in your current salon?
HDW: I just celebrated my 20-year anniversary with Van Michael. I love where I work, and I chose it because I wanted to work at the best salon in Atlanta, one with the same core beliefs where education was valued and hairdressers became successful. I was one of the first hairdressers at Van Michael to cross the six-figure line, which is when the idea for my app and my presentation was born.
KB: Your IPhone app, Six Figure Hairdresser, gives the stylist daily coaching points and motivations to achieve their goals. What has been the response in the industry?
HDW: We have sold the app in 22 countries now. My Six Figure Hairdresser presentation is based on my own beliefs and how I became successful. I want to share them with my industry, and my hope is that these practices become a global standard for hairdressers.
KB: Why did you decide that an IPhone app was the way to deliver this education?
HDW: Everyone has a smartphone now, so hairdressers can have a constant reminder of all of the things they need to do behind the chair to build their business.
KB: What topics does the app cover?
HDW: It covers how to think like a successful hairdresser and take control of your own business. Stylists need to realize that they are in business for themselves but not by themselves. They work in a salon but their own business is determined directly on how well they manage their clients, if they set and reach their own goals—not waiting for the salon to do it for them. The app also reminds hairdressers about different revenue streams like retail, as well as how to maximize production, how to deliver customer service as if every client was a celebrity, how to reinvent themselves and their service so clients find more value in it, how to tie in price increases to continued education, and how to use social media to connect with clients and to educate them on new products and trends.
KB: You started a revolution using the IPad for client consultations. How did this idea cross your mind?
HDW: Well, consultation is the most important part of getting started with a client, and I was tired of cutting out pictures of what I thought people wanted. The very first day the iPad came out, I saw the potential and started to use it. Since I’ve always been a little bit of a “techie,” it started to make sense to change the experience for the client.
KB: So, how do you use it during the consultation?
HDW: I use the internet to Google images and videos of current celebrity hair styles as well as the type of age-appropriate styles for every demographic and then save those images in my portfolio. For example, you can Google long-layered hair styles for women over 40 and it will provide you with thousands of looks to choose from.
KB: How does incorportaing an IPad into the appointment change the way stylists interact with and engage the client? How do you think it shapes the client's perception of the stylist?
HDW: I think it’s a smart new way of doing business. I think clients feel like we are keeping up with current trends and styles. You can even help them make dinner reservations on apps like Open Table or they can read the Wall Street Journal or even current digital issues of magazines.
KB: Do you have your own collections on it that you show for inspiration?
HDW: I use the camera to capture a client’s exact style for duplication next time, they love it! I can also pull up product knowledge videos, and use YouTube to help people find tutorial videos of different ways to wear their hair. Then e-mail them the video so they can watch it over and over until they get it. It also helps with things like braiding hair and quick updos they can do for themselves on the fly.
KB: Is this something you've coached others at Van Michael or other salons to do?
HDW: Absolutely, in my salon most people are using them now and my mission is to continue to coach our staff on how to maximize the client experience and reinvent the service we deliver by using this technology. During the past two years it’s been a pleasure to watch and deliver this information to the industry so we can raise our standards and incomes in the industry to six figures!
KB: Tell us more about the technology behind the interactive digital education book—why did you decide to persue this for your next educational adventure?
HDW: Well, my first goal was to continue to pursue a completely green and paperless education. Most people take a class and leave with a workbook full of useful information that sits in a drawer somewhere. With digital they can have it anywhere. It also has video built into the book and video tutorial lessons on how to create the ultimate portfolio. Paper is expensive, we want to create the next level of learning and make it real for the industry.