As the head of human resources for Lords & Ladies Salon and Med Spa, Ashley Rivera, has a major responsibility. The beauty company which was launched nearly 40 years ago by Terry Derr, now has seven locations through southeastern Pennsylvania. Over the past 18 months, Derr has started franchising each of the locations to different long-term employees who have shown aptitude.

While those new leaders are focusing on their new roles, it is Rivera’s job to continuously feed the beauty company with new talent. She recently stopped by to talk to SALON TODAY ‘s Stacey Soble about how recruitment has shifted with the pandemic and how she’s leveraging new strategies and tools to introduce graduating cosmetology students to the Lords & Ladies brand.

SALON TODAY: You say it’s no longer enough to get into the schools and teach a class once a quarter, how are you staying active with schools today?

Rivera: I took over this position in 2015 and every year I add something new, because I don’t want to bring the same thing year after year to a school or a teacher. This year, we did an in-school event and took over an entire morning and created an experience. We came in with lunch and different demos and it was more of a bonding moment than a presentation. After the demos happened, I invite the students to come in the salons and shadow with us, get a service, or even do a mentorship/internship with us for a few weeks. It’s much more powerful to get them in our doors and show them who we are than it is to simply drop off some information.


SALON TODAY: What do students get out of that internship and what do you get to learn about them?

Rivera: I feel that anyone can give you a great interview where they’re only going to show you the best about them. During the internship, which is paid for two weeks, students get to dive into the environment in which they will work and they are paired up with someone who can show them the ropes. What happens is they start to feel comfortable, and they start to become who they really are. Sometimes that works for us, and we think, ‘This person is going to be really awesome in our environment, and sometimes it doesn’t, but that’s OK for both of us.’”

SALON TODAY: What is your graduate school program?

Rivera: Students can work for us as assistants as they are going through school. When they’ve finished all of their hours and gotten their license, they are put into our graduate program. Here, they dive deep into haircutting, coloring and highlighting techniques. It’s about six weeks long and four days a week, and we have our own education center. So you might have six people going through it at once and they will end up working in different locations, but they form a bond with each other. As they grow in the company, they still have each other to lean on. Now, we’re opening up that education center and inviting local students in to experience some of our platform classes.

SALON TODAY: Your company is getting involved with Canvas Me, which is a recruitment tool. Tell us about it.

Rivera: The day I was introduced to Canvas Me, they hadn’t even talked for five minutes when I said this has to happen in our company. Being a recruiter, it’s very difficult to find the person that you’re looking for through Indeed and social media posts. To explain to someone who we are is hard on paper, because we are about feelings and emotions in the beauty industry. To be able to use video and pictures and really speak to people who are looking at us, it helps take recruiting and the beauty industry to the next level. In the middle of February, we are going to have a virtual event with the schools where we have great relationships—I can’t wait to introduce students to Canvas Me, and I can’t wait to see them get creative and put together virtual portfolios.

The first time I get an application, I always look the person up on social media so I can get to know them a little bit. With Canvas Me, I don’t have to do that anymore, I know exactly who they are and they are expressing themselves with videos and pictures.

Even if a student isn’t a fit for us, I want to introduce them to this tool that helps them find their right salon home.

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