WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
I love my job. I sometimes have to lug a 50 pound kit with me in the rain at 5:00am, and sometimes I have to do a pedicure with very little light while jammed between a chair and a wall, but overall, my job is amazing. WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
I don’t often work events, but I recently worked an event for a brand and several attendees sat down with me for a manicure. I overheard the jovial and friendly tones they used when they spoke to each other, and the high pitched, happy shrieks when they spotted a friend across the room. I also noticed the way some of their tones changed when they spoke to me. “And what is your name?” an attendee said, as she slipped onto the stool at my table. Her tone had changed from light and airy to condescending and patronizing. I replied, “I’m Ashley, what’s your name?” I never got an answer, as my client for the moment was distracted by something someone else said, too busy and important to listen for the answer to her query.
Having worked in several industries, including a few based in customer service, I notice the change in tone. I noticed it when it would start off slightly accusatory and annoyed as an irate customer spoke to an employee of mine, to patient and understanding when I, the manager, would walk up to see what was happening. I notice it now in the nail industry, but it’s a little different. WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
As a keen observer of people, I see how their body language changes when I tell them I’m a manicurist when we’re first introduced. I see their brow furrow slightly as they try to understand why this seemingly intelligent person in front of them “does nails.” I see them dismiss my opinions as the night goes on, because I can’t really know much about the subject we’re discussing – I’m only a manicurist. WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
This casual dismissal of people because of their chosen profession isn’t exclusive to the beauty industry, and it is a tale as old as time. The human brain is more comfortable when it can label and categorize other people. If I can sort you into a column, I then know how to deal with you. A doctor goes into one column; an auto mechanic into another. I can determine your social standing, your “worthiness” of my time, all based on your clothing, your car, your choice of educational institution, and your chosen profession, because it’s just easier than trying anything else.
The attitude that hairstylists, massage therapists, nail techs, and other beauty service providers are somehow “less than” because they work with their hands can have dangerous consequences. Look at the sheer number of “girl bosses” poised to disrupt the beauty industry by asking themselves “isn’t there a better way?” These entrepreneurs look across the nail table at the typically non-white service provider holding their hand and think “I can fix her life. My education and business acumen can help her rise out of poverty and inspire her to be the captain of her own career. She can graduate from holding stinky discount customer feet to pedicuring Girl Boss feet every day. I am her savior. I can disrupt the beauty industry because I am educated, and in the process, give these beauty providers a better life.” WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
Hold on, sweetie. We’re doing just fine without you. Let me tell you why. WHY YOU SHOULDN’T JUDGE YOUR BEAUTY PROVIDER
When one of these boss babes sets their sights on the nail industry, they generally approach it from a position of thinking their way is better, and that our industry is this broken thing that needs to be fixed by them and their B school girl gangs. I’ve worked for these women before, and it rarely ends well. They only want to hire people for their team who went to Harvard, collect VC money by the millions, and imagine themselves to be the next Sarah Blakely, but haven’t thought about asking a nail technician what supplies they should order, or how to write their service protocols for maximum profitability. “How hard can it be?” they mutter to themselves, while they choose another millennial pink fabric swatch for their expensive custom upholstered client chairs, “I’m elevating this industry by creating an experience!”
What many on the outside looking in fail to see is this; yes, a four year degree isn’t required to run a beauty business, but it sure helps. Many people I’ve encountered in this industry have some form of post-high school education. And those high school grads who went right into cosmetology school don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, have learned a recession-proof trade, and can generally work when they want. They aren’t chained to a desk and they don’t dread Monday mornings, (because most have Monday off!) They get to be creative and use their artistry skills along with their problem-solving skills. Many own their own businesses and can likely explain tax code better than most accountants. They are the CEO, CIO, COO, and VP of marketing. They are merchants, buyers, quality assurance specialists, and client retention managers. They set their own prices, they collect on their invoices, and they juggle client schedules like it’s their job – because it is.
They manage other people, and monitor their career development. They open their own storefronts and get their hands dirty building their dreams with those same hands. They don’t get vacation time, sick time, or PTO for jury duty. When the water heater breaks, they figure it out. They train each other and learn from each other. They maintain their passion for their clients and their industry through continuing education, and hold a license to hold your hair or hand in theirs.
This judgement even bleeds into our industry, where some who hold a full cosmetology license look down on us lowly nail techs for not having as “prestigious” a license as they do. Feel how you want about it, but your opinions don’t affect how much I love my job. We don’t need saving, we don’t need your judgement or your pity, and we definitely don’t need your opinions on how “feet are gross.” Yeah, maybe feet are gross, so book your pedicure with me today.
The moral of the story is that judging someone based on your uninformed opinion of their job, while on the other hand trusting that person and paying them to make you look beautiful is logic that I can’t follow. The real #BossBabes are the ones who are building their clientele, marketing themselves successfully, running their own businesses, and living with the successes and failures of being the sole decision maker – regardless of your opinion of them, or their chosen profession.