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Last updated: August 04, 2017

Choosing the Right Path For You

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Ah, graduation day! It’s an exciting feeling when you hear Pomp and Circumstance and realize the years of hard work were worth it in the end. But now that you’re done with beauty school, you might find yourself asking, “What’s next?” Choosing your career path isn’t easy, which is exactly where one recent beauty school graduate finds herself now. “I have one friend who began her career in a small-town salon and started taking clients right after graduation. She has a fairly regular clientele, but the problem is she’s locked into what people in that area are willing to pay,” explains BTC member, Sarah. “My other friend went to assist at a ‘higher end salon’ and is not making any money but she insists when she makes it to the floor, she will be ready and in an area where she can earn more money because this salon warrants higher prices. I’m torn on which direction to take!” Well, we turned this question to the BTC community and here’s what you had to say!


“I assisted and then moved to the floor at a high-end salon. I wasn’t making any money, even after two promotions and I hated it. I made the choice to move to a smaller salon. I am much happier and making more than double the money. BUT, what I realized when I got here is even though I didn’t make money during that time at the more upscale salon, what I earned in technique, consultation, basic client interaction and, most importantly, professionalism is not the norm in this industry and is invaluable.” – Amanda Falvo


“I was in the same situation right out of school. I chose the higher end salon and assisted for a while. Pay wasn’t great the first couple of years but grew fast after that. My drive was also 35 miles away but worth it. Within a few years, I had my car paid off and bought a condo. It was a good choice for me!” – Erica Mueller


“Being high end does not make you better—life makes you better! Education is important but can be learned on your own time. I say follow your heart. A small town can be happy, consistent and dependable—and less stress!” – Tonya Lowe Barr


“This business isn’t meant for ‘sprinters.’ You must be a ‘marathon runner’ or else you’ll never make it.” – Zach Schneider


“The best thing you can do is immerse yourself in your craft, make mistakes and gain experience. If you’re good at what you do, clients will recognize that and pay for it.” – Samantha Styres


“The idea of ‘Jump in, sink or swim’ is what I feel pushes people out of the industry. In my experience, starting at the bottom and working my way up—paying my dues if you will—has made me a better person and stylist.” – Les Kiesman


“Continuing education and being a sponge of new techniques and inspiration will set you apart from the rest, which, in turn, will let you raise your prices to what you feel you’re worth.” – Jasmine Halula


“I believe chain salons are the best way to start. You won’t have to struggle as much because even if you don’t make commission, you know you will at least be bringing home minimum wage.” – Kelsey Finney