What Would You Do: Revealing Personal Information To Your Clients
The relationship you share with your clients is a unique one. On one hand, you know details about their lives that maybe some of their closest friends aren’t aware of—and on the other hand, they are a paying client that expects high-quality work. So where do you draw the line with sharing important life information, good and bad? One member of the BTC community asked this question, and you all offered up great advice. Keep reading!
“How or should I tell longtime loyal clients that have been with me through marriage, babies, deaths and all in between, that I’m getting divorced? I’m good at making my life look perfect, so it’s going to come as a shock when I tell them that my husband and I are splitting up. Please, any feedback as to how to approach this topic without a pity party from every single person.”
Be Proactive And Tell Clients
Whether you open up to your clients immediately or wait until some time has passed, some stylists say they prefer to share personal details.
“Any major change in my life (getting married, having a baby) I have sent an email to let everyone know. I believe in putting it out there. You don’t have to give the details, but if you don’t want to repeat it every time someone sits in your chair, send an email and let them know what you are comfortable with them knowing. People appreciate honesty and authenticity. There may be a few that pry further and you can politely say that you prefer to focus on their hair at the moment and not discuss it, but I think most will respect your space.” – @lacey_norfleet
“From someone just going through it themselves, I told my longtime guests at the shampoo bowl—that’s their most vulnerable time to hear your most vulnerable thoughts! They took it with compassion and understanding! Give them the Cliff’s Notes version and the walk back to the chair is a moment to hug and move on!” – @rmurcliffe
“Wait until you are healed and can share without making them feel sorry for you. When clients feel bad for you (because you talk about it too much) they stop coming. They don’t want to hear us overshare about our sadness or rejoice too much about our success. I’m over two decades in. Trust me.” – @christylove21
“I have a hard time differentiating between friendships and clients…especially with social media where you know everything everyone is doing (or what they want you to think). So, I tell them everything. It’s an added perk to get advice from all types of people, backgrounds, perspectives and walks of life. I mirror their emotional output though and don’t just spill to the client who clearly wants to check her email and stay quiet. But I love knowing about their lives so I find the conversation naturally flows back and forth. It’s exhausting on an empathetic level though.” – @oliviascottlane
Reveal The Details Naturally
Many of you said the details will come out naturally in the course of your client-stylist relationship, so just see how it goes.
“I went through the same thing a few years back. I never brought it up, but when they would ask how that person was, I just said, ‘We are no longer together. We just couldn’t make things work. I wish him the best.’ Of course, their initial response was shock, but most were very respectful of me not getting into too many details about the situation.” – @teena_03
“Let it happen naturally with the clients that really care. They will be the ones who ask about you, and reply honestly and briefly. It’s a strange relationship, client and stylist—you can feel like the best of friends, but remember, it’s a professional relationship and you don’t owe anyone anything.” – @slkintrea
“I didn’t tell some of my clients when I got a divorce. After doing hair for 20+ years, many of my clients have met or at least seen my husband stop by the salon or see him fixing something. Well, imagine their shock when a few years go by and the guy I’m seeing stops by to say hello or meet after work for dinner! I think it was a mistake not to tell them. Many of my clients were bewildered by why I hadn’t mentioned it and some didn’t find out for seven years! They were upset and I think even felt like I had betrayed them by ‘hiding’ it.” – Dusty Chantel Reamey
Don’t Bring It Up, Period
Other stylists said it’s never appropriate to talk about your personal life—you’re a professional and should remain that way.
“The time in the chair is their time. It’s the time they get to break away from whatever they have going on and talk about it, or not talk about it. It’s their time to talk about relationships, work, family, anything. It’s not your time. They are paying for your expertise and for your ear. If you need to talk about your relationship, go to your stylist.” – Justin Puck Lewis
“You don’t have to share these things. We learn about clients’ life events because we generally schedule them around things where pictures are going to be taken and they want to look and feel their best at that given moment. I have a SMALL group of guests that are also great friends and are treated as such, but I don’t advertise my personal life.” – @polarisdnw
“Keep your personal life personal. If you choose to tell your guests your personal life, be very careful not to go too far and tell too much detail. At the end of the day, these are your guests and you won’t necessarily know if they would agree with your personal morals and ethics. So, keep things short and sweet.” – @jos.lay_slayshair_
“Though all our clients think they are like family or our favorites and will act hurt that you didn’t tell them, they’ll get over it. The appointment is about them, and us burdening them with our issues should never take place.” – Jennifer Long
“I am a retired stylist and salon owner. I worked for over 25 years. I went through tons of life’s ups and downs. You need to remain professional and remember that this is your job and your client is paying for your attention and your time. They are going to worry that your head is not in it if you tell them what you’re going through. Unfortunately, as close as you feel to your clients and as much as you think they care about you (and many may), they still don’t want to feel as though they need to worry their services will be affected by your distress and turmoil. Keep it to yourself. If you need to talk about it that’s what therapists are for or talk to your coworkers in private. Remain professional at all times. If you find that impossible to do, then take a vacation or leave of absence until you can.” – Heather Layton Pilatsky