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Introducing CurlStylist Blogger Jill Leitz

by Jill Leitz on Monday, February 15, 2010

Jill Leitz

As one of the most sought-after stylists in the beauty industry, Jill Leitz possesses an endless passion for creating innovative and conceptual styles that display the perfect balance between texture and movement. After almost four decades in the business, Jill stays on the cutting-edge of the hair industry with her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and training on the latest styles, techniques and theory. From design and color to client building and salon management, Jill has been gifted with overflowing creative talent combined with a strong commitment to educating, empowering, and inspiring fellow salon professionals. As a three-time NAHA award-winner, Jill’s reputation as a innovative and creative force has been recognized in spades by the beauty industry.

I have a confession to make: I love curly hair. Since my very early days as a hairstylist, I’ve always been drawn to curly hair—intrigued and fascinated by its texture, structure and body. Curly hair has such an amazing, creative, playful, flirtatious energy associated with it. With its infinite shape, it exudes glamour and beauty, captures attention and draws the eye to it.

Most of my fellow stylists at the time were afraid of curl. They didn’t understand it, and didn’t want to work with it. But, I wasn’t—I’m thankful to say that I’ve always been comfortable working with curly hair. So I forged ahead, styling the hair of as many curly-haired clients as I could. I was hungry to learn more about it, understand the unique needs and challenges it presented, and discover how stylists could unlock its potential to create healthy, great-looking curls that their curly-headed clients would embrace, maintain and love.

I practiced. I experimented. I made mistakes. But, with every curly-haired client, I listened and learned. I listened to women sharing stories about how they’ve been fighting with their curls their entire life—trying to change them into something they were never meant to be. I learned that some clients have curls that will cooperate one day and then turn around and rebel the next day, leaving them confused and frustrated. I listened to cries for help from curly-haired woman who sought help with frizzy and dry curls, wild and uncontrollable curls, temperamental and unruly curls, and unintentionally big and voluminous curls.

I won’t say I’ve heard it all because I still continually learn from clients—past, present and future. But, I will say I’ve learned that curly hair is completely different than straight hair, in its structure and its overall needs. Understanding and respecting the different types of curly hair textures—fine, medium and coarse—is key to determining what your game plan is to giving the right cut and educating your clients about the type of care and products their curly hair needs to retain its shape and style. And, I’ve gained an understanding of how color really complements and completes the story of that beautiful, textured hair.

I’ve learned that one of my biggest thrills in being a hairstylist is helping someone embrace their curly hair, and showing them how their hair is special—showing them that no one else has exactly their kind, texture and shape of curl. It’s so much fun to see someone finally accept their curl—being there to see that moment where the light goes on and they see what you see: ways to transform their curl into something they can work with, love and show off. It’s at that point I feel as if I’ve given them a gift, and I’m so lucky to have been part of that process—achieving your and your client’s agreed-upon vision of their shiny, beautiful, naturally curly hair.

Curly hair has come a long way. There are two things that come to mind when I think of today’s acceptance and admiration for naturally curly hair. The first is today’s culture. Hollywood, celebs, film, music, runway, couture, fashion magazines—curly hair is literally everywhere these days. Everyone is showing off nothing but sexy, glamorous curls as the “in” trend. From Colbie Caillat’s soft, romantic curls to Taylor Swift’s wavy, mermaid locks, this year’s Grammy awards show was full of curly-haired glamour. And, last month’s issue of Italian Vogue—my personal bible of inspiration—didn’t seem to have one beautiful fashion spread that didn’t show textured, curly hair.

The second thing is product. Today, stylists and curly haired clients are supported with so many amazing products that help manipulate and transform almost any kind of curl into manageable, shiny, smooth, beautiful curl. Curly haired clients have so many incredible products at their disposal that help them work with the curl they’ve got, have fun with it, and make it the best that it can be in its naturally curly state. There are products that can help define curl, lock moisture into every curl, smooth frizzy curl, bring shine to curly hair, tame unmanageable curl, transform a day look into a beautiful, glamorous evening look…the list is practically endless.

I can’t say enough about the loyalty of a naturally curly client. They covet a stylist who can cut, color, finish and help them manage their curls. And rest assured, if one curly hair spots another woman whose curls she admires, she most definitely will ask for her stylist’s number. And she will regard that number as one of the most important seven digits in her cell phone. Word of mouth is so powerful in our industry. If curly haired clients experience that you really understand curly hair—they will believe in you and trust you—you’ll truly become priceless to them. They will rebook every time, even in these hard economic times.

And in addition to referrals and rebooking regular appointments, a curly haired client helps boost your bottom line. Educate clients on the maintenance of their healthy curls while they’re in your chair, and help them understand what products will help them work with their unique type of curl. Trust me, they’ll want to purchase those products to recreate and maintain their beautiful curls at home. It’s a win-win for everyone.

And, that’s what this blog is all about. I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with curlstylist.com - to share what I’ve learned from years of experience, as well as the opportunity I have to learn from fellow stylists. So, I want to extend an open invitation to all of you – feel free to comment about what I’ve said, share your experience working with curly hair, and really make this an interactive experience that will benefit all salon professionals.

A special note to stylists that are afraid of doing curly hair….c’mon, I know you’re out there. It’s time to confront your fears. It’s time to embrace cutting, coloring and finishing curly hair. It’s time to increase your knowledge by doing something that scares you again – because 2010 is all about curl and texture.

Join me every month as we explore the ups and downs of curly hair.

With love,
Jill Leitz

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Business Building Techniques

Begin having frequent staff meetings and collaborate on business building techniques used by others that you work with. Every salon has success right inside. Get the top booker to explain how they do it. Pair the weakest with the strongest and let them work next to each other. They can learn from what they hear and see. Do the same with retail sales. Share the ways that the top stay on top.

With cross marketing other services, know who the salon leaders are and copy them. Your staff becomes a resource to each other and by sharing dialouge that works, we all win.

Geno Stampora, Stampora Consulting Inc.

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