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ithinkImgonnaCurl 08-04-2009 05:14 PM

Share your client horror story
Tell us your most memorable clients and why you will never forget them!

stevev363 08-09-2009 10:26 PM

Epiphany from a disaster
I'm actually proud of this client disaster because this is when I knew that my skills in reading a client and disolving a situation were good. A client named lisa came to me for a new haircut, she was prepared with a picture so I knew this would be easy as my skills at copying a visual are excellent. She wanted a shorter version of the Lisa Rinna cut and was already wearing a bob so with confidence I chipped, razored, and texturized her hair. We really didn't make any small talk but I did educate her on how easy it was to style her new coif, and when I was finished she was exactly like her picture but cuter! she left with my product suggestions and was excited to show off her new look to her family, I informed her before leaving that if she had any problems or needed an alteration to call me. even my fellow stylists kept complimenting her and me as to how much her new style suited her and it's ability to make her look fresh and young. 3 weeks later she did call and informed me that she was having problems making her style work, even though 3 weeks was a stretch I agreed to bring her in for a consultation to see what her problem was. lisa canceled her consultation 4 times and Finally arrived 6 weeks after having her haircut. now at this point in my view you are 1 to 2 weeks overdue for a haircut but was still willing to listen to see what her problem was. she informed me that she was completely unhappy with her cut as she could not style it at all and it never looked good after I styled her. I offered to style her and tweak the parts she thought didn't work just because I felt she was challenging my skills as a stylist, and I've never backed down from a challenge!!! As I worked with her she revealed that she was going through a nasty divorce and she "wanted to look hot to piss of her soon to be ex", Started a new demanding job which she needed a more polished look for, And wore long, straight hair to her bosom her whole life till she cut her hair to a bob the week before getting my tousled, piecey and flippy do! When I was finished I proudly gave her a mirror and twirled her chair around for her to look at the back and she quickly and curtly exclaimed "you and I were obviously looking at 2 different pictures because this does not look like the picture I showed you!!!" this new challenge enraged me and I informed her that I had a copy of the magazine she brought and could prove to her that this was indeed the style she wanted. Well, in the 7 minutes or so it took me to find the photo lisa brushed, smoothed and flattened her style so it was flat to her head and did not even resemble the style I so proudly just finished. I showed her the exact picture and she dryly said "see, this looks nothing like this!!!" to which I replied " I would have to agree with you considering you just spent the last 8 minutes flattening and wrecking the style so it looks nothing like what I just did!!!". This is the moment lisa broke down in my chair balling and screaming at the top of he lungs "I stayed home for weeks because I felt I looked like a clown, a complete fool! people stared at me in disgust, and my ex husband laughed at me in court!". This is the moment when my fellow stylists and their clients all stared with their mouth's open in shock at me and the woman having a nervous breakdown in my chair. I calmly and sympathetically said "you are just not ready for this haircut, if I had known earlier all of the things going on in your life I would have probably not done the haircut and suggested that you wait till you were absolutely sure that you were not making an irrational decision to cut your hair amidst all of the chaos you are going through. your not willing to style your hair in the new way but have consciously done what you were used to doing in the past, this is a haircut you do when you have moved on instead of when you are stuck". This is when I had my epiphany, the cut wasn't wrong it was just the wrong time for her to have it. Lisa stopped crying instantly and wiped her tears away, Then in a Faye Dunnaway/mommy dearest tone she exclaimed "maybe I'm overreacting!" I told her she needed to grow her hair out for a while till she was happy with the length. "How long should I wait? 5 or 6 weeks???" I replied "No, go 8 or 12 weeks. when you feel that you are really comfortable with the length!" One year later lisa came in for a haircut, the same exact haircut! I really wasn't feeling it with her at all this time and was not excited about doing the cut on her but she kept praising me and my skills as an artist. Besides, it was obvious someone else was trying to do the cut and she needed help! I never saw her again after that cut about 8 years ago but how could I forget the woman who balled in my chair who made me realize that all the best skills that you can acquire do not add up to the intuitiveness needed to handle somebody who is on the edge and ready to jump! I always have a complete consultation including what may be going on in the clients life currently including any stress which may be causing them to make an irrational or hasty decision.

crista 08-11-2009 04:08 PM

lemonade out of lemons
you turned that one around. could have been easy to just be disappointed and frustrated, but i think you're right - you uncovered a nugget there on timing and life events being a major part of how clients feel about cuts.

stevev363 08-14-2009 10:38 AM

Yep, I'ts very true. I've had many bad experiences with clients in the past but as you become a seasoned stylist you learn the psychology part of being a hairstylist which is a huge part of what we do. I wish I had been enlightened to this learning curve in beauty school but this seems to be something that you learn on your own over time, and many of my fellow stylists never seem to get this at all! I've had experiences in more recent times with clients who are best described as saboteurs, people who are so used to dissapointment or being unhappy that they are upset before the work is even done. with some new clients I have to remind them that I am not their old stylist and I need to learn how to do what they want and what makes them happy. I recently read somewhere that the average number of times a client comes to you before moving on is 3 appointments, with so many stylists working in the u.s. I have learned not to be upset or take it personaly if a client is not happy with my work. I am very luck to be an in demand stylist with clients I have serviced for as many as 15 years, you can't connect with everybody who sits in your chair. take care of the people you like and let them know that they are special by accomidating their needs, within reason of course.

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