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So, you want to be a hairdresser?

We speak to award winning hairdresser, philanthropist, and owner of Cassidy’s of Harbord, Nicole Cassidy and get the 101 on the profession.

The profession – what’s a hairdresser?

The dictionary defines a hairdresser as a person who cuts and styles hair as an occupation. However, with constantly changing fashions, ever evolving technology, and the push for eco-friendly products and salons, the profession appears to have an exciting future.

Education

To become a hairdresser you will need to have completed a minimum of year 10 at school or be aged 17. In both cases you will need to be employed as a full-time hairdressing apprentice. You will need to complete a Certificate 3 or a Certificate IV in hairdressing from TAFE; this is required for you to become a hairdressing professional.

Nicky started on the salon floor in Forbes helping out after school. They eventually asked her to do an apprenticeship and offered her a job when they moved to Sydney to open a salon.

A typical day …

As the salon owner Nicky’s day may not be typical of most hairdressers; she’s up at 5am for a 6am start and often still cutting hair 12 hours later. With 32 staff, not only does Nicky spend her days taking care of her own clients, but she is also on the salon floor speaking to clients, training staff; on the phones taking appointments; whilst also working behind the scenes ordering stock, speaking to suppliers, running admin as well as the day-to-day business.

In addition, Nicky is quietly running her successful charity event Pamper the Parents, a concept created to treat parents looking after sick or terminally ill children.

For most hairdressers a typical day involves hair cutting, colouring, and assisting in the smooth running of the salon.

Keeping up with industry changes 

In an ever-evolving industry I ask Nicky how she and her team keep up with the changes. “We do training in salon and out-sourced to keep our skill set up. We also do research on the internet and attend fashion shows. Keeping up to date with looks in magazines and on television is important and give you ideas.”

The best part …

Nicky’s favourite part of the job is “meeting new people, seeing existing clients and catching up with each others lives”, hairdressing it seems is a very social profession. “I enjoy changing peoples’ look for the better.”

The biggest misconception about the job …

“I hear that there’s no money in hairdressing”, says Nicky, but as a successful business owner that’s not something Nicky is prepared to accept. It all comes down to hard work; what you are willing to put into your business to make it successful and profitable.

“People also refer to us as ‘high school drops-outs’, and I really hate the stigma attached to it.” This seems to fuel the idea that hairdressing is not a worthwhile profession; “that you aren’t enough” as Nicky puts it.  Both comments encourage Nicky and her staff to work hard and give their customers the confidence in their product and ability.

What advice would you give to a budding hairdresser?

It’s simple really “do your apprenticeship at a salon that offers training and opportunities for your future. Never say no to a client – 5am start or weekend appointment”.

Nicky also reflects on the advice she would give to her younger self, “enjoy life along the way; it goes way too fast”.

Try a career as a hairdresser if …

  • You are creative;
  • Like working with people to help them look their best;
  • Are a natural communicator that builds relationships easily;
  • Want a flexible, family friendly career.

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