Elisha Chauhan of Hair & Beauty Tour: “Don’t only focus on the skill”

Don’t only focus on the skill; also focus on the business aspect of the modern beauty industry. Your education and launch into the beauty sector need to be in conjunction with technological advancements available to you if you want to become a salon owner, independent consultant, freelance hairstylist, or makeup artist. As a part of our […]

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Don’t only focus on the skill; also focus on the business aspect of the modern beauty industry. Your education and launch into the beauty sector need to be in conjunction with technological advancements available to you if you want to become a salon owner, independent consultant, freelance hairstylist, or makeup artist.

As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elisha Chauhan.

Elisha Chauhan is an award-winning educator, polymath, and the founder of EdTech company Hair and Beauty Tour LLC, the world’s first blended learning and gamified platform in hair and beauty. Her teaching projects have trained 10.5k+ students internationally & have won more than 40 gold medals in LIVE time-based hair competitions.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Well, I was working as a computer science engineer. I realized that I want to be a brand, I wanted to master my schedule, and I wanted to be my own boss. I also realized that we are moving from a Newtonian age to a quantum age. In the Newtonian age, the currency is money; in the quantum age, the currency is well-being. So I decided to do what felt right. I thought that as an engineer, I would join my mother’s business, and after gaining some years of experience in my mother’s business, I will do MBA and go from there.

What life had planned for me was something different. From Sweden, we had a world champion visiting India to train hair and beauty professionals, and I was in India at that time. So I was given the opportunity to be her translator and go around the country for three months. While I was transitioning my career this felt a pretty good deal because it was also like a break, right? So while we were traveling and doing seminars and workshops all over India, I was exposed to the world champion framework. During workshops, I would translate what was being taught, and in between the translations, I also started playing with hair. I then started showing my work to the world champion and asked for feedback. In three months, I realized that I enjoyed playing with hair. I enjoyed working on different aspects of the hair and beauty industry. I enjoyed how I could associate haircuts with geometry. I enjoyed how I could associate makeup with light theory in physics. So my engineer mind mapped out the resemblance between the hair and beauty industry to physics or chemistry. When all of that started making sense to me and when I also realized that I enjoyed it, I told my parents about it, and they were extremely supportive. Hence I think I didn’t choose this industry; this industry chose me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

When we traveled a lot to do fashion shows and competitions in different countries, there were several funny incidents. One particularly funny and serious incident was in Switzerland. A wonderful colleague of mine was trying to ring the doorbell to our service apartment just before dinner. Unfortunately, everything that was written outside the door was in Swiss and not English. So my colleague thought that our doorbell was to the right of the right side of the door. He then pressed that doorbell and incidentally, the fire alarm for the entire building was activated. Within 2 minutes, we had five firefighting trucks and three police cars outside our apartment. We tried our best to explain that we were tourists visiting Switzerland for a fashion show and competition. However, things got pretty serious soon. From that time onwards, we always make sure that we are using Google translate for any text to English no matter what country we are going to, and thanks to other software applications, we can now translate from an image. So no matter what country I go to, I always remember that one incident and how on that cold night, we had 30 people outside our apartment trying to save us from a faux fire.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

My tipping point was winning the international Asia Cup competition in 2015 at Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. Within a year of joining the hair and beauty industry, I was exposed to global competitions held by OMC (https://omchairworld.com/) in countries like Germany, Taiwan, France, etc. As an infant hair and beauty professional, I was enamored by the level of skill those people had. I aspired to reach there very quickly. That aspiration and clarity was the second tipping point in my career because it was after that, I decided that I will practice 18 hours a day to make my vision come true. Things that such exposure can do to you are irreplaceable. That exposure came from OMC, and that changed the way my career has progressed since then. I also made sure that I was learning from the best, which made me super efficient on the salon floor. For example, I was given 15 minutes to style hair in the OMC competition category of creative hairstyling. I could cut and color the hair in advance, but I had to style in 15 minutes on the floor. Since I had only 15 minutes, I had no time to repeat the same action. Hence I trained myself into following the most super-efficient methods that would give me the quickest results. These super-efficient methods, which gave me the quickest results, were my key learning. Because when I applied those techniques on the salon floor, I could do more clients in a day, make them happier, and eventually bring in more money. That is what was the biggest learning for me. And that is what Hair and Beauty Tour educates people on. There doesn’t have to be 10,000 steps to reach a goal. You can reach them in about a hundred if you just know which are the right ones!

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

One person who is responsible for my success will be my mother. She has been a salon owner in India for several decades now. She’s also the founder and president of All India Hair and Beauty Association (AIHBA), which is India’s largest hair and beauty organization for industry professionals. Her exposure to the industry helped me make the right decisions regarding my education. And like I said, starting with the proper education with correct educators, diving deep and learning from credible people, and knowing the latest techniques and advancements is super important for success. So this decision-making and exposure that I received earlier in my career were given by my mother and for which I will be forever grateful to her. In the early years of my career, when I was not so sure that I wanted to leave computer science engineering and move to the beauty industry, my mother used to wake me up at 4:00 a.m. . By 5:00 a.m. I would be ready, and then for 2 hours, I would practice makeup or hair cutting or hair styling, etc. My mother made me do that to gauge if I really liked it because to say that you like it is one thing, but to really like it is another. I remember being extremely frustrated sometimes because I would take my office bus at 7:00 a.m., and sometimes my finger would be cut from the scissors because I was cutting hair, and I cut into my finger instead of the hair, etc. So those were really fun times (and frustrating!) But so essential.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than half a trillion-dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

Hair and Beauty Tour is dedicated to reforming and revolutionizing education in this industry. Those looking at a career in this industry have to obtain a license from beauty school by physically attending the school anywhere from 700 to 2500 hours, depending on the program. Every program has theory and practical exams. Once the future professional passes through these exams, they obtain a license which they then have to renew depending on the state laws(just like a driver’s license). Since there is no organized path to higher education after graduating from beauty school, licensed professionals then undertake mini-courses in trade shows, attend individual product company events or watch videos on YouTube/Instagram. Professionals don’t know where to start their advanced education journey, what path to take, and how their skills compare with others in this industry. They are often lost. Hair and Beauty Tour aims to make this process of advanced learning easier and more well-defined.

Our company offers structured “tours” in the world of hair and beauty. For example, one that we launched last year is the Bridal Hair and Special Occasion Hairstyling (BASH) tour. Students start on these tours, and I guide them step by step along the way where they can track their progress. They have an interactive community where they can see what other students are doing and where they are in their journey. Our platform leverages technology to its maximum. Since it’s a skilled industry, one-on-one mentoring is important to give tailored feedback to know areas of improvement. Hence we are developing a blended learning platform that aims to combine the benefits of both online and in-person education. Online interactions are through weekly live coaching calls, Q/A sessions, and interactive “workout and game sessions.” Just like gyms have group workouts, we have hairstyling workouts where everyone on the call is practicing a hairstyle on their camera, looking at what others are making, and getting real-time feedback from me. The in-person interaction is through tie-ups that we plan to have with local beauty salons and schools in several cities. While teaching them advanced techniques online, students can go to their nearest beauty school or beauty salon to practice what they learned and get feedback. This blended learning platform will ensure that world quality education is reaching them and that their knowledge is not restricted by the scope of knowledge of their local peers and schools. We also believe that static presentations are boring and tend to demotivate people, especially those who are creative and learn kinesthetically. Hence our learning platform is interactive and gamified, which keeps people super motivated to reach their goals and move forward. Students get points for completing each milestone and they can view other students’ points on a leaderboard. We believe that healthy competition benefits everyone.

The core principle of our company is to bridge the gap between competition education and salon floor education. It will bridge the gap between excellent and mediocre education levels. When competition techniques are used on a salon floor, they lead to a more economical and faster output while enhancing the quality of work, thus making the individual a client MAGNET

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

1)Growth potential — I love how promising this industry is. For example, there are huge aspects about education in this industry that are not capitalized yet — our industry doesn’t yet have Ph.D. and master degree courses, unlike many other industries. Distribution by technology is another growth potential I see

2) Fluidity — Someone who is a salon owner can also start their own products. Someone who is an independent makeup artist can start their own eyelash extension services. Someone who is a nail artist can start their own nail care brand. No matter how you enter the industry, you can move very fluidly in different job roles in the modern hair & beauty industry, which I love.

3) Innovation — since the hair and beauty industry involves people and each person on this planet is unique. Hence there is huge potential for innovation in our industry. This innovation is what drives our company. We are constantly helping people to innovate new styles, techniques for their clients. Since each person on the planet is unique and wants something different, it’s possible to innovate new things for each person. for example, everyone’s face structure is different. Hence, the way we will contour it will be unique. Everyone’s head shape, hair type, and lifestyle could be unique, and hence different styles can be designed on each one of them based on their preference.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

The first thing that I think our industry needs is more structured education. Hair & Beauty industry is currently very unorganized as compared to other industries like software and medical. From education to employment opportunities, career path guidance, business opportunities, and networking, the hair & beauty industry is still evolving.

Currently, if you want to become a hairstylist or beauty therapist, or nail artist, you have to go to beauty schools for a certain number of hours, and then you give your exam and get your license. After that, there is no well-defined, known, and organized way of learning and growing yourself, unlike in other fields like engineering and medicine. So the first thing that I would want our industry to have is an overall advanced education pathway that is more structured and opens more job avenues for people.

The second thing our industry needs Is more sales and marketing training. Many people in the hair and beauty industry choose to become freelancers, salon owners, or independent contractors. All of these job roles require intense marketing strategy planning and good sales ability. I see many people who quit this industry and move to another industry, and one of the main reasons that happens is because they are skilled but don’t know how to sell their skill or market themselves. So sales and marketing training right from the start is essential if we want to retain trained professionals in the industry and if we want to reduce the attrition.

The third thing our industry needs is approaching education with more creativity and more project-based learning. Since our industry comes in creative human services, it is imperative to inspire people to do beyond just what is done in a salon. For example, when I was exposed to the world of competitions, even when I was a computer science engineer, it really opened my eyes as to what all is possible in the Hair & Beauty industry. Before that, I was just a consumer, and I thought all this industry entices haircuts or hair color or facial or waxing, etc., basically, things done in a salon. However, when my exposure was globalized, and I saw what people in France and South Korea and Russia and Belarus and the United Kingdom and Germany were doing, I had huge respect for this industry and aspired to be associated with it. Hence I think that this exposure should be available to people right from the start. In this day and age of social media and the internet, there is absolutely no reason for this exposure to be limited.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

1 Always cleanse tone and then moisturize.

2 Never leave the house without SPF. My new hack is to use an SPF, which has pigment in my skin tone, so I don’t have to apply makeup all the time. Additionally, as you know, we are wearing masks so having that little bit of SPF on your skin gives your skin some protection from the mascne (mask caused acne) and gives it a soft glow.

3)Once a week, try to apply face scrub so that you’re removing the dead skin cells off your skin.

4)Deep condition your hair at least twice a month so that your hair has enough moisture and shines all the way through the month

5)For your online meetings or zoom calls, you can tie the hair in the back while leaving hair around your face open. You can then style the hair only around your face, and it would look like your entire head is very well styled. But since it’s online, no one really knows.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

The first thing

1)DIVE DEEP: there is absolutely no substitution for good education. When I moved from being a computer science engineer to a beauty professional, I left no stone unturned. I have trained myself from the world’s best trainers in 10 countries, and I ensured I am diving deep into this skill.

2)Quality over Quantity: choose a credible teacher who teaches you the latest technological techniques and introduces you to modern tools. For example, I remember when I first found CHI LAVA Auto Curler, my life changed. I didn’t have to wrap hair around curling iron manually, and I could save my muscles from future chiropractor sessions. This is just one example of one tool. In the hair and beauty industry, so many advancements have been done in terms of techniques and tools. Hence choosing a credible teacher with Quality work is more important than choosing someone who has been teaching for years. Just experience is not enough in this fast-paced industry

3) Don’t only focus on the skill; also focus on the business aspect of the modern beauty industry. Your education and launch into the beauty sector need to be in conjunction with technological advancements available to you if you want to become a salon owner, independent consultant, freelance hairstylist, or makeup artist. Knowing sales and marketing techniques that are now available online is extremely important to set yourself up for success.

4) If you want to grow up the hair and beauty industry ladder, you have to make sure that you’re setting yourself apart. A great way that I found was doing live competitions. I did several OMC competitions since 2013, and it has helped me tremendously. It taught me how to make my skill better, but it also taught me time management, it gave me international global recognition. It also provided me thousands of networking channels that I use and will use in the future. So there is no replacement for competitions in the modern hair & beauty industry.

5) Diversify your portfolio. Be comfortable while being uncomfortable. Often I see people restricting themselves to their ethnicity, culture, religion, or society. This restricts the clientele that they are attracting. When you are starting your career in the beauty industry, it’s best to diversify your portfolio to find out what you really enjoy. For example, when I was learning how to do haircuts back in India, I trained in short haircuts using razors. This was not very popular in India at that time, and instead, long cuts with scissors were taught more. Not many people in the industry were promoting that tool. However, since I kept practicing that technique and won a medal in the Asia Cup championship, that tool became an extremely important part of my success. Today, I customize that tool for all different hair types, be it straight hair to wavy hair or curly hair. If I had not chosen to diversify my portfolio and develop something that not many people use, then I wouldn’t have found my niche.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to call this the “I AM” movement. When we practice positive affirmations first thing in the morning, we write things like “I am strong, I am power, I am a healer,” etc., based on our state of mind and what we need to feel to get ahead of our goals. What is supremely important is valuing yourself and feeling just the two words,” I Am.” Nothing else is needed to suffix that. To know that what you are is enough is important. In this day of social media likes and retweets, our affirmations are sometimes externalized. We need to internalize it through this movement.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I love this quote by Stephan C Hogan, “You can’t have a million-dollar dream with minimum wage work ethic.”

While I am an entrepreneur growing her business and a coach who helps Hairstylists and makeup artists to 10x their client base, I am mindful of the effort it takes. People often come to me for secret sauce and shortcuts etc., and there is one thing I always tell them that there is no replacement for hard work. In my life, I worked extremely hard to become an engineer, I worked 18hrs/day to become an international timed competition world champion at a young age, and I am still working hard to build the company of my dreams.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: www.elishachauhan.com

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elishausa

Instagram: www.instagram.com/elisha_chauhan

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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