Embrace your natural texture. Whether your hair is curly or straight, be sure to know how to bring out the best features in its natural state. A lot of my clients want their hair to do the opposite of what it does naturally. For example, a curly haired woman might use a flat iron to straighten her hair to achieve a different texture. I understand we all have our own ideas of what beautiful hair is and how we feel the need to express it. However, all hair textures are beautiful and should be celebrated. I recommend getting a cut with a shape that works well with your natural texture and brings out it’s true beauty.
As a part of our series about “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Abramite, Creative Director, Salon Educator, and a Stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. She has over 20 years of experience in the industry with her working taking her from New York Fashion Week to studying globally with L’Oreal Professionnel.
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?
In college, I was studying fine art photography. I wanted to be a fashion photographer, but soon realized I would need expensive equipment and a studio space to make that happen. I came to the conclusion that acquiring those things were totally out of my reach. I decided to pivot my passion for aesthetics into a more practical medium and came up with hair design; it paired perfectly with my love of visual arts and fashion. I dropped out of college and enrolled in the nearest cosmetology school practically overnight.
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?
After a few years at the salon, I volunteered to help teach the new crop of students in our advanced cutting program. Once a student graduated to completion, my boss would reward me with an educational trip of my own abroad. I soon began studying hair in fashion capitals like London and Paris. Not only did it elevate my skill set, but it created intense wanderlust. This was the tipping point for me because it created so much incentive. It satisfied my need to learn about fashion as well as other cultures. It sparked exciting conversations about trends and travel upon my return and brought a real joy to my craft. When others sense that enthusiasm it becomes contagious and they naturally gravitate toward it.
In your experience what were the most effective ways for your business to generate leads and sales? Can you share a story or give an example?
Word of mouth has always been the most effective way to attract new business. If your best friend raves about a service they received, chances are you are going to take their word for it. In my 20 years of experience, a client who loves their service and tells a friend is still the most powerful form of advertising.
None of us are able to 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?
I got a chance to take a few classes with celebrity hairstylist, Orlando Pita, who I greatly admire. He’s a tastemaker and leader in the fashion industry and helped prepare me for my first experience at New York Fashion Week. He set up a mock run-through of a hairdresser’s duties at a designer fashion show and it was obvious I wasn’t ready. Without his honest feedback and tutelage I would have showed up grossly unprepared for one of the biggest opportunities of my career. I am forever grateful he took the time to give me sound advice when I needed it most.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?
A classic rookie mistake in every salon is to accidentally lose control of the hose during a shampoo and spray your client in the face. I did that on my first day of the job and I was mortified. In my experience, an honest apology and a good sense of humor goes a long way when the nerves get the best of us.
Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
When a job opportunity comes your way, no matter how big or small, never turn it down. Even if you think you’re in over your head, it’s an opportunity to challenge yourself and get experience when the task at hand seems impossible. More importantly it provides new connections and a chance to make a good impression on others in your industry for future hires. Potentially a door could open simply because you showed up with a positive attitude and a willingness to work.
Can you please share five things anyone can do to have fabulous hair? Please share a story or example for each.
- Maintain a steady relationship with a hair professional. A relationship with a stylist is key. They can present style options that are ideal for your lifestyle, hair texture, and face shape. However, in order to keep it looking fabulous, you must return to the salon for regular trims to maintain the shape. For example, if you like to wear a bang that sits below your eyebrows, after a couple of months, they will grow beyond that desired spot and into your eyes. I recommend a trip to the salon every four to eight weeks for a clean-up.
2. Embrace your natural texture. Whether your hair is curly or straight, be sure to know how to bring out the best features in its natural state. A lot of my clients want their hair to do the opposite of what it does naturally. For example, a curly haired woman might use a flat iron to straighten her hair to achieve a different texture. I understand we all have our own ideas of what beautiful hair is and how we feel the need to express it. However, all hair textures are beautiful and should be celebrated. I recommend getting a cut with a shape that works well with your natural texture and brings out it’s true beauty.
3. Manage your style expectations. Be realistic about price and time. Some styles are wash and wear and others are a labor of love. If coming into the salon often for a touch up is too high maintenance and not in your budget or schedule, you might want to reconsider. Be sure to choose a style that makes you feel great and gives you confidence that suits your lifestyle and pocketbook. For example, a balayage highlight will last a long time because it’s meant to grow out naturally whereas a single process tint will need retouch attention sooner.
4. Learn to care for it properly at home. Be sure to take your stylist’s recommendations on caring for your scalp and hair. Have a conversation about how often to cleanse and condition, and which products are right for styling. For example, a person with oily hair should be shampooing more often and with something different than someone with dry hair. Your stylist can make suggestions and guide you in the right direction in the retail department so all of your days result in good hair days.
5. Make a mood board. Get inspired with images of hairstyles you’d like to wear and share them with your stylist. I recommend updating your style a couple of times a year to stay on trend. Get excited about a new color or length for the season, or add a new product or tool to your kit for a fresh vibe.
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
1. Establish a beauty ritual. Making time for your personal beauty routine will benefit your body and mind. Taking five minutes daily to care for your hair or skin with a favorite product will make you feel beautiful knowing you made the effort physically and mentally.
2. Be comfortable in your own skin. Find a personal clothing style that expresses you. It can be an outfit from head to toe, or an article of clothing that feels uniquely you, like a signature scarf. Make sure it puts a spring in your step every time you wear it.
3. Compliment others. Giving an honest compliment to someone brings out the inner glow in yourself and others. Spreading positivity is a beautiful thing and can make your day and theirs.
If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would recommend everyone learn how to meditate. I practice transcendental meditation, otherwise known as TM, every day. It relaxes my mind and body and helps me feel rested and creative. Everyone can benefit from more happiness and less stress in their life.
Can you give a life lesson quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I heard film director David Lynch say “True happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within.” I used to think if I could just solve the world’s problems, everyone would be happy, including myself. Of course I knew that was an impossible feat. I knew I needed a better way to cope with the stressors in life I could not control. I soon learned David Lynch was taking about the benefits of meditation and how to discover happiness within yourself and be the change in the world you’d like to see.
Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Bob Roth is a transcendental meditation teacher, author and the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Many of his lessons focus on the positive effects of meditation on the body and brain from medical journals. I’m very interested in the science behind it and would love to have a discussion about neurophysiology with him.
How can our readers follow you online?
Facebook: Amy Abramite