Quora Neeff: “Give to yourself first”

You are enough. Give to yourself first. When you take care of yourself first, you can give to others fully. In the beauty industry we tend to give and give to everyone around us but we need more practice and reminders that it is okay to receive help from others and to care first for […]

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You are enough. Give to yourself first. When you take care of yourself first, you can give to others fully. In the beauty industry we tend to give and give to everyone around us but we need more practice and reminders that it is okay to receive help from others and to care first for ourselves.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Quora Neeff, owner of Lady & Wolf Salon in Scottsdale, Arizona. Quora opened up her own salon when she was just 22 years old. Her passion for helping others is apparent as she graciously helps those in need by donating haircuts, and loves bringing people together through fun networking and educational events.

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?

When I was younger, I loved the “punk” and “rock n’ roll” music scenes. I was fascinated by the outfits, the edginess and the colorful crazy hair. I grew up in Wyoming and attended any small town concert I could. Occasionally, even professionally organizing them! I would paint my friends hair with wild color combinations and chop their hair off with cheap shears. I felt so inspired, creative and loved to connect one-on-one with those who let me play with their hair. This led me to venture off into the “pretty” hair colors and cuts. I was hooked. I feel like I was born to be a hairstylist. I couldn’t wait to start beauty school to learn about the industry on a more professional level and keep expanding my knowledge.

Right out of cosmetology school I worked at a salon where I really didn’t feel at home. I felt like I couldn’t be myself or create the hair that inspired me. Then the salon shut down abruptly with no notice and I was left scrambling to find a new salon home. I couldn’t find anything that fit my personality, so two weeks later I did the craziest thing and opened up my own salon at the age of 22! I didn’t have any true plans or funds, just a few great friends lending a helping hand and the ability to make magic out of recycled materials.

I had a vision. I wanted a badass salon filled with people from all different walks of life. I wanted an environment where my stylists walked in and felt happy and inspired. I wanted anyone that worked with me to pass those vibes to the people who sat in their chairs for hair services. A salon where they could really be creative and push the boundaries of our industry. A salon that values education and learning all the newest techniques. To me it’s not just a salon doing hair, it’s medicine and we are helping each other! I wanted to create a place where people could grow old together.

After five years of being open, our little wolf pack is bursting at the seams and we now have 17 chairs in the salon and two spa rooms! We have also added Moonbow, owned by Jenny Wagoner, to the salon; a little market with plants to bring a little piece of Lady & Wolf Salon home, delicious handcrafted teas, local cold brew, and local artisan vendors.

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

At my original salon location, there was no main water shut-off valve. My boyfriend Robert and I had remodeled the breakroom and needed to replace the water valve in order to install a sink. Since we couldn’t shut the water off but desperately needed to get the new sink in, we decided to do a water valve swap with the water still on. Mind you, we had several stylist’s working with clients in the salon at the time. With only moments notice, our friend ripped off the broken valve and water was spraying everywhere. Our friend was able to force a new valve on, only losing a few gallons of water after it sprayed everywhere. If it didn’t go as we had hoped, the whole salon could’ve been a lake until the city came to shut off the block’s main water valve. I definitely don’t think I would agree to such debauchery these days!

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?

I would say my tipping point would be when I started to see value in myself. When I changed my mindset, I gained confidence. I believed in my worth. When I truly started to believe in myself, people felt that change and I started to attract clients who saw my value. I was able to start helping my stylists and clients believe in themselves too!

I started to look at what income I actually needed to thrive and began charging accurately. I stopped giving my work away for free.

Don’t give away for free what you do for a living. Don’t take from someone what makes them a living. Trade all you want if it brings value to your life. Once you recognize your own worth, you’ll stop attracting those who do not value your education and skills.

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?

I found a few clients who were my key ideal clientele type. I loved doing their hair and wanted to take care of their friends as well, so I began a referral incentives program. However, I asked them to choose wisely when sending people my way. I called them my “Mini Masterminds”. I asked them to share with their friends what experience they had in my chair whether it be a listening ear, amazing hair, or a bomb scalp massage! Soon I had an endless amount of new customers contacting me and my books were full. I always remember to rebook clients while they’re still in my chair and teach them the value in keeping up with appointments. Your hair is an outfit you wear everyday!

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?

There is literally no way I could have opened Lady & Wolf’s new location by myself without my partner, Robert. He is my rock, and my biggest fan. He has spent countless hours helping me with my hair-brained (pun intended) ideas!

We have built a custom reception desk, huge indoor pergola, barn door mirrors and plant shelves you can’t buy anywhere. We have spent countless hours fixing plumbing leaks, hanging up our own business signs, and creating a salon that our wolf pack is proud of! Robert is also a retired (but still licensed) hairstylist and he magically takes my dark hair and makes it icy white every 5 weeks! He is also always sharing new hair techniques with me. When I’m overwhelmed with work, we go on nature adventures together to draw inspiration and unwind! He is truly my partner in all areas of life. I could not do it without him.

(I also couldn’t do any of it without my amazing mom, family, friends, clients and my wolf pack who put so much love and energy into our salon home.)

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

In cosmetology school, I accidentally mixed 5oz instead of a tiny 5 grams of violet into a toner, dumped it all over a ladies freshly bleached hair and it turned PURPLE! Luckily a teacher helped me cleanse the purple out and she was left with the most beautiful icy blonde hair! Mistakes in this career are inevitable and it’s best to learn from, brush off your shoulders and keep on keeping on!

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. 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?

One of the best ways to grow is from being intimidated by the people around you. Work hard for what you want and find a great mentor. Know that you should always feel half in your comfort zone and half out if you’re moving forward in your career.

Study and understand the fundamentals of your craft. Keep asking yourself what it is that you do, what separates you, and why do people choose you? Don’t be afraid to seek out the best people in your industry and take their classes. Ask to shadow your coworkers; there is always so much knowledge in the room! Don’t be afraid of letting someone else see how much you “suck” at something, that’s why you are the student! Remember to switch roles because when you take turns being the educator you truly learn the most.

For business owners, the same applies! Don’t forget to ask your employees how the business could improve, you never know what perspective they might have to offer!

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’ve learned that helping others transform into a rockstar beauty professional is a true career path — not a side job. I always remind my wolf pack that you are an entrepreneur running your own business as independent stylists!

I love the shift that the beauty industry has been taking recently. Everyone is learning that there is enough knowledge to go around and when we share our ideas and techniques we can all grow faster together. I love to support and encourage this movement towards elevating our industry by teaching my own employees and also hosting classes at our salon.

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

You are enough. Give to yourself first. When you take care of yourself first, you can give to others fully. In the beauty industry we tend to give and give to everyone around us but we need more practice and reminders that it is okay to receive help from others and to care first for ourselves.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Rebecca Taylor (@rebeccataylorhair)

Rebecca is an amazing hairstylist, educator and business owner. I’ve listened to her podcast interviews over the years and love how genuine she is. She does amazing tutorials and doesn’t mind sharing her knowledge and encouraging her students.

Rebecca was opening a new salon over the holidays late 2019, at the same time as me. She was an open book about the realities and struggles of opening a new salon over the holidays while still taking care of clients and running another salon. She also saved money and didn’t take out any loans, just like me! Her authenticity helped me to not feel alone and I felt like we are friends even though we had never met. I would love to meet her for lunch and it would be a dream come true to have her host a class at Lady & Wolf Salon!

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram @ladyandwolf

Facebook www.facebook.com/Ladyandwolf

Website www.ladyandwolf.com

PHOTOS: https://photos.app.goo.gl/BPJWeXfyehmYArJq8

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you please share “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

1 . Get Hair Trims Regularly!

Split ends travel up the hair strand when they are not regularly cut off. When split ends move up the hair, it results in more hair needing to be cut off. By cutting away damage on the ends, we can maintain health by creating an environment for hair to grow longer and stronger!

*Pro Tip, when your goal is to grow your hair out longer, ask your stylist to just “dust” off your ends! We call them “Eyelash Trims”.

We recommend visiting your hair stylist every 8 weeks when growing your hair out or a minimum of four times a year for regular maintenance!

2 . Turn Your Hot Tools Down!

Odds are your curling iron, flat iron and blow dryer settings are turned up too high. Even one pass of a curling iron or flat iron on too high of a temperature can cause permanent damage to your strands. Heat damage can appear on your hair as little beads, burnt, or christmas-tree effect on the outside of the hair instead of it laying flat and smooth. Styling at the proper temperature can help you maintain a healthy porosity which results in shiny, strong and bouncy hair! Guide to determining what temperature to set your Hot Tools:

Virgin Hair/ Coarse Textured- 400 degrees

Colored Hair/Medium Texture- 350 degrees

Highlighted Hair/ Fine Texture- 300 degrees

Platinum Blonde/ Bleached- 250 degrees

*Pro Tip- Always use a heat protectant spray before any heat styling!

(We love R&Co Mood Swings- Cuts blow dry time in half, hold styles and protects the hair against heat styling until next wash https://www.randco.com/mood-swing-straightening-spray)

3 . Invest in Professional Grade Sulfate-Free Shampoo, Conditioner and Mask!

Avoid harsh sulfates at all costs. They can dry out your hair and cause it to become brittle and snap. It can also strip natural oils from your hair and scalp causing flaky and irritated skin.

Over-the-counter conditioners can contain heavy waxes that coat the outside of your hair. While it may make your hair have a “slippery” feeling it can also clog the hair follicle preventing healthy oils from entering the center of the follicle as well as build up making hair feel flat and lifeless.

Professional, sulfate-free products can help you go longer between washes, helping you use less products and save you time! When you purchase the products recommended for you directly from your stylist you are helping support local business!

Pro Tip *Use a deep conditioning mask twice a month to drastically improve elasticity, nourish and strengthen hair!

We recommend R&Co Television Perfect Hair Shampoo & Conditioner & Masque for body, shine, strengthening, softening, and smoothing! https://www.randco.com/television-perfect-hair-shampoo-conditioner-set

4 . Avoid Chlorine

Don’t dunk your fresh hair color or highlights in the chlorinated pool! It can strip your hair color completely out with one swim or turn your blonde hair green. Chlorine and copper bond together to form a film that coats your hair which can cause even uncolored hair to turn green. Even with the advance technology in chlorine removing treatments today, It can be very difficult to remove chlorine from hair! You can tell if you have a chlorine build-up on the hair if it feels slimy on the ends when damp.

*Pro Tip- If you plan to go swimming in a chlorinated pool, first add a leave-in conditioner spray from roots to ends to protect your hair. If you’re doing laps for a workout first apply leave-in conditioner then braid hair and put a swim cap on!

We recommend R&Co’s Sun Catcher Power C Boosting Leave-In Conditioner.

5 . Use Scrunchies or Spiral Hair Ties

One of the easiest ways to cause breakage to your hair is by using a typical hair tie/elastic to tie up your hair. More and more people are wearing their hair up as we see an influx of people working from home. The tension that regular hair bands can cause will wreak havoc on your hair. Switching to a soft scrunchie or spiral hair tie not only protects your hair from tension breakage but can also spiff up your ponytail!

Pro Tip *Be mindful when letting your hair down and don’t just rip your hair ties out of your hair! This simple act can save you from a lot of damage!

We recommend Kitch Hair Coils. They come in different sizes for thickness of hair! https://mykitsch.com/collections/hair-coils

6 . Whip your hair into something Fabulous with one of these 3 Step-by-Step Styles

With video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/KzbKEor6BhANkepQ9

Step by step instructions for

Messy Space Buns

Great for dirty hair that’s not cooperating, cute for video chats or a zoom date!

Step 1: Split hair down the middle into two sections

Step 2: Take one section and tie into a pigtail

Step 3: Take pigtail and split into two sections and begin to twist

Step 4: After twisting to the ends lightly hold at the ends and tug at the twist (The more tugging the messier)

Step 5: Take the twisted pigtail and begin to wrap into a bun shape

Step 6: Secure with a hair tie and or bobby pins & repeat on opposite side

Step by Step Bandana Baddie Style

This baddie hair style is a great way for hiding dirty hair or hiding grown out “quarantine” roots!

Step 1: Grab a bandana or a cute head scarf and connect the corners by folding it into a long triangle

Step 2: Line up the folded edge with your forehead/hairline

Step 3: Flip your head and all of your hair upside down

Step 4: Tie the corners at the nape of your neck (at your hairline)

Step 5: After returning right side up adjust bandana if needed and remove any face framing pieces if desired

Step by Step Twist Braid Style

This is great for heatless waves or as a cute style to keep your hair out of your face

Step 1: Split hair down the middle into two sections

Step 2: Begin taking a section of hair (like you would to start French braid pigtails or reference video)

*Instead of splitting into three split into two sections*

Step 3: Twist the sections going away from your face

*After each twist add another section of hair to both sections

Step 4: Repeat on the opposite side!

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Putting on old music that takes you back to simpler times and dancing by yourself or with your partner

Do something you want to do for yourself each day, even if it is small!

Yoga / meditation / exercise to boost serotonin levels. Even if just for 5 minutes before you begin your day.

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