Training is not Certification
Immediately after I graduated from cosmetology school, I struggled to figure out how to apply my new knowledge without my teachers to correct me or give me tips. As it turned out, there was a huge gap between what they teach in cosmetology school and what you need to know to be a good stylist. In school, I had been a "level 4" rock star who could achieve any goals put in front of me. In my career, I often felt lost and alone in trying to figure things out. These anxieties were isolating, and I depended on clients' happiness to fulfill me. I had an encouraging boss, but she didn't have the time to give me more training or make sure that I knew what I was doing. I can remember some of my early haircuts that I was ashamed of; I had no direction and not enough experience. I didn't have co-workers who were interested in helping me grow or learn new techniques, because we all worked on commission. There was no time and no incentive to help each other succeed.
Fast forward to five years into my career: As I contemplated opening my own business, I knew that I wanted to help others not feel the way I did when I started my career. I wanted a safety net for the stylists at my salon. My first training program at Studio7 wasn't organized or systematic. Mostly, I just wanted new employees to know I was there for them and they could get help when they needed it. Each new employee was required to take my training so that our skills were implemented similarly. I gave new employees model lists to complete and I evaluated them. I made them assist me for months and months until I was satisfied with their work. I look back and laugh about how long it took them to complete their training, and even when they were on their own, it wasn't always clear what my standards were. The main objective, though, was to let them know that I cared and that we as a team would help each other grow.
After a decade of various training programs, we have implemented a detailed skill certification program. Certification ensures that a service provider will not be responsible for performing a service at Studio7 until they've met all of the requirements in skill, time standards, and professionalism. S7 has excessively high standards so that all of our clients have a fantastic experience. Is our current training program perfect? Of course not--but we are constantly working on communicating with our team on what our expectations are and how we can meet them. Our team is setting each other up for great success, because we know when a client is totally satisfied with a service, the entire S7 team wins.
It takes a lot of humility to receive constructive criticism or admit when a mistake is made and figure out how to fix it. For many stylists, listening to someone else's feedback ends the day they walk out of cosmetology school. Unfortunately, that's the same day they stop growing, stop learning, and stop seeking better techniques or a fulfilling career. For the S7 team, our training program sets a foundation for teamwork and a continuation of learning and growing. Certification is the absolute standard that creates consistency across the board for total success. When a client calls and asks our guest coordinator, "Who is really great at men's cuts?" she can honestly answer that we are all certified with the same training and knowledge, and she can recommend each of us equally. When a client cannot get in to see a particular stylist, we can easily recommend another service provider who will meet the client's needs and send them away satisfied with their service. Although each of our service providers is unique, from fashion to communication styles, we can confidently guarantee that each client will have a fantastic experience with each and every one of us.
S7 strives for a culture that exemplifies excellence in teamwork, hospitality, and exceptional service.