Cindy Cox attended Nationwide Beauty Academy during the 1970’s. At the time, NBA was located in the heart of downtown Columbus. Many students attended NBA during that time, but Cindy’s story is unique. Cindy attended cosmetology school part time. She was part time, not because she had a job, but because she was still in high school at Bishop Watterson! Cindy was so dedicated to her cosmetology training, that she graduated from cosmetology school and earned her license before she was finished with high school! At that time, Bishop Watterson did not offer a work study program or the ability for a student to leave school early in order to work. So, Cindy transferred to Dublin high school where she finished her high school credits and was permitted to leave early every day to work in a salon. She was 17 years old. Talk about determination!!
Cindy then went on to work for a salon for 2 years then purchased her own salon…at 19 years old! Although her journey may be a different from many cosmetologists, her quest to be a hairstylist was rooted in the same desire – she must have a career that allows her to express her creativity! She didn’t want a desk job and she wanted to make people happy. Cindy’s sentiments are similar to so many cosmetologists who have entered this profession. But, not everyone takes the extra steps to push themselves to the top. Cindy has done just that.
Hair Artists on Polaris Parkway in North Columbus is Cindy’s highly acclaimed salon. Her salon offers a full range of hair and nail services. She employs 2 nail technicians, 15 hair stylists, 5 receptionists, 2 interns. Yes, 5 receptionists – more on that later.
She has chosen to not offer skin care services so that she can concentrate on her true love – hairstyling! In a savvy business move, she and a nearby skin care center cross promote for one another.
It would be difficult to walk away from Cindy and not be excited about the beauty industry. How many people do you know who loves, I mean, LOVES their career after 40 years?! And it’s not just her words that express this love – you can see it in her eyes. You can see it in the way she engages with her staff and with her clients. You can see it in the way she decorates and maintains her beautiful salon. You can see it “on” her clients…they always leave her looking and feeling gorgeous! You can see it in HER – she is stunning! She is a true beauty in this beautiful profession!
But, loving the profession isn’t enough to achieve the kind of success that Cindy has achieved. Her other secrets? (write these down!)
Um, let’s talk about customer service…
You can be the best hairstylist, the best esthetician, the best nail technician – but if you don’t provide excellent customer service, you will not achieve success. Given the choice, most clients would prefer an “ok” haircut with a stylist who makes them feel appreciated, loved and nurtured over a fabulous haircut given by a stylist who is rude, cold and ignored. In Cindy’s words, “A cosmetologist has the ability to change the life of a customer with a good haircut, but definitely by treating them with kindness and sincerity.” When discussing success in the beauty industry, Cindy believes that 75% of success is personality and 25% is technical ability. Fortunately for her clients, Cindy and her staff provide both great services AND great customer service!
When a stylist is brand new to the industry, naturally there is room for improvement. It’s during these early months that a new stylist should understand that they will build a strong clientele as long as they provide excellent customer service and continue to learn and practice. Cindy understands this and is dedicated to hiring brand new cosmetologists. Their success can certainly be attributed to Cindy’s method of hiring.
Before hiring a stylist or nail technician, Cindy requires they first be a receptionist. This allows her to observe their behavior, work ethic, personality, etc. If it’s a good “match” she helps them through beauty school. Upon graduation from school and after receiving their license, they are offered a position as an “intern”. During their internship, the new stylist is permitted to bring in models on which to work. For two months the model receives free services – but it is the responsibility of the stylist to retain this model as a customer. After hire, the stylist serves as an assistant to two stylists at the salon while also training with Cindy one day per week.
Cindy says that “Passion and Personality” are the two things that she looks for in a new hire. She believes that if they have graduated from a Salon Schools Group program and have gotten their license, she can further train them. But without passion and personality they will not be successful. She also expects them to look nice, have a portfolio and a nice resume. She is very pleased with the resumes that she has received from Salon Schools Group students. Resume writing is a standard part of training at Salon Schools Group. Cindy is also pleased to learn that students receive an iPad mini that they can use for creating a digital portfolio to prospective employers.
Cindy’s enthusiasm for helping nurture new talent is so appreciated and refreshing! Listen up, future beauty professionals! Here is what Cindy has to say about your future! “New students and stylists have to realize that the sky is the limit! If you do everything right, the money will come. But, you have to LOVE it. I have 23 and 24 year old stylists who have purchased their own homes – NICE homes. Many of them make much, much more than their husbands.” Success begins with an excellent education (at Salon Schools Group, of course!) and Cindy understands the anxiety that recent cosmetology school graduates may have, but she knows that there is room to grow and excel!
Looking back on her experience as a student, Cindy believes that learning the basics and preparing for state board is so important and it’s a big deal. The fundamental skills learned in cosmetology school are the very firm foundation for learning the incredibly advanced techniques that are taught by Cindy. “You can’t move on to another level until you understand the basics”.
Offering professional products to her clients is a “must” for Cindy. But not just any product line and not just ONE line. Cindy has learned that “one size does NOT fit all” when it comes to matching products to her customers. Cindy knows her customers – she understands what product will work with that client’s hairstyle and the lifestyle. Styles change – products change…Cindy knows this, so she is constantly trying new products to see what will best fit the needs of her clients. One professional product line in which Cindy has found fantastic results is the L’Oreal Professionals line. So passionate about this line is Cindy that Hair Artists has been designated a “Top Black Elite Salon for L’Oreal Professionals. She is #1 in Ohio! L’Oreal also provides her with an incredible amount of education. Through them she has taken classes in SOHO and Paris (all expenses paid), to name a few. Another perk of being a Black Elite salon – L’Oreal sends an international platform artist to her salon once a year to train her and her stylists – at no charge to Cindy. Why does she believe in using professional products? “You get what you pay for”. The greatest benefit of product knowledge is keeping the client happy and keeping their hair healthy and attractive EVERY day – not just when they leave the salon. “You are the doctor of hair – you prescribe what they need” Purology and Aquage products are also offered at Hair Artists.
Considering all of her hard work, long hours, advanced education and staff training it may be hard to believe that her definition of success is so simple. When asked “what is your favorite part of your job?” she didn’t hesitate – “having become friends with my clients”.
Basic – yes
Simple – yes
Priceless – absolutely!