Through her journey, Carmen Powers has learned that taking risks, getting out of her comfort zone and following her heart is what has lead her to achieving her career dreams. Now a Professional Hair Colorist at Spoke & Weal in the trendy Soho district, Carmen is learning everyday how to master her art and is meeting a lot of great people along the way.
How long have you been working as a professional Hair Stylist?
I have been a professional hair stylist for 14 years.
When did you decide that this is what you want to do for a living? How did you come to that decision?
I wanted to be a hairdresser in high school. However, I thought that going to Cosmetology school right after high school was a cop out from going to college. 5 years later, I still hadn’t made it to college so I took the leap. It was the best decision for me. Being a hair stylist is such a great career.
What do you love about being a Hair Stylist?
I love being a hair stylist for so many reasons. My main job is to make people feel beautiful. How cool is that?! I get to be creative all day, I get to meet so many different types of people, my schedule is very flexible and I am able to support my family.
What’s been one of the most memorable or proudest moments in your career so far?
I stayed at the first salon I worked at for a very long time. Way longer than I should have. I stayed because I had really good health benefits and didn’t want to give them up. And it was comfortable. I was unhappy for almost 6 years. I just had this idea that I was going to be unhappy about something no matter where I was, so I may as well have good benefits. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was terrified the day I decided to leave that environment, but it was the best day. Actually, the best day has been every single day since then. Honest. I found a work environment that supports me and educates me and helps me grow. Every. Single. Day. Every single person I work with enriches me in some way. I’ve never been happier.
What’s the toughest part about being a hair stylist?
The toughest part for me, is also one of the best parts. There are so many different personalities that sit in my chair everyday. It makes the day very interesting, but it also keeps me on my toes. You never know what kind of mood someone is going to be in and hair is very personal to people, so being sensitive to a wide range of personalities is tough sometimes.
What is your ultimate professional dream?
Honestly, I’m living my professional dream. Before Spoke and Weal, I was working in a salon that didn’t push me to be better or really give me much motivation. The support I get from my bosses and my team are incredible and I’m receiving an education like none other. I’ve grown so much as a hair stylist and as a person. I’ve worked NYFW, photo shoots and film. Those things are a lot of fun, but I find where I shine the most is behind the chair. And having a salon that helps me be my best is such a dream.
Do you have a signature hairstyle you’re known for or a favorite?
I am a color specialist, so I’m not cutting hair anymore. I really do love doing all types of color, but right now I’m really loving making the bright blondes and reds.
If you weren’t a hair stylist, what do you think you’d be doing?
If I weren’t a hair stylist, I would be a birth doula. I am actually a certified birth doula, but attending births is tricky when you have clients in your chair. I do still attend the births of friends, but it’s just a hobby at this point.
Do you have a favorite motto or mantra you live by?
Never stop learning. No matter how long you’ve been in any business, you can always learn something. If you’ve taken a class already, take it again. You’ll learn something new, I promise. Take every class and every opportunity you can. Successes and failures can all be learned from.
What is one tip you’d give someone who’s just starting out their career as a Hair Stylist?
Try everything. There are so many aspects to being a hair stylist. You can work in film, in print, for theater or behind the chair. You can also travel and do private clients. There are so many ways to be a hair stylist. Don’t limit yourself. Try it all to see where you’re most happy. Also, it takes a while to master your craft. You’re going to do a lot of work for very little money in the beginning. It’s all about learning. Learn wherever and from whoever you can.
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