Acuity had the opportunity to team up with stylist and salon manager Caitlin Orellana to gather valuable insight and expertise on the salon industry. Caitlin works at Groove Salon in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where she specializes in balayage, unicorn hair, and blonding. She discusses the importance of continuous education, social media, and setting client expectations. Read on to learn more!
When did you know you wanted to get into the hair business?
I’ve always been a little bit more on the creative side, and in order to be happy, I enjoy the independence and creative outlet being a hair stylist offers. In my senior year of high school, after multiple college tours, multiple career idea changes, and just not feeling like I could commit to 4 years of college, my mom suggested I tour VICI Beauty School in Milwaukee. Immediately after, I knew it was the right fit, and I had found what I was supposed to do.
How did you establish yourself where you are today?
Never limiting myself. I feel like a lot of people in this industry feel like once they’ve graduated cosmetology school, they’ve made it, and they don’t need to continue to grow and learn. I feel that constantly learning is the most important part of this industry. It keeps you inspired and makes the work that you do unique from everyone else’s.
Is there a universal, timeless cut that you suggest to clients who are unsure of what they want?
If someone is unsure, I never suggest making a drastic change. A trim of what they already have and sprucing up some layers can go a long way.
What is your favorite hair service to provide to a client?
I’ve always loved color services, because it’s like a puzzle. No one’s hair is the same, so getting someone from point A to point B is always a little different. The best part is the reaction of the client after. I feel like if I can brighten someone’s day with a new color, my day was all worth it. I also absolutely love doing “unicorn” hair colors (vivid colors) for people. It’s one of the biggest transformations and just so fun!
What’s the most common misconception your clients have about their hair, and how do you guide them?
A lot of people assume that they can go any color easily, without realizing that all hair has limitations. For example, someone who comes in with very dark hair requesting a platinum blonde would not be able to achieve their hair goals in one session. This would be something done gradually over the course of time. I always guide them by laying everything out in a way that someone who doesn’t do hair can understand and giving them a detailed game plan of how we will eventually get them to their goal without compromising their hair.
How do you stay on top of style trends?
Honestly, social media, following other stylists, different color companies, etc. This way you can always see what’s new and on trend anywhere in the world. But always put your own spin on it and make it yours, instead of imitating other people’s art!
What advice would you give to a new stylist just entering the industry?
Take pictures of all your work! Post on social media, ESPECIALLY Instagram. Use hashtags, and hashtag your local area to make it easy for people to find you!
How is technology and AR affecting the salon industry?
Making it so much easier to get your name out there. Before, advertising was not only expensive, but hard to reach your target audience. Now, with new technology, we have thousands of potential clients at our fingertips if we’re willing to put in the work.
How much do the products people are using on their hair matter, and do you have any tips for increasing retail sales?
They definitely matter a lot! I can tell the difference between someone who uses good salon-quality products and someone who uses a cheap drugstore shampoo just by how their hair feels! It’s almost always the people who use the cheaper shampoo that have dull hair color because of the waxy layer of buildup these products cause. I always mention at least three products I use on my client and explain why these products will be helpful to their hair. After the service is complete, I will always show these products to them again before they check out.