The Final Photoshoot Touches with Master Stylist Danielle DeGraaf

It’s hard to believe the day is almost here! Monday April 10th is just around the corner and Danielle has been eat, sleep, breathing photoshoot prep! In this last interview before the shoot Danielle reflects on where she started, how far she’s come and the process that will take place the day of.

“I started planning, or coming up with ideas in late summer, early fall 2016,” she begins, ‘I changed my mind 100 times since then and I’m still putting thought into the concept every day.”

Physically, Danielle has been hustling.  While maintaining her regular Studio hours she estimates having put in a minimum of 40 hours of work for the shoot and that number is still climbing.  With the required looks being more fantasy and avant garde focused, some of those hours were also dedicated to working with and colouring extensions, which is a very common practice in photo based competitions.

When asked what she’d do differently in preparation for her next shoot she was quick to answer, ‘I think the biggest thing would be to decide on my colours and styles and just stick to it instead of changing my mind so many times!’

In the last interview we discussed how styling had been her biggest challenge to date since it is so different from her everyday work.  Interestingly enough, even though the styles are different the products needed to create them are still the same. ‘I learned new ways to combine our products and worked out the exact amount necessary to build the style I wanted.’

Now that the day is so close I asked Danielle to walk me through what her day will look like. ‘The day of the shoot is pretty straight forward,’ she said. ‘All the colouring is done and the model’s hair will be set the day before.  We’ll get to the photographers studio in London around 8:30am. While I’m creating one model’s finished style, another model will be in makeup.’ With 3 models to prep in a relatively short period of time Danielle is thankful to have some help from fellow Stylists who can jump in and be an ‘extra set of hands’ for her when needed.  ‘The goal will be for each model to always be busy, either with hair, makeup or on set modeling for the photographer.’

With the new connections she has made for photography, makeup, education and with other hairstylists pursuing this type of work, I asked whether she’s found the network different from the behind the chair network. ‘I wouldn’t say its far different.  I believe the majority, at least the ones I’ve had the opportunity to meet, are still working and enjoy being behind the chair.  The hair industry has so many avenues and I think competition work is just an example of one where Stylists can come together and share their passion.’

To say it’s been a journey for Danielle is an understatement!  When asked what the first thing she will do after the shoot is complete her answer had me laughing, ‘Cry, laugh, drink (she laughs), I’m actually taking a couple of days off and will probably reflect on my experience and have a glass of wine!’ And it’s a well deserved glass indeed.

You’ll see a follow up blog post about Danielle’s shoot after she’s had a chance to relax and reflect on her experience the day of the shoot.  There has been so much support shown for Danielle throughout this process that we just want to say thank you for every word of encouragement, all the well wishes and to those simply just happy for Danielle and all she has worked so hard to accomplish! Your support does not go unnoticed!

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

 

 

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A Styling Step-Up for Master Stylist Danielle DeGraaf

Like any artist, there comes a time when even the most experienced and successful Stylists have to step up and break their current limits.  Challenging ourselves is the only way to grow and this is exactly what Danielle is doing as she prepares to enter the renowned hairstyling competition, the Contessas.

I sat down with Danielle to find out a little more about her motivation for entering the Contessas at this point in her career. She began by explaining, “I have admired work from the contestants for years, but always felt it to be beyond my capabilities.” Now after accomplishing more and more goals behind the chair, she decided she was ready for the challenge.

In discussion with how styling for competitions differs from her day to day work with clients she notes that the two are very different.  “Competition hair is wild and fantasy like.  Everything from cut, colour, style, makeup, etc comes solely from my own imagination. There really are no limits.”  In comparison she explains that for her everyday clients her goal is to do her best to give them what they want, what suits them and what works for their lifestyle.  Although this still requires a lot of customization and imagination for each client, the range of styles are limited to what is suitable for every day wear.

 

Although the preparation for the Contessas has added a lot of work for her, she shows no sign of slowing down. I asked her how she took her first steps with the process and what she’s working on now in preparation.  “My first step was to get some education on the competition world.” she began. “Once I knew what I was in for I just began looking at past contestant’s work, artists I admired on social media and so on.  After putting together my theme and creating my storyboards to depict the look of each individual model, I started making some colour swatches to test the goal colours.”

In between now and the shoot, Danielle plans to work on the styling necessary to create each models look.  “There is lots to do here as its styling I have never done before,” she told me.  In amongst that practice work she will be spending more time perfecting colours, organizing wardrobe and accessories and prepping models.

When asked what she hopes to achieve in competing she explained, “I hope to grow as a Stylist, to have more confidence and also to be an inspiration to fellow Stylists.”  Contessa entries are due early summer with the awards ceremony in the fall.

Its clear that Danielle has already gained so much judging by how she sees the competition experience as a whole. “Entering competitions requires you to always be at the forefront of what’s new and hot in the industry. Challenging myself in this way forces me to learn new techniques in colour, cut and styling.”

No matter the style, its what you learn through achieving it that makes it beneficial for every client you work with behind the chair. In speaking with Danielle it was clear that it’s not just the pride of the prize but the passion in acquiring the experience that is truly inspiring to her.  In turn, she’s inspiring all of us at the Studio even more.

There will be more on Danielle’s journey towards the photoshoot here on the blog when I catch up with her next time so stay tuned!

 

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

 

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Hairstyling Apprenticeship Standards – A Grey Area?

hairstyling apprenticeshipI thought I had a handle on the requirements of both the apprentice and sponsor in the hairstyling apprenticeship process.  Recently I had my eyes opened to some inconsistencies which allow many people to fly under the radar and fast track the system.  I refrain from saying ‘cheat’ the system since most apprentices do so with the consent and approval of their sponsor and the ‘system’ itself.

The hairstyling apprenticeship, for as long as I can remember, required schooling and work hours.  Work hours are spent with a sponsoring stylist who is required to teach and sign off on all the essentials skills in the apprenticeship handbook.  I’ve been through the process as the apprentice and now as a sponsor.  Imagine my surprise while registering with my third apprentice discovering an entire ‘grey’ area I had not realized existed.

Hair styling is classified as a Compulsory Trade in Ontario which after the schooling and work hours mentioned above requires a final exam to become fully licensed.  Traditionally, this is 1500 full time school hours, 2000 salon working hours, totalling 3500 hours.  The new part time Apprentice school program of 480 hours requires an additional 3020 salon working hours for the same 3500 hour total.  Seems simple enough right?  As long as 3500 hours are completed, regardless of the schooling path they choose, the hairstyling apprenticeship is fulfilled and they are able to take their final exam to become fully licensed.  And here’s where it gets interesting.

When completing paperwork for a recent hairstyling apprenticeship I was informed that if I signed off all the ‘skills’ in the handbook the final exam could be taken ‘Whenever I felt as though the apprentice was ready.’  Pardon? Ready as in she has put in her 3500 hours, right? The clarification I asked for didn’t exactly sit well with me; ‘No – she doesn’t really have to complete all the hours – just send her with a letter that says how many she completed and that you feel she is ready to take her exam’.  Well really. Where’s the consistency in that?

Just to clarify – PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.  I would love to find out that this murky grey area I uncovered is but a bad dream and there is actually a concrete system to ensure every hairstyling apprenticeship requires exactly 35o0 hours to achieve full licensing.

Most of you that know me can clearly see I’m a black and white type of person.  At a fork in the road I will go left or right – I’m not into off roading down the middle, throwing caution to the wind to rip donuts in the mud. I realize not everyone is the same but here is what really bothers me about all this.  HOW is this fair to the apprentice and THE CLIENTS? Why should one apprentice work a gruelling 3500 hours when the next one doesn’t have to? Why should one sponsor make the decision that an apprentice has completed ‘enough’ hours when 3500 is the actual requirement? Why should a client have to question whether the newly licensed hairstylist you have an appointment with has in fact completed 3500 hours?

There are provinces where hair styling is not regulated at all.  You could go into a salon and book an appointment with a hair stylist who doesn’t have a license, which you may or may not be aware of.  In that situation you rely on the reputation of the salon you are going to, their education program and the quality of their work to know whether the stylist will serve you well.  Sadly, even though there are governing bodies for hairstyling apprenticeships in Ontario, I encourage you as a consumer to do your homework.  Make your stylist choice based on more then just whether they hold their license.  Learn about their work, inquire about their training and education, ask who their sponsoring stylist was.  After all – finding a great hair stylist is really about trust! Has your hair stylist earned your trust?

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

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The Art of the Blow Dry

blow dryWomen used to flock to the hair salon for their weekly shampoo and roller set. All the ladies lined up in a row, hair wound tight on rollers, sitting under the dryer, coffee in hand waiting for their hair to dry. I’m sure there are still some faithful weekly roller setters out there but lets just say the phone is not ringing off the hook with requests.

Now some of you, I’m sure, think this happened eons ago and wouldn’t have affected any of us in our careers, but I can tell you that Friday’s meant one thing for me early in my career, and that was roller set day. I loved seeing these clients once a week, catching up with what they did on their weekend, who came over after church last Sunday and who was coming to visit this weekend, all while I shampooed and put their rollers in. All the clients knew each other too and looked forward to catching up between themselves, asking about each others children, new grand babies and of course who was in the hospital and what kind of casserole they took over to the family. They didn’t even own a blow dryer or a curling iron. Seriously.

I know it all sounds cliche. I know it sounds like 1940 but believe me it was NOT! Those women with their rollers wanted what everyone really wants – their hair exactly how they liked it. They just happened to like a hard, backcombed set that would last a week. But there were also clients who came in once a week and wanted something different…..

First it started with a curling iron set. Like the roller set only softer, yet still quite formal looking. And then it happened – my foray into ‘The Art of The Blow Dry’. Ethel* was a wonderful lady, bright, happy and beautiful. What Ethel wasn’t was a roller set client. Her chin length grey hair required more muscle then what those rollers could handle and after her shampoo she promptly told me that she would like her hair blow dryed with a round brush. Now don’t get me wrong – I’d used round brushes in hair school, punishing my classmates with a blow dry every now and then, but we spent 95% of our time rolling and backcombing. Doing a round brush blow dry was not a honed skill of mine.

But Ethel was patient, and bless her heart came back again and again, and I learned how to smooth and curl and volumize all with that one little round brush. All those roller sets that I could now do with my eyes closed had already taught me how to section, angle and roll the hair to make sure that Ethel’s blow dry was the stuff of her dreams. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much Ethel, and her blow dry, was actually teaching me.

Hairstyling is an art, and one that gets passed over far too easily at the end of a service. That blow dry lasted Ethel for a week. A week where she could feel beautiful with her hair exactly how she wanted it and I was lucky enough to be the person that could do that for her.

Now realistically I’m aware that times have changed and the thought of washing your hair only once a week is enough to get you into the fetal position. What hasn’t changed though is the feeling that each client wants, and should always have, after walking out the door after getting their hair done. Just a chance to Experience Beautiful.

Thanks for listening,

Carrie

www.cihairstudio.ca

*name has been changed out of respect for the client

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