Jennifer Reid has won the Contessa award for Hair Extensions Artist of the Year twice. Since we’ve retired the award this year, we reflect with Reid on creating the last-ever winning Hair Extensions Artist collection and what she plans on doing next.
Salon Magazine: What was it like to win the Contessa award for Hair Extensions Artist?
Jennifer Reid: It was amazing! A total honour. When I entered for the first time I never thought I would have made it to the finals, let alone actually win! And then winning for the second time was really just a huge accomplishment.
SM: Where did you find the inspiration for your winning collection?
JR: I usually start looking for inspiration within my models. From there I figure out what their best look would be and then shop for outfits that I feel would work. For this particular collection I wanted it to have a very soft and feminine feel.
SM: You’ve won the award before. Why is it important to continue entering?
JR: I think it gives me a little challenge to work towards every year. I love being a behind the chair stylist and it’s absolutely my passion, but there is just something about getting to be so free and creative and that I only have myself to answer to, and I’m not trying to answer for someone else or make someone else happy. It’s all about me.
SM: We’ve retired the Hair Extensions Artist category this year. What category are you interested in entering next?
JR: I’m going to try the Texture category this year. I can only hope I will be as successful in texture as I have been with extensions.
SM: What’s one piece of advice you would offer someone entering the Contessas for the first time?
JR: Don’t take yourself too seriously. I went in with almost no expectations of myself—just to have fun and enjoy it the first time, and it proved to work out extremely well for me. The minute it stops being enjoyable it’s not worth it.
SM: How has social media impacted your success as a hairstylist?
JR: I run my personal hair Instagram page as well as our entire salon’s page. I feel like it’s definitely the future of our business. If you aren’t active in social media, especially Instagram, you will be obsolete in a few years. Clients don’t even use Facebook anymore to look for our work. They want an online portfolio of everything and anything you are amazing at.
“If you aren’t active in social media, especially Instagram, you will be obsolete in a few years.” ~ Jennifer Reid, Contessa 2017 Hair Extensions Artist of the Year
SM: Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to when it comes to styling hair?
JR: My mentor would definitely be my business partner Pamela Greenlee. I started working for her when I was 16 as a co-op student. She then hired me as her apprentice and taught me everything that she knew and made me who I am today as a stylist. She was always so encouraging and she was actually the one who encouraged me to enter the Contessas for first time. We are now business partners and co-owners of our salon. She’s definitely helped make my career what it is today.
SM: What do you enjoy doing when you are not competing or styling hair?
JR: Any time I have, I love spending it with my family and my dog. My husband and I love to take our puppy on hikes around where we live. We are currently expecting our first child, too so I’m sure any time I’m not working I will want to spend it with him.
SM: If you weren’t a hairstylist, what do you think you would be doing?
JR: If I wasn’t a hairstylist I would be a teacher. But what’s great about being a stylist with an apprentice is that I constantly get to teach all day, every day. So, I really have the best of both of my passions.
SM: Finish this sentence: More hairstylists need to ______________
JR: Do proper apprenticeships before going on the floor as a stylist. The confidence and abilities you learn when you aren’t just thrown on the floor as a stylist right out of school is really an amazing thing.
SM: What’s next for you?
JR: Every year I say I’m not going to compete again and every year I do! So, I’m continuing to grow my personal business as well as on the competition side. Also continuing to help mentor other stylists and apprentices to get into the competition world and see what it could do for their creativity.
Contessa entries are open! Fill out an entry form or access the rules and regulations here. Hurry! Entries close August 2, 2017.