In this series, we put a spotlight on influencers who are making waves in the industry.
IG: @xo.farhana.balayage (Followers: 114K)
Claim to Fame: Salon owner, balayage/blending expert and global influencer for Redken
Tell us about yourself and how long have you been in the hair industry.
10 years and 2 months to be exact. I was a late bloomer. I started hair school when I was 24 and quickly realized I was more serious about it than some of my other hair school friends. I was always in the first row and never missed a day.
What forms of education have been the most helpful for you?
Anything and everything! Classes are great because you get so much information all at once and then you get to go back and apply it. I find learning opportunities just by watching others work. I learn just by seeing what the client comes in with, how the stylist approaches it and what the end result is.
When I first got into hair, access to education was limited. No YouTube, no independent educators, no online video memberships. Everything has changed and everyone should be taking advantage of that.
How have you built up your following on social media?
I became very intentional with what I was creating, sharing and posting. It consumed me and it paid off. Now it’s become second nature and I thoroughly enjoy being a creator.
What has social media done for you and your career?
Social media and Instagram in particular, has changed everything. I built my personal brand (which I didn’t even know was happening), completely changed my clientele, increased my value and demand on my time, which eventually led to me having to build a salon, raise my prices and refocus my goals.
Aside from that, Instagram gave me the stage to expand my education platform and take it to a whole new level. As much as people complain about Instagram consuming their lives and the algorithm affecting their reach, it’s done nothing but be a complete blessing for me. The good completely outweighs the bad.
What tips do you have for creating and posting content on social media? What about for building your following?
This question needs an article of its own, but here’s a place to start:
1. Take a step back and figure out what your message is. Become very clear as to who your audience is and then begin creating and posting content specifically for them.
2. Evoke emotions and add value by becoming super knowledgeable in what you’re speaking about. Viewers and followers are smart, so you need to give them something that they can’t just Google.
What do you look for when partnering with brands?
Alignment. If it makes sense for one brand to drive its consumers to the other, then I believe it’s a partnership worth exploring. It should be a benefit to all parties involved; myself, the brand/company and all of their viewers.
I also look for shared values. I love brands that are driven to stand for something other than financial profit. I love engaging, sharing and creating connections with my followers as opposed to just offering up a discount code on the latest paint brushes to hit the market.
Where would you be (or how would your career be different) without social media?
Probably married with nine kids. Just kidding! (Kind of). Believe it or not, I posted my first hair photo on Instagram a week after I called off my engagement to someone I was with for nearly eight years.
My life took a complete detour and my career took off in ways I could have never dreamed of. So in a way, I’m not joking; I don’t know if I would have gone full throttle in my professional life if I were still in that relationship. It’s crazy when I actually take a step back and think about it and I feel so blessed to be here.