From emerging hairstylists who are just getting their start to excelling stylists who are on their way to becoming the next set of leaders and to even those in between, we spoke with hairstylists to learn more about their stories and how they’re making their mark on the industry.
Emily Kooistra, Salon Cyan, London, Ont.
Age: 26 • Pronouns: She/Her
Emily Kooistra knew she loved working with hair at a very young age. “Growing up, I’ve always loved playing with hair, and I used to beg my younger sister to let me play with her hair,” she says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after I finished high school, so my mom suggested going to hair school.”
When Kooistra graduated in the fall of 2017, she worked with a salon for five months before moving to Salon Cyan in London, Ont., where she assisted for four years before getting the opportunity to work on the floor. “I really liked hair school, but it’s very different from working in a salon,” she says. “No matter when you get to work on the floor, there’s always going to be a period of stress. While it was definitely a long wait, I’m glad I assisted for so many years.”
Kooistra credits her mentors in the salon, salon owner Jagoda Hall and senior stylist Kristina Hryclik. “I assisted Kristina for four years, and she very much invested in me,” says Kooistra. “She was constantly trying to help me improve and wanted to see me succeed. She was very encouraging and helpful with answering my questions. I feel very grateful that I got to assist someone who loves to teach like that.”
“The salon environment that Jagoda has created is all about teaching, and I hadn’t experienced that before,” she adds. “She’s always been so encouraging and supportive of her stylists, making sure everyone feels comfortable and has a good work experience.”
Kooistra and Hall have also discovered a mutual love for competitions, recently participating in Kao’s Global Creative Awards and travelling to Amsterdam to compete in the live competition, where Kooistra was named the silver global winner for New Talent Colorist.
“I decided to enter the competition because I wanted to make something I was proud of,” she says. “I think I blacked out for a second. I was not expecting it at all. It was such a great surprise and an exciting way to start my career.”
While competing in and winning a global competition isn’t the typical route for new stylists entering the industry, Kooistra says it’s all about building your confidence and putting yourself out there.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” she says. “It’s good to have expectations, but don’t hold yourself too high. Realize that there’s going to be a lot of trial and error in the first year of your career. For me, I just want to be comfortable in my skills and gain confidence. I want to build my portfolio and do more competitions— they’re really fun. I’m still very new, so
I have lots ahead of me, but I’m excited about it.”
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