As they work their way up, young up-and-coming beauty professionals are blazing trails and making waves. We scoured the country to find out who is doing what and how it all began. Here is our chat with up-and-coming beauty professional, Krysten-Ashley Garrod.
Salon Magazine: How did you get your start in hair? Why did you decide to be a part of this industry?
Krysten-Ashley Garrod: I started at the young age of 16. I had decided to do a co-op placement in high school at a local hair salon. At the time, I knew I wanted a career in the arts, but the idea of becoming a hairstylist was given to me by an apprentice at the time, Melissa Paton-VanNorman. She applied my colour at a local salon and spoke very highly of this career. I had no idea that an apprenticeship was even an option, so while still in high school, I thought why not try a co-op. Worst case scenario, I’ll get my hair done and gain high school credits. I never thought that only two weeks in, I’d be hired as the Saturday shampoo girl and then continue working as I went to college and started my career. I fell in love and never looked back!
SM: What drives and motivates you as a hairstylist?
KG: I love to make people feel good about themselves. The joy you can evoke when you see someone enjoying their new look is amazing. I love being creative and when I do a competition or photoshoot work, it’s the time I get to be my most authentic, artistic self. Using my model’s hair as my canvas, I can create something I am truly proud of.
SM: What is your expertise? What do you specialize in or excel at?
KG: I love colour and styling. In the salon, I am a full stylist, but I do get very excited about colour corrections. I also get very excited to show my clients how to style their own hair. I love to show easy tips and tricks to get their hair looking great until I see them next. Their hair is my walking business card, so I do all I can to help them reflect the quality of my work in their style!
SM: What is the one lesson you’ve learned throughout your education and career that you still keep in mind today?
KG: To keep yourself organized. Whether it’s a clean and organized station, pre-booking your clients, writing down service client information, time management, or pre-emptively booking time out of the salon. Everything makes your day to day run more smoothly. I have some clients who book a year out, so I need to know when I’m out of the salon before they book. Consistency in service is extremely important to my guests. I know how frustrated I can feel when other service providers cancel appointments on me with little notice, especially for avoidable reasons like holidays etc. I never want to do this to any of my guests. Yes, we all get sick and sometimes unavoidable things come up, but with regard to just needing a day off, I have that planned a year in advance. I always say that if you respect my time, I’ll respect yours.
SM: Who is your mentor or who do you look up to when it comes to hair? Anyone in particular on social media?
KG: I’m pretty lucky in this regard. As a guest artist for Goldwell, I get to work with some incredible talent from across North America on a regular basis. My teammates have been mentors and huge influences in my hair career. The fact that I get to work beside them is truly a dream come true. Someone who is a huge influence on me is Rodica Hristu. She is a wonder woman, a global guest artist for Goldwell and one of the greatest colour minds I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful and jump at any opportunity to work with her, the amount I learn just being in the same room as Rodica is amazing.
SM: Who is your hair hero? Is there someone you want to work with?
KG: I don’t have one person in particular, there are so many amazing talents. Mario Krankl is one that I have had the pleasure to assist at a show in Toronto. His editorial styling is out of this world. His is also one of the most humble and kind artists you will ever meet. Someone who haven’t worked with but would love the opportunity to, would be Angelo Seminara, again a huge talent in the industry, he makes things look so beautifully effortless on stage.
SM: As a young artist, what has been the biggest challenge have you faced and how have you overcome that?
KG: Age has always been an issue, as I started very young and progressed quickly. Often, clients were skeptical of my skills. Education invites confidence, so I took as many classes as I could, some a few times over. It allowed my clients to look past my age and know that I could give them the look they desired. I constantly push myself to do better and learn more. I have always said you’re never too big to learn. This industry is constantly evolving and growing and clients have more information at their fingertips. If we don’t try to take a few classes every year, we can fall behind. We are so lucky that there is so much information out there for us, from webinars to hands on academy programs, at every budget, we really have no excuse not to improve our skills.
SM: Who gave you the best advice as you embarked on your career and what was that advice?
KG: When you’re green you’re growing, when you’re ripe you rot – Ray Kroc. After a few years in the industry, I had the pleasure of working with Morgan Adekeye, who quickly became a dear friend. Someone had told her this quote years earlier and after she told me, it’s always stuck near and dear to my heart. It’s something that has inspired me to keep pushing and keep learning, whether it was watching a late-night hair dvd with wine at Morgan’s house to now taking hair trips around the world with my talented hairstylist husband to learn from new and exciting people. This is something that has shaped my views on growth in our industry.
SM: What is your one must-have product?
KG: For colour its Goldwell SilkLift. If you haven’t tried it you’re definitely missing out. For styling I can’t live without Stylesign’s Flat Marvel.
SM: What are your goals for the next 5 to 10 years? Where do you see yourself in the beauty industry?
KG: When it comes to my work behind the chair, I’m working with an amazing team at Studio Fontana. I am self-employed working under the Studio Fontana umbrella, which means I have the flexibility to set my own schedule and service my guests the way I would like. It allows me to create a better work-life balance between my guests, my home and my education career, which I know we all strive for. I am truly blessed to work with both Francesco and Katie Fontana and the rest of our team. Even though we all are independent, we work like a team. We have a photo studio in the salon, which means we can put together a shoot whenever we want. Truly, I have to say the atmosphere at the salon is something my clients always comment on. I have the best clients, I want to continue to give them the best service I can at Studio Fontana.
In the next 5 years, I see myself pushing to do more. I would be proud to win a Contessa, but even simply making finals makes me incredibly happy. Goldwell’s Color Zoom is also an ongoing focus. I came so close in 2016, placing silver on at GlobalZoom in Stockholm, Sweden. I had made it to the global stage before I turned 30, which was a huge goal for me. So now I’d love to be back on that stage with some more hardware before I turn 35.
10 years from now, I would love to have an opportunity to be part of the Goldwell global artist team. Being able to share my passion globally is something I’m constantly working towards. Hopefully I get to realize that goal someday soon.