Hair Stylist Interview With Maria Demarco Of Haiirsport Masters
Q: Did you always long to be an artist, or did you stumble upon your talent by chance? Who or what inspired you to become a hair stylist?
A: No. Though I was doing hair from my youth, I always thought I would be a Doctor Or Lawyer. So I would Say I stumbled upon it. One of my inspirations was my godmother, who has now passed on. May the Spirit of the True and Living GOD Rest Her Soul.
She worked for the state and had a full fledged shop in her house in the 70′s. She would aid my mother in caring for my hair.
Q: Tell a little about yourself personally and if you attended school or you are self taught hairstylist?
A: Self-taught! But no man is an island. I read everything about hair and beauty; And was aided by top notch professionals. I took an interest in hair at about 8 or 9yrs. of age. I began doing family and then friends. I started thinking seriously about it at age 18 or so. I entered Business College (Majoring in Accounting) and later on about 22, after an interesting encounter with an older gentleman a fellow barber and shop owner, who by the way, I’d come to meet through an invitation from a friend I was Cutting at the time, extended an offer for me to train under him. It was also mentioned that he was selling his shop and looking for a young person to take it over. He thought a young female would be perfect.
However, after careful consideration and consulting with family and friends, I opted out of buying and took the training. The offer to buy at the price quoted just seemed too good to be true. Sale price-$500.00. Even in the ’80′s this was cheap. I felt there was more to that story. And besides, the lack of experience managing a shop was another element altogether I simply knew nothing about. So Moving right along .. I began training. It only lasted a week before the shop was sold. My instructor/shop owner called me at home to inform me; But not before he’d tell me he did not think I would make it in the business.He would tell me this throughout the course of the training too. On Saturday of that week he gave me $100.00 and told me to buy myself something nice and he wished me good luck. It Hurt to hear that; and I fought to keep from crying. Needless to say, I proved him wrong!
But the experience was worth it. I am one of the countries top female barbers now! I saw Mr. Sterling some time later out at a restaurant and he asked me what was I doing with myself.
I said, cutting hair Of course! He looked quite surprised, as I knew he would be. We just laughed about it cordially and I left him to eat his meal. I was redeemed as I had gone on to complete 2 apprenticeships under two of the most talented and well-known Hair Professionals in The Atlanta Hair Industry. I now Am A Licensed Master Cosmetologist & Business Owner And Grateful For All Of My Experiences Leading Up to This. I Will Be Forever Learning!
Q: Do you think going to school for hairstyling is important to excel in the business later on?
A: I Do! And if you can afford the time and money, do it! However, the same Goal can be achieved under the right instructor. Your training comes from your instructor whether in school or not. The Major difference is, on the job you have the ability to make money while you learn. It is on-the-job, hands-on instruction. You get paid to learn verses the possibility of owing a debt to a school. With the right instructor, he/she will see to it that you have up-to-date learning materials, and have irregular one on one classroom instruction with you to insure that you learn the foundational principles of health and sanitation as well as the proper shop etiquette up front, before you get onto the shops floor and begin working. Turning in state board hours is another major responsibility of your teacher as well. If your teacher is skilled, disciplined, structured and responsible, apprenticing is a good idea.
Q: What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about your job?
A: I cannot pick just one. I just love everything about my field; even the challenges, which at times can be quite difficult. I Love to transform and makeover my clients. It is so rewarding to see that one more satisfied client stride with confidence out of the door. But I suppose If I was forced to choose one, I would say working for myself is the most exciting! It allows me full creative control to carve out my niche in the Beauty Industry. And I Have! You can do so many things besides just hair being a Licensed Master Cosmetologist. Being multifaceted, I have expanded into other areas of the field.
Q: What surprises you most about working as a hair stylist?
A: Not too much anymore really. You Kinda learn to brace yourself for the unexpected!
Q: Describe your “Classic Approach to Beauty.” How do you define beauty?
A: I have a saying … True Beauty is from the Inside-Out. That is First and Foremost. Outer-Beauty is an Added Bonus!
Q: What individual products and brands are you “addicted” to at the moment and you use on a daily basis?
A: Soap and Water to begin with. For Men, I love the old school Pinaud Products: after-shave, Hair Tonics, powder etc … For dying the hair or enhancing the hairline I use Begin #59. For natural hair and most shampoos, I use Dr. Bronners Peppermint and Lavender Soap.
Q: What are some of the most basic but effective hair care tips that you have, that are really important?
A: Choose a good cleansing shampoo and Conditioner. Keep your hair clean and conditioned on the regular, and the ends trimmed. Clean Hair Is Essential to helping one maintain good overall hygiene and a healthy scalp. That’s number one in my book! Besides, when a client maintains good hygiene he/she helps me to guard my health and the health of the public as well.
Q: What is the biggest hair care dont’s?
A: Do not come to the shop knowing you have a contagious scalp condition or other health issue and get angry if you are refused service. Like doctors, we are trained to recognize certain scalp/skin conditions and disorders. If Experienced, you have seen a lot of scalp and skin issues.
Ringworm is a common one, especially with children. But we are not doctors and therefore technically cannot diagnose; but rather refer clients to see a doctor for a diagnosis. If you see a questionable condition(possibly infectious/contagious)we have the right to and should for the sake of public health refuse service.
Q: Have you had an extreme, crazy or bad experience with a hair care product? If so, what happened?
A: From a personal perspective; I use to model. The day before my first show I received a Relaxer. Despite numerous please to the stylist to rinse out the relaxer, the lady did not. When she did, I was so badly burned most of my hair fell out and my face was burned in the temple and forehead.
I was in so much pain that I took a shower running cold water on my head for 45 minutes to an hour trying to cool my scalp and my face just hurt. By morning I had chemical burns on parts of my face and much of my hair stuck to my scalp.
Now it is also the day of my first modeling show. When the Coordinator of the show saw me, she screamed; What happened to all that beautiful hair?
Then she proceeded to see what she could do to cover the scars and my hair before the show. The show went on of course! The make up artist did her magic, I wore a nice Fashionable Cap to take away my shame (outwardly anyway). I Was In Horrific pain for days! I took lots of pain medicine just to get some relief. But it took about three good weeks to recover from the pain and scarring. It took some time afterwords for my scalp to fully recover and the hair to grow back. It was, to say the least, a traumatizing experience!
I was only 16 at the time. But of all days, the day of my first modeling gig! Needless to say I never went back to that lady ever, ever, ever again! Now ironically, she had two very beautiful daughters with long beautiful hair whom I’d seen at school and around our neighborhood. When I inquired as to who did their hair, they told me their mother did it. So I pleaded with my mom to let this woman fix my hair. She was against it from the start stating my hair was fine and that I did not need a relaxer. I was Pressing my own hair then. But I was getting tired of maintaining it that way. But I should have taken my mothers advice. As you can tell by the story she allowed me to have it my way. A hard lesson learned. Needless to say that stylist never got my business ever, ever, ever again!!
Q: What do you find to be the most common mistakes women make with hair color?
A: Perming immediately after coloring and not keeping good records on the previous color product(s) they have used. All color products have what is called base colors which important for a stylist to know before recoloring. It Will determine what the stylist will recommend to achieve the desired outcome. It is color mixing basics 101.
Q: What’s the worst thing a woman can do to her hair?
A: Overprocess the hair with any type of chemical and continuing to style it using excessive heat without taking corrective measures; Also bleaching the hair immediately after a perm or bleaching already damaged hair.
Q: What’s the one haircare tool you simply can’t live without?
A: A comb!
Q: What do you think are best/worst trends in the hair industry right now?
A: I love the mohawk. It is the best!! It is versatile in the many ways that it can be worn and styled; Both male & female, young and old can wear this style. The worst? The matted weave styles. Not only is it unattractive, but it is damaging to the hair and scalp.
Q: Do average girls needs to splurge on high-priced hair care products, or are drugstore items are just as satisfactory?
A: What is average? All girls deserve to use the best products. If you can afford the best, by all means do buy the best. Personally, I love using natural/organic products, and products not tested on animals, whenever possible. These products tend to be slightly more expensive, but worth it!
Not everyone can afford it. Not all are aware of where to go for true organic products or even aware of the importance of going organic. Now there are some decent products that can be purchased at the drugstore. I would always recommend a beauty supply store over the drugstore for hair care products. In my neighborhood, the drugstore is more expensive than my local beauty supplier.
Q: Do you have any general tips/tricks for extending color between visits?
A: Shampoo with shampoo designed specifically for color treated hair, and use the brands companioned conditioner. Do not shampoo excessively!
Q: Can anyone go red or do you feel that color works best with certain skin tones/hair types?
A: I always say money spends every where; so a client can do as they please. However, in my best observation, it does works best for certain skin tones as well as on certain hair types. Other factors to be taken into consideration are facial structure, and the condition of the hair. Also one must take into consideration the color in relation to the type of style the client is trying to achieve.
Q: Do you feel anyone can go blond or should the look be reserved for certain skin tones/hair types?
A: Here again,I certainly feel that you can do whatever you like. However, in my best observation I certainly feel that not only does it look best on certain skin tones and hair types; But when going blonde, you must consider, this is an extreme process and color on the color wheel. You must consider the condition of the clients hair for this type of service because of the color lifting processes the client may have to undergo in order to achieve the blonde look.
Q: Which hairstyles do you tend to do the most often? Which hairstyles are the most popular?
A: I am in Atlanta Georgia & the Mohawk every way you can serve it is the cut for both male and female. So I give it to them. Natural hair styles such as locs, braids, etc. are quite popular as well, and I specialize in them.
Q: What do your clients think of you? What are some individual testimonials?
A: I have a reputation for being the best at what I do. People Love Me! I win over my clients with patience, kindness, education, and of course my best work. A first time client once asked me if I knew how popular I was. I responded.. “What do you mean? He said “I’m new in town and I am looking for a barber. I have been asking around. “I wanna know who’s the best”, he said. I don’t let just anyone touch my head. He said that everywhere he went asking my name kept coming up. I thought that was such a huge compliment! So I said “WOW”! THANKS! After the service he looked in the mirror and said, “Now I know why.”
I smiled and said Thank You once again. I appreciate your business. Another satisfied client! Anthony, who wears locs just raves about how he thinks I am absolutely the best, and how he went other places trying to pay a cheaper price for the same service and he had to come back like a puppy with his tail tucked between his legs. It just was’nt the same elsewhere “ria” he touted. His motto: “You Get What You Pay For!” He says he tells it to all his friends who says he pays too much for his hair. I Agree!
A Young Lady who stopped by most recently, raved how she would cry if I wasn’t there. She’d gone elsewhere to get a weave job, a cut and style. She ranted the lady did not do it right and she knew I could fix the problem. Well all she talked about is how she felt on top of the world after the last visit. Her boyfriend was all over her and kept complimenting her on her eyebrows ( Which I’d Done using a special technique) I corrected her cut, and re-styled her weave to give her a natural flowing style. She just kept saying “I love you” the whole visit and all the way out the door. Customers like these make your job so worthwhile.
Q: Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
A: I’ve done a lot of things, but have yet to own a shop. So I would like to own one now. My plan is a very unique one. I would like to produce several publications. I am currently working on one as we speak. My Motto? I have several, But here’s one: “A Quitter Never Wins At Anything, Except Losing All His Life; But A Winner Never Quits And Therefore Is More Than A Conqueror!!! Don’t let anyone steer you away from your aspirations if they are realistic & morally sound. I believe in a Higher Consciousness.
I call it The Spirit of Truth And The True & Living GOD. Super To Our Natural in Infinity and Wisdom that we cannot begin to fathom in this vast
universe. I Pray!This is what gets me by and keeps me. I don’t say I understand every religious aspect. What I will say I know is, When I Pray, I receive guidance and comfort that leads me in the right direction. I Believe in treating people right; And that in life, if you use the gifts The True & Living God gives you, your gifts will make room for you!
Q: What tips and advice do you have for aspiring hair stylists just starting out?
A: Always be on time! Keep early shop hours if at all possible. Early to bed, Early To Rise, Makes A Man Healthy, Wealthy And Wise. An old saying that will be of much value to you, but only if it is practiced. Keep an Appointment Book and a current log of your clients info. and services received. Keep all pertinent licenses up-to-date. Keep good financial records(at least 7-10 years)including receipts of purchases for supplies.
Acquire a list of things you can write off from an accountant who does taxes in your field and can stand behind you in case of an audit. Itemizing on your taxes gives Beauty Professionals the most benefits. This is where your receipts will become mandatory; In case of an audit will prove the deductions to be official. Because the ink on receipts fade, always make copies and use a good accounting software as a reinforcement of your paper trail. Keep a back-up on a flash drive.
Get a good accountant and file your taxes on time to avoid penalties and interest. Sit down and think about your long term goals as one day you will have to retire. Get advice from a good financial analyst or consultant in the field such as myself; see haiirsportmasters.com or call me at 404.989.7000. Having a whole life insurance plan helps to save for a rainy day as well for that unexpected passing.
Preparation is half the battle. Following through is the other half. A good life insurance policy takes the burden off of loved ones in case of your passing and can aid with needed cash while yet living, provided you have the type that builds cash value. Another thing; Take classes in your field! Learn some new skill or technique that will increase your income. Stay well groomed! Wear shoes designed for standing long hours. Take good care of your feet by soaking and messaging them(This is most important!!) Apply some soothing lotion or essential oil. Preferably something with peppermint, designed to stimulate and exhilarate your feet after a long day.
Having the proper attitude, work ethics, and skills are vital parts of success in this industry. Listen to constructive criticism without taking offense. It shows humility, good character, and your ability to withstand trials and grow from them. Last But Not Least; Have the necessary tools! Do your best work always! You never know who’s watching or what could come out of it. Most opportunities are blown by not being on point! I hope this interview has been interesting, and most of all educational.
Maria of Lees Resources & Haiirsport