Reference photo only. Tom does not photograph clients.
Many think a lack of photos online solely relates to being strongly against social media - something which I've been vocal about in several interviews. While that is true, it's only a minor part of the much larger topic presented here. Overall, this entire notion of client photos resonates to the very core of my professional philosophy and therein, continued success here in Australia. In fact, many of the post on this blog cover a wide range of topics that all contribute to the positive reputation that I have established.
To begin with, my client list is a wonderful mix of African, Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, and Pacific Islanders aged 20 something to 70 something. Attempting to visually capture what I do would be an unrealistic, arduous task which I do not have the time for during or after anyone's session. To that point, any attempt to post photos online only serves to alienate those who feel they are not equally or at all represented. Bottom line, photos are riddled with bias, something which is necessary to avoid as much as possible.
Most important though, I work with a number of individuals who have a variety of personal and private situations - from public personalities to camera shy and Transgender through anxiety, high functioning ASD, pre and post-chemotherapy, various forms of Alopecia and Trichotillomania. For these individuals, they desperately search online for someone who might be different from the rest and who also just might have a private space which wouldn't cause them the sensory or otherwise emotional distress a typical salon would. An Instagram feed full of perfectly styled images is exactly the sort of thing which would likely make them quickly gloss over what I am offering here. Above all, I respect my clients' privacy, confidentiality and anonymity regarding the posting of photos. Quite appropriately, their written testimonials have been tremendously helpful in attracting others like them.
Let's get into those photos themselves though shall we? Instagram hairdressers put out work which is either product heavy, over-styled or both. An image has to be in order to have any emotional resonance (social media 'value') for the intended target audience. The hairdressers (curl specialist or otherwise) who put these images online are largely operating from a place of 'in that moment' creative expression and marketing intentions - not client satisfaction the next morning, week or months forward. Consequently, these clients will likely go home and find their haircuts to be less than ideal and certainly nothing like the initial photo captured. This all too frequent contradiction is the very essence of bad hairdressing and again, the focus of so many posts to this blog on this website.
Look, even if I was to compromise my integrity and join in the Instagram obsession, many of my clients would simply refuse to have their photo taken. Those who would oblige, the photos themselves wouldn't garner any sort of positive reaction online as they wouldn't look styled in that expected social media sense. As mentioned above, to do so is idiotic. In this era, the most important thing a hairdresser can and should do is to 'stress test' their work. Not with their professional skills but in a manner which simulates what a client will actually do themselves at home. If the haircut doesn't look great, that hairdresser needs to learn how to cut hair better. It's that simple. A quality cut should never be reliant on a hairdressers effort in order to look flattering. If it can't, that hairdresser needs to up their game. Period. To be crystal clear - any attempt to photograph my clients would be an invasion of their privacy and categorically under-represent what I am about as a professional and thus serves no purpose what so ever.
As a specialist practitioner, the type of clients I tend to attract are looking on Google, not Instagram. It's why I spend many hours each week on SEO so that a precise type of individual can find me. Once they make their way to this website, there is a plethora of pedantically written copy, the blog and hundreds of wonderfully written testimonials which I am ever grateful for. Fittingly, the individuals who do come in and regularly go on to become happy long term clients are often the sort of thorough, well-read, research-based individuals who can articulately engage in consultation and conversation. This is an elemental requirement for reliable, consistent, quality work - people who can and want to communicate effectively.
There is no way anyone professional is going to be a perfect fit for everyone. As such, it is a foolish endeavour to try and attract every type of person - regardless of hair type. In fact, it's entirely misleading to state that you are great at everything for everyone. No one can be. My practice and how it presents online is designed to align and resonate with a certain type of individual. When I learn of the frustrations from some who wish there were Instagram feeds and photo galleries, I know what I'm doing is correctly calibrated to attract the exact type of success I have achieved. Some people are looking for a hairdresser. My clients are looking for anything but another hairdresser.
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