Tom Zappala Haircutting Insights Photos


May 2020 | One of the first things people notice about my online presence is there are no photos of my work. While it is true that I am not a social media user, that is only a small part of why there is an absence of photographs posoted online. The entire topic resonates to the very core of my professional philosophy.

To begin with, my clients are a wonderful mix of Anglo, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Pacific Islanders. They are 20 something to 70 something, on average. Trying to visually capture what I do would be an unrealistic, arduous task that 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. The bottom line, photos are riddled with bias, something that 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 challenges, neurodiversity, pre and post-chemotherapy, 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 that 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 that would likely make them quickly gloss over what I am offering here. Most of all, I respect my clients’ rights to privacy and anonymity. Appropriately, their written testimonials are tremendously helpful in attracting others like them.

"The bottom line, photos are riddled with bias, something that is necessary to avoid as much as possible."

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 be styled in that expected social media context. To resolve that, I’d have to start styling my client’s hair for the photos themselves, which is entirely against my professional principles. In fact, much of my success in this country is directly attributed to the fact that I don’t photo-style my clients hair for my own marketing needs.

From the data I have collected, 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 these individuals can easily find me. Once they make their way to this website, there is plenty of content to answer any questions they might have. Fittingly, the individuals who go on to become clients are often the sort of thorough, well-read, research-based individuals who can articulately engage in conversation. That personality type is essential for the reliable quality of work that I provide.

In the end, I will not be a perfect fit for everyone and I am completely okay with that. It is a foolish endeavour to try and attract every type of person, regardless of their hair type or needs. 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 with a certain type of individual and the challenges they often have. When I learn of the frustrations from some who wish there were Instagram feeds and photos, 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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