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Conversations with Heather Wolking

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Wolking.

Hi Heather, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I was a freshman in college (fall of 02) and I was dating a guy whose mother was a hairdresser. And I honestly never thought of that as a career. I always enjoyed playing with mine, and my friends’ hair. And I loved to experiment with my own hair, both cutting and coloring it. So, I met this guy’s mom, and she found out I was doing my own hair, she said “for not having professional training, you do a really good job! Imagine what hair school could teach you!” So, I put it into consideration and by the end of my freshman year, I decided to enroll into cosmetology school, at The Aveda in Hyde Park. After cosmetology school, I struggled finding a salon that would higher someone with tattoos and piercings. I just didn’t seem well received to conservative Cincinnati. So eventually I reached out to a fellow Aveda graduate to find out where she went. So, I interviewed for Pump salon/Mitchells salon and day spa. They loved my creative look and I was hired by them in Nov of 2006. I went through their training program. Became and educator and I have received phenomenal training, from some of the top people in the industry over the years. I have been with the company now for 16 years and have loved every min of it.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For the most part yes it has, while early in my career I made mistakes and learned from them, I’ve had a company that puts the work into their employees so that they don’t struggle. I mean I work for a well-established company (next year a 40 yr. old business) that has a great name in the city and endless people wanting to receive a service there. I didn’t have to hustle to get clients. People would sit in my chair, and if they liked what I did they came back! and have been coming back for many years. over the years they have sent me friends and family, and this has gotten me to where I am today!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
So, I do hair, I color, cut, and do extensions. I’m known for my round brush blowouts, and I have a lot of reds and vibrant colors! When not behind the chair I love to enter into the world of “competition hair”! I have done several photo shoots and have created some amazing pieces!

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
I am worth what I charge. I don’t feel a lot of people know how it works for stylists. But a lot of us are 100% commission. So, I split what I charge with my company. I don’t make an hourly rate. So, if I don’t have someone in my chair, I’m not making money in that time. I feel a lot of people assume we make some sort of guaranteed base pay, and that’s just not the case. Another important lesson I learned is, you don’t have to keep someone in your chair who doesn’t treat you with respect. I have kept clients who are toxic, who try to manipulate me, and take advantage of myself and my company. And I continued to do their hair thinking “I have to” and you honestly don’t. So to all the hairdressers out there, you are amazing, you are worth what you charge, and you don’t have to do that toxic persons hair, because if you get rid of them as a client, you create room for a client who will respect you!

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @heather_hair84

Image Credits

Annett Navarro

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