It takes more than 1,500 hours of training to become a cosmetologist in Oklahoma, but students in the Evening Cosmetology program at Meridian Technology Center are learning there are a variety of business options for them beyond working with clients in the salon.
“Most of the students from the program graduate, take their state boards and then start working in a salon, but that’s really just the beginning of what they can do with their training,” said instructor Sue Dearinger. “When they leave this program I want them to know that they have lots of options.”
To ensure that students are exposed to the possibilities available to them Dearinger routinely invites guest speakers into the classroom. Over the years she’s had professional wigmakers, makeup artists, color specialists and entrepreneurs.
Most recently Brock Melton, Distribution Sales Consultant/Distributor Sales Coach at State Beauty Supply, visited with students in the program and talked to them about his job and about the services his company provides. As a distribution partner for L‘Oreal products, Melton and the staff at State Beauty Supply work with cosmetologists and salon owners to educate them on professional salon products and provide retail products for them to sell to their clients.
“Salon services are just part of the picture. Every person who sits in your chair should be a potential retail client,” he told students. “Across the nation retail sales count for 20 percent of a salon’s profits. What this means is that you’re not just in the business of cutting and coloring a client’s hair, you are also in the business of making sure they can maintain their hair.”
Melton also talked to students about taking advantage of supply club discounts when ordering products once they are in the industry, setting up retail products in a salon, and how to talk to clients about trying salon products for the first time.
“What they are going to school for is really just the beginning,” he said. “This business has really become a full business. It’s important that people entering the field have the skills to do the work but also to run a business.”
Following Melton’s guest appearance, students had an additional lesson in career exploration when Dearinger shared with them the details surrounding their participation in the Stillwater Bridal Showcase on January 24.
Students in the Evening Cosmetology program will have about 90 minutes to design hairstyles for more than 20 models that will be in the show. Styles for each model will not be identical, but will have a common theme. Students will not have the chance to meet the show’s models before the event so they will have to work quickly and creatively to get everyone ready for the runway.
To help prepare them for the task ahead, Dearinger led students through examples of fashion shows, asking them to look not at the clothes but at the themes that stylists created through hair and makeup. Students then began to work on manikins, creating a variety of elegant up styles that they will modify on the models.
“We generally talk about working with a client and helping them with their individual style,” she told the class. “We’re taking a different approach when we do this project. It’s not about the individual; it’s about creating a look for a runway show.”
Dearinger reminded students that working with designers on editorial and fashion projects are additional career paths that are available in the industry.
“If they have the drive the possibilities they have are somewhat endless,” she said.
The Stillwater Bridal Showcase will take place at the Wes Watkins Center at Oklahoma State University from 10 am to 2 pm on January 24, 2015. The event will feature a bridal expo and a fashion show. For more information, contact The News Press at (405) 372-5000.