20-year-old Charlie Logan tells us about his experiences of working as a stylist at an Edinburgh hair salon….
Hairdressing has always been a career path I have wanted to go down. After growing up watching my uncle, Hair by JFK Director, Sandy Caird, create magnificent hair makeovers, and seeing how happy his clients were at the end of the day I knew this was something I wanted to do.
I was born with 100% hearing loss and have been using a cochlear implant since the age of three. I learned to lip read and my family and friends were supportive, taking the time to make sure I understood what people were saying.
I could never have sat behind an office desk, as I am a very visual person – but I knew I had to be determined and build my confidence to become a hairdresser.
No special treatment
I started with Hair by JFK at 15 years old as a Saturday boy. I had always been interested in hair, loved the visual aspect of it and found it great working around such talented people. I decided to take up training with JFK, as the team had always been very accommodating to me. Learning different techniques was a lengthy process, as I sometimes needed more detail and help, but I always took a hands-on approach. I wasn’t given any shortcuts or special treatment, and was treated like any other member of staff.
The salon interior was adapted to help me communicate with my clients – they added a double mirror in the spa area so I could look at clients’ faces and lip read when shampooing from behind. I did worry when I first started that clients would be put off when they found out that I’m hearing-impaired. I was nervous at the thought that people would not book in with me.
But with great support from my family, friends and the JFK team I soon got over that issue. I began to build up a regular client column after gaining their trust, which was a real confidence boost.
Reading body language
A lot of clients and some of the other stylists ask if I find it difficult to lip read while I’m multitasking or blow-drying someone’s hair, but it’s actually fairly easy. There’s never been a time when I’ve found it difficult to communicate with a client, though some accents can occasionally throw me off slightly, as they takes slightly longer for me to lip read and understand. I generally find that the tone of female voices are slightly easier to comprehend. The very different tones of male clients – strong, masculine voices especially – can sometimes be tricky!
The clients in my chair are always patient with me once they know I can’t hear well, and I appreciate them for that. My older clients are great, as many are either experiencing hearing loss themselves or have a significant other who is, and therefore understand it better.
I’ve became pretty comfortable in reading body language, which sometimes enables me to know what people are thinking or feeling. Being unable to hear them, I have to pay close attention to what they are doing or how they are acting while in the chair. Working with hearing loss can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. That’s not to say I haven’t experienced any setbacks now and then, but I just get on with my career like anyone else and embrace any new challenges that come my way.
Becoming a Graduate Stylist at Hair by JFK has been the biggest achievement of my hairdressing career so far. I worked hard to get here – and it’s been an uphill battle to communicate during my training at times – so to achieve one of my career goals feels like a great accolade. I can’t thank the company’s staff enough for their patience and willingness to help me reach my goals. My future ambitions are to become a member of the JFK Artistic Team, a Session Stylist at London Fashion Week – and I also dream of one day having my own line of products.
For more information about Hair by JFK, contact 0131 221 9554 or visit www.hairbyjfk.com