An Urban Family series where we ask a Shanghai-based somebody to tell us 5 Things specific to his or her life.
As well as being a mom, hairstylist India Mejia talks about her passion for hair-styling, managing her startup salon Pavo Pelo, dealing with customers from different cultures and hair maintenance for her two daughters. She also shares some must-know tips on managing your hair in Shanghai.
1. Falling in love with hair.
I grew up in a family where all the women had the natural talent to do hair, and it’s a huge cultural thing in the Dominican Republic. I’m the only one that went to school and got credentials. I got tired of sitting in stylist chairs and none of them were well-rounded enough to do all types of hair. Gradually, it became a huge passion of mine and a way for me to connect with other people since our hair makes up so much of our look.
2. Thank goodness there were only a few!
The number of times my clients were dissatisfied is less than what I can count on one hand. The couple of times it happened, I just believe in reassuring my client. The biggest mistake a hairstylist can make is not being able to come up with a solution that will satisfy their clients. BE AS PROFESSIONAL AS POSSIBLE! It goes a long way as we all make mistakes, but if you are willing to rectify the situation you will likely see the clients return to your salon simply because they trust you.
3. Facing the challenges of a cross-cultural coiffeur.
One of the biggest things I deal with is people’s lack of knowledge on the do’s and don’ts of hair care, what it REALLY costs and what the process is. Make sure that the clients have realistic expectations. The reality is you can’t have dark brown hair completely transforming into platinum blonde in one day. Any stylist that would say yes to this is irresponsible.
Lastly, I’d say people do sometimes judge a book by its cover and assume that because I don't have their hair type, I won’t be able to deal with their hair. In fact, hair is very much like fabrics, you can color it, you can cut it, however, you may employ different techniques to achieve the same result.
4. Things I do being a mom and a hairstylist.
I have two girls, Nyla and Fabiana, and their hair always needs to be attended to. I gave Nyla, the older one, a lot of the same treatments as I gave to many of my customers in the salon. And I tend to give Fabiana only moisture treatment because of her young age. I did used to give my husband haircuts until he decided to grow locs! It’s hard work when everyone needs their hair done.
5. Hair products that everybody should have at home and tips for the readers.
Deep conditioner and Sulphate-free shampoo. Living in China can be a challenge for manageable hair with the pollution and poor water quality. If you can’t manage a filter, then make sure you deep condition your hair in every wash. The Sulphate-free shampoo is much more gentle and is able to eliminate the effects of the environment.
As for tips? Get those haircuts ladies! The most common thing I encounter here in China is women unwilling to get the bad ends clipped off. Have your hair cut more frequently, usually every 6-8 weeks. Lastly, when you go to a hair salon, do NOT be afraid to question their stylists’ credentials. Many are not certified or experienced enough to handle your hair care needs. After all, it is your hair and your money, so never be afraid to ask questions!
For more information, follow Mejia's salon Pavo Pelo on WeChat by scanning the QR code below. All new clients from now through end of June can get 10 percent off service when they mention they read Urban family.
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