Fierce Females Project
#1 - Victoria Stevens | Owner/Stylist at Metropolitan Rockabilly Hair Design
Victoria was the perfect choice to kick off this incredible new project! She is fierce, a powerhouse female entrepreneur, and a fabulous person! A quick online interview and a mini personal branding session in her salon and here we are!
Q: Tell us your name and what you do!
A: My name is Victoria Stevens. I'm a hairstylist/session stylist and salon owner.
Q: What made you choose this occupation?
A: I didn't specifically choose hairstyling as a career. I just fell into it. I have been colouring my hair since my mom first suggested it for fun when I was about 12. I did a couple years of a psychology degree after high school but decided it wasn't for me. I moved to Edmonton ( I'm originally from Manitoba ) and worked retail jobs. I wanted to do something but wasn't sure what. My mom suggested hairstyling. I took is as a back up career until I decided what I really wanted to do with my life. I'm still doing it 13 years later.
Q: How did you get your first paying client?
A: I got my first paying client as a walk-in in the salon I was working at. It was a guy who was roughly my age. He was pretty cute too and I was so nervous. I went so red that my co-workers asked me if I was ok after I was finished the cut. My first editorial/session paying client I got through doing TFP work. I met a lot of people that way and when I started charging for my work, the people I already knew were willing to pay me.
Q: What made you choose a store front salon over working from home?
A: I chose a salon front over working from home because I think that separation between work and home is important. I have found, from talking with stylists who do work from home, that clients will often expect you to work during your off hours, or don't see you as a professional, when working from home. They see what you do as more of a hobby than a career and tend to not want to pay you what you are worth. This is not to say that those working from home are not professional, but it seems to be the perception others have. I didn't want that. I even require my family and close friends come into the salon for their hair needs. They take me more seriously.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t at work?
A: When I'm not at work I play roller derby, power lift and ride my motorcycle. I spend time at home with my dog crocheting and baking. I've picked up learning guitar over the last year or so as well. I also work with a local food rescue not-for-profit called Fruits of Sherbrooke and volunteer my time with the Beautiful Me event each year.
Q: Tell us about your awesome studio manager?
A: My salon manager is named R'lyeh. He's a ten year old Basset Hound and he's a slave driver. He's always around to greet the clients and keep them company, or he's sleeping. He's been my constant companion for the past ten years. He's outlasted most friendships and all romantic relationships this far.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Its tough for me to think about five years from now as it seems my life is always in flux. I would like to get into teaching future or current hairstylists, and perhaps explore the idea of creating my own line of products for head hair and facial hair. I can see myself with a slightly larger salon within those five years.
Q: What are you goals for the coming year?
A: For 2019 I really like to expand on the editorial and session work I do as well as work closer with other local businesses to see how we can help each other. I think creating communities is important to small business owners and not enough of us do it.
Q: What’s your favourite thing about your career?
A: Getting to know people is probably my favourite thing about my career, but depending on the day, I may also the say the creativity and variety is provides. The combination of the two really makes the struggles worth it. Truly getting to know my clients provides me the insight to create looks they will love, every time.
Q: What drives you to keep going?
A: I'm stubborn. That's probably what has kept me going through some perilous times in this career. I'm driven by this desire to make the world a better place. I think the hair industry needs to change. Its such a superficial industry in so many ways and I am driven to change that idea and perception. And I love making people feel good.
Q: What sets your salon apart from others?
A: I think a couple things set my salon a part. Its a very open, welcoming place. There is no judgement here, no pretentiousness, no expectations of clients. You come in as you are and we work to make your outside reflect what you feel inside, no matter what that is. Its a bit rough around the edges, as many people are and I think that it allows people the sense of freedom to be themselves. I also offer gender neutral pricing. This means I charge purely by length & density of hair, and the intricacy of the service we are doing, not by gender. I think this is crucial in today's world as we are discovering that gender isn't binary and so we need to move away from this men's and ladies' pricing to truly allow everyone to feel comfortable getting their hair done. Also, I fill my salon with vintage items and rockabilly music.
Q: Do you have a speciality?
A: I'd say my specialty is big changes. Whether it be colour or cut, or both, I do a lot of these changes for people. And I love it. Many of my clients have wanted change for years but have been talked out of it. I won't do that. I believe that change is good.
Q: If you have one piece of advice for someone just starting out what would it be?
A: My advice is to be ready to work hard. This is not an easy industry to be successful in. You will make mistakes and they will be disastrous. Learn from them. Always be willing to learn from those with more experience and those with less. Find your niche instead of trying to fit into a box others want to put you in. And know your worth. Value yourself and the time you've put into your career. Charge accordingly and don't compromise on it. Be prepared for the emotional side of it as well. People tell their hair stylist things they won't tell anyone else. Be that safe space for people but also make sure you look after your health: emotional, mental, and physical.
Thanks so much Victoria for taking the time to participate in this project! You can find Victoria and Metropolitan Rockabilly Hair Design online on the web and Facebook!
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MetroRockHD/
Salon Address: 12915 127th st, Edmonton
Are you interested in participating? Send us an e-mail with the subject line “ Fierce Females Project” and tell us a little about you and your business!