The secrets to being a top stylist! Personality, Personability and Professionalism



Chris Sulimay: That was a solid one. I was pissed off [crosstalk][laughter]

John Palmieri: That was an awesome clap.

Chris Sulimay:  So, it sounds like it’s our time has start. Hi everybody! Welcome to the Shop Talk podcast brought to you by 124Go. [00:00:30] I’m your co-host, Chris Sulimay. Of course, I’m here with my great friend, Mr. –

John Palmieri: John Palmieri.

Chris Sulimay: And we have an amazingly special person actually, here with us today.

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John Palmieri: Wicked special guest.

Chris Sulimay: Wicked special. I’m going to brag on you for a second before you get to talk. So,

Mychael Hamlin: I can barely hear you cause my ears are still ringing from the clap [laughter], it’s a small office that we’re podcasting in.

Chris Sulimay:  I thought it wasn’t time to talk yet so, you could see that that’s how this episode is probably going to go. [00:01:00] So, we’re sitting here with, first of all, an amazing hair cutter but amazing person. Somebody who’s worked inside side of the organization, for far longer than John and I-

John Palmieri: since before the war.

Chris Sulimay: Since before the war.And just really, like, through the years, held a super high level of excellence, you know, with yourself, with the people around you, with your clients. And, not most importantly, but very importantly, your skillset, and you know,  [00:01:30] So, we’re here with Mychael Hamlin. And Mychael is, works in the Salon124 Group at the Sugarloaf location. And, has really, you’ve kind of grown up through this and seen it all. And so, we’re just excited. We know you’ve got some philosophies on success and how you kind of retained that high level for a long time. And still looks like you could  go for years more to come. And we’re happy to have you. With that being said, John, I know there’s a lot we could cover with Mychael. [00:02:00] And so, how do you think you want to start out today?

John Palmieri: One of the things I want to start off with is you know how we got here. So, when we talk about this industry and your journey, Mychael, how the heck did you get here? How did this happen?

Mychael Hamlin: You know, some people say timing is everything. And timing has hit me three times in my life. And the first time where timing was everything was how I got into hair. And, actually I was actually out a rave in California-

John Palmieri: [laughter] That happens all the time.

Mychael Hamlin: And a girl came-  [00:02:30]


Chris Sulimay: I miss Raves.

Mychael Hamlin: I was 21 years old. I was out a rave in California. And a girl just happened to walk up to me and asked if I was a hairstylist. And, I wasn’t, you know. I took my pacifier out of my mouth [laughter]-

Chris Sulimay:  [laughter] That was what I was going to say [incomprehensible].

Mychael Hamlin: Yeah. And so I said, “I’m not a hairstylist. What made you ask that?” And she goes, “Well, I’m one and usually I can pick ‘em.” And so I said, “Well huh.”  [00:03:00] And she was really cute and we started dating for about six or seven months in California. And she worked for Sassoon, right there in Santa Monica. And everyday I  would go pick her up from work, or whatever like that. And I would see the other hairstylist and I thought, “They’re pretty cool. That looks like a pretty cool profession.” And she kind of  was the first one to nudge me and said,”You should get into hair.” So, it’s kind of weird, I’m out a raven and someone picks me out. Too bad she didn’t pick me out, “You should be a plastic surgeon.”, you know. [laughter]

John Palmieri: Because  I can pick ‘em out, you look like one. [laughter] [00:03:30]

Mychael Hamlin: That’s actually what I wanted to do. It’s kind of funny.

Chris Sulimay:  Really?

Mychael Hamlin: Yeah. Yeah wanted to be a plastic surgeon.

Chris Sulimay: Were you in school for that? What was the deal?

Mychael Hamlin: I was not in school for that. And I was, I didn’t think I had the- I had the desire to be a plastic surgeon, but I didn’t think I had the skill set of doing the college all those years to become a doctor.

Chris Sulimay: Okay. Got it.

Mychael Hamlin: So, when I got into hair, I thought I will be the doctor of hair, in a sense, trying to change people in that sense. I can’t do it with a scalpel but I can do it with a razor or scissors, you know.  [00:04:00] And, so the second time, where timing was everything is when I enrolled in hair school.

Chris Sulimay: So, did you stay in California and enrolled in hair school?

Mychael Hamlin: No. I moved back to Atlanta, and because I couldn’t be a professional raver all my life. And, when I got back to Atlanta, I went to hair school and that’s when timing hit me the second time. Lo and behold, I’m in class with Brian Perdue, who started our company 28, 29 years ago. And, there was something special about him. [00:04:30] Even though he didn’t own a salon yet, his wife was a hairstylist and he would tell me, you know, coach me and started mentoring me at a young age, of things I should do because his wife did it and was very successful. So, that’s when timing hit me the second time. So, Brian and I, when we graduated, he went to go work for Van Michael in Atlanta, learned a lot from Van. And I worked for a guy, Justin, who was the artistic director of Sassoon. [00:05:00] And, both of us worked for about a year in separate salons and when we met back up we decided to start a training program, because that’s where we both come from. And, of course, with only me, we had no school,   Brian would send me and one of us to different academies all over the, really, the country and the world. And we would bring back the education. And that’s how we attracted other stylists because you couldn’t really say that we’re this large salon organization. [00:05:30] But we would say is, “Our trainer just got back from, you know, Europe, and we can’t wait to teach you.” And we started an apprenticeship program. This was before the school or anything, so it kind of grew from there.

John Palmieri: Awesome.

Chris Sulimay: Wow! That’s super interesting.

John Palmieri: I’m sorry but what was the third timing? Because I want to know. [laughter]

Mychael Hamlin: Well, the third time, I’ll have to tell you is coming. [laughter]

John Palmieri: [laughter] We’ll save that one for later? Okay okay.

Mychael Hamlin: We’ll save that one for later.

John Palmieri: [laughter]

Chris Sulimay: [00:06:00] Fair enough. You know, you don’t get to hear everything. There’s an upcoming episode, it’s–

John Palmieri: It’s called Mychael’s Third Timing.

Chris Sulimay: That’s right. So, that’s amazing. I mean, it sounds like you picked up, when you got in to hair, and you obviously, now you’re on the floor. You’re working with Justin for a year. You knew that you wanted to do something a little more, you made that connection with Brian, but it sounds like you picked up hairdressing pretty quickly. And one of the things I didn’t mention [00:06:30] in the beginning, in our intro is that you’re specifically a designer, you’re a cutter. So you’ll cut all day long and have hair colorists that support  you a couple of days in a week. And then, the other team members in the salon will take care of the hair color on your clients. So you work in that way. So, was that always the case?

Mychael Hamlin: No, no. For the first four years in my career, I did everything. And I followed Brian’s wife, the same thing she did. I got booked out about [00:07:00] four months in advance. And Brian came up to me and said, you have two options. You can either raise  your prices, like greatly, or, you can get a colorist and it’s going to open up your book by 75%. I’m like freaked out in the beginning. But, what’s happening now is you’re losing customers because you have a short haircut, new client comes in, you try to walk her to the front, and she can’t get in for three to four months. It was literally all my clients were pre-booking two and three appointments out. And so I got, [00:07:30] It wasn’t really waiting three or four months for a haircut, but it was they’re  next three or four lined up. I was booked long they call it. I couldn’t get any more people in. And so when I did that, it gave me the opportunity to do, to sell color. And that’s when I actually, I enjoy selling it. I still do my wife’s color, and I still do some color, like sisters and stuff like that, but I actually enjoy selling it more than doing it now.

John Palmieri: And I’ve seen you in the salon do that, when you got a client in your chair. And, whether they’re new or whether they’re someone  [00:08:00] who’s been seeing you for a while, your ability to sell a color to somebody, I just think it’s just great. I watch you and I listen to you do it, it’s so natural. It’s like, it’s not even like you’re selling it, it’s just like, “Oh, by the way, you need this.”

Mychael Hamlin: Well, if you believe that it makes a difference, you’re not actually selling it. You’re helping them. Does that make sense?

Chris Sulimay: A 100%.

Mychael Hamlin: You don’t try to sell your friend headache medicine. [phone ringing in the background][00:08:30] I don’t know what that was, you don’t try to sell your friend headache medicine, you’re actually trying to actually help them cure their headache. So I’m not really trying to sell my clients color, I’m just trying to ask them, trying to make their hair the best of its ability.

Chris Sulimay: That’s, I mean, all three of us here agree and sit on that. And I’ve said this multiple times. Somebody said to me recently, “you act like you care about people so well even though you don’t know them.” And I like, stopped and corrected the person, “No, no, no. It’s not an act.” [00:09:00] I care about people even though I don’t know them because I know that they’re human. We have the human condition, which is, you know, life is life right?” I can care about you and not know you. I can love and think that you need some beautiful hair color and not necessarily want to be the person who stands there and does it. Totally off topic, by the way, we used to do that. In our salon, we would have a wingman. And, basically, what it was was if I knew that AJ, who I used to work with,  [00:09:30] uses a product in her hair or has the same hair type as my guest, rather than me sharing about a product with her that I think she should use, I would say, “AJ, I know that you love blah blah blah for the blah blah blah.” And she would come over for a minute and they would talk, you know, they would have a bond because their hair was the same. They would have that conversation and then the person would take the offer or whatever that was. I believe that works really well, too, because, you don’t have to anything to really, [00:10:00] gain from it, you know? But, so now, let’s fast forward a bit. So, I mean it’s safe to say that throughout the years, you’ve continued to go through educate- I guess I want to know a couple of things because, you know, you’re really dedicated to, I’m going to call it, precision cutting, I might be calling that something wrong. But how did you kind of go down the rabbit-hole of becoming the type  [00:10:30] of haircutter you came out? Or was there some kind of education that you kind hold of hold high in regards to the person you are now?

Mychael Hamlin: This [crosstalk] foundation is where you start out. We started on the foundational type of cutting, which was Sassoon. And, you know, like I said,  Justin was artistic director of Sassoon and that kind of got me going in that direction. I did a lot of Toni & Guy which kind of got you in a little bit in other little fun direction, but, I guess that was once what my beginning foundation was.  [00:11:00] So you can’t help, you know.

John Palmieri: There’s a perception that comes with being Sassoon-trained, right? That precision type haircutting.

Mychael Hamlin: Right.

Chris Sulimay: Interesting stuff. So, let’s talk about what we came here to talk about. I know that you get the chance to work sometimes to work with students and with other hairdressers. And you’ve kind of developed this, a few ideas around success behind the chair. And I won’t take your words from you but I’ll just paraphrase.  [00:11:30] There’s some things that, it’s really important to be a successful stylist. And I know you’ve got some philosophies around that. So, Why don’t you share just a little bit on that?

Mychael Hamlin: Well, in the beginning I thought if you’re just great at your craft, you will be successful. And from training so many people, I would see some people that were amazing at their craft and not be successful. And then I’d see some people that were just pretty good at their craft and they’d be very successful. And so I started trying to say, [00:12:00] What is this? It’s not just being amazing cutter, colorist, whatever.” You have to have what I came up with as the four elements of a great stylist. And I broke them down in this order, and I try to, whenever I get a newbie in the business, and I try to say “this is what you need to focus on.” The first element is what I call it, is your appearance. Every day when you come to work,  you’re on a job interview to see if you get the job of doing their hair.[00:12:30] It blows my mind when a new person graduates from cosmetology school or they’re changing salons, they look amazing walking in for that job interview because they want that job. They want to look sharp. They want to look like a successful hairstylist. So, every day when you come to work, when you have five new clients, you have five job interviews. So, right off the bat-

Chris Sulimay: That is so huge, say that again.

Mychael Hamlin: Well, if you have five, six new clients you have five or six job interviews. So-

John Palmieri: So, one is appearance, what’s the second one?

Mychael Hamlin: Well, the second one is  [00:13:00] after appearance, it comes with your ability to speak, or your communication, I call it. So, the second one would be communication. So, once they see you, you then have to communicate and talk. That breaks the person, it defines the hairstylist. Either you’re going to be a designer or an order taker. I hate when I hear a bad communicator. Someone sits in their chair and say,” What are we doing today?” You’re a complete order taker.  [00:13:30] Versus the stylist that sits them in their chair and goes, “Let’s talk about your hair and talk about the opportunities we have, how we can make the best it could possibly be.” That’s more of a designer. And then, when I get to the third part, the third element of a great stylist, I call it the three P’s. Some of us have way more personality than others. And then some of us are way more personable. I use my colorist right beside me, she is very personal. She calls every client by name, she’s unbelievable. Very deep conversation with people.  [00:14:00] I have more personality, so I go that route. But, both of us, and everybody has to be professional. So, everybody has to be professional, but some people have more personality and some people have more personable self. [crosstalk] You got to figure out your own direction. And then, the last one is the ability. You know, that’s where your, how great are you at your craft. So if you start at the beginning, and you’re only at C+ at your craft but you’re an A in everything else, you’re going to be very, very successful. [00:14:30]

John Palmieri: You know what? That’s awesome, I want to know more. So let’s dig down on the first one. The first one was appearance. Let’s talk more about what you said because I thought, Chris obviously pointed it out, it’s a great line: “If you’ve got five clients today, you’ve got five job interviews.”Right? Let’s dig down that a little more.

Mychael Hamlin: Well, I always say, you need to be selling, you got to wear what you’re selling. And I told hairstylists: “You’re selling two things: you’re selling fashion, and you’re selling healthy, shiny beautiful hair.” [00:15:00] So, when they look at you, if you look on trend, very fashionable, well put together, you’re probably going to do on-trend, well put together hair. That’s what goes to their mind. Because 55% of your believability is your appearance.

Chris Sulimay: And this has nothing to do,by the way, about how you look as a human being. We all look different. This is about looking up and suiting up and showing up and putting your best foot forward.

Mychael Hamlin: Well-put together. I mean, they’ve obviously come to the salon, for you know.

John Palmieri: Well,  Mychael, I hear this all the time: “What difference does it make what I wear, how I dress? As long as I am a good hairdresser, the rest shouldn’t make any difference.”

Mychael Hamlin: Well, people do say that. [laughter] And I tell them, And I say, “imagine how successful you’d be.” It’s the people who do that are the same people who say, when you try to tell them to quit smoking, “Well, how about him? He’s a hundred years old.”

John Palmieri: [laughter] [incomprehensible]

Mychael Hamlin: She’d probably  lived to a hundred and twenty- [00:16:00]

John Palmieri: Yeah, if she didn’t smoke.

Mychael Hamlin: If she didn’t smoke. So, if the hairstylist is that great, if they were also a little bit more well put together-

Chris Sulimay: A little more on purpose.

Mychael Hamlin:  A little more on purpose, yeah. Because you’re going to… It also, I think, it puts you on a different mindset if you come together, you know, well put together.

Chris Sulimay: Talk about that for a second because I agree.

Mychael Hamlin: Well, then also, wear what you’re selling. If you’re selling, how are you supposed to sell somebody color if you don’t have color? I used to tell people, if you’re a personal trainer, how are you supposed  [00:16:30] to tell people you need to eat right and work out if you don’t look like you eat right and work out? So there’s lots of little [crosstalk]-

John Palmieri: We were having a conversation with someone the other day because we just started the hand tied extension piece. And she was having some challenges selling it. The challenge is she’s got shoulder length hair and no extensions! [laughter] And it’s like, “Well, you’re not wearing them. You’re not the example. Why would I think they’re important?” Right?

Mychael Hamlin: My favorite is when I asked a hairstylist, “Hey, how come you don’t have color or highlights?”  [00:17:00] The worst answer they can give me is, “Ugh. I don’t have time to keep up with it, the maintenance and stuff like that.”

Chris Sulimay: Or “I don’t like the way it feels in my hair.” “How come you don’t use hair products?” “Oh, I don’t like the way they feel on my hair.” Oh great! Knock it on myself. [laughter]

Mychael Hamlin: You’re not going to be able to sell it.

Chris Sulimay:  Years ago, you know, the first time I ever started to hear this sort of stuff, because I was the person guilty of just wanting to do hair. But when [incomprehensible], was the first person from Paul Mitchell, that I ever heard [00:17:30] that would talk about he had a line and then he would say, on an interview, the person would say, “I don’t wanna wear makeup” and he would go, “Be a nurse!” [laughter] And we could take this all kinds of places. It could sound derogatory but the reality is what you’re talking about is again, suiting up, showing up, putting your best foot forward everyday and saying, “Look, I’m here on purpose.” You know. I chose this job, I  chose this craft. [00:18:00] And, I want to show that I’m committed to what I’m about to sell you, in a way. That’s awesome. So that’s the first , appearance. Professionalism, sorry I just spit on you.

Mychael Hamlin: Oh, no no. [laughter] Communication is the second one is when you’re speaking to a customer, you’ve got to think of how well are you coming across to them. That’s when your sales come in. When you’re trying to recommend things, and usually I try to, when I’m  [00:18:30] recommending color I make sure I listen and understand. Because sometimes people just go straight for the, “let’s do it the…” Most people are trying to do what the last person did a lot of times. I’m trying to enhance, even if it looks amazing, I try to make it look even more amazing. But I try to dissect it, and make it look the best of its ability.

John Palmieri: I find it funny, you said something that always piques my interest which is “usually we’re trying to do what the last person did”.  [00:19:00] Here’s the thing, they left that person!

Mychael Hamlin: Exactly.

John Palmieri: You know, you’re trying to duplicate what the last colorist or hair cutter did; they left them. Why would you duplicate it? They’re obviously looking for something else, right?

Chris Sulimay: Another thing that you do amazingly, though, I know we’ve talked about hair color here. But talk a little bit about haircut dissection and some of the things that you look for. You’ve got some real obvious things that when Im listening to you talk with some of the new hires, you kind of share some things about some obvious  [00:19:30] things that maybe we all learned but forget, about how to enhance a face shape and you know you’ll quiz people on.

Mychael Hamlin: Well I tell people, sometimes I can’t just look at someone’s face and say, “This is your face shape.” But through the process of elimination, if there’s nine face shapes, I can knock seven out real fast and they’re typically those last two I can’t decide between. Because you’re not exactly square, or exactly round. Sometimes you’re in between two. If I can knock seven out of them real quick-

John Palmieri: If you can knock seven out of them out, it only brings you down to two choices.   [00:20:00]

Mychael Hamlin: Right. And then, I’ve noticed another thing about people is I’ve also come up with a thing where there’s four personality traits. And that’s the thing where there’s the eccentric client, and they don’t want little subtle caramel highlights. These are the people where everything is times ten. You know, when they put on jewelry, they put on the whole jewelry box. When they put on perfume, they put on six pumps. There are these people that come in the salon and they’re a “look at me” person. They want look-at-me color a lot of times.  [00:20:30] So these eccentric people, you got to make sure you wow them. They like to color outside the lines. And you have the classic people which is, they want to be very fashionable but they also want to color inside the lines. Those are your Jennifer Aniston people.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

John Palmieri: Sure. Classically pretty, but she stays in the box.

Mychael Hamlin: They have the widest range that are like them. They’re going to have from 18 to 50, they’re classic. They never go out of style. Eccentric people are  going to be the Lady Gagas, [00:21:00] very funky, they want that edgy looking color. Then you’re going to have the Bohemian type style people. They want the only organic products They shop at Wholefoods, they drive a Subaru, they have a rescue dog. And they want very organic type color. And then you got the conservative person that always wants that on point-

Chris Sulimay: Same thing. Same thing.

Mychael Hamlin: Don’t try to talk me into anything new. Keep them [incomprehensible]. They like what works.

Chris Sulimay: They want maintenance.

Mychael Hamlin: They want what works every single time. They don’t want any kind of you have to do this or do that, you know. You got to make sure when you’re talking to the customer before you show them a picture, you don’t want to show them the wrong, complete trend. I tell people when I pulled out to a mall and I got out, and I was valet parking, and I said, “Hey what stores are here?”Hopefully they would look at me and say, “Oh, you’d like this, this and this.”We used to do this with magazines back in the day [00:22:00] before everybody has their cellphones.  We don’t use magazines anymore. Everybody has their phone. But you remember back in the day, when a client would come in, you put their collar on. And when you went to go choose a magazine for them, you were actually trying to choose kind of what style of magazine they’d like?

Chris Sulimay: Absolutely.

John Palmieri: Yeah. Are they a Town or Country girl, or are they a People magazine person.

Chris Sulimay:  Right. And you have some great… Since we are on the topic of communication, and like reading a per-, I wanna clarify what I think I’m hearing. You’re talking about a person’s nonverbal communication. They walk in, they tell more you more about [00:22:30] them in, just by walking through the door sometimes than you can gather through questions, right? Just by what they’re wearing. So this is the non verbal piece. But you ask some really great questions to people and when you’re deciphering them, and I’m going to lead you a little bit because I don’t want to set you up. But I’ve heard you say, “Do you want to make a statement when you walk into the room or do you want to be quiet?” I’m paraphrasing but-

Mychael Hamlin: Well, I actually try to break it down into the two quick, [00:23:00] you got to get to the point n a consultation. Some stylists would like to talk about life for 30 minutes. [laughter] And then you have no time to do the hair. So you’ve got ot get to the point. When I’m asking somebody, when you think of a number from one and a hundred, I’m hoping you would guess fifty first cause you’d just knocked down half of the numbers in one guess. So if a lady sits on my chair and she has a brown hair, just like a level 5 brown. And medium brown hair. And she’s never had highlights before and she’s says, ”What color of highlights, I don’t even know what I would do.” [00:23:30] I said, “I’m going to keep it simple for you. There’s just two main options, there’s the auburn family and there’s the caramel family.” She says, “I’m not a fan of red.” Get rid of all those, now that we talked caramel, we’re going to break that down and say, “We’re probably going to throw heavy out of the window and we’re just talking subtle or medium.” And then you know, highlight or to dark. So it’s very simple to get to the point. The lady sits in my chair and she’s thinking about going red for the first time, the biggest wrong that I hear is when a stylist goes, [00:24:00] “Now, do you want a warm red or a cool red?” That’s probably the number one thing they tell me. That’s going confuse the client more. I probably would just ask, “Would you like it to look natural?” And, when she says “yes,” and I know that from looking at her she’s never done color anything. And when she says yes, it gets rid of all cool reds and get rids of all vibrant and intense reds out of the way.

Chris Sulimay:  So I say, I don’t wanna look natural, I know it’s the exact opposite and you [crosstalk][00:24:30]

Mychael Hamlin:  I usually tell them, we have a couple of options [00:24:30], we have the natural family or we’re going to have more of a  fashion red. Fashion red is when you walk into the party and everybody immediately knows that’s your hair color. I love your color.

Chris Sulimay:  I love that you do that, by the way. It’s so opposite my natural personality style, because I’m like one of those who [incomprehensible]. And when you first shared that, 100 or 50, it sounds funny but I was like sitting there going, “Oh, shit. I never thought of that.” You have 50s in the mail. I’m like running around trying to guess the number. [laughter][00:25:00]

Mychael Hamlin: You know you get a girl that has waist length hair that sits in your chair and she says, “I want to make a big change today.” You know what the 50 is on number? I say, “Would you still like a ponytail?” When she says, “well yes.” All things above the shoulders-

John Palmieri:  A bob is off the list-

Mychael Hamlin: I see stylists grab a book, then starts showing them all these haircuts. And then, ten minutes later they go, “But I want to  be able to pull it back.” I just wasted ten minutes. So you got to be able to get to that, knock it in half real quickly, so- [00:25:30]

John Palmieri: It’s funny how that shows up, we used to have  front desk skills. And this is in my mind because we had that front desk training. On Sunday, at front-desk,  “Well, when do you want to come for your next appointment?” It’s like, “Ah, I don’t know.” You know, “I’ll break it down really simple. You want to come in before lunch or after lunch?” “After lunch.”

Mychael Hamlin: Usually I’ll  just say “what time works best for you?” And when they tell me, I’ll try to get as close as I can to that.

John Palmieri: So that was one and two, what’s three?

Mychael Hamlin: Three, is the three P’s. And that’s how you can easily it. Every hairstylist need to be professional. [00:26:00] Some hairstylists are going to have more personality and some will be more personable. And, now use technology for you when it comes to being personal. Write little notes, if you know they’re going to their brother’s wedding [incomprehensible] when they come back say, “How was your brother’s wedding?” That will blow their mind. Whenever I go to a restaurant and the waiter knows my name, you know he’s getting a bigger tip because I’m very impressed that he’s learned my name. So, if you really want to build a relationship with your client,  [00:26:30] make little notes in the computer so it’s right there on your ticket. I mean, we can do that. Because not everybody’s going have the big personality but you’ve got to not be a Debbie Downer when they come to you. You got to be kind of fun. They want that hour or two hours they spend with you to be, they want to be excited to come see you. I used to say, whenever I would be at the front sometimes, I would actually see a client walk in and say, “I have a three o’clock, oh god, I can’t remember her name.” And I go, “Man!” And I look in there, [00:27:00] and they’ve seen her four times! And I said, “you have not built that relationship yet.”

Chris Sulimay: And you didn’t make that important enough yet. And, I know, you’ve said it three times on here, I just want to harp on it for a second. Because when you talk about personable and personality, what I love about that is with people, me and John always talk about the fact that we’re closet millennials, no we are millenials, we’re just older millennials.  And I think you probably are too, Mychael.

Mychael Hamlin: If John is, I am.  [00:27:30]

Chris Sulimay: Yeah, definitely.

John Palmieri: [laughter] I’m not sure what-

Mychael Hamlin: Well, I can see a gray beard.

John Palmieri: I don’t know for sure what that means.

Chris Sulimay: I say that because in that grouping of people, we’ve noticed coming into this industry, that there’s a lot of people that are more reserved in personality than probably in the 80s and the 90s, right? In the 80s and the 90s, we came from raves, we came from  nightclubs, and now there’s a subdued, reserved introverted type of personality [00:28:00] that’s entering the beauty industry and doing a fantastic job! And the message that we’re trying to get out there is, you can be any personality type as long as you know your strength. And then inside of that strength, use that to your advantage. So because if you’re personable you’ll develop a personable clientele. And they’re out there, right? There’s tons of them. If you know you’re going on… I have to go on personality, so if you know you have to go on personality [00:28:30] then, hey you gotta make that your shtick. But own it and make sure that you can do it in a way that brings the guest in and makes the experience greater for them.

John Palmieri: I think the challenge is with our new hires and our students coming out of school, not having that big personality, that’s okay.

Mychael Hamlin: I think the biggest fear is not having either one.

John Palmieri: And I think that’s-

Mychael Hamlin: And that’s when I tell them, I say,  “If you’re just professional but you have neither one, [00:29:00] it’s really hard.” It’s sounds stupid but when we all used to watch American Idol, when it used to first come on and it got to the top ten, they all performed, my clients would come in and go, “Oh, I like Blake. Did you see Blake?” They’ve already learned his name. And then the other ones would say, “I like the brown-haired girl, I don’t know what her name is.” And she hasn’t, not only do they have to be good singers, they kind of have to make a little bit of a connection with the audience. So you have to make a connection with your client in some way. I love it when [00:29:30] I hope my clients are out some times, saying, “Yeah, I gotta go see Mychael tomorrow at six.” Not saying, “I gotta go get my haircut at six tomorrow.”

Chris Sulimay: Right. “By that guy,” that’s awesome.

John Palmieri: And that’s really the important part, that I want to emphasize, because you know obviously we have newer stylists listening to this, it’s okay not to have the big personality. It really is.

Mychael Hamlin: My colorist has been number one in the company for  three years and she’s the quietest little thing. But it’s unbelievable the connection she makes with the customers. [00:30:00]

John Palmieri: And  to your point when you don’t have both, when you don’t have the personality and you’re not personable, that’s when the challenges come in in building those relationships with guests.

Chris Sulimay: And personable to me, and I’m going to quote you, you said something at the desk training this weekend that I will take with me to the grave, “being personal and being professional at the same time is about being interested not”-

John Palmieri: Interesting.

Chris Sulimay: And, let’s talk about that a for a second. [00:30:30]

John Palmieri: Well you know, if the whole entire  time you’re being really interesting… And when we’re talking about interesting we’re going to be talking about things getting you, and you know, Mychael uses the eccentric, and we’ll talk about them a little bit. They got the hair, their makeup’s all done, they have their entire jewelry box is on,  six pumps of hair spray, you know, if you’re that person, that’s great. But if that’s all you are, if that’s your shtick, and nothing else, yeah, you’re real interesting. I’ll remember you because you’re real interesting. [00:31:00] But if you’re not interested in me, what my needs are, why I‘m here, you know, that’s  where in my mind professionalism goes out the window. Because we always struggle, like if you ask someone, “Define professionalism for me.” Most people would have a hard time with that.

Mychael Hamlin: Well, the biggest thing you can do is not chewing gum. It’s the first strike against you on not being professional-

John Palmieri: Well, why is that? It’s because what’s happening with your mouth right now is-

Mychael Hamlin: -Is distracting-

John Palmieri: is distracting. Meaning, it’s different.

Mychael Hamlin: It’s interesting. You know, when I used to go to hair shows, and I’m sure [00:31:30] anybody who’s gone to hair shows would see this, you look around and 80% of the people out there, you know there’s the few and the many, you talked about that in your book. 80% Of the people out there that have bad hair, terrible grammar, and are trying to make it into hair business. And I’m over telling Brian when I first got into the business, “Brian, everybody looked horrible.” And this is a New York, London or wherever and he goes “You know, bright light does not shine in bright sunshine,” and he said, [00:32:00] “That just makes your job that much easier. Because you [incomprehensible] that with owners a lot of times.

John Palmieri: I’m going to steal that one.

Chris Sulimay: That’s a good one.

Mychael Hamlin: Yeah, and it makes it that much easier for all you guys out there. So, if you work in a salon where nobody’s a professional and you are, you’re going to stand out. But the way you can tell who has built the best relationship-

John Palmieri: By the way, which is the third P, right? Professional.

Mychael Hamlin: Yeah, when it comes to building a relationship which is the being personable, every year at Christmas there’s like a scorecard that comes out. You know I work in a salon where there’s about 20 hairstylists, [00:32:30] and the girl or the guy that has all the Christmas gifts brought to him has built a relationship. And you will  see, some stylists that I guess their customers are all out and go, “I’ve gotta get so and so something for Christmas”. it’s amazing and that’s almost a scorecard of what kind of relationship you’ve built. Because if you work in a salon and there’s always that one girl or guy that seems every client has bringing him a gift for Christmas,

Chris Sulimay: That was my brother’s wife, Kelly, if she’s listening to this. She gets gifts like nobody’s business. [00:33:00]

Mychael Hamlin: They’re doing something that has made their customers think of them when they’re out shopping, and they’re not just the three o’clock at salon you know or whatever. And then the last one is your craft and you’ll never gonna,-

John Palmieri: Your ability.

Mychael Hamlin: Yeah, your ability for your craft. And you’re never gonna get to a perfect score because fashion always is changing. So for all you girls who are amazing at foils or guys, balayage came out and now [00:33:30] you have to relearn it again. There’ll be a new  trend that comes out, and you have to go learn that. And so that’s why, when it comes to ability, you always have to strive, for being, to getting to the next thing that’s great.

Chris Sulimay:  Love it. Love it. I feel like we’ve covered a lot-

John Palmieri: We did. Yeah.

Chris Sulimay: -of ground to this podcast. This was like a hard hitting, bomb dropping. And as we wind this up, Mychael, you got any last thoughts you want to share? Maybe to a new person getting in the industry, or somebody struggling behind the chair, or just-

Mychael Hamlin: Well, the [00:34:00] what I would do if I was brand new in a salon right now, instead of sitting in the back room, I would find out which stylist was the busiest one in the salon. And I would literally stand behind them. And whatever they needed I would help them. Because you are, by sitting in the back you’re not learning anything. When I got in the business, I worked as an assistant for free because I wanted to learn from he guy. And, after one week, he couldn’t believe I was coming in for free, he said bring in a model every Monday. And I would bring in a model. [00:34:30] And other people told me I was stupid for doing that, but I learned so much. Because how else are you gonna learn? You’re not going to learn anything in the back and you went to school, so, go out there and help the busiest stylist and figure out what they did to become busy.

Chris Sulimay:  That’s fantastic job.

John Palmieri: Love it. And I’m just  really excited we had this conversation. The sad part is, I think we can spend  another two hours talking to Mychael.

Chris Sulimay:  Easily.

John Palmieri: And so, we’re going to have to, we’re going to have Mychael part two. But, meanwhile, Mychael, thanks for being here.

Mychael Hamlin: You’re welcome. It was fun.

John Palmieri: For those of you knows, what nose,

Chris Sulimay: Nose?

John Palmieri: Where am I from? For those of you who know us, you know what comes next.

Chris Sulimay: What comes next?

John Palmieri: I need you to write a wicked good review.

Chris Sulimay:  How many stars is that?

John Palmieri: Five for those of you, I don’t know how you forgot. But for those of you who don’t remember, five stars.

Chris Sulimay: Five stars!

John Palmieri: Alright? Like, do it now.

Chris Sulimay:  And I want to say thank you again Mychael as well. [00:35:30] Thanks to the listeners for being here. We just love the fact that you get to learn from this and have some fun with us as well. If you like what you heard today, please press the subscribe button. And, as John shared, please leave us a wicked good review. Those reviews really help us gain some momentum in the podcast and find new people who might want to play along with us. Also, if you enjoyed this, please screenshot it and share it in your Instagram stories and tag us. That’s 124.go on Instagram and we will share you. And, any questions or thoughts please message us as well. Again, thank you everybody for listening. We can’t wait to maybe meet you somewhere or we will  see you on the next episode. Thanks everybody. Bye.