Whenever I have a new client in my chair, the conversation frequently turns to past experiences that left them dissatisfied with their previous salon and prompted the search for a new stylist. The common thread I always hear is, "That place was like a factory!" While many of New York's powerful women seek a stylist or colorist who can get them in and out - and looking fabulous - in the span of a lunch break, they detest impersonal and mechanical service.
So how does a salon strike that perfect balance between efficiently intimate and mechanically sterile? The first step is to tailor your cuts and color to the individual, which I have written about frequently in past posts. The second step, of equal importance, is to share a piece of yourself with each client. Notice I did not say, "Talk about yourself." That is entirely different, and something few clients will find entertaining. Sharing, on the other hand, is a two-way activity that helps you and your client find common ground and get to know each other. It is a relationship that you are trying to build, after all.
I'll give you an example. Last week I had a client leave my chair with the brightest smile on her face because, in what she referred to as "My 45 Minutes With Yves," she not only received a winning haircut and stellar blow-dry, but the recipes for my mother's vinaigrette and my favorite dinner frittata, as well as my recommendation for the best winter layering basics. I shared these pieces of myself because they solved two issues she had mentioned: staying warm in the transitioning seasons, and never knowing what to cook on late weeknights. They feel like little things, but as we said our goodbyes, I could see she was thrilled that I had given her something new to try.
Skills and passion are certainly crucial to success in the beauty industry. But as I tell all the professionals I educate, it's also about the story. Your salon has a story, you have a story, and each client has a story. And it is in the sharing of these stories that we keep from becoming a factory.
Now, in the spirit of sharing, I'd like to give you the very recipes I shared with my client last week.
Felicie's (My Mom's) Vinaigrette :
Olive oil or walnut oil (lighter)
Strong Dijon mustard (a real one)
Red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper
Grab one of your favorite bowls (a small one) and a dessert spoon (I like the long handled ones ).
Start with a spoon full of mustard in the bowl.
Pour the oil into the mustard slowly while stirring until blended ...( about 3 tablespoons ).
Add a tea spoon of vinegar and a dash of lemon.
Keep stirring - that's the secret!!!
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Rub some garlic around your salad bowl.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad in the salad bowl and toss - just at the moment you're ready to eat!
Evening Frittata for Two (or Three):
4 Egg whites plus one whole egg
Milk (a dash)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Finely chopped parsley and chives
Salt and black pepper
Your fave hot sauce
Olive oil and butter
Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl, adding a dash of milk.
Add the grated Parmesan.
Salt and pepper and hot sauce if desired.
In a non-stick frying pan, sautée the mushrooms in olive oil and a bit of butter.
Salt and pepper
When cooked, leave the mushrooms in the bottom of the pan and add the egg mixture.
Sprinkle with the herbs.
Cook on the stovetop until the bottom can be detached from the pan.
Then put the pan under broiler till the surface is cooked and starts to rise.
Slide the frittata on a plate, slice it and enjoy!!!
I would serve it with a simple salad and the "Felicie" vinaigrette.