Becoming a Bridal Stylist
It can be hard to know where to start, or how to transition from salon hair to wedding hair. We aim to break things down and give you practical tips to develop your career.
Do your research
Entering the world of bridal styling can feel both exciting and daunting. We have put together a helpful checklist so you can map out your career path and answer some key questions before making any big commitments. We suggest taking some time to work through this checklist so you can plan ahead, saving yourself a ton of time and frustration.
Before making any major decisions, it’s important to gain as much knowledge about the job and see if you’re actually cut out for it. Running your own beauty business might sound great, but the reality could be totally different. Here are a few things to consider…
Quite often, you’ll be working alone or in a small team.
If you are working on location, you’ll be travelling to different areas each job.
If you are self-employed, you’ll be paid per job so expect an inconsistent income.
Starting up on your own means you’ll be working every aspect of the business, from styling to bookings, marketing and finance. You must be self-reliant and self-motivated.
Working with brides on their wedding day means dealing with clients in a high-pressure situation. You’ll often be required to work quickly, which can be stressful.
If that hasn’t sent you running for the hills, it’s time to dig a little deeper! Take some time to study the careers of 3 Bridal Stylists. You can search them up online and read some interviews, or make direct contact if you know any industry professionals. Ask them for a run-down of a typical day in their role. Find out about the worst bits, as well as the best bits! And ask them for advice. Remember, they’ve been there and done it so their opinion is invaluable. Once you have enough information, create your own pros and cons list to consider when weighing up your options.
Realistic goal setting
Study the careers of those in the industry and pick a couple of people you most admire. Who are your “industry heroes”? Whose career would you love to have? Pick your top 3 favourite things about each of them. For example, you might love the Boho style of their work. Or the way they seem to balance their work and family life. Or the money they earn!
Now, it’s time to look at your current situation and assess:
What responsibilities do you have? Financial? Family?
How much time can you dedicate to this business right now? Will you be starting part-time? How flexible can you be?
When you read your lists, you can see the direction you want to go in. You have a long-term vision. You also know where you are right now and how much time you’re able to give to making your vision a reality, without neglecting your responsibilities. If you can make any changes that allow you to work more on your business, that’s great. But if not, just use the time you have and be consistent. We all start somewhere!
Note: If you’re already working as a Bridal Stylist but you want to go to the next level in your career, this exercise is still super helpful. Once you have identified your “industry heroes”, choose your top favourite achievement of theirs…
Let’s say it’s their income. Set yourself a goal. Think of a realistic financial goal based on your current earnings and the earnings in your area…then add a hefty premium on top of this! Now, create your business practices around attaining that goal. You’re still being realistic, but now you have something to aim for. Your business practices are always shaped by your goal.
Gaining work experience
First off, you need to create a contacts list of industry professionals. Think about anyone you know personally, or Stylists within travelling distance. Social media is a great way to do this. While you don’t have to be too particular about who you contact for work experience, make sure they’re reputable professionals and their work is of a good standard.
Do you know any Bridal Stylists?
Who do you know in the hair styling industry? Do you know anyone who styles for events? Any Session Stylists?
Who do you know in the hairdressing industry?
Search online and on social media too, giving you a full range of contacts so you can maximise your work experience opportunities. Depending on your experience level, it can be really useful to get some training in a salon environment learning how to blowdry and style hair, as well as working on set, assisting Session Stylists. Be broad and offer to work for local magazines and on photoshoots. You could even offer to help in general as a runner on set or as a salon assistant – get your foot in the door and meet the right people. This type of work experience lays a wonderful foundation for a Bridal Stylist and exposes you to a variety of environments.
* If you already work in a salon as a Stylist, see whether you could take more bridal bookings. You’ll then be using your work time effectively and gaining the experience you need to step out on your own.
Once you have created your contacts list of industry professionals, it’s time to reach out! When making contact, it’s vital that you set realistic expectations. Be truthful about your skill set as you will definitely get found out! Let them know when you’re free and be reliable. Keep reaching out until you get booked. Quite often, your details will be kept on file until you’re needed so do check back with people and check your emails regularly!
Don’t expect to be paid straight away. Remember that, at this stage, you are building your knowledge. While you may get paid for some work, don’t make this the goal. Focus instead on getting the best experience you can so that you can charge for your services in the future.
Practice in your own time. Don’t rely on work experience alone to make you into an amazing Bridal Stylist. Get inspiration from every source you can and practice on as many people as you can. Invest in a good styling head and practice the techniques you see in tutorials, from YouTube and from what you see Stylists doing on the job.
Evaluate each job you work on. Always be thinking about how you can improve for your next job. And always have in mind what you want to learn next.
Learn about quality work and amazing service. Work experience is not only about the practical aspects of hair styling. You learn how to add value for your clients and how to go the extra mile. Use these jobs to study how to give an outstanding service!
Now, it’s time to assess your skills. Think about what you already know and where there are cracks in your knowledge. EVERYONE knows a little something about hair! And EVERYONE still has more to learn. Create your own personal list using these pointers:
What Bridal Styling skills do you have?
What related skills do you have? For example, can you blowdry hair? Or, have you worked as an Assistant, prepping hair for Stylists?
What’s your next step in training? Do you need to take a course in Bridal Styling basics? Or do you need to brush up your skills in on-trend looks?
Practice is Key!
Professional Bridal Styling courses are great. Online Education is fab. YouTube Tutorials are wonderful. But they are all completely useless if you don’t practice.
Stick with one style or technique until you feel you’ve mastered it.
Practice on real people as well as training heads and work on a variety of hair types.
Experiment with different products until you find the ones you love.
There is always a process of trial and error, but the outcome is totally worth it. You’ll grow in skill and confidence! Embrace the process because, as Bridal Stylists, we never stop learning.