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Meet Kristen Cardoza of Kristen Cardoza Hair in South Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristen Cardoza.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristen. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was around 10 when I realized I wanted to do hair. My first client was myself. I secretly cut my hair hoping my mom wouldn’t notice and then I would have the short hair I always wanted. After getting caught, on picture day, my mom took me to our hair stylist. She somehow convinced my mom to let me go as short as I wanted. She was my hero. I loved her small salon, I loved how my hair looked and from that moment on I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to do hair and make other people feel just as important as my stylist made me feel.

At 17, with my graduation money in hand, I went straight from high school into beauty school. 1,600 hrs later, I started my career working for Regis Hair Salon in Lakewood CA. I started as an assistant, learning from my manager and other senior stylists. This time was valuable to me. I learned ways of cutting and coloring that I still use today. In time I even became an educator in my salon and realized my love of teaching.

After 5 years at that location, I was promoted to manager of the Regis location in Redondo Beach. It was at this point that I grew my clientele with great people who live in the South Bay Area. I would say this period of time taught me the most about myself as a leader, as a stylist and gave me an appreciation for what great customer service needs to be. I had the opportunity to hire and train many talented stylists. After 5 years of managing and working for a corporate salon, I craved the flexibility that only self-employment could offer.

Now, after being licensed for 10 years I’ve started a new chapter in my career, being a small business owner. I work at the Salon Republic. It’s a place filled with small studios where hair stylists, barbers, and estheticians are able to own their own business and be their own boss. I finally have the flexibility I need. In addition, I can devote more time to my clients, my friends, who have followed me throughout my career.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
When I moved to my new salon to manage, I was overly confident that my clients would follow. What I didn’t expect was that the 20-mile difference in location would be hard for some of my clients, and I lost a majority of them. Suddenly, this move, this “promotion” was not what I thought it would be. Work was slow for me. I wasn’t making the money I used to. I was about to turn 23 and some of the senior stylists didn’t want to trust my direction. I was suddenly back in the position of building my clientele again, while also helping my newer stylist do the same. I felt discouraged by having my staff see their new manager with only a few clients per week. Why would they listen to me when I tried to encourage them? I knew if I stopped trying, they would too. I could quit, go back to my old salon where it was comfortable and familiar. Or, I could actually put in some work to make this worth it for me and the salon.

So I changed my attitude. I had to get to know everyone, I had to figure out each one’s strengths and ask them honestly what they needed help with. I asked the senior stylists for suggestions to help me and it made them feel a part of a team. I had to try new ways of marketing that I had never tried before. I had to come up with new promotions, get active on social media, and it also meant teaching some stylists how to use social media. I knew I truly had to practice what I preached, my stylists were watching me see if I was growing my business. Realizing that it’s not enough to just do hair well, you also have to connect with your guests. Having to balance my time behind the chair and pay attention to the needs of everyone was tough. There was a lot of pressure on me for a while. The hard work paid off for me and for the stylists that hung in there with me. After a while, they even taught new stylist all the things that I showed them. It was funny to see them do impressions of me while teaching other stylists, it meant they had listened.

I rebuilt my clientele and met some amazing people. It taught me to not give up. Never stop trying to grow. You never know what changes in circumstances may happen, but don’t be afraid to start over.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Kristen Cardoza Hair – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I specialize in all things hair. Haircuts, Clipper cuts, Hair color (highlights, ombre, balayage, color corrections) Styling, both formal and blowouts. Hair extensions- fusion and micro beaded. I enjoy doing hair color, but my love is cutting. Visualizing the perfect cut for each person, and adding the right color to accent the cut.

My client base is diverse, men and women, young and old. My younger guests are preschool and elementary school age. They have their own routine just like my adult clients. My goal is to make every client comfortable, making each one feel like their time is important to me. I like to keep a calm and casual atmosphere where they can relax or vent about their day if they want.

What sets me apart from many of my peers is my communication with my clients. My consultation time is as long as we need to pick the best style for them or to let them explain what they want. I want to be able to be on the same page with my clients. Bring in pictures, show me Pinterest! Whatever it takes to help explain what you want. Stylists and their clients sometimes speak a different language when it comes to hair terminology, and that’s ok. I often have my clients emailing me or texting me things they may want in the future. I keep these things in mind and also teach them how to recreate the look at home.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m looking forward to the new year. I’m excited for my clients to see my new location. I’m just excited for this next chapter of my career.

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