Yes, I was one of those Vo-Tech kids… As much as we are looked upon as a lower grade breed of teenagers, I am proud to be a Vo-Tech kid! Represent!
Anyway, I was lucky to be able to have such a job as a shampoo girl at 16. I mean, the other choices were food service or grocery store checkout girl (not knocking those jobs, they just were not for me).
My first shampoo job was at an ethnic salon. I was the little white girl surrounded by African American and Hispanic women. Needless to say I was completely out of place and generally got stared down by most customers in the waiting area. Clients would always say “Don’t be afraid to scrub hunny”. I was the apprentice of cast iron curling irons in ovens and hot combs. I was making under minimum wage under the table. One day, I just never went back; a guilt that still hinders me to this day. I didn’t even pick up my last pay envelope.
My next venture was at a Salon & Spa. It was in a higher income area with predominantly white women. This place was intense, it was busy and people were not always as friendly. One thing I learned well is to identify the regulars and give them the head massage of their life! This is how I actually obtained my own shampoo clients (I’m very proud of this). Many would not let the other girls shampoo their hair and this also led to great tips! I was at this salon for the next 4 and a half years.
Cleaning floors, folding towels, pulling hair out of the drain, and scrubbing heads that smelled of, well, head. It was a routine that eventually took up most of my entire life outside of school. I made good money, and was addicted to accepting extra hours (even though mostly I did not want to). I guess this is when the workaholic in me emerged.
Christmas in a good salon is like winning the lottery, so I was always sure to work all holidays and most days leading up to them. Godiva, gift cards, $100 dollar bills, women love their hairdressers and shampoo girls. Looking back, I do think times have changed, I’m not sure any shampoo girl could walk out of a Saturday 6 hour shift with $150 in tips and their paycheck anymore. Money was great, but I wanted to be a makeup artist and still after 4 years they had not put me on the floor for my own clients.
It was the day the non licensed receptionist took a makeup client that I resigned from that job. I put 4 years in and I was ready to move up, but they didn’t want to let go of me as a shampoo girl. When I gave the reason why I was leaving, the salon owner replied to me, “But you hardly wear any makeup”. My last day was my first client at that salon. She loved her makeup so much that she requested me only a few weeks later for another event, however I was already gone.
I don’t wear much makeup.