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Conversations with the Inspiring Brittany Lavoie

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Lavoie.

Brittany, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hi! I’m a small town girl from Berkley, MA working at Hairaholic Salon in Mansfield, MA. Following in my mother’s footsteps to become a second generation hairstylist was a no-brainer. I knew that I wanted to do what she did: make people feel beautiful. With a natural creative talent from a young age and a constant need to be moving and working with my hands, I fell naturally into my career path. I am a graduate of the cosmetology shop at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School and have been working professionally as a hairstylist for 9 years.

Finding Hairaholic Salon was very serendipitous. I had assisted in several salons and had been working in a local salon that I was really struggling to get my career to take off in. I had started searching for a salon that would help me build my clientele, and had been turned down by many. I came to so many interviews at other salons with a positive attitude, ready and eager to learn and grow. But most salons only wanted to know how many clients I would be bringing with me. When I interviewed with Rachel at Hairaholic Salon, I had such a good feeling. She was so openly supportive of me and continues to help me spread my wings to be the best stylist I can be. Coming to work with such an upbeat, friendly, positive team is the easiest part of my life. I cannot thank Rachel enough for taking a chance on me all those years ago.

My passion for learning and the constant urge to try new trends makes me a sort of “professional risk taker”. I am known to be a positive and upbeat person and I let that energy flow into my work. Often, guests at the salon will ask me if I’m ever NOT smiling! My ultimate favorite thing about my career is the happiness I gain from seeing how ecstatic my guests are when they leave my chair.

When I’m not wielding my hairdresser magic behind the chair, I can be found hiking in the local forests with my fiance and two rescue dogs. I am a huge animal lover and also have 3 indoor pet rabbits. My weekends are filled by sharing a coffee or a glass of wine with friends and family, paddle boarding or kayaking or kicking back on the couch with a good self-help book.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My journey has definitely not been a smooth one. But, they say that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor! My biggest struggle, in the beginning, was needing multiple jobs while I tried to build my career as a hairstylist. I didn’t have a lot of support from the first salon I was working in for marketing efforts, so I did all that I could think of to build my business. The problem was, I didn’t always have the budget for any kind of marketing campaign. So, I did my own graphic design work, printed flyers or postcards, and then set out on foot to put things on people’s windshields at the mall, and in their mailboxes. Which I found out later was super illegal and got in trouble with the USPS (sorry!).

I started trying to get creative to try to reach more people by joining forces with a local Relay for Life team and a local photographer/friend and holding a cut-a-thon fundraiser. I tried to stay ahead of the curve by being one of the first individual hairstylists in the area to make a professional Facebook page. It gave me a new platform to showcase my work and to, hopefully, bring in new clients. None of this was very productive at first, but I kept at it, learning from every failure, and knowing that every new thing that I tried would be better than the next.

Two years into my career, I enrolled in classes at Bristol Community College for Entrepreneurship. There, I learned more about marketing, advertising, and building my own business, because even when you work for a salon, as a stylist, there really is a need to build yourself up. After a long 3 years in a 2-year degree program (because working 3 jobs and going to school full time doesn’t leave much wiggle room) I finally had found Hairaholic Salon and no longer needed to work myself to exhaustion. The relief I felt knowing I had a completely supportive place to help me build was unreal. It was like walking on sunshine! I was no longer fighting against the current to show the world the work I could do, and it made such a difference.

My advice to anyone just starting their journey is this: never give up. There will always be struggles but, you will always learn from them. Even if you cannot see it now, your obstacles will always teach you a lesson, or a way that doesn’t work, or a way that works so much better! Also, never underestimate the power of a supportive workplace. If you don’t feel supported, or encouraged, you are not in the right place. Pay attention to that feeling in your gut.

what should we know about Beauty By Brittany Jean? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I really love hair painting or balayage, vivid colors and generally just looks and styles that bring out my creative side. My lifetime of experience is the perfect foundation for me to explore and push the limits of hair color. I take pride in my knowledge of color theory and absolutely love helping my clients change up their style. Usually, when a guest sits in my chair and shows me a picture of something that would be considered edgy, like a mermaid side shave, I geek out a little bit. I’m not the girl to talk to if you want to blend into the crowd (of course there’s nothing wrong with that either). But, if you wanna make your undercut something fierce with cheetah spots, HECK YES I’m gonna want to do that!

I’m so proud of how far I’ve come with my technical skills as a stylist and colorist. I always go back to a comparison picture I’ve shared a few times on my social media pages. The picture on the left was my very first ombre, and the picture on the right was a balayage from about 4 years later. The difference was unimaginable. Of course, back when ombre color began to emerge, I was still working multiple jobs to get by, so I taught myself. I was SO proud of that ombre when I finished it. In comparison though, after lots of paid education, and diligent practice, that balayage picture was leaps and bounds from where I started. I was almost embarrassed that I let that ombre walk out the salon doors. I shared that comparison anyway though because it shows very clearly how far I’ve come.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I feel that the hair industry has fewer barriers to female leadership than most trades. I think that the world still views the hairstylist profession as a female job, and that couldn’t be any less true. More and more men are entering in this industry and it’s a great thing to see. I can truly appreciate the diversity of the many people that choose this as their career path. We are all compassionate, artistic individuals who continue to inspire each other every single day.

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Image Credit:
N. Berthelette Photography

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