This week don't miss our Iles Formula Hair Talk Featuring Carla Zuniga of Salon Benjamin West Hollywood. Carla is one of our best supporters and partially the reason Iles Formula entered Salon Benjamin. Take a read of her excellent advise for all, especially about social media. To see more from Carla, check out her Instagram page @carlamzuniga .
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
I feel like one of the biggest challenges that I see is keeping up with all the online social platforms and making sure that you are consistently producing enough content to stay relevant. For more old school hairdressers, or just people who are not very technologically savvy, it can be a very overwhelming concept to wrap your head around. I think that it should be included in all apprentice programs and advance education for hairdressers, since it is now a very vital part of growing one’s business.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
The most enjoyable part of my job is the human connection. The craft itself is great, of course, but I wanted to do hair to make people feel good about themselves. When you see that smile on your client’s face because their hair is looking good…..it’s such a great feeling!
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
I always loved doing hair as a kid, but growing up in a family where college and a steady, well-paid job was a must, I went the college route. Graduated from UCLA, worked in Real Estate and then Digital Media. However, I hated everything about what I was doing. I knew that I wanted to do something creative, and be around creative people, but was lost as to what to do. Luckily, my sister reminded me about how much I loved doing hair a kid. So, I enrolled at the Toni & Guy Academy in Santa Monica out of curiosity, and ended up loving it.
It wasn’t an easy journey, though. Having to start all over again in my late 20’s and be an assistant from having been a Junior Producer at a New York-based Digital Media Agency, was an incredibly humbling experience.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
Had I not become a hairdresser, I would’ve loved to have been a physician. The human body is so incredibly interesting to me. However, my math skills are nowhere near stellar, so that definitely deterred me from choosing that path, lol!
IF: What is your greatest strength?
I would say that my greatest strength is my diligence in my work. Not just in the craft itself, but also in how I conduct myself at work, amongst my clients, peers and boss. Everyone knows that I can get things done, which is why I also became one of the core members of management at BENJAMIN Salon for so many years.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
My Tangle Teaser. I know, weird choice, but, it brings me such joy using it on my clients. Great invention. Wish I had thought of it, lol!
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
OMG, I’m OBSESSED with Iles Formula 3 Step System (I rarely write in caps, so I really mean this, lol!) It honestly has been the only product that I have used on my clients and on myself since being introduced to it probably 8 or 9 months ago.
I was very skeptical at first because Wendy and Ali came into the salon to get us to try the products. I have tried tons of products, all promising this and that. They left the 3 step System with me to try, and I was like “yea, ok.” I tried it that night and was blown away. It’s all I’ve used ever since. I legit get anxiety when I personally am about to run out of any of the steps, lol!
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?
Im going to relate this to the hair world, so I would say managing people. It is a really tough, and thankless job. You are always the bad guy since you have to enforce the rules. Let’s face it, hairdressers are creatives, and creatives hate rules!! The reality is, the majority of them definitely need structure. They just would never like to admit that, lol!
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…. privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
Ah man…..the worst hair moment was when I had just been on the floor for a few months…..A client came in and she had just been laid off from her job. She said she wanted a big change and wanted to lose a lot of length, like 7-8 inches. She had a lot of wavy hair, so just imagine that. Well, being so green, I didn’t think twice or ask anymore question because I was going to do what she wanted, which was lose length…..Well, that didn’t go so well. She wasn’t too happy. But, it was a great lesson for me!! Never do drastic changes on people that have had a drastic change in their lives. It’s never what they really want!
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
I’m going to name 3 people here because it’s too difficult to just name one:
1) Meryl Streep
2) Tilda Swinton
3) Michelle Obama
They are all badass women who are aging gracefully and beautifully. Also, they seem incredibly comfortable in their own skin.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
Ok, so I feel like I should say something really cool here, but I’m going to be honest…….I use Pinterest. I love looking for hair pics on there. Guilty!
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
My advice to young hairdressers would be to slow down. Enjoy the journey and all the learning along the way. I feel like the younger generations are too impatient. They want to be that great hairdresser right away, but don’t want to put all the work in. But, hard work pays off.
Another piece of advice would be to get on the social media band wagon ASAP. Get in the habit of taking pictures of your clients and posting all the time. The sooner you do it as you are learning and growing, the more second nature it will become.