This week, Iles Formula Hair Talk welcomes Kirsten Patterson from the Songbird Society Salon in Dallas, Texas, and also the Benjamin Salon in NYC. Read on to learn more about Kirsten’s passion for hair!
Kirsten was born in South Africa and moved to Texas as a teenager. Always drawn to the artistic side of things, when she turned 18, her mother suggested she become a hairdresser. Now, with 16 years of experience under her belt, Kirsten still loves cutting and styling hair.
Wanting to expand her horizons, Kirsten has spent time working in the fashion scene on various fashion and editorial sets and has also worked with several bands and musicians. She has spent time working as an educator in the industry; sharing her passion for the trade with her technical expertise.
Her vocation is matched only by her commitment to the connection she forges with the people she serves.
IF: What do you specialize in?
Cutting and Hairstyling.
IF: What do you love most about being a hairdresser?
Connecting to people in a unique way and being a part of helping them express themselves through their hair.
IF: What has been the best advice given to you?
That in business, consistency is the key to building a strong clientele.
IF: Tell us one goal or dream you are working on today?
I’ve had this dream of expanding the experience that my clients get in a special and different way so I try to keep that dialogue going and keep adding onto my vision board!
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
I genuinely love cutting and styling hair by also my relationships with clients and coworkers. It’s a huge blessing to be able to be in a creative environment where I can dress how I want to and be myself.
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing? Was it easy to fall into this line of work?
It was actually my mom’s idea. At the time, I didn’t really like the thought of working in a salon (I had never been to an upscale salon) but, I loved the idea of doing creative work. I’ve always had strong work ethics and that has really helped me but, the beginnings were tough. It took me a long time to feel comfortable talking to so many people.
When I first started, most of my clients were much older than me and that took some adjusting to as I can be shy and introverted especially back then. I did fall in love with my job but it took a few years.
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
Something art-based or maybe in the field of psychology.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
IF: What are your favorite hairdressing tools?
- Hikari Scissors
- Carbon comb
- Duckbill clips
- Jumbo Wide tooth rat tail comb
- Continuous mist spray bottle
IF: What was the first thing you noticed about Iles Formula?
It’s the best smelling hair product ever!
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How did you discover us and which formula is your favorite?
My friend Clint (with Lost Hairdressers) made the introductions between the Songbird Society salon and Iles Formula. Then, someone from your team (such a nice guy I forgot his name) brought the product for us to try. I am totally obsessed with the high performing Iles serum, I use it on almost every client.
It works on all hair types and just makes the hair strands feel hydrated and hair follicle sealed but never weighs the hair down. It’s perfect.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why? Did it happen in private or in the salon?
Well, I did cut this ladies ear once! I think I was about 22. She was quite old, and her ear lobes were so saggy, and you know ears just bleed profusely! Needless to say, she didn’t come back and I still have a little PTSD from that but I guess that keeps me on my toes.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
Howard Stern. He’s the best interviewer on the planet: misunderstood, hilarious and all about the underdog.
His career and evolution have been interesting to me and he’s got some good curly hair! I love to cut curly hair and I love a good neurotic client. Dolly Parton would be fun too.
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
Gosh, everywhere. I love music so much and I love to watch old performances and music videos. For example, the BBC’s Human planet is all about the last indigenous cultures. They happen to have amazing hair.
I’m also highly inspired and in awe of Nihongami, the traditional Japanese hairstyling. Nature is also part of it. It really helps knock out all the distractions and to help appreciate the simple things.
And finally, my kids, who can be really inspiring. They say and do some pretty profound things.
IF: What do you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
That everyone is so on the go. In a perfect world, I would love to spend 2 hours on a haircut but that’s not realistic is it?! Another big problem is new people coming into the industry that are not interested in undergoing long apprenticeships or to specialize. It was a lot more intensive when I first started.
My hope is that new hairdressers can keep up the craft and attention to detail. I already feel like my generation lost so much of it.
IF: What tips can you give to reach a work/life balance?
I’m continuously working on living consciously. For me, it’s been so important to be healthy, do my yoga, run, and be outside just as much as it is to go have dinner with friends. In the past, I have definitely put all my eggs in one basket and thrown myself into work a lot. Although I don’t think it’s a bad thing for certain stages of life, in the end, it is really all about balance and not burning the candle from both ends.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Do some kitchen hair! Find people who want to jack up their hair and just go for it. Have fun and really practice the basics such as a nice clean one length and a bob and a good pin curl.
And remember, hair really is one of our biggest accessories.
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