This week we are pleased to start off 2019 Iles Formula Hair Talk Featuring Mac McAbee of Coven Haircraft in Charleston, South Carolina. Each week, our Hair Talk Artists open up and take us into their lives and experiences that relate to hair as well as some of their favorite products and must have tools. Listen to what Mac has to share with us this week.
IF: Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today?
I feel like the biggest challenge in our industry right now is social media. It’s a great way to market yourself and your business, getting your artistry out to your market. Although I feel like its causing a lack of originality and creativity. So many feeds just all look the same! I think it’s time for us to start thinking outside the box again.
IF: What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
The one thing I enjoy the most is meeting new people! Be it a new client in the salon or photographer and model on set. I love that our job allows just to make that human connection in a world were we are so connected with a screen. The power we have to change how people see themselves has me honored to be a Hairdresser!
IF: Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
I did not really choose it. It kinda choose me! Growing up, Barbie was my first client, cutting her hair, coloring it with markers and stealing my Moms perm rods to set it! That progressed to me doing all my friends hair in High School. My Mom suggested that I go to Cosmetology school and I remember saying “Na I wanna make money.” So I choose a career in fashion. Fast forward to my late 20’s I attended a hair show with a hairdresser friend, and the minute I walked in I realized I had found my tribe! It’s like I found a piece of me I was missing. Three months later I was in Cosmetology school and the rest is history!
IF: If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser what would you have been?
I wanted to be a Designer. I love fashion and worked in the industry for almost 10 years. I know that I am doing what I was meant to do in life and that’s hair. Hair is my fabric now.
IF: What is your greatest strength?
My attention to detail. I think coming from fashion, knowing that if a hem is not perfect then it doesn’t wear right or read well on the runway, and it’s that attention to detail I carry over into how I approach hairdressing.
IF: Your favorite hairdressing tools?
My Mason Pearson! I cant work without it!
IF: Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How you discovered us and which formula is your favorite?
I first saw Iles Formula while working in LA. Although it was when a friend from LA was visiting Charleston, SC and suggested I get it for my partner for his curls. I ordered a kit from the web site and all it took was one shampoo on him that I was hooked! Then, I experienced the conditioner and was like “This is the Holy Grail for hair”! After diffusing his hair with the Finishing Serum, I knew I had to share this with my clients. Now I cant keep it on my shelves! I love how they all work together but the Finishing Serum is the one I cant live without! I Love how it works for film, photo work, and just everyday!
IF: What was the most challenging job you ever had?
While in cosmetology school I worked in Paul Mitchell focus salon in my hometown. Once I got out of school they gave me a chair and it was not long after that Paul Mitchell was looking for educators in Western North Carolina. One requirement was that you had to be behind the chair for two years. I had the highest retail sales in the salon since I was an assistant and had become a booth renter in my first 6 months out of school. So, some how I ended up in Tampa, Fl a month later auditioning to become a National Educator for Paul Mitchell. I met so many great hairdressers with years on me that were auditioning as well. I was so nervous going into it, I was so new to the industry and there was no way this was going to turn out good! It was one of those times when you just fake it till ya make it! Well I didn’t pass that audition, but I did pass my second one 2 months later. Those where some amazing years learning from all the world class hairdressers that continue to inspire me still today.
IF: What was your worst hair moment and why…. privately or on set/stage or in the salon?
So one that will always stick out was when I was auditioning my first time for PM. We had to pick out of a hat a styling category and styling technique and do a 20 minute presentation. We had over night to prepare for it the next day. I practiced so many times I knew I couldn’t do it wrong. I get into my audition and I introduce myself, tell a little about my story and what I will be doing for them. In my head I was like I am crushing this! I was until about 8 minutes into it. I was using the hair dryer and completely dropped it, nozzle bouncing off. So I go and grab it, then try and recover but then I drop it again! So instead of playing off on the durability of the dryer I just stop talking! For the longest 12 minutes of my life I just continued to do my style but not say a word. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t make it through that time but made a lasting impression.
IF: If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
I think it would have to be Dolly Parton. I just admire her and I love a blonde and being from the south I love me some big hair! We both grew up in the Smokey Mountains so its like she’s my people. She is just so inspiring with a true rags to riches story. But more than that, she is just a good person and if you dream it you can do it!
IF: Where do you pull hair inspiration from?
Fashion always inspires me, but I also love looking to nature to inspire me! It could be the color of a Charleston sunset, the petals of a flower, or the lines of a beautiful dress.
IF: Your advice to young hairdressers starting out?
Always be a sponge! Soak up all you can from every opportunity you have. You can never know everything and that’s the beauty of our industry!
IF: Thank you Mac for sharing with us.
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