The Brand Boss To Blonde Solutions: Authentically Building Your Business With Dan TetreaultFeb 14, 2021
Making it in the hair industry can be tough. One of the misconceptions out there is how you can't be successful without a big brand behind your back. Dan Tetreault proves this wrong, believing that hairstylists are capable of leading their own life independently. In this episode, he joins Ryan Weeden to share his entrepreneurial journey with us and how he learned about the importance of chasing what it is that makes you happy rather than the numbers. He then takes us deep into his business, Blonde Solutions, where he is working his magic to create the perfect blonde hair. On growing his brand, Dan shares some tips and tricks to build your following on social media, grab people's attention, and then leverage that to grow your business. He also gives insights on how stylists should be charging and build a name for themselves on Instagram. Tune into this conversation for more wisdom and inspiration on creating an authentic business with Platinum Blonde Daddy, Dan.
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The Brand Boss To Blonde Solutions: Authentically Building Your Business With Dan Tetreault
With Hair Like A Boss
We've got such an incredible industry leader and icon here, and I'm excited to pick his brain. If you go to his page, you follow his posts, you can see that he might even seem a controversial figure with some of his posts, but if you ever meet them in person, he’s a super nice guy. I can't wait to pick this guy's brain. Let's welcome, Dan Tetreault, also known as Hair Like a Boss. Welcome to the show.
Thank you for having me, Ryan. I appreciate the time that you set aside and inviting me to do the show with you.
You’re such an interesting guy. I met you a few years ago. You helped out at one of our classes in New York, I was there and we had a good time. We got to meet for the first time there. That’s when you were starting to gain a lot of popularity and really establishing your brand, Hair Like a Boss.
That was the very beginning. When in the beginning, I had to be more than that though. We've been on quarantine for a year.
If you think about it, we're almost in 2021. It’s almost four years, especially if it was at the beginning. It is funny though how much it's such a short amount of time, especially this year, which feels like it's about a decade long.
When I first met you, it was some weird shit to me when because we stayed at the same Airbnb. You put on rain noises when you go to sleep. I’ve got rain noises when I go to sleep now.
Are you serious? Isn't it game-changing?
It was so funny because when I met you, I was like, “Why does he use the rain noise?” That weirded me out a little bit. Then now, I do. I probably have been doing it for the few months.
It's great, it’s helps you sleep and helps you focus on whether it's rain or waves or white noise or something. It blocks out the world.
It’s usually some type of noise in it, but also for a lot of water, I don't know why but it works though.
I’ve got to tell you something else now to try, which I started doing months ago, and it's also changed everything. It's the funniest thing. I must look like such a weirdo these days. I got the rain music on and I got an eye mask. I wear one every single night. It's so that it’s pitch black because with phones buzzing up the middle of the night, those wake you up and does disturb your sleep. I started doing this and I can't not have it on my head now. Even if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I put it on my forehead like a headband. a rocket. I must have looked like such a funny person.
Honestly, at 10:00 now, I put my phone down because it's too much. I think we're almost the same. Your phone is going and your communication is going all the time and you have a family and I have a family, we have girlfriend, wives. You almost need to know to cut it off. Around 10:00 and I put me to that Do Not Disturb thing. I used to set it on Airplane Mode so everything is turned off.
That's what you’ve got to do. Even the Do Not Disturb, it's still disturbing. The light still pops up. You still get the notifications unless you do No Notifications. I have several. I've traveled and I've gotten a bad habit of traveling first class, and they always give you these little bags, especially if you go internationally and you get the night masks and everything. I started playing around with that. I asked my wife, “I want a bigger one. I want it almost cover my entire face.” Pretty soon, it will be like one of those bags that you get scared to be held over your head if you're getting interrogated or something. Can you just give me a burlap sack and I'll drop it over my head and wake me up in the morning?
Honestly, as far as spas and self-treatment, I feel that this connection is going to be a thing to go visit and get done in 15, 20 years. We're so stimulated. We think all this is still important when it's not that important. You’re so connected, you don't even realize that you're disconnecting from the immediate things next to you. We're still engaged on things and business.
Numbers don’t end. If you're chasing numbers, you're never going to be happy.
We get stuck in the noise. I was listening to somebody and they were talking about how the internet is like a drug. What do they call people that use the internet? Users.
I completely agree, they're not stupid. When Facebook was buying Instagram, they made that like button connect to your dopamine. There's no limit on the numbers that you can get. Just like how we started on Instagram, once you hit that 500 likes, you're like, “I got 500 likes.” If 500 was nothing, then it was like 1,000. Then you got 1,000, “I got 1,000.” Now you’re like, “I want 2,000,” you get 2,000. That's what I try to tell people, if you're chasing numbers, don't end and you're never going to be happy. No matter what number it is, people think their life is going to change at 100,000 or 200,000 or 500,000. Nothing is going to change.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make. The more money that I make, the more I realize that money is just a number, and you're always going to want more than you have. If you want to find that peace and happiness in your life, you have to find it elsewhere. You have to find it through your family and your friends, through your passions and your purpose, not from the money in your account, but money does solve problems.
It's financial freedom. A lot of people misconstrued that even with a display or the business and having that money. A lot of people think because they make a lot of money, they have a lot of money. I know a lot of rich broke people. They almost have a lot of money, but at the same time they're spending it, they're getting it. They're just as “poor” than the person working at a gas station, driving a Mercedes. Wealthy or being rich has to do with living at a status lower than what you're bringing in. People mess it up all the time.
You’re making $1 million, but spend $999,000 of it. It’s now how much money you make, it's how much money you keep.
That's one of the things coming from business and going to college and all that stuff, and the beginning of where I come from of not having enough money. The first time I was able to hold $10,000 cash, it was like a thing. I saved a lot, but no money that I've ever made has ever made me feel any different. I don't care how much I've ever had, it really means nothing. If I was to go to the hospital tomorrow or someone was to die tomorrow or anything, I would give all my money to get that thing back like your health or your mom or your dad. All that money and those things mean nothing when you look at the bigger picture.
That says a lot about you as a person too, and I feel the same way. Certain people become obsessed with the money and they become a different person.
I had stupid shit sometimes.
We all do.
When people say, “You deserve that.” I don't think I deserve it, I just want to share.
I'm the same way. I did a post about how I don't buy Gucci, I don't buy certain things. I'm not really that super fashionable because I don't have the time to keep buying all that new stuff all the time. I wouldn't know what to wear anyway, but I've got the nicest microphones, the nicest cameras, the nicest lighting. I spend my money elsewhere, but I also make sure that I'm spending money that I know I am able to spend.
It's two different lives. Going back, I think a lot of people mess that up when they see things. We see it all the time like scams. I'm into hip hop, so I see a lot of rap artists and what they portray is not always the life they're living 80% of the time.
That brings us into Hair Like a Boss, which is great. I feel like when I watch you, sometimes it's almost like watching a rap video. The way you're flaunting the money, you're showing the dollar bills, the Louis Vuitton and this awesome lifestyle. What you're putting out there, if I'm not mistaken, is you're showing that hairstylists are capable of leading a life that is rich not just with money, but you can lead your own life, you can be independent. You don't have to be part of a big brand to be super successful.
The reason I got into hair on a micro level is that you control where you end up. You can do $15 haircuts and accept walk-ins your whole career. Or you can be a celebrity stylist charging $1,500 a haircut. It's all happening right now. Ted Gibson, he charges $1,000 for a haircut. I'm someone that’s self-motivated. Sometimes I address a lot of haters all the time, but honestly, if I don't have those people pushing me, then I have no reason to prove anybody wrong. It gives me no reason to move further. I've been doing hair for like many years now, 2 years assisting and I've been retired for 2 years. If I didn't have all that behind me, people doubting and all that, it wouldn't have motivated me. I'm cool, I'm comfy. I need that push. I almost seek it out to keep that fire to get me to where I needed to go. It’s gotten me where the hell I am with the amount of money I made teaching all those classes independently. You teach classes and you know what I’m talking about. I have no kids. I have no big obligation. I've never thought I would ever see that type of money in that short span of time.
Your heart is an entrepreneur. I see you all starting new businesses all the time until you find something that's working in God. I want to dive into the Blonde Solutions, which looks incredible. Can you tell me about that? That's your newest, biggest venture, your bleach.
It's the end goal. If you think about it, the biggest moneymaker in hair is hair color. This is what I teach in my classes. People would be like, “Why would you want to do this?” That's how I focused on blonde like how I focused on platinum so fast. To be focused on an industry, you have to know where the cap is. As far as the money, where is the most money being made? In hair color. What hair color? Blonde. What color of Blonde? Platinum. That's why I went to it so fast. I taught all this stuff. I started doing certain levels of blonde that people were saying you can't do or it's going to break off the hair, but I was doing it.
I started doing videos and I would make sure that you see my skin. I make sure it wasn't a plain white backdrop because I learned that people were filtering stuff. I still don't to this day. I don't care who you are, even if I'm cool with you, if I don't see no skin and a white backdrop and your hair is platinum, I don’t believe it. That's the way I am. I didn't know about these filters. I didn't know about all these editing things. I still have an iPhone 7+. I don't put that much effort. The money I'm going to make is from the work I do.
Once she leaves, cool. As long as I get content on my page, I don't care to be professional and have the best picture and the most gorgeous girl, that was never my intent. Making these Platinums, I was taking clients that are level sevens and up. If you think about it as a hairstylist, you can get a girl that’s level 7 to a level 11. That's five levels. Think about how hairstylists think. They're like, “That can't be done. That's very damaging the hair.” Why will they praise someone that’s from a level 2, Asian black hair, to a level 10? How many levels is that? It’s 8, 9 levels. What they're saying is, “It’s cool. It's healthy. We can do that.” That's nine levels, but when they talk about me lifting from a 7 to 11, that's four levels, they're saying that's damaging.
I quickly realized that if you take level 2 to 11 and try to maintain it, it's a ticking time bomb. That is damaging on hair because you're lifting many levels. That's where you get all that controversy, “You can't do that. I'd like to see you doing that.” I focused on the easy route. I didn't care that style was like, “You're only lifting from a level of 7, 6 to a 10 Platinum,” whatever they wanted to say. It's so hard for stylists to be like, “It’s level 11, no yellow.” It blows their mind because the majority of people live comfortably with saying that you have to leave yellow in the hair basically, that people would rather stay in where everybody is saying it's safe. Then the minority who are actually doing it are saying, “It's okay, but you have to do it right.” I hear it all the time where people are saying, “Low and slow.” I'm not going to say I'm the first one to do it, but I’m saying you could get Platinum with 10 volume.
You take longer but it will be safer to do it. A lot of times, the peroxide almost could be more damaging than the actual bleach itself because you're using 40 volume.
This is a little education. If you think about it like a gun, you have a gun and then you have the bullets. You can have the strength of the bullets, the gun is the bleach, the bullets are the developer. Any bleach, I'm not going to say brands names, but if you take 40 and put it into a brand, then you'll melt some hair off. If you take 10 and go slow, it'll get there. I know that because I use every brand. I knew that the majority of people didn't understand what I was saying because they weren't willing to risk, they’re basically being a part of a minority of people against it. It got me to where I am in my career. I was literally teaching. I didn't ask to teach. I wasn't even trying to teach people reaching out to me. I probably spent two years nonstop. If you saw it, I was flying somewhere around the world every weekend. It got tiring but it was good. This was before independent education was independent education. I was the first one to talk about using any brand to make anything happen. I was showing up to classes with Manic Panic Bleach, Sally's Ion Color, Wella. These are shorter classes with all these brands, and it was so crazy for people. They were like, “You can't put Redken with Wella. It won't work.”
A lot of the companies will say, “We put a special ingredient and it only reacts with this,” and that might work in certain lines to some degree. It's also a marketing ploy, “We have to buy ours because they look better together on the shelf.”
“We put more money in our pockets.” I was the first person showing up using all these brands and going against what everybody is taught, because everybody's taught like they'll see that person that was represented by that brand. It's almost a loophole for that brand to hire that person to go out and say, “You have to use all these.” They want to hire or learn from the person, but they also didn't understand until they took that class. That person is just going to teach you what Schwarzkopf taught them to say. That's just in general.
I started teaching those classes and then I got so busy. At the same time as a businessman, I saw the other people could do what I do. I was like, “I’m not the only one. I learned from somebody. I learned from more people than just one person.” I made it my own thing. I was very strict about taking certain levels to that white. I started having other people teach it for me. It's hard for me to lose control or come out of me teaching class and having other people do it. No disrespect to the whole balayage world, but a bleaching tone from roots to ends, you can't hide anything. I can be like, “You look like you do good bleaching tones,” because of filters and all these things, anything could look good to me. I have to see it in person. With Balayage, more or less with any roots magenta blend, it blows my mind how many styles, that you just have to curl it. You did not do my hair with the intent of me curling that section a certain way. They're putting the blame on the curl to push off the fact that they blend in the hair up. It's easier to make excuses or blame, “That's the look.” I could do Balayage all the time and all that stuff, and it blends. You can leave it straight.
That's the total test too. If you can make Balayage look nice when it's straight, then you deserve praise as a Balayager.
That's the top. When I started doing education, I put some other people under it and I had them teach classes. I knew them almost on a personal level. I knew they're already a beast, but it was hard for me to let that go. I'm still working on it. COVID bumped right when I started making that move and putting other educators on and giving them my classes. I can only teach one class every Monday. It’s like how you're doing and putting them under the brand, but COVID stopped that. As you're teaching classes, people ask two questions, “What bleach did you use? What toner?”
You get those in classes and online. It’s like one size fits. You can't answer that question unless you're answering a direct question to something that you did. You can't just say, “You’ve got to use this toner to work on anyone.”
The biggest moneymaker in hair is hair color.
The beginning of my career, I learned from Guy Tang. Guy Tang was on YouTube making all these videos. I'm still not Guy Tang. You can go on his YouTube and watch every video step-by-step for two hours long. It doesn't matter how much you give out, you can watch things all day. For example, I taught so many classes. Out of 30 people at every one of my classes, maybe 3 to 5 or 6 come out really beasty, then anywhere from 6 to 15 pick up tips and tricks. Everybody is not going to get it. I've taken classes, but I don't intend to take a class and come out being like that person. I intend to take a class to maybe get to 2 or 3 tips and tricks, or something to put to my work.
If you can go away with the class and come back with one game-changing tip that's going to help you make more money or do better work, then it's worth it. It doesn't matter how much you spend because you're going to make that back.
If you have your business set up, every class is the write-off. If you're set up right, you could take classes left and right. You have the money to pay for it in front, but you're going to get it back, as long as you have all your information set up. That brought me on to Blonde Solutions. Blonde Solutions really evolved from me representing another company that we bought into to represent. I'm not going to say that dude's name. That dude did bad business with us and thought we were stupid. I know numbers. When I started seeing numbers and things not matched up, we were like, “We’ve got to go.”
People look at hairstylists and think we're not that smart.
All we deal with is numbers, lever 1 through 10 and how much they charge you, that's it.
We might not all be the best with numbers, but there are definitely some very smart hairstylists. I’m talking to him right now.
I feel you're the same way and I might know a couple other people. You're really not a hairstylist, and I'm not really a hairstylist. We're businessmen.
The hair is the vehicle. We love it and we found a passion and purpose by doing hair.
I try to tell people that. I loved it enough to get to the level of quality of work to get me to the next step. You do have to get good. No one would like us or no one would respect us if our work wasn't good enough. I try to tell the people that all the time because many people are actually good and they don't understand why they don't grow, why people don't see them. It’s because they're worried about the thing that they already are good at, that they're not focusing on what's grabbing attention, like you pull out foils or you're showing the bleach on the roots. That’s what's grabs attention in Instagram. I'll post a video of finished beautiful hair and they'll get 3,000 views. I'll show a video of me pulling out foils or me rinsing off a root, and it will get 100,000 views. You watch a Ferrari going 200 miles an hour between cars because they want to see something bad happen. They won't watch a Honda Civic going 65 down an empty highway.
What I’m trying to say to help people build on Instagram is that you have to grab people's attention. When I see some certain stylists put these videos up and their videos do so well, I just know as a stylist that shit's really a hot mess. They're putting a darker root on it to hide it all. Then four rows of extensions to hide the fact that half her hair is gone. You can't hide that from real hairstylists, but it grabs attention and it gets notoriety. I never wanted that notoriety.
Some are coming to my head when I see those images and those videos. When I see some of those, I know that they're not creating a brand. They're just creating clickbait. They're building a following of people that probably will never buy anything they sell anyway.
They're just doing a commercial. That's why I got the Blonde Solutions the way I did is because me and my partners, we found you're introduced to a lab and a technology that wasn't brought to bleach yet. We started working on to bring it into a lightener, and it just so happens, we've worked with a lab in Italy and they figured it out. We're still looking to evolve with bleach, but I can honestly say that there is no other bleach on the market that even comes close to what it does. That's wholeheartedly real. I would never have put my money as a businessman into a product knowing it's just like the rest, because then what do you spend all your money on? Advertising convinces you it's better than the rest. What's been the last evolution of technology in a bleach?
Bond builder probably.
Bond builders are already out. Olaplex and B3 and all of them have such a strong hold in that anyways, that people are buying these bleaches with bond builders in them, and still putting bond builders in them because we would rather give the excuse if something goes wrong, “I don't know why your hair melted off. I use a bond builder.” For the longest time, my go-to was B3 and another one called Ultra Bond Seal. I barely used it because as a stylist, we have to have integrity to know should that hair be brought to that level.
Don't push it just because you're heading in a bond builder and you think it's something like some force field, some shield.
Going back to the bleach, I haven't seen any bleach step up that was a wow. I can honestly say it lifts and tones, so you are going to get a much better end result. I know it’s weird, but we did a compare and contrast about ours against theirs. I don't mean to do it but as a business, you really have to. If you think about it, what does Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile do? If you think about 3 or 4 things, what do you hear? Redken Flash Lift, Wella, Schwarzkopf Blonde and then Joico. That's really AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. We're scared to say things but it doesn't bother me.
Comparing and contrasting isn't like you're copying or stealing, which obviously is not a great thing to do. It's not a great way to leave somebody’s life. You're not doing that and you're comparing it so that you can market it even probably before you launch it to make sure that it’s going to be able to compete with the big boys.
We knew that. I know you're with Wella now, but it's ridiculous. Honestly, it scared me because how ours works is it works off the oxidation and the air introduced to the pigment capsules. You actually have to mix it for 3 to 4 minutes thoroughly to introduce the oxidation. I was using BLONDME back in the day. BLONDME works significantly chemically different than our bleach. That's the bleach I used before my bleach. It would swell and it would overheat foils and turn liquid because the chemicals that they used in it allowed it. You had to use low volume because of the strength of the chemicals in it.
We learned low and slow based off the information from the products that we're used to. Now, I have a bleach that works completely different. Now, we start at 20 volume and we work with 35 volume because the air that's inside those higher developers actually make it start working. It's almost liked a re-education. We have it compared and contrast on another consumer customers of ours who used ours versus Goldwell, then Redken Flash Lift. They did ours. They used all with 10 volume, all three strand tests. When theirs was at a brassy nine, ours was already at a clean platinum, not because ours was stronger but because it lists and tones. People think that ours is stronger. It's not true. It's actually looking at the strength length. When theirs is brassy nine, ours is toned, but still at the health of a level nine. It's ridiculous.
If somebody wants to try Blonde Solutions and they want to get it in their salon, how can they do that?
You can go to BlondeSolutions.com. We have our orders and we have 5,000 more coming. We should be good with the size next month with full inventory. Even with COVID, we have a boat, we had to start flying and stuff. With products, you either have to boat it in or you have to fly it in. When you boat something in, it’s for maybe $6,000 for huge inventory. You get to fly a small inventory in for $20,000.
Congrats. That's such a cool thing you're doing. I know that you always have helped other stylists. You've always supported other stylists in growing their followings and making more money to prove that anybody can do it if they put the time and energy into it. One thing I've noticed you do a lot of, and I'd love to hear more about how this works, is you would say, “I'm looking for stylists with a social media following of under 5k,” and you create these groups or you're looking for 30 stylists or something like that to help them grow. How does that work and how have you been doing that?
That's an engagement group.
Is that what they used to call pods?
Yes. There are still engagement groups now. You can tell who it is. They're all in the same comments on the same people getting these inauthentic compliments. You're forced to like that person. The engagement groups are to help grow these smaller pages and these smaller stylists. You can't grow with bad work, unfortunately. No matter how great and how much assistance you have, you have to be somewhat okay. As I was working the page, I realized I still would have to help people. I was part of a group, A Thousand or Bust.
My personal opinion on that, because I was part of it, they were only busting people that had already almost 1,000 followers like 992. I could say their name and they'll get 100 followers. It's not a problem. They're building clout in a name off something that they're not doing much for. I came to them with a stylist that had 800-something, and it was a stronger stylist with good work. I go, “We don't want to take that. How does this work?” We tried to work with people who are almost 20 followers away from 1,000. I was like, “This shit isn’t real.” No disrespect, but that's my opinion. Are you helping or are you saying you’re helping?
I can't imagine if you're doing good work, that it's hard to get 1,000 followers. If you're posting regularly, if you're engaging regularly, if you can't get past twenty, then you don't go to a group to try to fix that. You’ve got to do the work. Get behind the chair and take some photos, and post.
There are plenty of things. It blows my mind how many people don't put effort into learning things. I started the group, the pod, and it helped a lot of people. It was showing that I was willing to take my following or my time to help people. Authentically, I wanted help people. To be honest, even with my partners, I never expected to sell as much as we sold with Blonde Solutions. I thought there was going to be this huge learning curve. I thought stylists were going to be apprehensive. Every time we have it, we sell out every time.
As a businessman, don’t spend all your money on a product knowing it’s just like the rest.
You know why it works is because you already established yourself as this Platinum Blonde master. What does a Platinum Blonde master need? A Platinum Blonde bleaching solution. You already had the following for people that wanted to reproduce work that you’re doing. You’re like, “I'm going to give you an extra tool here to do it.” That's the ultimate formula to create this big brand first, and then do the process.
Honestly, it blows my mind. If I was to say, “Ryan, I can get you a bleach that is not like on the market. You can sell it on all your masses of the Balayage stuff. It will be a Balayage Clay Lightener. It will be packaged and labeled for $9 each. Would you want that?”
What do you mean $9 each?
I can get you a bleach made and packaged in a can for $9 each. Then you have to ship it. You have to make your profit and margins.
It’s almost like selling it at a cost like you're buying retail for your salon or something like that.
That's any distribution, that's what most bleaches cost. Before the numbers you need to meet, most bleaches are being put on the shelf at $4 to $6. That’s when back before all this happened.
Do you think it comes down to maybe mindset or maybe not thinking a certain way? I don't think everybody has that entrepreneurial brain.
I’m talking to you.
What about me?
Why haven’t you done it?
We got some things in the works.
If you can get a bleach that you know is actually going to get result that can repeat at $9 a can, then hit me up. I can make that happen. I don't want to mess the Balayage world. That's not my thing. Before coming on this show, that's what I sound like. You have mastered the Balayage, you have all these education platforms, you have all of this, all that. Why don't you have a bleach? You have crazy more following. Your page is bigger. You have this hair show. You have educators under you. Even if a company say that they cut the check, you make $200,000 a year off because now they're pushing it down your massive Balayage classes and pushing it through you. They're making crazy. What if I told you, you can make $200,000 a month?
That's the big money right there. That's life-changing money.
What do you think of one solution? The inventory has been there.
It's got the potential for it. For a small company, $100,00 a month is no joke.
That's a small inventory. It's off like 5,000 bleaches, 8,000 developers.
How long did you want to do this? Was this something that has been on your mind for a while? Did you coin the term Nordic Blonde?
I own it now. I haven't put it to use yet, but I got the trademark.
You became a master first.
I master nothing.
I feel like a master is still always a student. That's the way I look at a master, “Am I the best Balayager in the world? No. Am I really being good and can face most situations without sweating?” I feel like a master knows that they're always a student as well.
The name came from magazines. They gave it a whole new point. That's another big thing with stylists, I've been in many magazines and I got posted in Vogue. Vogue is a pretty big magazine. You go on certain pages with something like, “BTC nominated or award winning.” I don't care because those things never caught me a check. I was Modern 100 Top stylist. They gave me a title. They didn't do anything for me. Those titles, I don't care about. They mean nothing to me.
One thing I see often when I see Instagram pages of stylists that are looking to get more business, they're looking to make more money. I feel they are focusing on the wrong things. I feel like they are putting all these accolades that are only going to impress other stylists, where they're not trying to reach more clients. That's the problem. You don't need to be the best out there because you're not competing against all these other stylists. You’re competing to get clients in your chair, and that is a lot easier than trying to be the best on Instagram.
I completely agree. I had that talk a lot. When I started doing the classes, my classes were like 70% therapy and 20% doing hair. When I was behind the chair and I was doing Open-Air Balayages a while ago, you could probably do easy by yourself. I never had an assistant. You can do four good ones a day. If you're trying to do a bleach and tone, you basically could do one a day, full bleach, no makeover. If you're doing a retouch, you probably do two people a day. You have to babysit those situations.
I tell people that the hair industry and schools have taught you that if you don't have 5 to 10 to 12 clients a day, you're going to be broke. If you think about it, the people, the hair goals, the stylists that are doing hair goals that everybody brings to a stylist, the hair that's being done in those pictures are taking 7 to 9 hours to be done. It's almost like it has to be a revolving understanding that quality and those levels of hair can't be done in three hours. You have to let the clients and the public know that your expectations don't meet reality.
Saying no is hard for the stylists.
Imagine me how many times I said no because I was accepting levels. Honestly, I would take levels 6, 5 and up, but I would only say 7. Those lower levels wouldn't hit me up. My career went from 0 to 100 in 3 years. I got control because I knew what I can do. My ‘no’ was respected when girls are like, “He doesn't even want my money and he's not even willing to take me. He's saying no, thank you.” I would tell them why. It happened around me all the time. They'll say no to my price, go somewhere for $40 cheaper, get their hair wrecked, then ask me to correct it, and I don't do corrections.
A master is still always a student.
If somebody is looking to get into doing what you do, with the bleach and tones, and they want to have one client a day, or you’re saying if you want to do it, you should only have one client a day. How could somebody start to shift from a busy schedule into that? How would you price it and how would somebody that's just getting started price it?
Don't do what you're doing until you're a renter. This sounds like evolution. Once you're a renter, you're pretty good. You have a following, because you don't start renting with no following. Then you have to think if you want to be in that niche, in my opinion, you're doing the hardest possible hair that we have in our industry, level 10. Level 11 is healthy, clean. You can see if one area is a little off. If you make a girl who wants White Platinum Silver, she's pissed. That formula is like a dash extra of a violet or a dash extra of maybe a silver that you might use. It's crazy. You have to be ready for a lot of unhappy people and a lot of stylists on your back.
This is how I teach my students. I say go find one model a month, a girl that’s working at Starbucks, Forever 21, any of these big places, but they're usually younger and they're trendier. Two things they have. They have the want to get something cool done to their hair, and they usually have healthier virgin hair. This is how I did it. I took many models on healthy hair to get them where I want them to be. People didn't understand I'm doing on the healthy hair because you have to do it on a healthy hair. I'd love to see you do that on a level two with highlights. You don't do it on those levels.
“I don't do it because it's not possible.”
It's not possible, but it's not worth the risk. There are many ways not to skin a cat, but to get to the end result, then I wouldn't do those things. You can make a girl feel Platinum by doing a Full Head Balayage. You don't have to reach out the whole head if that's not the option. To go back where I was getting at, I went from being busy all day, my family couldn't contact me from 10:00 in the morning to about 7:00, 8:00 at night because I was doing the Full Head Balayage and all that. I was busy. You would read them out. You would do one thing and two people a day. Then you realize, “I could have done a little bit better if I took my time and gave myself an hour and a half extra to do that client. It would've been perfect.”
Then you start realizing it's the time, not the talent, not the effort, nothing else, but more of the time. That's what these bleach and tones high-level need. They need the time. When you do one bomb ass bleaching tone, you're done for the day. It's like a unicorn. It's euphoria. You want to take pictures for 15, 20 minutes. You want to have a cold drink and have some food. It's like you're done for the day.
Drop the mic and start celebrating.
Because you're putting such a rarity into now the market walking around you, it's going to go sell itself. That girl is probably going to get you 3 or 4 possible clients that will hit you up. If you're trying to grow real money in a real clientele, you have to make sure that you are putting out work that ultimately exceeds your competition area, or at least meets the competition area, but mostly exceeds the competition area. That's the thing. I live in West Springfield, Massachusetts, but my clientele was coming from 1 or 2 hours away from me. I'm perfectly between Boston, Mass and New York City. People were coming from Boston, Cape Cod, Hampshire, then I had New York City, New Jersey and people were flying to me.
When people are like, “Nobody around here wants to pay those prices,” then get so good that people are traveling to you. There's nothing a stylist that can say to me that I have not done. You can't say, “I can't do that.” You haven't put the effort in to put you in a position to do so. I know that because you know me, I took no sponsorships. I worked with a couple of brands, but once they were like, “You really shouldn't put that on your page,” it's my page, don't tell them what to do. One brand dropped me because they said I was racist. Someone must have hit them up and told them I was racist. I was like, “Bye.”
This is life. You have to put yourself in position that no matter what happens around you, that your plan is still going to happen with or without people. That's how I am. That's why I like hair because hair is you. You make all that happen, whatever it may be. Going back to your original question, you have to put the time and the effort in, and you make that transition. If you have to eat shit for a little while, you have to. Once you start getting there and you start doing them, then the money is all done. You asked about how you get paid, do hourly. Going back to the hairstylist, when a client hits you up two things, what do they ask you? “Can you do this? How much?” Why is our industry so scared to say this client took eight hours to do and it cost her $900? Why are we so scared to say that?
I think a lot of people don't say that because it might have taken them eight hours, but they only charge $200. I don't think most stylists charge what they're worth. They undercharge because they feel like they should be better or be faster. That's what I see a lot of times.
You can't charge a lie. If you took a while and the work's still shitty, you're just shitty.
You’re talking about a beautiful transformation that might've taken a long time or a color correction.
The end goal or the hair goal actually took you eight hours and you charged $200, then you quickly will learn that you are now going to charge $500. Once you're comfortable with $500, you still have people coming in the door, then you're going to turn to $700. People in my area used to think I was expensive. I was basically selling Ferraris to people who are used to minivans. They didn't know what I was doing. They didn't know the price. I was doing work in Balayage before, and they don’t even know how to pronounce Balayage. When they wanted my work, they had to get so used to it and understand that it takes more effort, and there's more to it. I didn't care, I stuck to my pricing.
Now fast forward where I'm not even doing hair, people will pay whatever I charge them. It’s still $80 an hour, $100 an hour is still right around what years later, people are now charging. You have to charge what people are comfortable. I call it price normality. You can't be $700 over here, while everybody is $300 over here, and your $700 looks like their $300. If your $700 completely demolishes their $300 result, you will end up getting people. That's what I was doing. You have to be honest with the pricing, if you can or can't do it. There's so much secrecy or silence or not being honest. It blows my mind. I know plenty of girls that have Louis Vuitton bags. How much of those cost?
They know they're going to go buy that and they know it's going to be $1,500. They don't get there and be like, “I was down at Coach and Coach has the same bag for $700. Why is yours better?” They don't even go in there and say, “You're not worth $1,500. I was just at TJ Maxx and they had a Juicy Couture bag for $25.” There are plenty of girls with plenty of money willing to spend for what they want. It's crazy to me when I see a girl, I don't know if it's real or fake now if their bag is Louis Vuitton, but their hair looks crazy. I don't look at your bag, but I'm going to look at your hair.
That's what I think too when I see clients come in. When I was afraid to talk about price or when stylists are afraid to talk about price, but their clients are rolling in with their Louis bags and their Starbucks. You're afraid to raise the prices on them, you're afraid to charge them more. They're not afraid to spend money. Their hair is something that they wear every single day, so don't feel bad about it.
I was never worried. That goes about like being completely booked out and getting rid of the people. People always feel bad about the clients who they've had for so long about going up in their prices. If you've educated and you spent your money to get better, and you're giving them better results than they came to you in the beginning, if their hair looks better from when they first started seeing you to now, charge them for how much better it is.
If you went to a car dealership like, “John, I've been seeing you for a while. I'm done buying my Mercedes,” because it's a big range there, “I know I bought a C300 and you're only charging about $52,000, but I'm looking at that McLaren, and I want you to charge me the same price.” They'll look at you like you're nuts. That's a McLaren and that McLaren is $220,000. That's how hairstyles have to do, but you rebuild this relationship of a scared price. The price that scares people, I lose my mind. If you look outside of the world, everything is going up in prices and there are tiers of everything. There are girls that shop at TJ Maxx. There are girls that shop at Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's and then there are people with private shoppers for them. There are levels to everybody making an income, willing to spend that income.
Don't ever keep yourself down or assume. Always go after the highest price. A little secret that I was doing, if anybody wants to take this, when I had new clients come to me from these bigger cities, knowing that they were unhappy with their hair and paying a certain amount, I would almost work into how much they got charged for the hair they were unhappy with. That allowed me to go where I'm at. Let’s say you spent more than $400 on your hair, which is crazy. Then I found out I'm in $300, $400 range. Now I have these girls in these bigger cities spending $600 to $900 on their hair unhappy. I’m going, “I think your pricing is going to be $600 to $700 probably.” I changed my income by a small conversation. They're coming to me happy and paying less. The only thing you hesitate with or what happens is the travel, but then that doesn't become an issue. They start bringing their friends because birds of the same feather flock together most of the time. All their friends who probably were going to the same stylist or same area, “He’s doing all that for $500, $600, $700? We're going to come with you.” That's how it happens.
That's amazing. It's been great chatting with you. I want to have a closing remark from you on stylists right now that are trying to make a name for themselves on Instagram. It is really hard right now. I bet you've got some great advice for those types of people that are looking to get noticed. What would you say?
You can't charge a lie.
Be you. If you look at Instagram right now, it looks 80% the same. When I scroll, unless I really know you, it's all the same shit. Everybody is doing the same thing. Everybody's doing that fucking pinch thing. If you like the pinch, do the pinch. You have to go left when everybody's going right. Be who you are. Put who you are out there because that's what people are buying into now. There are many stylists being commercialized now. People are swiping by a commercial. You don't watch commercials on your TV. You don't have Pandora or whatever it is with commercials. Most of the biggest styles right now, people are swiping by just because they already know it's commercial. It's the same thing. If you want to stand out, you have to do something that people aren't doing. Or you have to do something that makes you stand out.
Sprinkle in bits of yourself, bits of your personality, so they get to know you and your work, but the more raw, more real you.
I'm keeping myself under 100,000. If I didn't remove people, I'd probably be at 106,000. I don't even want to go to 100,000 because what do people say? “That's because you have 100,000 followers.” I've been the same person doing the same things since 200 followers. Me, my motivation, my speech, what I say has not changed, but people will think things happen better for you or given to you because you have 100,000. I don't even want 100,000.
You also have a goal of making $1 million before you get to $100,000. Then you're going to let the flood gates open.
I'm switching, I'm transitioning because I'm going to give away my Blonde on Blonde Education. I'm going to still be part of it on the business side, because I realized that stylists don't even have their businesses practically set up. When it comes down to credit, they can clean their credit with one form. There are many more things to a business than your advertising images that you put on Instagram. I realized this through Corona where you think this person with more than 400,000 followers should not have a GoFundMe account set up. You think if you have 400,000, you have a color line, you're doing this, you are every brand. From the smaller accounts, they think these people are well off, they're very successful and they got their shit together. It's just a number.
You haven't found a way to monetize that number. You're not creating a business for yourself. You're not creating a long future for yourself.
It comes down to the bare minimum to actually being like, “Dan, a year ago, I had all this bad credit or my accounts are set up, Hair Like a Boss helped me.” Knowing that I'm helping people on some real shit, that's all I'm cool with. I want the Blonde Solution to do well. Obviously you have to pay me, but I'll get that freebies out. I do want to help stylists get their business correct and set up, so we can stop seeing many people go from owning a loft or having a salon, and then being forced to close. They don't even realize that there are many different grants and loans out there, that you're just paying on the interest to keep open. There's so much information that people don't know about that can help their true business. They're shutting their doors because of two things. They don't have the credit cards. They don't have a foundation. A lot of stylists work day-to-day. They almost work to make that next paycheck, which it can’t be.
It's not a fun way to live.
That’s on everything. I do see a lot of stylists that are from nothing, and that's where I come from, no credit, never a new car. Even to this point, I'd never owned a new car ever. I always made sure I had the money and I'll go buy a car cash, because a car is nothing to me. A car is to get to A to B. I've always wanted a Lamborghini. Right now, I can go buy whatever car I want. I want a Lamborghini but if I bought a Porsche.
It's not a Lamborghini. It's amazing. It's not what you want.
That's what people expect. They expect you to have something, but I'm like, “That's $100,000 away from my Lamborghini.” That's my inspiration or my motivation.
Thank you so much. It's been such an entertaining chat. I knew it was going to be so much fun. There's still so much more I want to talk to you about. I want to bring you back on the show in the near future.
No problem, and just rein me in because I could talk forever.
This is great. I love it. You make my job easy. Dan, how can people find you?
It’s @HairLikeABoss on Instagram and then Blonde Solutions.
Everybody, try some Blonde Solutions and follow @HairLikeABoss and give them a DM and say, “What’s up?”
If you want that bleach, hit me up.
It's been a pleasure.
About Dan Tetreault