Hairdressing is hard yakka! And is renowned in the industry to be so. But, when Steph entered industry in 2010, she saw first hand how strenuous the passion of her work could be on her mental and physical health, and how much of that also affected the clients.
Mental health is becoming more widely discussed, but Steph took an approach to not only discussing the effects but actively creating an environment that nurtured her staff and clients to avoid workplace stress occurring. FACT!
Reduced occupational stress Hairdressers often work in fast-paced environments with demanding schedules and high client expectations. This can lead to chronic stress, which may contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Steph Meyer & Co limit their clients to provide a homely-feel. At the Horsham & St Kilda salon, clients are welcomed into a space where they get their hair stylist from start to finish.
Physical exhaustion Steph Meyer & Co studios are by-appointment only to help reduce the physical exhaustion of their stylists and to create a positive impact on their wellbeing. Hairdressing can involve standing for a lengthy time, repetitive motions, and sometimes physically demanding tasks.
Generally speaking, hairdressing, traditionally, meant long-shifts and weekend work that saw so many professionals reconsider their career within the industry - missing out on important events and milestones. Steph, a mother herself (with another on the way) provides flexible working hours to remove the strain of emotional stress.
Perfectionism Hairdressers are often expected to create flawless hairstyles and meet clients' high standards. The pressure to constantly deliver perfect results can contribute to feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and a fear of making mistakes. Steph Meyer & Co are masters of perfecting blondes and balayage looks - they practise these techniques day-in, day-out and the stylists receive regular training. While they more often than not meet the high expectations of clients, they do take measures to prepare to meet those expectations. For example, clients are welcomed for a consultation, and upon booking are required to fill out a questionnaire and submit images of their desired look before their booking is confirmed.
Some hairdressers may experience dissatisfaction with their career, feeling unfulfilled or undervalued. This dissatisfaction can lead to a decline in mental well-being, including symptoms of depression and a lack of motivation.
In addition to creating, and promoting a flexible, laid-back working environment, Steph continually goes out of her way to show her six valuable team members that they are appreciated through fun team building retreats, dinners and activities, offering days off for important events with a genuine interest in their lives - mentoring them personally and professionally.
Working hands on, between the two locations, Steph tracks the individual career progression of each team member. She celebrates the teams and individual wins, and milestones, and encourages them to do the same. Alongside Steph, the team attended the Australian Hair Industry Awards in Queensland, to represent SM&CO as finalists for Best Salon Design, and Best New-comer Salon of the Year. Emma ventured to Hair Festival in Sydney to prepare her to enter a competition at the national event next year.
“I love seeing my team succeed! If they’re happy, I’m happy. In the past 12 months, four of our six team members have been promoted within the salon. When you stop learning, you stop growing, and I’m thrilled that our team is all growing together!”- Steph
It's important to note that not all hairdressers will experience these issues, and individual experiences may vary. Like others in the business turning to more modernised salon-setups, Steph believes promoting self-care, setting boundaries, seeking support from colleagues or professionals, and finding a work-life balance can help mitigate the potential mental health challenges.
“Take Care Of Your Employees And They'll Take Care Of Your Business,” - Richard Branson.