With 30 years of experience in the salon industry, Peg Cribari isn’t just another stylist. To her lucky clients, she’s the answer to hair prayers. No wonder, considering her training spans Suga, The Burlingtons of London, Jacques Dessange, and mentor Roger Thompson (ahem, Vidal Sassoon’s original International Creative Director). Today, she draws from this wealth of creativity and business knowledge as co-owner of Salon Three Thirty.
Inside her Cedar Springs salon, Peg and her partners have built a most prestigious Dallas client roster. So, what’s their secret?
We asked Peg just that, and her answers may lead you to rethink your relationship with that swiveling chair. From subtle unspoken cues, to big ol’ red flags, here’s what your stylist needs to know about you.
DFW Style Daily: What are your first steps when gathering info on a new client?
Peg Cribari: “I always greet new clients in reception before they are asked to change in to a robe. This allows me to see their sense of fashion. Stylists should also pay attention to the subtle nuances of the person’s demeanor, to get an idea of how much to put on the gas or brakes with change.
“Then, I begin the consultation by listening to the client, and I always find out what they have to say about their hair before I start asking questions. There are important pieces of information I need to know before we decide on a haircut, like what kind of lifestyle or career the client has, how active they are, and how they envision their hair on a daily basis.
“Also, hairdressers should always do an analysis of the texture, thickness, and movement of the hair, explaining to the client the parameters and limitations of the capability of their hair, in a positive manner. This ensures a unique look specifically suited to them.”
What do you need to know about our styling routine (or lack thereof)?
“A stylist should always ask clients how much time they spend styling their hair. If a client tells you they can never make it look as good as you can, you might be doing them a disservice (as well as making your cut look bad) if they can never replicate the style.
“Hairdressers must be realistic, and communicate effectively as to what can actually be done on a head of hair. I’d rather have someone mad at me for saying I won’t do a cut, than doing something I know is professionally wrong. Remember, people talk both bad and good about hairdressers!”
So, when a client wants a hairstyle that might not actually work for them, how do you talk them out of it?
“I merely explain the logic as to why it won’t work, and focus them on what will work. I also refuse to do anything that will compromise the integrity of the hair. …If they want something that is totally wrong, I logically explain why it is wrong, and the potential problems that will arise as a result of a bad cut. If they still want it, I tell them at that point that I am not the hairdresser for them. I simply say no, I won’t do it. I explain that there are plenty of hairdressers that will attempt to do that for them, but I specialize in custom cuts, and I do not compromise the integrity of what I professionally believe.”
Conversely, how do you convince a client who is stuck in a hair rut to shake things up?
“Complimenting them on certain features of their face that could be shown off by a different style is a good start. Depending on their self esteem, I might start out with a subtle change, then work them in to something more drastic as they become comfortable.”
We’ve always read that bringing in pictures from magazines is a good way to show the hairstyle we’d like. Do you like this approach?
“Stylists should be open to any questions from a client. It is perfectly okay to bring in pictures, as long as the hairdresser points out that this example is one point of reference for the fashion. If the picture is way different than something the client can achieve, the hairdresser needs to explain why.”
Finally, which do you prefer – a client who gives you free reign to do anything, or a client who knows exactly what she wants?
“Of course free reign is most fun, but even with that, I am customizing the look to the person. When a client comes in with a specific cut, I will do it if it’s actually something that suits them, the capabilities of their hair, and their lifestyle. But, I would point out that I am doing the cut only because it fits those criteria, and that they did a great job picking something doable and wearable.”
(Image credits, from top: 1. HarmonicAttraction.com, 2. SalonThreeThirty.com, 3. AricasBeautyBlog.com, 4. SalonThreeThirty.com. Kindly give credit where credit is due.)