When I opened the shop I didn’t have a clue about how to be an employer. Since 2012 I have journeyed through peaks and valleys, experienced complaints with labour relations, taken diversity and inclusion classes, failed and gotten back up again. It has been an ever evolving journey that will continue to explore new lands. I am proud of what the company has created and how we have gotten here as a team. The one thing I knew about the industry of hair and what I wanted for my shop was the principle of a happy stylist = a happy client. I am not talking about the type of “happy” that comes from making lots of money or things rooted in ego. I am talking about a happiness that is rooted in a culture of support, wellness and being focused on what matters to that individual. Self care first from the inside out. Surrounded by a community of people who share common goals of personal and professional growth and values.

In 2012 we opened our doors with a very small team that was eager to please the community and start with humble promotional prices. We wanted to excite the community by exceptional prices and we took anyone and everyone we could find as guests. We ventured to the West Coast Women’s show and local bridal events. Our passion was burning a pathway for us! As we got busier we looked at hiring other stylists and quickly built a team of staggered level of experienced stylists. I spent a lot of time mentoring and sharing my passion for hair with our team. We attended classes, entered hair competitions (and placed!), volunteered at Vancouver Fashion Week and other great events. We were full of opportunity and eager to learn. Slowly I learned that we were just going through the motions willy nilly and needed more structure. We tried a lot of different things with our staff, our culture and our business plan. We launched an apprentice program that fed our Junior Stylist entry level salon floor position and expanded our tier system to offer Junior, Stylist, Senior, Master and Elite Masterstylist. All of these levels have professional and educational goals that must be met to be promoted to the next level. This system has been fantastic and works very efficiently for the team to know what is expected of them as well as how to pace themselves. As a mentor in the industry working with color and cutting brands I had a fairly good understanding around education and have been able to support our team from the beginning. That being said, business, branding and culture was something I still had no understanding of and as I look back it feels as if it was very obvious! We all have to start somewhere.

In 2017 I started to focus more on the companies values and culture. At this point we had already established our tier system but our turnover of staff continued to change with the seasons. It was obvious to me that the staff needed to be inspired to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to be intrinsically motivated to propel themselves forward. Long story short(er), the past three and a bit years we have been working with a different company structure that comes around a set of shared values, a mission statement and making sure everyone has a voice at the table. We connect regularly about values, goals and more. We have a management team in place to coach and mentor our staff on operations, skill, diversity, inclusion, marketing and so much more. We continue to grow as a company, as a team and we are always looking for our blind spots so we can improve on us. A better us means better services and ultimately happier guests.

Let’s take a closer look at what it means to be an apprentice or student stylist at Chantel Funk + Co. and what our systems are from application to being promoted beyond Junior Stylist.

When a student who is attending hair school applies to our salon we go through a few hoops before having them into the salon for an interview. First up we have a set of questions. We are looking for a foundation of similar values and willingness to work together towards a common goal. Funnily enough these questions give us a very good insight on what potential an applicant might have with us. Second we take a look at previous work history and portfolio. We don’t require either however we do want to see there are some lived experiences under the applicants belt. We love hiring applicants who have worked at places that have solid work ethic and structures in place as it creates good habits. Once we have a great foundational understanding of the applicant we invite them in for an in person interview. This is again an opportunity for us to ask a pre-set of questions where we are specifically looking for values and qualities in the candidate. Our questions are tough but we think it is super important to get a good feel for the compatibility. After hiring a candidate our new teammates go through paid standard training where we introduce our standard protocols with each guest, cleaning and operations, as well as techniques and specific trainings for their exact role. We truly believe that it takes time to find a comfort level with the knowledge provided before someone can be expected to continue learning. We give all our new teammates a chance to practice everything foundational and shadow our team before we dive any further. Next up, we take a look at our branded services and dive into doing models. This is such a wonderful opportunity for stylists of any level to really hone in on their standards of practice and make sure everyone on our team has a shared level of expertise standards.

Once a stylist is on the floor they are set with a menu based on their experience behind the chair. Price is reflective of their demand and comparable to the level of experience in the market. From here we track both skill, client satisfaction and retention, and professional goals. A stylist who is doing really great will typically graduate from hair school and move right into a junior stylist position. Junior Stylists range from 1-2 years experience behind the chair and have a base level of standards of excellence. They are competent in all aspects of services we offer and are always supervised by a Master or Elite Masterstylist. We offer separate day consultations for all color services which gives the stylist a chance to go over their plan, sectioning and formulations before the actual color appointment. Set everyone up for success!

Every stylist has a different specialty, hours available, goals and so on. It has been so rewarding to see our team get promoted and work at their own pace! We are merely a stepping stone for stylists on their adventure. We celebrate all the victories and are there to support one another in the stumbles. We are so excited about the future of Chantel Funk + Co.

Today we thought it would be fun to share a video of behind the scenes with Ashley on YOUTUBE.

We also took a moment to ask her a few questions:

What are you most excited about in your hair career?

I am really excited about being creative and using hair as an art medium. I’m not at the point yet where I’m able to be creative with hair, but once I am competent with cutting and colouring hair, I have so much I want to try. (Especially vivids).

What is one thing you imagined would be different about working as an apprentice?

I really had no idea what I was going into when I started looking for apprenticeships, for all of my life I had gotten haircuts at places like magicuts, so I didn’t know much about high end salons. I figured I would probably end up at one of those fast haircut places, until I started doing more research into where I actually wanted to be. Once I researched about CF+Co, I realized that there are stylists who actually care about your hair, instead of those who just get it done quick. Stylists at CF+Co are expected to put the client first, and to make sure they have the best experience possible, it’s really not that fast paced. That is what I imagined would be different.

What is one random fact about you?

I start every day with a cup of tea, and my favourite kind is earl grey.

Well, I hope you enjoyed a bit of a history lesson and sharing our story. We hope to share more about our company in the future blogs but we would love to know what you are curious about! Leave a comment or send us an email!

-Chantel Owner + Elite Masterstylist

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