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Success boosts salon owner's sense of achievement

By XIN WEN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-28 09:15

Editor's Note: To highlight the role of women in Chinese society, China Daily is publishing a series of stories detailing their work and achievements in different parts of the country.

Song Huimin thinks most female hairstylists have a large pool of female customers because they know women well and can easily reach an agreement with them about the styles they want her to create.

The 27-year-old, who co-owns two salons in downtown Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, uses the experience she has gained over the years to serve customers in and around the city.

"When you see how your customers are dressed, you probably know the kind of style they want on their head," she said.

The various hairstyles she designs for female customers have gained her a following of more than 90,000 on the short-video platform Douyin.

Her signature look is a chic bob, which customers tend to keep for several years. She charges 300 yuan ($44) for cuts at her salons, the first of which she opened with her business partner in 2016. Given the reasonably high price, many clients have already decided on the look they want by the time they arrive at the salon.

"The most important factor is your skill, plus a favorable price and well-cut styles. You should excel at your skill, and be much better than other hairdressers. Not everyone likes it, and each person's preference is different. But what matters most is your haircutting technique," she said.

"I have a good aesthetic and some talent in this area. Lots of my customers look for me exclusively and they come to me all the time."

Song remembers that back in the days when she was learning to cut hair, male stylists outnumbered females. "In addition, compared with male stylists, female hairdressers usually received much less support from their families," she recalled.

"I was lucky because my family gave me lots of support. They are proud of my achievements now."

Born in Guanglin, a county in Datong city, Shanxi, Song headed to Taiyuan in 2012 when she was 17, having already spent three years learning basic techniques in Datong.

She wanted to become a stylist, but when she applied to several salons in Taiyuan they declined to recruit her.

Eventually, she got a job as an apprentice at a salon, earning very little. After working there for three or four years, she struck out on her own as a stylist.

To ensure that her knowledge moved forward in line with industry developments, she took classes regularly. It's a habit she maintains today, with two-day courses costing 5,000 yuan.

She also runs a number of loyal customer groups, mostly for women. She thinks it is a good thing for her clients to talk freely at her salon, and she can easily win their hearts by suggesting a hairstyle they like or a color they would like to dye their locks.

Song earns between 500,000 and 600,000 yuan a year through her salons.

That has enabled her to buy her parents a house in Datong, and she is planning to redecorate her apartment in Taiyuan soon.

Her daily schedule is super busy. In addition to hairstyling and completing her appointment list for clients, she shoots and edits videos of herself styling hair, which she posts on Douyin, a popular short-video platform, late every day.

"At first, I wanted to record my daily work via the short videos. I quickly discovered that they can give my clients a reference for their hairstyle, which also gives me lots of confidence," Song said.

"Hairdressing has helped me achieve a sense of accomplishment. Even though being a hairstylist is hard, painstaking work, I earn money through my own efforts and I help others become more beautiful. I love this work and am still extremely enthusiastic about it."


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