NEW YORK — For stylists, it can be a tale of two cities. Or three, in some cases.
Hair and color experts are finding that freelancing in salons outside of their usual region is proving to help not only their career, but also the salons that they service: Working at more than one salon presents stylists with an opportunity to expand their client base and create a demand, two things that can fizzle when limited to one location. Likewise, salon owners benefit by capitalizing on the credibility of the stylist’s or colorist’s reputation to draw in clients and to create a buzz with the local press.
“We’re always in magazines in Boston and on local TV news,” says stylist Corey Henderson, who alternates working at John Dellaria in New York and Mario Russo in Boston.
Travel is a major plus for nomadic hair experts, too. “For me, the motivation is spending more time at my summer place,” noted Michael Casey, color director at Oribe in New York. Casey also works at the Mario Russo Salon in Boston two days a month, so he can spend more time at his home in Cape Cod. A travel downside, he admits, is the post-9/11 stress he experiences at airports.
For Antonio Berducci, stylist and makeup artist, working on both coasts — at Salon Christophe in Beverly Hills and John Dellaria every fifth week — presents an opportunity that is two-fold. “I have more information to service my clients, as well as a larger client base.” Berducci looks at his New York client base as a pool of information for his California clients, who may be well heeled but are not as connected to the fashion industry.
Some stylists say branching out to other salons makes them appear more worldly and experienced to colleagues. Dean Mellen, celebrity stylist at John Dellaria, Salon Christophe and Mario Russo, said some of his co-workers look to him to find out the latest trend or a new hair technique. As for clients, “they feel they’re getting a celebrity hairdresser,” Mellen says.
For the salon owner, the opportunity to promote a stylist can yield a bustling salon.“When people know you’re only there for two weeks,” says Mellen, “you’re pretty much guaranteed a full book.”
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