As a company, The Sovereign Stylist team understands that without you all, we would be nothing. So, to give back to our community, we have decided to interview and formally introduce the top contributor of the group each month as well as gift one year of membership to all top contributors that have been in the group for a year or more.
So without further ado, our Sovereign Stylist for April is
Marta Belo recalls a postcard with the bright words "Los Angeles" in the middle of it hanging in her family’s kitchen in eastern Europe. In 1989, she boarded a plane with her family, and fourteen hours later she was inhaling the warm air of Los Angeles, CA. It was a dream come true for her parents. Luckily, she had been studying the English language since second grade, which made communicating in a new country that much easier.
Growing up, Marta would style her friends and neighbors hair. At the age of 19, she decided that being a hairstylist would be her life career. She attended cosmetology school in Moscow, Russia, where she lived for three years. Marta’s mentor, in Moscow, was a strong, charismatic, well-known artist in the Russian beauty industry, Dolores Kondrashova. Dolores trained Marta to work behind the scenes at a high-end fashion show in Moscow. The night before the event, Marta was told that her three models, who were also complete strangers, would be sharing a hotel room with her. Dolores warned them that should they party too much and any failure to appear for the event would disqualify them all from the event and Marta’s year of training would be wasted. Working under extreme pressure, such as this, was just one of many lessons Dolores taught Marta. Marta learned to better structure her life to be independent and train her eyes to see beauty everywhere.
Marta then transferred her license to the state of Washington, where
she continued to advance her training for a few years in Seattle. Currently, she is living the suite life with her business Marta Collectiv’. Early in her career, Marta says she felt nervous working with 5-6 brand new guests each day and trying to turn them into returning guests to build her clientele. She says, “Quite often I had to quickly meditate with myself using the affirmation and kind love from Marta as a person to Marta, the professional.”
“My desire to pursue the career choice in the beauty industry as a color tech was so paramount, it canceled all secondary feelings at the beginning. I felt unstoppable and concentrated my mental and emotional energy at achieving the goal of building a name in the company.”
She has always been fascinated with the history of cosmetology, the chemistry of hair color, and understanding texture. Marta is also intrigued by hair color placement techniques and how patterns can create opaque or translucent coverage based on the vertical or horizontal application of a product. In addition, Marta is fueled by creating custom, complex color palettes that bring out the natural beauty of her clients, which also makes her favorite application techniques balayage and AirTouch.
A typical business day for Marta starts with a Strawberry Vanilla Olipop somewhere around 10:00 AM; she likes to arrive at her studio a half-hour before her first client so that she can set up for the day’s services. She usually sees three or four guests each day, which leaves her generally spending two to three hours on each appointment. It is essential to Marta that every guest experiences a service that is exclusive to them. Marta says that she likes to be moving all the time because it keeps the energy flowing and creates a magical vibe between her and the client. To keep her energy up throughout the day, she takes small breaks while the client processes. The unique connection Marta has with each of her clients allows her to create stellar results for them.
Marta feels that new stylists must believe in themselves, adding that, “You are the star; you can achieve anything you strongly desire and visualize in your dreams.” She also adds that if a stylist doesn’t feel like the salon they are in is cohesive to their dreams, they need to take time and explore other options.
“Find the best nest where you can crack the shell.”
Another aspect to a career in the beauty industry Marta feels is important is to be taken under the wing of a senior stylist because they are the building blocks of our industry. Marta says, “They are the keepers of previous knowledge and development of the craft. They know paths and avenues that can show us an easier way to our success.” In turn, she feels that senior stylists should be kind but just in their actions.
When it comes to building clientele, Marta feels that listening is key to figuring out not only if you are the right stylist for this client, but if this client is RIGHT for you. Marta also mentions that it is important to show clients that you're knowledgeable by using professional language and to go into detail when explaining what your plans are for the client’s service(s). Finally, she adds that stylists have to have the ability to set themselves apart from the pack by customizing each client’s appointment and offering things that others do not.
Clients keep returning to Marta because she educates herself on current trends and provides quality services. She likes to keep the conversation light and follows an 80/20 rule, meaning 80% of your conversation should be focused on them. The other 20% of the discussion should include the initial consultation, explaining what you’re doing throughout the appointment, after-care instructions, and educating them on the products best suited to their hair. The last thing Marta does before the client leaves is book their next appointment. She notes that, as professionals, we know when it is going to be time for the client to refresh their look; if we don’t pre-book them right away with us, there is a chance they will go to someone else because they want instant gratification.
“Pre-booking helps a stylist to navigate future plans and it keeps the client organized and looking forward to the next visit.”
When asked what she thinks the beauty industry needs right now, Marta replied, “We owe (it) to our new talent to provide them with more in-depth education.” She adds that it is essential for all stylists to be educated on the administrative and psychological aspects of the salon world, such as worker classification, rights as a worker, dealing with stress, character building, self-care, and knowing your worth.
When she’s not in her suite, Marta can be found hiking, writing poetry, traveling, or reading historical novels. She considers her son Nev, who is a systems engineer, to be her best friend. Marta is also a dog mom to two Ibizan wire coat hounds, and their names are Boris & Elisei. Marta & her two pups enjoy lure coursing, which involves chasing a mechanically operated lure.
Marta’s goal for the future is to do a better job at balancing her career with the rest of her life. Unfortunately, this balance always seems to become a struggle because the creative outlet her career as a stylist offers ends up taking the focus off of other aspects of her life. So instead, she plans on getting more in tune with her inner “Marta” by meditating more.
From one stylist to another, we can all agree that such a future goal is something that we all need to strive to achieve. We would like to thank Marta for taking the time to share her story and supporting The Sovereign Stylist. Who will be next month’s Sovereign Stylist? If you wish to be chosen, make sure you interact with the Facebook group. The top contributors are chosen at the end of every month.