Updated: Oct 11, 2021
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 May is
This month we introduce you to Sovereign Stylist, Zoua Xiong. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, Ian who works for a nonprofit organization which helps college students with their student loans. She is the mother of her four-year-old daughter, Lyla, who she describes as independent, goofy, and sensitive. Zoua is also a bonus mom to her teenage stepson, Kaleb, who enjoys gaming.
In her downtime, Zoua likes to read. She also enjoys playing Pokemon Go with her family because it keeps her kids active. Zoua tells us a random fact about herself: her first name is also the same word for comb/brush in her native Hmong language.
Zoua grew up always doing hair and makeup for fun. However, cosmetology wasn’t her first choice. It wasn’t until her second semester of college that she considered it as a career for herself; she adds, “I would always walk by the cosmetology department and felt it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. So she switched: her time in cosmetology school was filled with instructors she loved, and felt the time she spent was all together, ‘great!’. . . fourteen years later, here I am!”
"...fourteen years later, here I am!"
Before graduating, Zoua had to work as a shadow at a salon. She had just moved to a new area under development, which left her choices between Fantastic Sams or Great Clips. She made the call to Fantastic Sams and was impressed with how friendly the stylists were, which is where she spent her ten hours. At the end of her job-shadow, she was told about a receptionist position currently available at that location, so Zoua applied and was hired.
A little over four months later, Zoua, was offered a position as a stylist after graduating and becoming licensed. Unfortunately, while in school, she only did a handful of men’s clipper cuts with shears on top, which was the same request of her first client as a licensed stylist, “I was so nervous,” she explained. Zoua credits her time as a receptionist to picking up on techniques from the other stylist and believes it gave her the innate ability to provide a thorough consultation. She recommends that cosmetology students pick up a receptionist or assistant position to learn more about real-life salon situations.
Zoua is proud to say she has been at that same Fantastic Sams for over 14 years, where she worked herself up to management for a while before stepping down after having her daughter. Fortunately, the salon she works at is well established, which keeps her workdays booked, except for slower times which the industry, in general, experiences. When asked about her typical workday, Zoua mentioned that she appreciates the vibe her coworkers have created in the salon.
“We always bounce back ideas on color consultations and work as team players by sharing new techniques we’ve learned.”
Clients keep coming back to Zoua because she listens to them and can execute their wants and needs. She also advises that it is essential for stylists to be their authentic selves when building lasting relationships with clients. “Don’t be a machine that just does what the client in your chair tells you to do, be creative!” Zoua also advises that it is vital for new stylists to always ask questions, not be afraid to ask for help, and reminds us all that, “Your pickiest clients are the ones who make you a better stylist. They keep you on your toes!”
“Don’t be a machine that just does what the client in your chair tells you to do, be creative!”
We asked Zoua what she feels the beauty industry needs most right now, and this is what she said: “I feel that in our industry there has been so much love and knowledge shared that we definitely need to keep it to licensed professionals.”
Zoua’s future consists of opening up her suite, which she is currently waiting for construction to finish. She mentioned that The Sovereign Stylist has taught her a lot about managing a business and her finances, which gave her the last little nudge she needed before taking the leap of becoming independent.
Here at The Sovereign Stylist, we want to congratulate Zoua on being May’s Sovereign Stylist and thank her for being an active member of our Facebook community. We also want to thank her for sharing her story with us and wish her nothing but the best! Are you interested in being featured? Just be active in our Facebook group discussions for a chance to be the Top Contributor for the month! Winners will receive a feature article and a free Standing Tall membership to The Sovereign Stylist, a $70 value!