Jenny Strebe is the hair guru behind Confessions of a Hairstylist,the website Jenny evolved from a simple blog about changing her hairstyle into a full-on education brand. Between producing amazing simple video tutorials and touring the country giving her unique brand of education classes, Jenny is a busy lady! Needless to say, we were thrilled when she agreed to let us pick her brain a bit about creating education for the everyday woman and how she's harnessing the opportunities in digital to expand her awesome brand!
How do you feel the accessibility of the internet has changed the face of education?
To be honest, I'm really loving it! I feel that it's really allowing hairstylists to grow and evolve at a fast pace. It's also allowing people that have a passion and drive for educating to create their own personal brand with out having to work with a product company. Stylists can now be exposed to more education across the board through easy-to-follow tutorials, videos and discussion forums. I feel like it is really allowing hairdressers to be well-rounded and have education readily available.
What importance do you think digital plays in growing a brand?
It's really huge! If you are trying to grow brand awareness, it's not just about an image of a salon, it's about an image online. First impressions are critical, especially in our industry since we are so image based. Having a digital presence is extremely important to grow your brand because consumers, as a whole, are online searching for the next best thing. You have to be that next best thing to them. When you go to a new restaurant, what do you do? You check out their menu first. It's the same with new potential clients, they will check you out online. If you look creditable, they might give you a try but if you have a good following or are making a splash online, they will definitely check you out.
Can you tell us a little about your experience hitting the road and teaching classes at salons around the country?
Honestly, it's all been surreal! I'm an educator at heart and have been working building my brand for almost 4 years now. So as much as I know I've earned this, it's still crazy to think that so many stylists around the nation want me to teach them.
But I will say that I really have been enjoying it. All of the host salons are so sweet and so happy to have me visit and teach them my skills. I put a lot of work into each class and definitely try to go the extra mile so it's always a pleasure getting feedback and knowing that students take away techniques from my class.
How did you find your niche, creating simple tutorials for wearable styles?
It happened really organically. I was bored with my hair one day and decided I would challenge myself to change my hair for 30 days. A client of mine suggested I start a blog about it, and I did. Then, I realized that people were coming back to my site and it blossomed from there. It's become more rewarding than I ever imagined it would be. I mean… people replicate my easy-to-do looks and they thank me that it was so easy to achieve. That is worth all of it.
Do you have a process for creating your videos?
When I first started doing them yes, I did. Now, I feel like I'm so comfortable that I can show up same day with a few styles in mind and do my thing.
Is there a specific place you look for inspiration on the next tutorial?
I really try hard to set myself apart from everyone else, so inspiration usually comes from trends but I try re-inventing the trend into an accessible style for any woman.
Anything exciting on the horizon? Or goals you’re looking to accomplish this year?
Yes, I'm publishing a hair tutorial book this year as well as going on the road more for my up-styling classes. I've also teamed up with a L'Oreal Color specialist Jay Olson for a new class called Braids and Balayage. I hope to grow my brand a little more so I can establish a strong educational based company and be taken as a legit educator in our industry. That is my goal.
To be honest, I started doing tutorials for the everyday woman and realized that hairstylists were watching them too. So, for me, the next logical step is to take my educational programs and tutorials to the next level.
Is there an aspect of the industry you’d like to explore more?
It's funny because I've always wanted to do avant garde hair, but I found that my niche has been wearable styles. So, I'd like to continue teaching and exploring education so I can grow my brand in that manner, and then possibly come out with a tool of some sort.
Who has influenced you the most in your career?
There have been several people throughout my life that have had a huge influence on my career, but as cheesy as this sounds I feel like the strongest influence has been my clients. I genuinely care for them, and they for me. They have encouraged me through everything that I have achieved and always root for me.
If you became Queen of the entire hair industry tomorrow, what is a new change you would bring or initiative you would start?
I would want to bring out the new guys that have major talent and drive. I'm a small town girl that has made her dreams a reality, but it hasn't been easy. I would love to be able to mentor or help young stylists become their own brand and become something in the industry. Because what some young stylists don't do, is believe in themselves.
Are there other YouTube beauty bloggers that you admire?
A couple that I have become online "friends" with are Christina Butcher from Hair Romance and Missy Sue from Missy Sue blog. Both of these girls are very talented yet are both really genuine.
Which non-hair related fields do you draw inspiration?
Music, of course! Always have to have the jams playing to get my creative juices flowing, but most of inspiration comes from art. Mostly historic art and how through out the decades hairstyles have changed and progressed.
What challenges and benefits are there in offering education on an independent level as opposed to from a brand?
Some of the challenges are that it takes a lot of work and hustle to get your name out there. You also don't have the immediate credibility as you would working for a big hair company. You are your own person and have to slowly grow creditability.
Some of the benefits are that you can offer your own type of education and offer your own sceduling. But the biggest perk for me has been it's giving credibility for my brand.