We chatted with our new employee Patty Bassett of Patty Bassett Hair Design and had a heart to heart about why she wanted to join a team-based salon before hiring her right after the pandemic shutdown occurred.  We wanted Patty to share her WHY with us, before hiring her and also share with you so you could see what it’s like to work alone and with a team in the stylist’s eyes.  Let’s first mention that Patty is super cool and independent.  Hardworking but not overly intense. Plus, she is so easy to manage. She does what she is asked, takes tons of education classes on her own, and also comes up with new and fresh ideas. We love having her and love supporting her rebirth!

Now here’s Patty…

“For those who know me and knew me before I ended my time as a self-employed hairstylist, who did everything herself, it may have seemed that I made a snap decision to quit my job and start over. What people may not know is that I had it in my brain for quite a while. Because working for myself wasn’t working for me. Here’s why:

From the beginning, there was a path I thought I was “supposed to take.” It looked something like, go to school, assist in a big fancy salon, get my own chair, own a big fancy salon, retire. Sail the Caribbean until I die. I had a lot to figure out along the way. I took a few detours to do it my way. But what I learned fairly early on was that I never wanted to be a salon owner. It always seemed so stressful and most of the owners I’ve met worked more than everyone else and weren’t necessarily better off financially. In fact, they were all totally stressed out.

 I felt stuck like I was going to live the same day over and over. I was constantly complaining about my existence when my dear husband recommended that I actually make a change instead of whining every day. He’s a genius. The thing was, I didn’t know where to go or what to do. If I didn’t want to be in the same situation, I had to work for myself. That was the only way I could control my surroundings and live happily ever after. Well, now that I was my own boss, I was going to wear jeans every day and I could keep all my money. Rent wasn’t too much and I can control how much product I use. It’s not that expensive to run a one-chair shop, right. What about taxes? I’m sure there’s a way around that. What an exciting challenge! Nobody is telling me what to do!

Fast forward a few years. I’ve grown my bridal business and my clients are so needy! How can I keep this up? I’m on my way to being a six-figure stylist! But I’m exhausted, I’m yelling at my kids, snapping at the hubs. I hate myself, my brides, and my clients. What is happening?? How am I supposed to do this? I have to cut back. I can’t live this way. I want my kids to know a happy successful mom and I’d like to keep Adam around too, he’s a pretty cool guy. This worked for a while. It was going well, but how was I going to make more money without being balls to the walls? I could grow the bridal business, make some moola. This was great, but those pesky taxes. Holy cow! Why does the government get to keep so much of MY money?

I’m not a big numbers person. Actually, I hate numbers. But something wasn’t making sense to me. I got out the calculator and sat down for what felt like an eternity. I checked paystubs from previous jobs and compared them to my spreadsheet. I was working my patootie off and making about 50%. I could work for someone else and make that and not have to work on my day off. All my days off…

Fast forward to 2020 and the global pandemic. I am now in my late 30s. I have a family and a house. Lots of responsibilities.  I had to take a good hard look at my business and my life. What was important to me? What was the best thing I could do for my family?

  • I want to model a good work ethic for my girls. If we want something, we work for it.
  • I’m in my late 30s, I need to think about retirement and my future.
  • I needed stability. 

I had basically 3 choices in my mind;

 *Go back to the salon, do what I was doing, knowing I wasn’t going to grow.

 * Open a salon to create the culture I desire, knowing it could take years and multiple failures to get a good thing going

 * Or find a salon with the culture I need and start over because such a salon doesn’t exist where I’m currently working.

I decided to take the third option. It was a big risk. I stalked the Make Me Fab website.  I saw that they had actual employee benefits like paid time off and 401K contributions. They are a bridal salon and that’s my jam. So I sent my resume. I had a couple of phone interviews with Alayne. We were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. We couldn’t even meet in person.  But we both agreed after those conversations to give it a go.

There are a few things I’ve learned in the past 8 months since I’ve started working at Make Me Fab.

  • I missed people. I didn’t even know it.
  • I work less. I still work hard but I don’t have to work every single day.
  • My stress level is so much lower.
  • Someone has my back. Alayne cares about me and my goals. She is the accountability partner I needed.
  • I can ask for help and I get it.
  • 20 somethings are really great to work with. I love these girls. They are so talented and helpful. 
  • Working with others doesn’t have to be competitive. We can work together as a team. Like for real, not just say that because we’re all employees.

I’m not going to lie, some days I struggle. I don’t work the hours that I would choose for myself and I don’t like cleaning up after people. There are trade-offs for every decision made. Still, I’ll take cleaning color bowls and helping out my colleagues over making spreadsheets any day.

I’ve currently taken the initiative to become a certified trichologist and Alayne and the team are supporting me in getting that piece of the business up and running so I feel as if I still have my own little thing going. Something that I can grow and nurture.  Weddings are coming back and OMG, I can’t believe how many weddings I am booked on and I didn’t even have to give up my days off to email back and forth, negotiate pricing, market myself, or set up timelines and schedules multiple times. I’m starting to get used to my new surroundings in Saratoga and clients some of my former clients are finding me and enjoying the drive to Saratoga too.  My family meets me in town and we go grab a bite in downtown Saratoga Springs from time to time.  Have you hit up Caroline Street and had a taco box or Gin Gin Fizz yet? You really need to.  And guess what, rumor has it that I’m getting a raise already!!! When I was on my own, I never got a raise unless I was killing myself and working tons of hours. Alayne was even open to let me change my schedule a bit to suit my lifestyle.  I’m thinking I made the right decision!”

I’m thinking that once all the dust settles and so many independent stylists who went home or independent are going to realize how much work going it alone really is, may decide to rejoin the fun, support, and companionship of salon culture. What will you have to offer them?  Think about it, define it and create it now!