EPISODE 39: THE VALUE IN WORKING FOR FREE

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Today we are bringing you a super fly, super fresh episode of Hair Love Radio featuring badass boss babe and salon owner, Constance Robbins. Her and Elizabeth talk about the un-glamorous reality of salon ownership, Constance’s obsession with Britney Spears, and why it’s worth it to sometimes work for free.

2:13 - You’re In The Hot Seat

In high school, Constance reveals that she wanted to be a pop singer. She had the entire dance routine for Britney Spears’“Oops, I Did It Again” memorized. In a roundabout way, this actually started her journey toward getting into cosmetology school.

4:40 - Salon Owner In The House!

Constance has recently opened her own salon, which is so exciting! It is a photo studio, place for education, and a creation space for hair artists.

Constance’s Salon

Constance’s Salon


Elizabeth and Constance joke about what running a salon is really like - which can sometimes include broken cactuses, fixing water heater, and scrubbing the floors on a Sunday.

9:53 - Online Leadership

Salon owner, stylist, she also has a substantial following on Instagram. She is also an Matrix global artist, and has been working with the brand for over a decade. In ways she is grateful for her background as a theatre kid for helping her have the confidence to do what she does online. She is glad she has a position at Matrix that allows her to be a leader and a facilitator.

13:15 - Constance’s Advice on Influencing

Find a brand that speaks your same vibe. What brands resonate with you? What brand shares your philosophy? Find something that you LOVE. At the end of the day, if you are educating for a brand that you don’t believe in, you will struggle.

Be seen. Find meetups with like-minded people, get out of your comfort zone. You become more like the people you surround yourself with. The relationships you form by doing this will take you further than you probably expect.

17:45 - Opinions on Educating: Independent VS Branded

Constance says that tying your influence to a specific brand VS being an independent educator, it is really up to you. There is a lot of power that comes when you have the support of a brand you authentically love, but if you experiment with different products all the time, independent might be more your thing.

Constance says that since she is partnered with Matrix, she also gets to lend her voice to ideas for new products, and help tell them where to pay their attention.

Elizabeth says that deciding between these two options really comes down to your big WHY.

21:21 - Don’t get into educating for the money

Constance says that if you’re in it for the money, don’t do it. Although she is very happy with the compensation she gets now, you will be doing a lot of work for free to get started. Doing work for free really is part of the process, and you can’t build trust with a brand without that phase of free work and promotion.

To sum it up, people can’t see your value until they see that you’re valuable!

27:55 - Fuck perfection

Constance says that it is all too easy for creatives to doubt themselves and downplay their confidence because of comparing themselves to other artists. This is called imposter syndrome. If you are asked to do an event, or teach a class, it is not because you aren’t good enough - it’s because you bring value!!!

She remembers struggling so hard last year. She was drowning in self doubt, she had just opened her salon, she felt really under pressure, and her assistant quit suddenly. Despite all of her amazing success, she said she felt like a giant failure. Then she went to Hair Love Club, listened to the speakers at that event talking about their biggest failures. That was such an inspiring moment for Constance, that it helped bring her out of that rut. She left the event with a huge weight off of her shoulders.

Constance drank the Hair Love koolaid and isn’t turning back. She believes that Hair Love’s message and mission is so important, especially in the beauty industry. She says that people connect so much more easily when you’re willing to embrace other’s imperfections and your own.

Engagement > Aesthetic

“If you’re a perfectionist it’s never going to be perfect, so you’re never going to be happy. It’s better to just be real and let it go.”

37:04 - Constance’s current salon journey

Her strategy has been to hire one person at a time and allow that person to acclimate. She remembers something the amazing Lo Wheeler said: “Fire fast and hire slow”. She is currently in the interviewing process right now, keeping in mind that she wants quality over quantity. She doesn’t see salon ownership as a job, she sees it as a gift and an opportunity to build others up, and build a super awesome, badass team.

47:55 - Let’s Wrap It Up

#1 Be Who You Are

Celebrate what makes you unique. Don’t try to be perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist.

#2 Look for those “I Feel Pretty” Moments

Put yourself in places that can help people see your potential

#3 Surround yourself with people who you admire who can mentor you

Bonus tip #4:

Hire Slow, Fire Fast


Elizabeth Manuele