• Alistan is synonymous to: Effervescent
• One thing that you would never tell the client: That how many clients I have rearranged to fit them in.
• Hair trends you wish to stop: Permanent smoothening.
• Your favorite hair colour: Balayage.
• Your favourite hair hack: Using dry shampoo for oily hair.
• A timeless hair trend that will never get out of style: The classic highlights and bangs.
• Your hair care tip: Using a shampoo and a mask or a conditioner and wrap a hot towel around your hair for that intense deep conditioning.
His mother running her own salon sowed the initial seeds in his mind to be a hairdresser. At the age when he wanted to pursue hairdressing, she insisted that he completes his graduation. Alistan Fernandes had his vision set. Soon after his final year in 2015, he went in for the basic foundation course for hairdresser from BBlunt. It all started with him being a trainee and within six months’ time, he became a stylist. What people achieve in 12 months, Alistan did in six, and today he is an Advanced Stylist at BBlunt Salon.
In this exclusive interview, he shares more on his journey – learnings and experience – and the future her foresees.
Tell us about the initial challenges that you faced as a hairdresser?
Firstly, be it hairdressing or any other specialisation, it is important to know the basics. And I am glad to have done my basic foundation course from BBlunt. In terms of challenges, basically post the completion of my course and before you start working with BBlunt, there is a ‘tick sheet’ period, wherein, whatever you are taught in the academy, you create an advanced tick sheet and do models. Getting models for short hair and for men was a big challenge, plus completing it in six months as against 1 year. I have literally picked up models from the train, as well as rickshaw drivers. I used to stand outside Kemps Corner and distribute cards that mentioned free haircut along with my number and name on it.
Considering your key learnings at BBlunt, what would be the two to three most important aspects for a budding hairdresser to have a successful start?
It is important to have the right attitude. Also, teamwork is crucial because it is not only about doing hair, it is about how you are being with your colleagues, teammates, and treating your staff. Also, it is important to keep learning and be open to learning always. And, social media is important as it helps you boost yourself and your brand too.
During these pandemic times, especially when salons have experienced a shutdown, how have you leveraged the social media platform?
At the click of a button, there are millions of people watching you on social media. This platform does not only connect you with your clients, but it could also be your colleagues, friends, or anyone who has seen your work. In terms of what content your share, homecare tips, how you do your hair – it’s a more solution-oriented approach. It’s an opportunity to create a network and build a personal bond with them.
Do you see this as one of the best times to also explore for more training and learning opportunities?
There have been so many online courses on haircuts and colours – and most of them offered at no-cost. For a beginner, learning hairdressing online could be a challenge, but otherwise, online trainings can definitely help improve skills. Having a mannequin head and practicing would really help. This is not something to pursue only due to the lockdown or during the pandemic months, but even when at work, practicing during your downtime is one of the best things to do.
You are inclined towards training. How are you preparing yourself to be a trainer?
At BBlunt, we have had these ‘train the trainer’ trainings wherein trainers are training us. As a hairdresser, I technically know about haircuts and colours. But as a trainer, you are teaching someone right from how to hold a scizzor to everything. First, it is important to be organised and a good listener. We were told during our ‘train the trainer’ training: “tell them what you are going to tell them, and then tell them what you are telling, and then tell them what you have already told them.” If this is followed, one would never go wrong with teaching or training.
What is your ultimate vision and goal for the Alistan of the future?
I want to create a brand value for myself and my work. Since the beginning of my training with BBlunt, one of the things that I have been persistent at is taking videos and clicking pictures of my work, and creating value around what I do. For me, growth is secondary. My motto was always to put my work out there and be proud of what I am doing. Job designations are temporary, what remains is the identity you create for yourself and your work is always going to speak for you.