Hair Design Student Success Story: Briauna Mayfield
I am super excited to share the success of a future professional Ms. Briauna Mayfield. Overcoming the odd’s and debilitating sickness Ms. Briauna has taken on the industry by storm. Leaving her mark on the clients and friends she’s made along the way so far since attending her Hair Design program at Evergreen Beauty College.
“I’ve been interested in cosmetology since my pre-teen years. I was told it was a burn-out option that wouldn’t make me any money or grant me any success. Hilarious to think about that now, coming from my paycheck-to-paycheck family culture. Instead, I worked a lot of clerical jobs to build my resume and get out on my own. Office work seemed like the best way to find those things that I was told creativity wouldn’t get me. Most of those opportunities were temp positions, until I began working at Nordstrom HQ in downtown Seattle. After three months of my temp job with Nordstrom, they offered to hire me full time. I was thrilled – it seemed like my “ticket.” Everyone I worked with there had some sort of degree, but I was able to wiggle my way in with a high school diploma and baked goods. Making $22/hr to start, with room to grow. Seemed great!
“I was there for almost two years, during which time I began to get “sick.” I saw many doctors before it was agreed that the anxiety I’ve always had was manifesting in my stomach. I was in a very high stress position in the Fine Jewelry Special Orders department, where I was the only contact for all of the US and Canada. The customers were demanding and always expected urgency. I was vomiting every morning when I woke up, in anticipation for my super cool, important job. I ended up having to go on medical leave. At first, it was only when needed, but after a month or so, it was full time. I spent a lot of time in bed, feeling like my body and mind wouldn’t allow me to make a living. I was being told I was too sick to work, but too able for disability benefits. The depression kicked in and made me want to sleep, but I wasn’t as anxious anymore. I wasn’t throwing up as often. It became really clear that I needed to make a change if I was going to be happy, and healthy. I should be clear that my partner, Jessica, is the only reason I kept it together during that time. She carried me financially, emotionally and sometimes even physically. I struggle with mental illness on a daily basis, and I’m not sure what I’d do without her around to help me keep my head above the water.
“Between the two of us, we made a plan for me to do something new. She encouraged me to look into beauty schools, and I did. We found Evergreen, in Renton, just a mile from her parents’ home. The school seemed great, and the staff was sympathetic but eager to help me with everything I was facing. After lots of planning and packing, we worked it out so that we could live with her parents so I could go to school at Evergreen. I needed a creative career. I needed something to get excited about. That’s exactly what I’ve found at Evergreen. It’s not perfect, but I was told in the beginning that my education would be exactly what I make of it. I’m making it mine,” shares Briauna.”
When we asked Briauna why she picked Evergreen Beauty College to start off her journey in the industry her reply was, “The Hair Design program. The location. The staff. The opportunities…I feel incredibly lucky to be going to Evergreen. I feel lucky to have educators like Camalita and Dawn, and a campus instructor like Chandra. I cannot explain what a difference [Evergreen] has been for me. I feel like I’ve found myself. A sense of self confidence, and not caring what others think because I feel so strongly that I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
So far Briauna shared some of her most favored subjects along with her specialties since starting Evergreen’s Hair Design program:
“I love the creativity involved in my program. I love that I wasn’t forced to do the extras that cosmetology offers, even though I am nervous about the limitations I may face because of it. [ As for assignments,] my instructors will use games or trivia to review with us right before tests. That has been the most helpful in an informational sense.”
“Color and Customer Service. I have a deep passion for fashion color. I wish I could do it every day, on every client. I’ve been in school 5 months and have had more than 5 hair colors since then. I started as a brunette. And my customer service skills? I LOVE making people feel good. I love helping people. I love listening to people, connecting with people, and making them look like a million bucks. I love the smiles, hugs, selfies, tears and self confidence I see after I turn a client back around to the mirror. I absolutely love what I do.”
Briauna’s social media feeds are always sporting the new fashion colors but what sets her apart from other stylist not only leave her clients with that fashion color they wanted, but knowing her customer service and relationship she builds with them will have them coming back for services to come. “I get complimented most on my communication. I think a consultation starts from the second you make eye contact with your guest, to the second they get up to leave. I use visuals to make things clearer, I have a look book handy to find examples of what a client may want, or not want. I ask them if they want it shorter, more textured. If they brought a picture – what do they like about it, what don’t they like about it. I ask them if it feels better/lighter/softer. If they’d like to change anything. I ask them to run their hands through it and feel it. I tell them if I have a suggestion that they might like better, and 9 times out of 10, they listen to me and think it’s thoughtful that I’d even think to give them something new. I tell them I don’t want them to leave until they’re happy with their hair. To me, these don’t seem like luxurious questions. But my clients are thankful that they don’t have to seal their fate in the beginning of their cut, and cross their fingers that it was communicated correctly. It gives us more to talk about, which makes every stylists’ life easier,” shared Briauna.
One of the best things about our industry is the freedom it can allow ones career. “I want to be as independent as possible. I’m not interested in finding a franchise where my schedule, services, prices and benefits are decided for me. I don’t want to worry about a non-compete. Having my own salon right after graduation isn’t realistic, and I’m not sure finding a salon who will allow me to have as much freedom as I want will be realistic either. But I plan to be so good that they can’t ignore me,” said Braiuna. Working under someone else doesn’t always fit all graduates ideal working environment. Briauna is one of the future professionals to seek out the independent career style; taking all the risk, but sweetly reaping all the rewards that comes along with it as well. Good luck along your journey, with that leadership quality and the passion you exude for your craft only reassures the success of your future Briauna!
“If you have a true passion and determination to make your dreams come true, do this. Don’t procrastinate for seven years like I did, because other people have limitations for you. Make an appointment. Go on tours. You’ll end up at Evergreen. You’ll either take the opportunities they generously give to us, or you won’t. You’ll choose to open your business and have ambitions to build a beauty empire, or you’ll work at Great Clips. Just do what makes you happy,” shared Briauna to the future students of Evergreen. Take your dreams and follow Briauna’s advice, do what you love and what makes you happy. It doesn’t really matter what others think is a right path for you if it doesn’t make your soul happy.
Ms. Briauna is set to graduate this December 2018 and what better way to support her other than to come and get a service done from her at our Renton campus! And if you are interested in continuing to follow Briauna on her beauty school path, you can also check her out on Instagram @brioriginalhair. Congrats, Briauna. You are on your way into a beautiful industry!