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Life & Work with Haley Finegan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haley Finegan.

Hi Haley, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I started my career a little over five years ago, now the day after I passed my State Board test. I started off assisting in a salon while I was in hair school, sweeping up hair, washing hair, folding towels, you know the most glamorous part of the job.

I immediately started working behind the chair and was astonished by the support I got from my family, friends and community. I found myself pretty heavily booked straight out of school (which is unheard of for most young and new stylists) I got to test my boundaries and push myself out of my comfort zone daily. I always had a passion for hairstyling and an undeniable love for makeup and at the time, I was doing small photography jobs on the side here and there just to get my foot in the door. A client of mine recommended a bridal hair and makeup company to me and told me that I should apply. So I made myself a resume with VERY large text to fill the page and the few photos I had and sent an email to the company explaining who I was and why I love what I do. The next day I got a phone call (that I honestly thought I was not going to get due to the aforementioned very small resume with very large font) from them asking me to come in for an interview. You know how you try really really hard to keep calm and keep your cool when someone tells you something you NEVER thought would happen. Yeah, that was me in the middle of the salon, the very next day I put on my favorite heels brought my small scraped together hair and makeup kits that I had invested every extra penny I had into; drove to Orlando and did a demo, and got hired on the spot. I never had one moment of hesitation that this was the right decision for me and my career.

A few weeks later, I packed up everything moved to Orlando and started working the some of the most talented, creative, ambitious, and articulate women I have ever met. I got to shadow a few weddings since I was so new to this game of traveling and having kits and chairs, and lights and everything you can possibly imagine packed into little bags that are hauled across the US. I was in awe watching these artists create watching them transform these brides, giving them the look of their dreams. Then slowly but surely I started working, I wanted to measure up to everyone that was around me. So I stayed up every single night until 3 am, watching videos and practicing the styles on my cheap little doll head, and recruiting all of my friends to be subjected to a full face of makeup constantly. Little by little, I found myself getting better and better and was working three jobs to pay for my kits while I was new and not being booked very much. A year later, I was offered the lead position in the bridal department and was booked on weddings full time. I am now a fully booked artist working behind the chair three days a week, and the rest of my time is full of weddings, production, and editorial photo shoots. I got to where I am because of the incredible support of my friends, family and community. I love my job more than anything in the world, I know it’s incredibly cliche but I really feel like I’ve never worked a day in my life thanks to my clients, co-workers, and bosses.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road, everyone has struggles in their career. I work in an incredibly competitive and very saturated field. This means you have to not only be the best, but you have to be better than the best. When I first started, I was working 1-2 extra jobs to keep myself afloat while waiting for clients and bookings. I was waiting tables and bartending to make sure my bills would be paid. This made for very, very long hours, low pay and little to no sleep. I pulled several all-nighters to ensure that I had time to practice my skill every day. I sacrificed my social life… well pretty much any life at all so that I could be successful in my career. I have been working for five years and stopped working other jobs in the last year. I have had disappointment after disappointment and lots and lots of mistakes in the last five years. Doubting myself and my skill constantly, wondering if I made the right choice. Your journey is never easy, you are never easy on yourself and life tends to never go easy on anyone. Pushing through all the things I have been through has made me into the stylist I am today, I learn something new every single day, with trial and error and meeting new people, that’s what makes this job worth every second. A huge part of who I am today has to do with my support system helping me up when I fell and wanted to quit.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I do a whole lot of things….. my bosses have called me a unicorn because I can pretty much do all hair and makeup services they offer. I am a hair and makeup artist, I specialize in weddings, editorial looks, and hair color. I am known for my updos and my clean natural glam when it comes to weddings. On the editorial side of things, I am known for my very unique take on hair and makeup looks. I love the freedom that makeup gives me to be able to transform someone to fit a certain aesthetic or make them look completely different all together. In makeup, I also have a reputation of giving a winged eyeliner so sharp it can cut your cake at the wedding. I am most proud of being a published artist at 20 years old, and having my work on billboards and seeing it on TV. It’s an absolute surreal feeling to be able to drive by something and say WOW I worked on that. I am so humbled and grateful to have had all the opportunities at such a young age.

What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
My industry is constantly changing, every few weeks someone develops a new technique or comes out with a new trend. The industry has become more about the client than ever before. Stylists are coming up with solutions to the everyday person’s hair needs and the take home care. With the pandemic stylist had to become more resourceful than ever. I think this not only showed how important educating your clients is but how important hairstylists are to people. Men’s grooming, skincare, and waxing in the last ten years has grown astronomically and shows no sign of slowing down. More and more people are taking care of themselves and their beauty needs which in turn gives stylists the opportunity to educate and create more and more with each and every client’s needs and wants in mind. In the next ten years, I foresee getting cuts, color, grooming, and facials to be available to everyone and anyone. Budgetary options will be widely available to everyone so that everyone can feel their best.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Images by Grace With fire (kim Jefcoat) Wayne Denny Jean Bible

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