Phorest FM Episode 124: Rachel Ringwood On Breaking The Barrier Of Mental, Physical & Spiritual Health As A Hairstylist
According to Gary Vaynerchuk’s definition of the word, hustling is putting every minute and all your effort into achieving the goal at hand. Every minute needs to count. But what happens when you forget to take care of yourself? When you’re so caught up in the hustling, that you ignore the signs your body sends you?
Hairstylists are often so busy they tend to put their own health aside for their clients. Back to back bookings may prevent many from eating, hydrating or even stopping to stretch. Featuring Miami-based hairstylist, owner, entrepreneur and mental health advocate Rachel Ringwood, this week’s episode brings to light her struggles with the hustling, how a traumatic brain injury made her reevaluate her health and lifestyle & what she’s now doing to raise awareness to the matter.
Rachel by way of introduction is a hairstylist, salon/barbershop owner, co-founder of a product company, motivational storyteller, and mental health advocate.
Rachel suffered a traumatic brain injury that made her stop and reevaluate her health and lifestyle, she then started educating hairstylists the importance of taking care of themselves mentally and physically behind the chair.
Hairstylists are often so busy they tend to put their own health aside for their clients. Back to back bookings may prevent them from eating, hydrating or even stopping to stretch. We all need to focus on the importance of our health all around. She shares the importance of investing in yourself as very often we neglect our health to make sure we are being successful as “time is money” but hurting ourselves in the process.
Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 124. I’m Killian Vigna.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle Springer. This week on the show, we’re joined by salon owner, hairstyling line co-founder, and mental health advocate Rachel Ringwood to discuss the dynamic of caring for your clients, family, and friends, but also finding the time to fit yourself in the midst of all that.
Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.
Killian Vigna: Looking forward to this episode, Zoe. I feel like it’s been a good while that we’ve touched off something like this. Wouldn’t you say? It’s about nine months ago since this topic has last come up.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes. It came up with Aware, the charity in Ireland. But the type of episode that we’re going to have today, probably the last time we did this was probably with Jerrod Roberts when he shared his story about how he got started working on fashion show/week events. So yeah, it should be really interesting. I know you were a bit nervous getting into this. Been a long time since we’ve had this style of episode, but I’m excited about it.
Killian Vigna: I suppose it’s good to kind of mix it up a little bit, take it away from the usual structure, so we’ll see how we go. But I have to say, from the person that we have on the show, just the background that they have, I feel like we’re going to be talking for ages, which is always great.
Introducing Rachel Ringwood [01:34]
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Definitely. So I suppose without further ado, welcome to the show, Rachel. It’s great to have you on. I mean, I’ve been dying to get you on the show. You’ve known this. I’ve been low key stalking your stories for a little while now! How are you today? Feeling good?
Rachel Ringwood: I’m really good today. I’m so excited to be here. I’m excited to talk about this. I think it’s important. I’m excited to share and have a conversation, and just bring awareness, not really stress out about it, and just kind of enjoy the topic and see where it goes from here.
Killian Vigna: That’s a great insight because we were stressing about the episode. That’s the irony of it.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: The first time I came across yourself and your topic, I suppose was when you were at Hair Love Retreat. I had heard about that retreat before because I know of Christina Kreitel, and we’ve worked with her at the Summit recently and stuff, so I knew she was there. And that’s kind of how I came across your story. From there, I just was reeled in because I had recent chats with a friend of mine in the fitness industry, struggling with the same thing. It’s a people industry. You give to everyone else, and you forget about yourself. And she didn’t really know how to handle that; we had pretty deep conversations about it. So when I heard you talk about that, I was like, “Oh, my God. This is actually a thing.” It’s not just in one industry.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, no, not at all!
Killian Vigna: It seems a bit like the mother effect. You know when your mother is trying to take care of the kids, the husband, the kids’ friends, everyone like that. And you take a step back, and you don’t realise this until you’re a hell of a lot older when you’re like, “How did she do it?”
Rachel Ringwood: Oh, my gosh. My mom’s a superwoman. I don’t know how she does stuff. I still to this day, again like you said, the older you get, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh.” And it’s one of those. They’re like, “I don’t know. I just did it.” You just do it.
The ‘hustling’ reality of the hair and beauty industry [03:27]
Killian Vigna: I suppose you’ve no real choice. But that’s not always the case though in this industry because you do have a choice in that. Don’t you?
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. We do. But we don’t make the time for ourselves because I think in our industry, we have this old mentality that time is money. And if you are taking time away for yourself, you’re losing money. So jumping into my career, I was mentored by a very awesome stylist. She was in California. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Santa Monica. I recently live in Miami. But I learned and got my license all through California. And my mentor was so busy that we would work through lunch. And I thought, “Wow. She’s making so much money; she’s working through lunch. She’s successful. That’s what I want to do.” And I had this weird seed planted in my head that if I was a successful hairstylist, I’d be working 10 hours straight with no breaks. And I did that for a really long time until it really started to mess me up mentally, and then physically it caused an accident for me that really made me reevaluate how intense this industry can be.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I don’t know if this is too personal, but what exactly happened? What were the first kind of signs? Even if it was just mentally and then physically, how did you become aware of this?
Rachel Ringwood: For sure! Okay. I’ll be honest with you guys and anyone who needs to hear it because I feel like it’s really important. I’ve actually struggled with mental health for a really long time, probably as long as I can remember. I started having really negative thoughts maybe by 11, 12, and then started doing poetry, and then led to self-harm and other stuff that I couldn’t express myself. But I do believe that when I got into the industry, it went full force. When I found this career, it kind of found me because I got scouted to play college softball. I was not going to be in the hair industry. That was a weird thing for me to tell my dad, like, “Hey, Dad. I’m not going to play college softball, but I’m going to go to beauty school.” Again, growing up with two brothers, two cousins that were all the same age as me, it was like, “What, Rachel? Okay. That’s a cute phase.”
And so I told them I wanted to go to beauty school, and it was a life-changing experience for me. And I went to beauty school, knocked it out in nine months, and then got an apprentice program, and I’ve been doing it ever since. But I haven’t stopped. And I was so infatuated with growing and learning in this industry that I didn’t see it as a negative thing. I massively turned into a workaholic right away at the age of 18. And I didn’t care because all my friends were in college, and I was doing my thing.
But I didn’t realise that I was working so many hours a day, so many weeks straight, after months, after months, trying to grow a clientele and stay busy that I was losing my mind. And I didn’t know it because that’s what I was supposed to do. I was a people pleaser in a way, and all I wanted to do, build a clientele, was like, “Oh, I’ll come in early. I’ll stay late. I’ll work through my lunch break,” just to get more clients in. Until I moved across the country, to Miami. I moved to Miami because I met my husband on Instagram, because he’s a barber.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Love it!
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. It’s so weird. My whole story’s weird, but I go with it, and that’s the thing. You’ve got to go with your story and your gut. So ended up in Miami. And then fast forward, I worked at a salon to try to gain my clientele. Again, working through, working Sundays, working Mondays, any days I could. I decided to open my salon. But when one day I came home from work, it was like a 12 hours day, and I was cooking, and it was 11:30 at night. And out of nowhere, I fainted and hit my head on the floor, and it was tile, so I knocked myself out. And that was the big game-changer in my career. And that happened about two and a half years ago, and it changed my life, obviously, because it took me out of the salon for three and a half to six months.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Geez.
Rachel Ringwood: And I was fighting to get… Yeah. It was so gnarly. And I was fighting to get back into the salon faster, but then I ended up developing vertigo because I had a hematoma on the side of my right head that was so massive. It was the size of a grapefruit. And unfortunately, since I played sports in my past, this was my fifth concussion. And the doctor told me I couldn’t afford to have another concussion, so that made me… It scared the crap out of me, but also made me reevaluate. I cannot afford another head injury, and I can’t afford to be out of the salon for six months because we don’t get paid time off. I lost clients. I had clients that were so sweet enough to be like, “It’s okay. I’ll wait for you.” But that’s inconvenient, so, unfortunately, sometimes it scares hairstylists, and me telling this story because it’s like, how much money you’ll lose by not taking care of yourself instead of, you waiting for it to happen. That’s why I’m trying to bring awareness to this because I do not want this to happen to anyone else.
Killian Vigna: How long were you doing, I suppose, the rat race of doing your 12 hour days, seven days a week, before you finally got to build your salon? And then what was the timeframe before that accident? Because this would be quite a common scenario for anyone who’s trying to get out there and build their brand or business.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, for anyone! Yeah, you’re so right because nowadays, we can work from home. We can work 24 hours, and we don’t give ourselves a break because we’re the hustler mentality. You know? A little snippet. So I worked in Los Angeles for about three years, left, moved to Miami. I worked in a salon for about eight months. And in that time, I grew a pretty solid clientele, but I was working a lot. But you know what, I did use Instagram as my tool, so that is what really helped me bring my clients in. Unfortunately, I was in a very, very toxic environment, and I found that out after months of being there. But I was just trying to suck it up because I wanted to grow my clientele.
Killian Vigna: Just kind of you’re funnelled, you’re tunnel-visioned. Yeah. You can only see one result here.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. And the owners would be screaming because they were siblings, and they would scream at each other, and toxic environment. And then I’d be like, “Okay. I just want to do hair.” And in Miami, everyone parties so when you finish your client at 9:30, 10:00, 11:00, it’s like, “Okay. Have a glass of wine. I’ll meet you at the bar. We’ll finish at 5:00 AM, then we’ll do it again tomorrow.” And I was like, “I cannot do this.” And I was trying to fit in, make friends, build a clientele, just trying to think of what I was supposed to be doing, and I was 22 at the time. So I was like, “Oh, I’m young. I’m good. Whatever.”
Rachel Ringwood: I worked there for about eight months. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle it anymore because it started affecting my mental health and my emotions going into the salon. And that’s important for me because I really feel that your clients feel the energy of the shop. They feel the energy of you. They know if you’re in a bad mood, or if you’re faking it. People are good people pleasers and will fake it until you make it. But people can just tell. They have those vibes. So I decided to leave.
Opening His & Hers Parlour [10:10]
Rachel Ringwood: I actually rented a house and worked three months out of my house with my husband. He did the same thing. He left his barbershop. And we tried this whole His & Hers concept, so he had a room and I had a room, and people would come in through the back door.
Killian Vigna: That’s a great idea.
Rachel Ringwood: And we would both do our thing. And then we’d be like, “All right. See you in the living room.” Yeah. It worked out. And so we did that for about three months. And then we looked at each other. Again, we were just dating. This was like a year of me moving to Miami. And I’m like, “Do we need to open a shop?” And he’s like, “That’s nuts.” I was like, “Yeah. We should.” We started looking at this concept of: How do we make a barbershop salon? How do we both incorporate us in the same spot? So we started looking at Craigslist, started looking at locations. We luckily found one, so within about four months, we opened the shop, renovated, did everything ourselves, no grants or anything. We paid to open it ourselves. And we were really proud about that. Within a year, we moved back to California, when I was 24.
We decided to move there for a year. And then we got married, and then we decided to move back to Miami to finish working on our business. But while we were in California, that’s when the rat race really started because we opened a new shop. We had barbers there. We had stylists there. But we were travelling back to Miami every six weeks to do a full week of clientele, so we were a little more comfortable in California, but we were still coming back and doing the, okay, let’s jam-pack everybody we can 15 hours a day for seven days a week, and then go back, relax for a week because we’d be so burnt out. And then we were like, “Okay. Let’s go back to Miami and focus on our salon.” So three months after me moving back, 12 hour days, 15 hour days, that’s when I fainted. It was three months after me moving back full-time. It’s been a jumble, jumble, but my body definitely told me: “You need to take a break.”
Killian Vigna: That’s the bit I was going to ask you next. You spent so long trying to build up a portfolio in Miami, that then you went to California and it was going to be like, “So was all of that for nothing?” But obviously not because then you’ve added that stress of trying to do both.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, of course, doing it to myself. I did it to myself. But I liked it. I didn’t want to lose my clients in Miami. But it was one of those that I was like, we kind of wanted to see if we wanted to do a concept of having His & Hers in LA. And then it was like, I was there my whole life, and somewhere we really realised, okay, this is a cool place to be. But it’s not where we need to be in our life right now. So we enjoyed it moving back, and that’s why we decided, okay, let’s keep touching base. And luckily, we’ve very blessed. My husband’s been doing hair for almost 10 years, and he used to be in a band. So he would go on tour, and he would cut people’s hair on tour. So he has people who he’s been cutting for all those years, so we’re really blessed that our clientele has kind of stayed with us.
When I moved to California, I had clients that would come back when I moved back, that they’d be like, “I hadn’t seen you in here. I was just waiting for you to come home.” And I’m like, “Not every hairstylist can say that.” So we’re very lucky in that aspect.
The #RachelReach initiative: where it came from [13:08]
Zoe Belisle-Springer: When did the whole Rachel’s Reach initiative come about? Was that around the time that you were recovering? Was it even in the thought process at the time you were recovering? Or was it afterwards?
Rachel Ringwood: I guess it was kind of all flowed into that. It all started when my head injury happened because I literally couldn’t walk on my own for two weeks. I had such bad vertigo that my equilibrium was so off. And since I played sports, it was really hard for me not to be able to control my body and my mind. My hand-eye coordination was amazing, and so for me to not be able to take two steps and just… Have you ever seen the video of the fainting goat when it gets really excited, and then it just faints? That’s what happened to me, and so my doctor told me I have this weird… Because we don’t know why I fainted. I don’t have anything in my body. I’m really healthy, thank God. But it was one day, I literally was cooking. And I was like, “I don’t feel good,” and I went… And I just fell.
And so the doctor thinks it was an adrenaline rush, that my adrenaline went so high that there’s a chemical in your body that’s supposed to stop your adrenaline from happening, but that just didn’t happen, so my blood pressure and stuff just went through the roof, and I just fell. So it was something of: “Why did it happen? Is this happening for a reason? What is this trying to tell me? What is the lesson?” But again, this is where I come back to my mental health because I’ve unfortunately and fortunately have been going through so much therapy in my life. I used to self-harm. I had an eating disorder. I was unfortunately in the psych ward because I attempted suicide, so I’ve done a lot of therapy in my life that has made me reevaluate things.
And I try to look at things for a reason. What is it trying to tell me? And I feel like this fainting episode was a huge pivot point in my life that I either go with it in the direction of me being like, “Oh, my God. Pity me. I can’t believe this happened. I’m never going to be okay. Something’s wrong with me.” Or I can be like, “Huh, this is forcing me to step away from the chair and look at a different perspective.” And that’s what I chose to do. But it was really hard because I couldn’t even stand. So I was like, “How am I going to work behind the chair if I’m bending weird ways, and my posture’s horrible, and I’m getting dizzy if I’m turning my head to the right?” It made me really, really think. I cannot be alone in this. There are other hairstylists that have been doing hair for 30 years, and they are still chilling behind the chair. There are ways to preserve your body, preserve your strength, your mentality, your energy. How do we figure that out?
And that’s when I realised. I was like, “Okay. Nobody’s really talking about this.” And then I just started doing it more for myself, and then realised how important all of it comes together. Your mental, your emotional, your physical, and spiritual or whatever, you have to be in tune with yourself before you give everything to your client. We give everything to our client. We’ll spend six, seven, eight hours on a colour correction, and we won’t even give ourselves a half an hour for lunch. It’s like, “I have two minutes for coffee.” That’s not a lunch.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. If anything, it just gets your heart beating way faster anyways.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. And that’s when most [inaudible] hairstylists are, “Perfect. I can fit three more people in.”
Changing lifestyles & self-care [16:15]
Killian Vigna: So what did these next steps look like for you then, Rachel. You said you had those two weeks, which I kind of find funny because if anyone else was told to sit at home and do nothing for two weeks, you would take that for granted. You would be Netflix binging like I don’t know what. But it doesn’t sound like this is how you spent your two weeks.
Rachel Ringwood: No. Well, it was hard because I thought, “Okay. Two weeks, I’m back to the salon.” Two weeks, I couldn’t even walk, and my husband was like, “Dude.” I felt like a toddler. It was the weirdest thing. And it was so hard because it was such an intensive brain injury that I was supposed to be in a dark room, dark silence, no voice, no hearing, nothing. So I was-
Killian Vigna: Like with migraines.
Rachel Ringwood: Yes! And it was so hard for me to be in solitude and be with my own thoughts. And in my past, that’s not usually the best thing. So it forced me to be comfortable with myself in a way. But yeah, after a few weeks, I tried to go back to work, and I couldn’t even stand the lights in my salon. I couldn’t stand the hearing. I had this constant ringing in my ears. My eyes would be super shifty, so I always had to wear glasses. But I did try to go back into the salon. I tried to go back to the salon maybe a month later for one client, and I got so dizzy I had to stop in between. And it was really hard for me. And I said, “Okay. This is something I need to figure out.” And that’s when I said, “I need to figure out something that I can do before my day or after my day to help recover.”
But at this point, again, I had no hand-eye coordination. I would stand up and just teeter-totter. So I said, “I need to find a workout that I can start regaining my strength again,” and that’s where yoga came into it.
Killian Vigna: Thank God for yoga.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. And I never did yoga before, again. Growing up, yoga was only for flexible people. My mom was a dancer, ballerina. So I’m like, “Mom, you do the yoga. I’m going to go on a run.” That’s not for me. I’m not flexible. That’s not-
Killian Vigna: That’s like Zoe and me. Zoe would be yoga; I’d be run.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Actually, I have a similar past. I was a softball player as well. So it’s just like, softball, soccer, football, and all of that. And I was like, “No. No yoga for me. Not now. That’s not going to work.”
Rachel Ringwood: I totally get it; I totally get it. And it’s almost like, “Nah. That’s not for me.” And it was one of those things that I was like, “I’m not going to sit on my bed forever,” because then weeks turned into longer, and then I was freaking out. So I said… I couldn’t even stand with my arms straight because I would fall over. So I was like, “Oh, crap. Maybe this is exactly what I need to do because it’s so challenging.” And so that’s how I started getting my equilibrium back; is by starting doing yoga. They actually say with head injuries; they’re very specific. But where my head injury hit, it was the top right quadrant of my head, and it affects emotions, creativity, and mental; so memory. And so I’ve struggled with that. But again, it’s weird. It’s reverted me back to old mental issues, so I had to catch myself, and then do yoga to help me connect my mind and my body. And then that’s where I realised hairstylists are in their heads all the time, and yes, in our body because it’s such a routine. But we’re not doing it purposefully or intentionally.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It’s just a habit. You know what you’re doing, so you’re kind of on the same train every day.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, until our bodies are like, “Oh, my shoulder’s dying, or my wrists are hurting, or my carpal tunnel.” And it’s like, “Why do we have to wait until it gets so bad?” I always thought that we should’ve had… And I know people talk about posture, or cutting, and stuff, but it’s past the point. I always say we do not want our body to burn out before our passion does because I would be heartbroken. And it made me heartbroken when I couldn’t do hair for a few months. And then I realised, I was like, “I’m only 25, and this is happening to me. I need to figure this out.”
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I was going to say: “You were so young.”
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah.
Killian Vigna: Younger than us.
Rachel Ringwood: That was a few years ago, though.
Killian Vigna: Okay. I’ll take that.
The #RachelReach initiative: what it entails, how it's lived [19:59]
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Listen, I know at the time, I think I’ve seen this on a story or something. Again, you wanted to speak out about this. And now that’s what you’re doing. I’ve seen you on many podcasts. You were at Hair Love Retreat, which I mean… I wasn’t there personally, but from what I saw, you got amazing feedback from that. And you also spoke recently with Nike. What exactly is Rachel’s Reach? Is it just you bringing awareness to this topic, talking about it? Or do you have… I know you taught yoga at Hair Love. So do you do that for hairstylists particularly? What does it englobe, like?
Rachel Ringwood: I know. It’s such a crazy… Honestly, it was kind of a play on words because when I created this… When I first did it, I was thinking of hairstylists, and I came up with this hashtag, stretch to shear, so stretch your body so you can cut hair. And so that’s kind of where I was going with that. And then I thought, “Rachel’s Reach, it’s me reaching out to people about this topic. But then it’s also reaching and stretching your body,” so it’s kind of all circumference of a bunch of stuff in one. But I feel like it’s honestly just the beginning because I want to branch out with so many different things. But I do believe it’s mental, physical. It’s bringing awareness to yourself. But I also feel like I do not want to be a life coach, and being like, “These are the top 10 tips you need to make your life better.”
You know, you can go on YouTube, you can look that up. I want to bring awareness to making almost like, “Hey, look in the mirror. What do you need on a daily basis?” You need to look in. I can’t give you those answers because it’s like the best example I can say. Say you need to make time for yourself. Okay, 10 minutes a day. Okay, I’ll tell you both to run. Again, what if one of you hates running? You’re going to be in misery every single day. You have to find things that make you really happy. And I always say life, yes, it’s like a balance. But I think of that as a teeter-totter. It’s not necessarily the best thing. You have to kind of find a rhythm or a flow. So I always believe, my dad always taught me it was important for something to look forward to. Always have something on your books to look forward to.
But I feel like on a daily basis as a hairstylist, or in the beauty industry, we’ll work so hard until that day that it’s counteractive. So I feel like we need to incorporate little pieces of paradise on a daily basis, so we don’t hit that burnout. And then we’re like, “I’m done doing hair.” Or “I’m going to take a year off, or I’m going to go binge and do this.” Hairstylists are very creative people. And we tend to have issues with that. But we have to figure out things that work for ourselves individually. But I feel like this movement or whatever I’m trying to do, I want to just share my story. And I want other people to be comfortable sharing their stories, and for all of us to kind of come together and bring this unity together of… that hairstylists are powerful people. We have the ability to make people feel beautiful outside. But why aren’t we trying to educate them on the inside health too?
In my salon, I don’t have any gossip magazines. There’s nothing in that. I have colouring books. I have meditation books. I have weird zodiac stuff. I have Rubik’s Cubes. I have things that get you out of your head and get off your phone because when I started doing hair, it was like, “Okay. Grab a magazine.” It’s like your phone wasn’t your thing. Now it’s like, “Oh, no. I have my phone.” It’s like, “No. Get off it for a minute.” This is your time, because that’s the thing. They’re booking an appointment for them to take care of themselves. Right? They’re doing, I want to look beautiful. I want to feel good in this salon. I want someone to pamper me. But you’re still touched into your own reality of, God forbid, scrolling endlessly on Instagram and mesmerised by people in Fiji.
Killian Vigna: Comparing yourself.
Rachel Ringwood: Yes. And that’s the most detrimental thing nowadays, is like everyone is so cool. And we’re trying to be like everyone else. It’s so bogus in a way. You have to be yourself and be confident in yourself. It takes years, of course, to figure that out. But it takes a step, and one step is the best step. Baby steps, and that’s kind of where I’m at. I’ve wanted to talk about this topic for years now. And unfortunately, it took a massive injury for me to be comfortable enough to talk about it. But that’s where I’m at now; reaching out to anyone who wants to talk about this, or wants to be open-minded about it, because there are a lot of people that aren’t still. But the people who are, it’s important, and it’s necessary for us to take care of ourselves as well.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. 100%. Coming back to what I said at the very, very start. There’s so many people who experience this, but are so afraid to talk about it they just kind of live with it, but live uncomfortably with it.
Killian Vigna: Bury it deep down.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, yeah. 100%. And I think it’s so important, the work that you’re doing at the moment. I was watching Ellen DeGeneres, “Relatable,” the Netflix special, again, another special. Right? But she was saying, it was interesting because she was saying there’s so many things for her, like coming out, it just took a whole lot. And then she’s like, “There’s no representation. We need to talk about this. Otherwise, how are we ever going to bring awareness to this issue?” And it’s the same thing in all of these different topics that are hard to talk about. Someone needs to step up and actually start that movement. And I think you’re doing a great job of that at the moment, really!
Rachel Ringwood: Well, thank you. I think almost a tie in to what you said, thinking about it now, I started with my clients. It all started with my clients in my own little community because I wasn’t a person that I’m like, “I’m going to fake it. I’m going to try to reach 1000 people.” It was like, no, I need to start locally in my own space. So I would ask my clients, “Hey. What do you feel like you need to do? What do you like to do on your day off? What makes you happy?” And that’s when I started getting rid of the magazines, or I started talking about topics. And almost testing it with my clients, of opening up myself, because I’ve been going through this for such a long time. And I wanted to talk about mental health, but I’ve gotten so much rejection from it. And then I’ve been like, “No. I’m not ready to talk about it.” But I started with my clients, and it wasn’t…
Because clients are their time. You’re not going to be a stylist that spills all your beans on them because then… That’s the opposite of what I’m trying to say. But I remember this topic one day a few months after my head injury. Someone came in and started talking about cutting. And I usually would not talk about it. And unfortunately, that’s something I’ve struggled with a lot. And she was talking about her niece, and in a very negative way about, she’s doing it for attention. That’s all she’s doing. And I stopped her. And I said, “Just to bring awareness, hey, this is my story. This is what happened to me. But I never did it for my own reasons. I didn’t do it for attention. Not everybody does it for attention.” She goes, “Wait. What? You struggled with that?” And I said, “Yeah. I’m open to talk. I’ll talk to her if you want me to.”
And that’s kind of where it started, where she and I had a deeper connection because I feel like she said I helped her niece in a way because they could communicate in a way. And I was like, “Wow. Okay.” Instead of just making our clients beautiful on the inside, outside, let’s try to make them feel okay on the inside too, or whatever they need to talk about. My salon, it’s very one on one. I sit and talk. It’s like a therapy session, to be honest. But it’s what I like and what my clients like. And I’ve tried to double book myself. My clients are so funny. They’re like, “I like my one on one time.” Every environment’s different. But how I run things now since my head injury, it’s time for them to disconnect from their reality, spend time with themselves, and talk about a third… If they need me to be a third party to get stuff off their chest, I’m there for them.
But then I have to be careful to reserve my energy, that I’m not just giving it all away, and then I’m burnt out for the rest of my clients. That’s a sticky situation too. Or if we have toxic clients, it can mess up our whole day, or how to leave the energy at the salon before you get home. There’s a bunch of different topics about this too, but they all flow in.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: How do you manage that balance, yourself? Do you have a morning routine, or evening ritual, or something? How does it look for you specifically?
Rachel Ringwood: I actually struggle with really bad insomnia, so I don’t usually sleep until 2:00 or 3:00 AM. I used to have this bad habit where I’d get up at 9:00, and then get ready and go to work. But then I realised every day that I wouldn’t make extra time for myself in the morning, I would be like, “Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh. I forgot to do this and this and this.” And I’d get into the salon, and of course I’d need to rip foils. And I need to get cotton, or I need to clean the bathroom. And I’m like, “Oh, crap.” So I’d be like, “I need to make extra time so I don’t stress myself out.” I deal with anxiety. I mean, a lot of people do. That’s another thing. If you know that’s something you struggle with, you have to make extra time so you don’t add that extra stress to you.
So for me, I made it… Almost like a tester. Okay. I’m going to get up a half an hour earlier. And then I’m like, “Oh, no. I need extra time, so I’m going to get up an hour earlier.” So I get up an hour earlier now. I get up, I work out. I’ll come back. I make coffee. It’s a French press, so it takes 12 minutes, so I do other things in the process, and then get my food ready. And that’s another thing. I really think it’s important to meal prep for a salon day because, again, if we don’t prep, we won’t eat, or we’ll order bad food, or it’s just whatever we have in the snack room. I’ll keep a little basket of trail mix and stuff, and then I’ll keep it and I’ll give it to my clients too because if they’re there for a colour correction, they’re going to get hungry.
But I also have a list of Uber Eats that they can order from, whatever, if people get hungry. But I do feel like it’s important to meal prep. My morning, get up, I’ll mentally kind of walk myself through my day, work out. That’s me time. That’s my time for me to decompress, mentally prep, meditate, or whatever I need to do, and get my mind right into going into the day, meal prep, going to the salon early, set up my station, get everything organised. And then I’m like, “Okay,” then my day starts. And then I have Paula Santos crystals, all that stuff at my shop, or whatever I feel like I need. But I do this funny thing I talked about at Hair Love Retreat. This is a little thing I think anybody can use.
It’s protecting your aura. There can be a lot of toxic people in this world. And some people are more in tune, some people aren’t. But I feel like as a hairstylist, we’re locked in a salon, and we have the public coming in all the time. I picture myself, this is really funny, before I walk into the day, I picture myself almost surrounded by a big bowl of cotton candy. It’s really weird. Blue and pink, whatever you picture, just huge thing of cotton candy as my aura to protect it. And I think of it. It’s just like, “Okay, poof it out,” and you just go, “Poof.” And it fills me up. And what it is, is because I thought of it as before back in the day, I thought of using, oh, I have a bumper car thing up. And then I was talking to someone. She goes, “That’s not good because you’re rebelling people.”
Cotton candy. Everyone wants cotton candy. It’s sweet. It’s welcoming. It’s warming. But all the shit gets caught on the outside, so it doesn’t get in the inside. Every day in the salon, I picture myself like, “Today’s going to be a sweet ass day,” and picture myself poofing with cotton candy. And then you just peel that off at the end of the day when you’re leaving the salon. Leave it, and then go home. Another tip I like to do, is after each client, I’ll go into the bathroom and wash my hands with soap and water, and it’ll kind of cleanse the touch off that extra client, even if it was good or bad, just to kind of get my energy right for the next client, instead of dragging it onto the next one.
But yeah, I think it’s important to protect your energy, or reserve it because there are those things called energy vampires, which they’ll just suck your energy out. And it’s hard if you’re working a 12-hour day and that’s your first client. It’s all balance and figuring that out. But you’ve got to do some fun things that work for you.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I love the cotton candy analogy there.
Rachel Ringwood: Very visual!
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Very much so, yeah!
Salon and self-care advice to a younger self [31:39]
Killian Vigna: Yeah. That’s a great example. Rachel, other than the cotton candy example, if you were to meet yourself when it all kicked off, when you had that first mental eight months, and then moving and setting up His & Hers, because there’s a lot of people who have gone through that scenario, and are still currently going through this scenario. What would you tell yourself if you met yourself then, now?
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah. Probably try to take care of myself from the beginning. Almost this is what I wish, and this is something that I’ve thought about a lot, and I think that it’s very important. And this is something that I’m working on, is I feel like when it comes to beauty school, I feel like women, or people, men, anyone who’s in the industry, should get this awareness from the start. I wish someone told me that I was going to be a really busy stylist, and all that’s great, but you have to make time for yourself, and you have to eat. I wish that was… Or all the stretches you can do to preserve your hands, or your fingers, or your body. I think that’s really important.
Yeah. I kind of wish that it was embedded in my head from day one because I’ve been doing hair for almost eight years now, and I’m still young. But I do have these injuries that do affect me. And I don’t know how long I can do hair, which is very sad to say. But I’m very strong, and I like to believe that. And again, sports mentality, I’m just going to keep going until I can’t. You know?
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.
Rachel Ringwood: But in the process is I know now, if I do not take care of myself moving forward, it’s going to happen again, and that terrifies me a lot. And I don’t want to put that pressure on myself, or my friends, or my family, or anything. Life is short, and I’ve realised that with my dogs or whatever. And you never know what’s going to happen, but you don’t want to live stressing out the whole time. You don’t want to be like, “Oh, my God. I have to stretch 24/7. And I have to be vegan, and I have to do this.” No. Find a balance in your life and go from there. But I think that would probably be the biggest thing because I do believe that everything in my life has happened for a reason. And even if it’s really, really bad, I think it’s setting me up for something else. And if this head injury didn’t happen, I think my sickness or something else would’ve come out in a different way.
Even though this was traumatic, I could… It’s almost I can handle my physical pain more than my mental pain. And that’s what I wasn’t understanding. And that’s why it wasn’t connected. That’s what made me really think about it. And I have a lot of hairstylist friends that have struggled with addiction, or mental. Or they’re like, “I’m not coming in today.” And it’s like, “Well, why? You have responsibilities.” I think it’s really important, but I do believe that for young stylists getting into the industry, make sure you’re taking care of yourself from day one. Don’t wait until something bad happens to then take care of yourself.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: I feel like it should almost be implemented in schools, like a course on that.
Rachel Ringwood: I totally agree.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Maybe in a few years, you’ll be doing it!
Rachel Ringwood: That’s my goal! I believe that it’s important to go into these schools and talk and educate them on how important it is. And it’s like, hey again; you don’t need to follow what everybody else is doing. You don’t need to be a yogi. Whatever works for you, just do it, and make it a regular thing.
Killian Vigna: I think sometimes it’s like… Do you know when you keep telling the child not to stand up on the couch because they’ll fall? And they’ll keep doing it, and they’ll keep doing it until eventually, they’ll fall, and then they learn. The sad thing is sometimes it is one of those things where something does have to happen for you to realise because I remember when I was in school, we were quite young. And they did talk about this, but no one knew what it was that they were talking about, so no one could take it serious because it felt superficial. And it’s horrible to say, but no one had ever experienced anything like that, so we didn’t know what this was. Sometimes it actually felt like a free class, so that is the downside of it sometimes, that it does have to hit you for you to realise.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, unfortunately. And that’s the thing; I get it. People have to go through their own issues. That’s why I feel like I can’t tell you the top 10 tips to take care of your life, because again, you can find that if you want surface stuff. But that’s the biggest part, is if you want to enjoy this life, you have to dig within yourself and deal with it because there’s trauma that happened as a kid. There’s stuff that you’ve gone through that no one knows. And those might be holding you back. And whatever, if no one knows, usually we’re the ones that are self-sabotaging ourselves. Like, I’m not good enough, or I… No, she’s perfect for that. She’s good at doing it. You don’t know how long they’ve struggled to try to be where they’re at.
But that’s the thing. We don’t talk about the struggle part. We just talk about, “Hey. Look at my highlight reel. Look how dope I am. Look at how many places I’ve visited.” It’s like, “No, man. Dude, I went through so much crap before this happened.” And I even went through a phase where, after my head injury, like a year into it, I was like, “I don’t even know what I’m doing with my life,” There are phases where the recovery is not a straight line, and that’s totally okay. I feel like my deepest times are the best lessons I’ve learned for myself. But again, you have to do it for yourself, like you said. You have to figure it out and what works for you, and what you can can’t afford to do, or what truly, if you want to deal with it or not.
Killian Vigna: Absolutely.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: If anyone listening to this episode, and I’m sure there will be many, relating to this, can they reach out to you and have a chat? Is that something you do? Yeah?
Rachel Ringwood: For sure. I love that. I honestly always think that things like this are really important because I’ve been, like you said, I’ve been trying to get this movement out there for a long time. But I’m one of those that it’s like, “When it happens, it happens.” Because mental health and stuff like this is not forced, you can’t force it; I don’t feel. There is a time that I feel like everyone should just have a conversation. I would love to go to a place and talk to everybody, figure out a way to do that.
This is an amazing opportunity, and thank you guys again for being honest and open and letting me share this, and showing the importance of how important this is for everybody, not even in the hair industry, like your friend, personal training, or anyone, even people who do YouTube nowadays. They can work 20 hours a day and not take care of themselves. We don’t know nowadays. In this world, we’re in a massive shift in our life and our world with technology. And we’re just going to keep working, working, working. It’s not all about that. So that’s kind of the balance or the rhythm of life, I guess.
Killian Vigna: Absolutely. Well listen, Rachel, thanks so much for joining us on the show and sharing your story. And I hope that people out there will be able to, I suppose, find their own feet, that they’re not stuck alone, and that they can talk about this with other people, and they can reach out to Rachel as well.
Rachel Ringwood: Yeah, please! I always say I’m so much better in person. I love talking to people. I’m bad with texts and stuff. But I’ll talk to anybody all day. I just love it.
Killian Vigna: Great stuff. Well, you can check out Rachel’s Reach on Instagram and get involved. Share your story! Rachel, thanks so much again for joining us on the show today.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s been an absolute pleasure!
Rachel Ringwood: Thank you so much!
Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [38:57]
Killian Vigna: So that was Rachel Ringwood, owner of His & Hers Parlour, but also a mental health advocate with Rachel’s Reach, which is the campaign that Rachel has been pushing out there. And I have to say, she shared her vulnerability with us today on the show about her story and why it’s so important to look after your mental and physical wellbeing, especially for someone that’s up and coming in the salon.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race when you’re young, when you think you’re invincible, and then there’s this one thing that happens, changes your life around. Someone recently said, “It’s crazy how one person can change your life for the good, or for the worse,” but I think that sometimes that person is you. And until you realise that, I think that you’re kind of a weapon against yourself almost if you don’t take care of yourself.
Killian Vigna: Yeah. You get tunnel-visioned. You see a goal, and you’re saying, “Nothing’s going to get in my way.” Now it’s a great attitude to have a lot of the time, that you see a goal, you work towards that goal, and like I said, don’t let anything get in the way. But because you’re so tunnel-visioned, you forget about yourself. You forget about: Is my body able to keep up with this? You’re running on empty, what they say, burning the candle at both ends. And you’re just going to end up becoming run down.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Well, it’s that whole hustling mentality. And I think that social media especially in this day and age, has just made it kind of worse because you just see everybody doing so many good things. And you’re just like, “Well, I want to do the same thing, so I’m going to push and push and push,” and then you don’t actually take the time to relax and kind of breathe even.
Killian Vigna: And that’s a serious buzzword that’s come about in the last few years, hustle. I think that was Gary Vaynerchuk who was the first person I really kind of heard going on about how you have to be hustling. You have to have [inaudible 00:40:47]. And then ever since he kind of became really big on the scene with all those videos, all you hear from everyone is hustle. You have to hustle. You have to hustle. I’m like, “When is one hustle too much that you end up fainting in your kitchen?”
Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Well, I mean, sometimes it’s just about working smart, not working hard. You know?
Killian Vigna: It’s funny you say that because I said that exact same thing to someone at the weekend. It goes to show how in sync we are, Zoe! But it was talking about hard-working, and how our parents always told us you have to work hard. You have to get a really good job, et cetera, et cetera. But as you get older, you realise that working hard doesn’t actually get you anywhere, it’s working smart.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: As we mentioned in our goodbyes with Rachel on the show, if any of you guys listening to this want to reach out to her, you can send her a message, or reach out through #rachelsreach on Instagram. And yeah, she’s looking forward to hearing from you guys and sharing her story more and more, so we’ll keep an eye on any initiatives along the way. In terms of events coming up soon.
Killian Vigna: We’ve quite a few coming up I see. I’m going to kick it off with the Phorest Academy, as we’ve already said a few times now, that we’ve announced the early access launch of Phorest Academy, your one-stop education shop. With Phorest Academy, if you are interested in enrolling in this, you could email email@example.com and just say, “Phorest Academy.” Or you could email firstname.lastname@example.org. What exactly is it? It’s an online learning portal full of fun, interactive, and bite-sized self taught training courses covering each and every area of your Phorest system. And you can get Phorest Academy certified too.
Zoe Belisle-Springer: In terms of events, you’ve heard Abigail Walsh talk about Conscious Hair & Beauty. And I suppose with the damage to our environment and the increase of plastic waste being an ever-growing concern, and I mean, I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but recently, just a week ago… Mexico got a hail storm that left a meter of ice on the roads everywhere, which is completely unusual for Mexico, obviously. So yes, definitely big concern for our environment here. And becoming more knowledgeable about the products we use, our actions, our habits, it’s key in discovering how we can make friendlier choices for the environment, but also for ourselves. So Conscious Hair & Beauty by Phorest Salon Software, it gives the opportunity to like-minded salon owners and managers to network, but also learn about the importance of sustainability and wellness in the fast-paced world of hair and beauty salons.
This is taking place on Sunday, August 18th, 2019. It’s at a lovely venue in London. If you want to check out our blog, we have the full address there. And our first announced speaker is Prof Denise Baden, Professor of Sustainable Business at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton. The tickets are now on sale. You can get yours through the link that’s in this episode’s show notes. And before we let you go, as usual, just a quick reminder, the salon management course, you can still sign up for that. It’s a six-week online course hosted by Valerie Delforge. It’s designed to help develop your managerial skills. And then you also have the Salon Mentorship Hub, so if you’re struggling with anything at all, and you just want a 15 to 30 minute chat with a coach or a consultant, you can head over to salonmentors.phorest.com, and book your free consultation there.
And well, that’s all we’ve got for this week, guys. So as always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode, or have any suggestions, please send us an email at email@example.com. Or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, we genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show.
Otherwise, have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday.
Killian Vigna: All the best.
This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.
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