Brian Pfremmer is originally from the Midwest but has made the Hudson Valley his home for the last 13 years. Brian and his partner, Scott Stacey, have been married for two years. He has been a hairstylist for 16 years and currently works at Lux Hair Studio.
Describe your job.
My job is great but it has its ups and downs like any other profession. Hair is a very emotional thing; it’s one of the first things people notice when you meet another person, so you are taking that on, as well as trying to give them their dream hair. I like to think of myself as an artist. I cut, color, highlight, perm, straighten, style, do makeup, extensions, and, some days, I’m a therapist. Some days are full of love and admiration; others, not so much. It’s all about building a relationship with a client and getting their vision aligned with yours.
What kind of training is necessary to become a hairdresser and where did you train?
I went to school in the Midwest and had 1,500 hours of basic cosmetology. I think New York requires less. You really just learn the basics to get you through. You have to keep honing your craft.
Hair, like fashion, is ever-changing. Is the training ongoing? How do you keep current?
The training is constant. I’m currently doing a mastery color series for Aveda [cosmetics and hair care company]. I watch every red carpet event, read fashion magazines, watch runway trends, and I take classes all the time to keep up on trends. You don’t want all your clients walking out looking the same; they will get bored and move on.
What do you like most about your job?
I love being an artist, being creative, and helping people feel good about themselves. My work is different each day so I never get bored.
What is the most difficult aspect of your work?
The emotional aspect is difficult. You have to get inside your client’s head to understand where they’re coming from. They might be dealing with issues like illness, divorce, self-image and ego. Time is another issue. People want their hair done a certain way and it may take more than the two hours they’ve booked with me.
What advice can you offer someone thinking of entering your field?
I advise getting a job with someone on the top of the game. Shampoo hair, sweep hair, watch and learn everything; never stop learning. Someone once told me years ago, “There are artists and technicians, and you want to be an artist.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to be an educator for Aveda and still doing hair.
What is your most memorable experience since becoming a hairdresser?
I had an elderly neighbor who was pretty much house-bound due to her illness but her niece and I would wheel her over to my house and I would cut and color her hair even though it was practically destroyed by medication. The way she would light up and the look on her face let me know she felt good no matter what was going on. The transformation was always incredible. We did this for four years and I think I got more from her.
Is there anything you’d like clients to know or be aware of?
We just do hair. We are pretty much at the mercy of whoever is in the chair. These relationships develop over time and, hopefully, over time we have respect and admiration for each other, although sometimes it doesn’t happen that way, and that’s ok. If you see someone else’s work in the salon and think, ‘I like what he or she is doing,’ we’re ok with that…well, most of us are!
We are living in a world of technology and distractions so remember to communicate with your stylist when sitting down in our chair for the first time. Having no opinion on your hair doesn’t help us, we aren’t mind readers.
Time is also important. If you want a complete change, come in and talk to your stylist to make sure we book enough time.
How’s the money?
It takes time but the money is great depending on your level of artistry.