Note from the KeraGirls: International Creative Team Member Abraham Sprinkle chronicles his journey from “newbie” session stylist first hitting the Big Apple to being signed with Next a year or so later.
Hairstylists can follow many paths in their career: Behind the chair. Salon ownership. Session work. Management. Education. With any of these paths, we all have a starting point. A piece of advice that has stuck with me is, “The only job you start at the top is digging a hole.” This holds true in all choices a salon professional makes.
When I began my journey as a session stylist, I knew New York City was the only place where I wanted to climb this ladder. Session work is just like a salon job, where you start assisting and gradually move your way up to a booked schedule. I knew that even with a strong resume and credentials, I would have to follow the same trail other successful artists had to walk in order to get representation.
I am unpacked and ready to take on the big city. This courage has come from endless nights of watching Sex and the City DVDs. Bracing myself for a struggle but never losing focus on the goal.
I hit the streets with resume in hand, walking Fifth Avenue. With 100-degree heat and endless cement, I don’t feel much like Carrie Bradshaw. All the glamour I watched has slowly melted away. I start getting blurry but try to keep focus … and BINGO, I am working on Fifth Avenue!
I attend my first Fashion Week event. I begin networking and meet a young photographer who asks me if I would like to do a test shoot. I don’t think much will come from it; but then, what do I have to lose? I get a phone call two days later and realize that Italian Vogue will feature the editorial online. In my salon life, this compares to when, for no reason, you stay late or come in early for a new client—and she turns out to be one of your most loyal clients.
I reach out to my first agency for representation, showing my recent editorial. Response: NO. Second agency. Response: NO. I think the rest is pretty easy to figure out.
At this point, I feel I can do one of two things: go back to what is comfortable or push forward. I look back to when I would talk clients out of new things because I was comfortable with what I was doing—the result being that they became someone else’s client. I choose option B, pushing forward, as this is a new trail to explore.
OCTOBER 2013 – JULY 2014
I reach out to every artist I know for networking and begin testing. During this period, I take note of artists that are signed with an agency. I look at what they are doing differently. I see what I need to strengthen and where I already have strength. This can apply to stylists in the salon setting: Look at a fully booked hairstylist. What is he/she doing? What strengths are needed to obtain this level of clientele?
An agency calls, asking whether I can fill in for an artist. I land my first celebrity. Now I am feeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw coming out!
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2014
Hard work is paying off. I am building a base of steady gigs, editorials, and lookbooks. I begin working with top photographers and getting larger editorials. During a trip to Los Angeles for work, I get a call from a well-known agency, Next Management.
I can now say I am signed! Instead of creating a hole, I am beginning to build a mountain.
I share this story not to boast on success but to impart a little wisdom I’ve gained along the way. No matter what path we choose, we must realize the keys to building a mountain:
- There are no shortcuts.
- Stay focused.
- Always remember your starting point.
When I look back and see where my path started, I am appreciative for every struggle, as this continues to navigate me in the right direction.