Charge What You Are Worth: Interview with Stylist and Healer Stefani Padilla

Hello! Welcome back to our second interview for our Charge What You Are Worth Series.

I decided to produce this series because this has been a big theme in my life in the last year, and I have noticed it to be a very common theme for women who are carving out their own career path.

I wanted to Interview Stefani Padilla, because she sort of inspired this conversation for me by very matter-of-factly telling me, in our first ever conversation, that I needed to raise my rates. No big deal. Just do everyone a favor and raise them.

Stefani has a very straightforward way of getting to the point and cutting through the BS. This is a quality that I admire so very wholeheartedly in her. I decided very early on that I can trust her, and I should listen to her. She is doing the work, and she knows it well.

So, I took her advice, thankfully.

That being said, I asked her if she would share words on the subject and she obliged.

So read on, and imagine that you are with her and she is telling you as straight and authentic as can be, that you should know your worth.


Knowing your Worth with Hair Healer Stefani Padilla

(All photos in this post were taken by Kacie Tomita for La Tierra Sagrada Hair)

img_5573What would you tell a friend who is clearly doing good work and undercharging herself?
Know your worth!

What advice would you give to this friend to take action? 

I believe, as humans, we get stuck when we allow our fears to limit us. It’s important to dissect the fears, and identify where they are coming from. I always look at fear as “False Evidence Appearing Real” and most times all it takes to move beyond my own self-limiting beliefs is seeing them, becoming aware its all my own and then remembering that we are fearless, limitless, expanding creatures by nature.. It’s really up to us when we want to move beyond the fear that is holding us back.

img_5574What happens when we begin to charge what we are worth? Why is this in everyone’s best interest?

You step into your power, and draw boundaries-people like boundaries. Also, once you start charging more, it gives you and energetic boost, so you physically, mentally and energetically have more to give. In the end, the more energy you have, the more you pull in- so it can actually be a massive boost to building your business as well!

How does fear play into undercharging ?

Fear is what holds us back from connecting to our worth. It is an internal battle with out own self worth. We feel it is scary to charge more, because of what people might say or judge.. We fear we will lose clients and inevitably lose money. There’s so much emphasis on loss and not enough on what we’re actually gaining… Fear is an illusion- always remember you can move past it at any given moment.. and the sooner you do, the sooner you can be living the life you have AWALYS been worthy of!

img_5567What would be a good mantra for charging what one is worth?

One practice I’ve done is repeating this mantra 11 times a day for 11 days straight- it not only creates a shift in our “story” but can be a mega boost to our worthiness!
Always remember, YOU are valuable- no one on Earth, not even a robot, can imitate you. Your clients know that they cannot obtain YOUR services from anywhere else. Your clients love you and will pay more to continue to see you and receive your energy.

img_5570Talk a little bit about forgetting about the physicality of money exchange and looking at it as energy exchange and how this helps the process of raising rates and valuing our own work more?

Most people are afraid to “talk money” If we shifted our perspective and looked at it as it truly is- which is merely an exchange of energy it wouldn’t be such a loaded topic.

Whatever trade we have acquired, somewhere down the line required schooling or training, in which you paid for to learn. The years of expertise and wisdom you’ve gained wasn’t for free, so why give it away?? It’s important to have our connection to money be clean and clear..This includes taking a powerful stand for the full value and worth of yourself and your services.

Hope this helps, please do share!

xo, HTHG and Stefani Padilla

Season of the Witch with Erin Merriman


( Photo by Filth and Beauty)

Defining a Witch is to me like trying to explain the personalities of my children. As their mother who grew them, birthed them, I see them as everything all at once. They are good and bad, they are big and small, old and new, and all the things in between. One may be shy at times and bold at other times, one is fearless yet scared at the same time. And then they change. They are slippery. How to define them? Little witches, I guess.

I have kicked around definitions of many things, but squirmed and wiggled when called to define myself. ‘Mother’ is one of my definitions and I’m okay with that because I chose it and there is no escaping it so here I am, I accept my motherness. ‘Artist’ I will claim because I can’t seem to contain the creative flow. Woman’, hmmmm okay. But I like to think of gender as being much more fluid than Woman/Man so I will hold off on defining myself by my gender for the sake of further shifting gender consciousness.

Feminist?’ I’ve been put to the test of defining myself as a feminist and felt like it was a word that separated and limited me in a way that felt uncomfortable. I require something much more inclusive and expansive. Something with lot’s of space and room to create and heal and bend. Something that allows me to throw down for womankind and the entire web of life, known and unknown, past and present.

I need a better word. We need a better word. A word without hard and fast rules, something that leads us both inward and outward, connecting instead of separating. Something that allows time and space for us to flatten out the well-worn grooves of collective consciousness, smoothing them back to divine, limitless, undefinable possibility.

Witch is the word.

I have spent many years mulling over what it means to be a witch, and how to talk about it.  It has felt to me in the past like the possession of a divine secret, a quiet power, alive in a knowing glance to another witch where you both understand something undefinable in a moments time. And that thing you understood together is always there with you. But for years I have felt like it is something I am not supposed to talk about.

This past Summer, a dear friend of mine Sophia Rose sang me a song about being a witch and it opened up the flood gates. I realized I had to talk about it. Sing about it, even.

PLEASE, before you read on, click over and listen to this song as you read this post.

Witches I Love


This is the first of a series I have been afraid to share until now, affectionately called Witches I Love which aims to distill the essence of the modern witch by asking my favorite modern witches to chime in their wisdom and experience.

The purpose of producing this series is to help us open the aperture or our minds a bit wider to understand the power of living within infinite spectrums of brilliant color and depth, in a world which largely sees things in black and white.

A big thank you to all for being here and bearing witness, I hope these women’s words are both helpful and empowering to you, and we would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the subject. Are you a witch? Please tell us about it in the comment section!

This first interview is with Erin Rivera Merriman, San Diego based Witch, healer of many modalities and conscious community creatress at Active Culture Family.

(Opening Ceremony and Space Blessing for Bell Jar, Los Angeles, CA)

Season of the Witch: An Interview with Erin Merriman


What does the word Witch mean to you?

I’m so glad you asked. As a student of communication i’m increasingly floored by how often we think we are communicating, because we have this common vocabulary, when in fact each person is using the same words to mean different things. Words are very holographic, slippery, and alive. I think it’s really awesome that as this word “Witch” is being reclaimed, you are taking the time to attempt to establish some shared meaning around it!

I think of a witch as a female identified or female bodied person who believes that we dwell within sentient universe, and consciously engages the art of ritual and spell craft to symbolically communicate their intentions and desires for what they would like to experience in life, so that the plants, animals, and other cosmic energies around them who are a yes to her desires, who share a similar agenda or intention,  can participate in bringing them about in an expedited way.


(Photo by Filth and Beauty)

A witch understands that her menstrual cycle connects her to the cycle of life and that by aligning her outer activities with her inner rhythm and adding in awareness of other influences, such as seasons and astrological circumstance, they can further amplify the effectiveness of their movements in the world. The term Witch is neutral. The question I always ask when relating with other magical beings is what energies are you aligning yourself with to empower your intentions, who do you serve, and to what end?

That said, there are all these different flavors of mystical feminine being, and it can be fun to find the label that most resonates…Witch, Yogini, Priestess, Dakini, Nun, Abess,…the list goes on, and furthermore we are always free to make up our own! As in the dialogue around any identity, like gender identity, its important to allow people the freedom to self identify, because they are the one having the complete inner experience, the only one who can say what concepts resonate with their way of life.  A label we choose for ourselves can be expansive and help us explore the world through a different lens. A label someone else puts on us is always limiting.karmaclearing

( Full Moon Ceremony, San Diego, CA, photo by Dori Varga)

How would one know that one was a witch? 🙂

So often people think “She’s a witch!” when something that can’t be explained through any rational process happens, but in reality, the universe is full of unexplained phenomenon, women just happen to be socialized to be more embracing of the validity of these unexplainable occurrences. I personally reserve the term Witch for women who both consider themselves witches and actively practices witchcraft. Magic is another word for the wild nature in us. You can also call this hormones, sexual energy, or Shakti. Its the uncontrollable aspect of the feminine, so all women are a little bit witchy. Often a natural intuitive ability, like having premonitions or seeing spirits, or unexplained phenomenon would lead someone to pursue witchcraft as a means of feeling empowered as opposed to burdened by their gifts.

It’s important to me the acknowledge the craft aspect of witchcraft. It is an art form. Being an intuitive, a clairaudient or clairvoyant is something that you just are. But being a medium means that you use that ability in a particular way. Being a witch to me means that you work with ritual or spell craft to interact directly with the natural world in attempt to empower your intentions, whatever they may be. Intentions that seek to influence the actions of others in any way without their express permission for you to do so is black magic. Intentions like “ I want to heal my relationship to my father” that have to do with yourself is white magic. And then there is the path of the Tantrika, which has a completely different vocabulary around engaging magic. We honor and worship and serve Goddess by becoming her. We don’t so much as ask her for help doing our will but surrender to the will of the divine, recognizing that the even greater pleasure than getting our own way is to surrender to the divinity and perfection of what is already unfolding.

Talk about intention and manifestation…..How do they work together?

When we are in very high vibrational environments, we often experience this idea of instant manifestation- that reality is reconfiguring everything at lightning speed to match our thoughts, words, and desires. I think this is happening all the time but at a level too subtle to notice. The magic is “there” but we are not “there.” I have felt this energy. Some cultures would call it Lakshmi. We often call upon it as “abundance” but it reveals itself to me as a column of beings, a kind of roving energetic wishing well, where all these beings are just waiting for a chance to get in the game, but the rule is, they have to be asked. So there really are these beings who just love us and are dying to help us out, but they need our permission, so when you say “I want”  or “I intend” or “I pray”  it gives them that permission to act on our behalf.


(Photo Filth and Beauty)

For example, if you think you are having bad sex, and you think “this person is bad at sex”, and then you get a new lover and they are like “Tell me what you want?” and you realize you don’t know, you have no idea what you like, so your partners have a very small chance of pleasing you, because you are asking someone with very limited access to our ecosystem to show you something you don’t already know…it’s like that with manifestation. The people who are really good at it are seasoned at self inquiry, and then gifted at distilling and articulating their desire very very clearly. When the sentient universe/ Goddess knows what we want, it makes it much much easier for her to give it to us.

How do you think that a collection of witches is magnified in power to an individual witch?

Covens have always naturally formed. In Shakta Tantra we have these Goddess collectives called the Asta Matrikas and the Mahavidyas, that are made up of these really powerful feminine energies. In my experience, when they come together around a common intention, huge outcomes are possible. I feel this way about being part of the Spirit Weavers Gathering.  It is so many deeply devoted women in one spot, pulling for all of womankind to heal and cooperate and serve one another so that all may have the opportunity to bloom into their fullness, and the result is exponentially more that the sum of the parts. It really is a transformational vortex.img_4943

(Photo/ Spiritweavers Gathering by Filth and Beauty)

I have been shown that these covens/ Goddess collectives are initiation grids. It is alchemy when we gather. The container becomes this fully stocked pharmacy of vibrational medicine, where you are free to choose who in the group to spend more time with than others, and if you mix this particular blend of people’s individual medicines together, you get a prescription that is perfectly calibrated for your individual awakening needs.

Where would you direct a woman who is interested in exploring her inner witch for the first time? (books? Plants? etc)

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-10-01-53-am(Kava Temple: Sacred Sexuality Ceremony at The BE Hive, Hollywood, CA)

In terms of books, Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss is kind of THE  primer for the spiritual journy if you are a true beginner to these explorations.  New Moon Magic is growing in popularity, and it is increasingly possible to find a women’s circle to sit with on the new or full moon to explore simple ideas around lunar magic. Robin Rose Benett’s Healing Magic is another great primer on the path of the Green Witch, through which I received my first formal initiations. If you are drawn to or already versed in Hinduism, Yoga, or Tantra, Laura Amazonne has a great online course called Mysteries of the Yoginis that gets really detailed about the Yogini Cults of ancient india, which were basically coven’s or groups of witches who banded together to practice magic in the name of Goddess and support one another in living life outside the matrix. 

Planting some Mugwort and taking time to meditate with her and cultivate a relationship slowly over time is another intuitive, organic way to begin to wade into these waters. As a sacred medicinal plant in many cultures, she is beloved among witches and herbalists around the world and well known for opening the veils between the worlds and strengthening intuitive and visionary abilities. You can smoke mugwort, chew her leaves, or sew her into dream pillows to enhance natural dream abilities.

A really fun beginner practice is to choose a divination tool to work with such as dreamwork, tarot, or a pendulum, and begin checking in with it for guidance at the beginning or end of each day. Don’t be discouraged if at first it seems like nothing happened. Sometimes it takes years of cultivation before psychic gifts really begin to blossom. And the truly powerful gifts tend to be bestowed upon those who demonstrate dedication and intention to use those abilities in service of the greater good.

How do the facets of our souls (shadow side, sun-lit side, good, evil) effect the process of owning our power?

As we become more empowered, we need to also grow our capacity for accountability of our words and actions. The shadow is all the parts of ourselves that we refuse to own or acknowledge, that we refuse to give love to. A great way to know the content of your shadow is to make a list of all that you are judging in another person. We cannot accept traits in others that we are unable to love in ourselves.

When working with big energies, our own emotional processing time is absolutely essential. I find that practitioners in particular need to really look at what feelings came up and what they were trying to communicate to us on a daily basis. If not stalked relentlessly, when we speak or act from that unconscious place as all humans do, the effects are more destructive. We see that we need to become more intentional with everything we do, when we understand we are holding strong medicine, and that if not consciously directed towards higher outcomes, can unconsciously do harm.

I think its exceedingly rare for someone to be truly evil in the sense of intending to do harm as primary motivation. I think it is more often when we cannot tolerate the vulnerability of a situation, when we act from fear, act to protect a wound, or under the influence of addiction, that we do the most harm.

Why do you think it is so hard for some of us to own our power? Speak to the woman who knows she has it but is afraid to use it.

I learned at a young age that power corrupts. I think we have seen people come to power and use it to dominate and we don’t want to do that. We all have huge egos and I know I have avoided the spiritual maturation processes out of fear that any power that came my way might be hijacked by my ego, might allow me loose touch with the struggles of humanity, might make me slowly loose my compassion for those who weren’t able to “manifest their visions.”

I have feared the increase in criticism that comes with increased visibility for your work. I have feared loosing friends as a result of my journey to embody unpopular philosophies which I have found to be part of the deeper truth of me. And to me empowerment is just about the ability to embody your truth despite the social consequences. I was bullied in a very relentless and creative way for all of high school. I received long letters filled with criticism about me signed by every boy in school. I now see that this was a necessary part of my training.

Sometimes it happens in life that every single person in your immediate environment tells you that the way you are is wrong. But sometimes, eventually, that very process makes you aware that the thing inside you that you can’t change no matter how hard you wish you could, that that is the YOU in there! That very thing is in fact your medicine, and it can go underground or be hidden behind a mask, or some become so convinced that it can never be shared that they leave early (as in teen suicide) but even that choice to leave is choosing the self, knowing that we do have the right to be what we are, even if some feel that there is no place for them here, on this planet, in these times.

To those who know it’s there but are afraid to embody what they are carrying, I say you have no other choice. If you are seeking health, weight loss, family or marriage healing, career success- none of that is possible while hiding your light. It is the only way to be happy, even if it involves a short or long period where it feels the world is burning all around you in order to begin living more authentically.

To those who are afraid to use it I beg you to stop effing around and move on to mastering your ability to share your gift with confidence and ease because these are challenging times and WE NEED YOU!

Tell us a little bit about your personal witch journey. 

(Kava Temple at The Gaia School of Earth Healing, Los Angeles, CA)

I’ve always been drawn to the unorthodox, to people making uncommon choices. In my very small, sheltered town, it took me a while to be exposed to anything that really interested me. My mom really paid attention to what made me light up, and always nurtured me as an artist, driving me to yoga, and art classes, and accepting my increasingly weird outfit choices. She let me wear a pentagram necklace and combat boots to church.

Her unconditional love was probably the first condition for me to begin to open more psychically. In the beginning, when I started to really shake up my reality, it was always a result of a desire to creatively explore my identity through hair, make up, and clothes. It was shocking to me how opinionated and triggered people became by my desire to experiment with my appearance. I was dying my hair and giving myself piercings regularly. There was nothing else to do in our tiny rural town, and I wasn’t hurting anybody, so I didn’t get what the big deal was.

The most life changing thing was my mothers weekly ritual of taking me to the bookstore and letting me pick any book I wanted, no questions asked. I quickly discovered the small shelf at the back of the store market “occult” and that was it. Every week, I devoured different books on runes, tarot, moon magic, mythology…this coincided with my first heartbreak and the beginning of bullying, emotional trauma that triggered a genetic pre-disposition toward fibromyalgia, so my hobby like interest in magic, combined with a strong cocktail of hormones and heartbreak  marked the beginning of both daily migraines and the quest to heal them, a quest that would last for 17 years.

Thankfully, I met an woman 3 years older than me who was interested in the same things and we were able to just dive fully into exploring. It started with these play/ pretend rituals where we would just bring whatever seemed magical to the beach and build mandalas in the sand and make up mantras and chants. We thought we were just being a couple of bored, theatrical weirdos, but those early spells had long lasting impact, and at some point we had to have some distance from each other to go through our own trials and initiations, a lot of suffering and deep healing in order to really mature on the path and realize that its about awakening from the trance of mainstream and even alternative culture and realizing the true nature of the journey- that it’s a path towards doing healing work.img_9247

My own path has asked me to change just about everything from the way I was raised through divination, diet, yoga, acupuncture, shamanism, plant medicine (as herbalism and as teacher plants like Ayahuasca and Psilocybin.) The layering of all of these wellness modalities  has allowed me to learn to live from that ceremonial place more of the time. I pray for strength to continue to dwell in the half step, in the margins, not grasp for here or there, because to me this is where magic lives, in the spaces in between. Everyone has their own magic, their own medicine, AND, there is such sincerity and passion and unmistakable depth among those who are really living for this path, who have persevered through times of deep doubt, to continue living for something that most people agree isn’t even real!

I have been required to subsist on faith alone for long periods of time, and had to say, “Well, if I’m wrong at the end of my life, I’m wrong, but I am all in, come what may”, and that really changes the game, when you are no longer loosing energy to the question of weather or not you are going to turn back, take some anti-depressants and try to fit in.

I am currently most focused on studying my points of access to educational vibrational fields of consciousness through the dreamtime, and studying Shakta Tantra ( a more shamanic,  earth based, matriarchal means of liberation as compared to other lineages of Tantra) . The vocabulary and experiences spoken of in that tradition most closely match my inner reality so am choosing to be an apprentice in that house of magic right now.

My quadruple Aries fiery devotion can be a bit much for some people, and I find the best place for the full unmoderated  expression of my Shakti to be to pour that into a daily Sadhana practice, practice moon magic and sex magic…As I get older, there seem to be more and more opportunities for weaving ceremony into my day and in my everyday life, and more people walking alongside me. It’s a good time to be a witch.

Erin Rivera Merriman is a priestess, artist, and teacher of the metaphysical arts. Raised on a 100 acre tree farm in rural Connecticut, she was taught from a young age the importance of community stewardship and living in harmony with the natural world. Erin’s study as an Herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition, combined with her training as a Zen hospice and prison chaplain, and recent studies in classical Shakta Tantra have shaped her unique, multidimensional approach to women’s health and empowerment.  Through ceremonies, workshops, coaching sessions and intuitive readings, she is honored to be with you as midwife at the edge of your comfort zone, as you conceive, incubate, and give birth to your own highest vision for your life. To learn more about working with Erin, visit


Mandalas and Braids, Upcoming Offerings from HTHG

Hello Friends!

How is everyone? I am doing quite fine today, after what seems like endless sickness and stress and a constant grasp for balance in my house as the Fall has set in. To what do I attribute a change in my attitude lately after a recent rough patch in life? A string of good hair days, if you can believe it;)

And, also, just settling in to the adjustment of having two kids at school and a bit of an empty nest.

I am getting ready to embark on a series of little journey’s around the US, where I will be offering different classes and workshops along the way. First stop Portland for Hair and the Moon with Stefani Padilla, then Arkansas for Filth And Beauty Mandalas, LA for Mercado Sagrado, and SF for Divining the Spectrum..

I keep waiting for anxiety and fear to set in……Speaking if front of people can be very hard for me. But I keep coming back to the feeling of actual bliss and excitement, no negativity…..just eagerness and full-heartedness. Could this be because I am going to be sharing such important parts of my own heart and I am actually incredibly honored to step into this role of teaching people face to face, people who actually really want to learn what I have to teach? I really really like this feeling. Thank you to all who are here ( Big sparkling hearts!!! Wish I had emojis for the blog.)

Today I want to introduce you to a few offerings I have coming up, and invite you to join if you are in the area!

mercado-sagrado-2016Mercado Sagrado

If you are in the LA area, come see me Mercado Sagrado, a beautifully curated Art and Maker Fair in Malibu Canyon. I will be offering braiding sessions and mindful haircare/ritual consultations and sessions. I will have all my small-batch hair remedies and potions in tow, as well as some brand new hair tools and adornments for sale like this gorgeous brass hair comb made exclusively for HTHG by Nikki Jacoby. Please do come by for a visit!img_5625


img_4845Filth and Beauty Mandalas

In collaboration with the Be Awakened Folk Studio in Fayetteville Arkansas, I offer my love for the beauty of our natural world and my tools for divining endless creative inspiration for life by noticing, connecting with, and using the flora and fauna around me to design straight from the heart. In this class, we will talk about the meditative and healing practice of creating mandalas, and learn to trust our instincts and tap into our creative flow through this beautiful and timeless devotional practice.

This class will be held at The Fern Healing Center, and you can register by calling Jesse at 479-966-9049

I invite you to come and join me, and to please share this post with people who you think would gain from it.

xo, HTHG // Roxie Jane Hunt

Hair and the Moon, Portland


Dear Ones,


Now is the time we gather together under the Light of the Full Moon to celebrate the feminine and our powerful manes!

Join Roxie Jane Hunt of How To Hair Girl and Stefani Padilla of La Tierra Sagrada Hair 

in this heart-centered experience! 

Please bring your intentions for the Full Moon, as we will be diving deep into the journey of ritual. 

We invite you to celebrate with us on:


4 to 6pm 




Suggested Donation: $44 

*Please bring offer in cash day of, or send through Paypal before the gathering at (please use friend/family option so we both avoid the fee)

**Please bring a vessel for tea and something cozy for you to sit on while in circle.

And please bring a BRUSH! ( Don’t worry if you do not have one, Roxie will have her custom brushes available for purchase).

Please feel free to share this with anyone else you feel might be open to joining us!

We look forward to sharing a magical evening together!


With love and excitement,

Stefani & Roxie

  • We invite you to share this post with friends who might be interested:) Thank you, sending love out in all directions!

Charge What You Are Worth: A Pep Talk With Jayne Matthews

img_5017Jayne Matthews/ Shot by Kat Alves

It is brutally easy to look at another person’s life from afar and feel like they have it all. Is there a name for this? Does anyone know? There should be, because I think it is something we all suffer from at one point or another.

The truth, I am finding is that no one has it all. That doesn’t exist. But, what we do all have are unique and awesome ways that we have adapted to kick ass in our own ways, inevitably failing in other ways, as we journey towards something collectively better. And there is a veritable goldmine in sharing these ways with each other, helping to empower the collective through stories of success and anecdotes of failure.

Something I struggle with, and I know I’m not alone here, is feeling confident in my ability to charge appropriately for my work and my skills. This is something I have avoided confronting and dealing with for years, and it has resulted in me undervaluing myself and my offerings and consistently undercharging because I feel guilt around taking money for anything, ever.

This is something I am becoming much more aware and mindful of, and I am starting to really understand the beauty in charging appropriately and then taking pride in well done, well compensated work…….It is a win-win for everyone…….When I charge what I truly feel my services are worth, removing the guilt of taking money, my work is better, I love my job, my clients love and value their experience and services in my chair, my family is happier because I am happier, and it goes on and on, positively impacting all involved.

I could write an entire novel about why we (especially as women) can really struggle hard with charging what our time and energy is worth. But instead, let’s have an interview series with the women who have helped teach me the importance of valuing my own work and charging appropriately……Because, these women and and their savvy advice have really made my life better just by modeling the simple decision to……
Charge What They Are Worth.

img_5016Chri Longstreet and Jayne Matthews, Owners of Edo Salon// Shot by Kat Alves

This first interview features Jayne Matthews, visionary hairstylist and co-owner of Edo Salon in San Francisco. Jayne is an artist and a business woman and a mama, who does the dance of all 3 with grace and open realness. She articulates her experience with learning to Charge What She Is Worth, and why it is important.

What would you tell a friend who is clearly doing good work and undercharging herself?

One of the main things I think as hairstylists is that our business days basically move through the ups and downs of the economy, as cities have gotten more expensive especially where I live in San Francisco…….But also Portland, Seattle,New York, Los Angeles, Denver, you name it.

I feel like it is very important that we take a look around and do what’s considered a market adjustment to make sure that we are paying ourselves what it actually costs to live in the places where we live. Most people get raises every year and bonuses and paid time off. As things get more expensive people get better jobs.

It is so easy as a hairstylist to stay in the comfort zone but our quality of life as we get better and better at what we do goes down because the one piece we’re not so savvy at is making sure that we are moving in the same direction as our cities or towns or communities.

This may seem strange but 20 years can go by in a blink of an eye and you can realize what was once a great career when you were young has made it into forever renting a house and not really acting as a professional who is been working at something for so many years. In any other field, that person will be making so much more money at that point but for some reason in our career somewhere along the line we decided to cheapen ourselves.

I raised my prices this year from $100 a haircut to $150 a haircut. It seems like a huge jump and of course I grandfathered in a few people that I knew really needed it and that I loved working and that fulfilled me to work with.

But in all honesty, in such an expensive area I had found myself having a much further commute from work and actually spending less money on nice dinners and travel and my quality of life as far as financial abundance had gone way down from where it was 10 years ago.

My rent/groceries/clothing/taxes had all gone up but my haircuts had not gone up accordingly. Even at $150 per haircut I’m just barely catching up. By the way, when I did raise my prices I actually got busier and my clients gave me more respect and let me try more interesting things as they thought of me as more of an experienced professional.

What advice would you give to this friend to take action? 

Add up all the expenses that they have and everything they need to live the sort of life they want. Figure out exactly how much they need to make per month, per week, and then per day to make this happen. One day I decided that I needed to make $1000 per day in order to live comfortably in the bay area. That was when I raised my prices so that I could hit that mark and my life changed.

I am not rich, I do not own a house ( yet), but never again will I based my prices on what I think “people will pay.”  I also will not base my prices on what other people are charging because I feel like our entire industry under charges. I’m not even 100% booked all the time but I know that I need $1000 a day to live comfortably in the Bay Area therefore this is what I charge and so far it’s worked very well. Grandfathering in a couple slots today is also great and not being overly booked with clients that don’t inspire me also gives me space to meet new clients that pay my full price and are a better fit anyway.

What happens when we begin to charge what we are worth? Why is this in everyone’s best interest? 

This is really important. When I get a $150 haircut I feel the pride of my work come out and I actually give a better service. I really take the time to look at all the little details that will bring out my clients eyes, or cheekbones, or whatever nice and interesting feature that they have. I work with each petal of hair with care and interest and love. I still only take 45 minutes but I work calmer and am more interested and feel more proud of my work at the end of the day.

The client can feel it as well and usually ends up giving me $180 for my 45 minutes. I have also had clients who just felt it was a bit too expensive for what they were looking for and I totally understand and give them a referral to somebody who would feel fine to charge them less and are in a different place in their lives and their careers. That way I have more space and less exhaustion in my day and everybody is taken care of.

How does fear play into undercharging ?

I think many hairstylist including myself are afraid of people being disappointed or angry with us or kind of rolling their eyes that we want to charge so much money for something may only take us a few minutes to do. It didn’t take me a few minutes to learn how to cut hair really well so even if the hair is baby fine and there is not much of it I am being paid for my years of training and hard work that I put into building this career and I know what I need to make to live where I do and so I don’t feel bad about it anymore.

When I think of it as a market adjustment to where I am living rather than the price for a haircut it totally changed my perspective. It is scary to tell somebody that you’re raising your price because maybe we are afraid we sound greedy but when it is explained as just a simple standard of living adjustment it becomes much easier. I also would advise that everybody raise their prices on the same date every year, so that the first scary conversation doesn’t have to happen again. Also, we all get to look forward to having a raise once a year like the rest of the world!img_5018

Chri and Jayne// Kat Alves

What would be a good mantra for charging what one is worth?

I just tell myself again and again that in order to be happy and live a decent humble life with enough vacation to rejuvenate I need to make a certain amount of money per day therefore I don’t give away little deals and discounts and I don’t make it personal. It’s not personal! Doing a haircut is not a favor. It’s not something just quick that didn’t take years to learn. And it is the way that we support ourselves financially and so having a day rate that I must hit is always my mantra now. This all came from having my daughter but I’m so glad it did.

Talk a little bit about forgetting about the physicality of money exchange and looking at it as energy exchange and how this helps the process of raising rates and valuing our own work more?

The main energy exchange for me is that if I feel well paid and it is clear for the job I do and I take pride in taking my time and clearly and carefully treating each service as an experience that myself and my client are having together. I find the experience to be creative and interesting and I believe they do as well. The money exchange is very simple…… once I have my set price, I feel extremely rewarded and able to breathe and excited while doing my work. If for any reason your work is draining to you there’s a very good possibility it is because the energy exchange is to feeding you and and compensating your creativity

All photos by Kat Alves, Styling by Gold Dust Collective.

Stay tuned for more interviews on the topic of Charging What We Are Worth.

Thanks for being here, and please help us empower the collective by sharing this post with your friends who could stand to make more money, love what they do more, and value their own offerings in a bigger way.

Thanks and big love to Jayne Matthews for sharing her heart and her experience!

xo, HTHG