Today we’d like to introduce you to Mallory Wehrung.
Mallory, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised in East County San Diego as an only child to the coolest parents anyone could ask for. They have always supported my interests and dreams, no matter how crazy. When I was a senior in high school I knew a traditional college just wasn’t going to be right for me. I wanted to do something creative and I knew I had to work with people. At a hair appointment with my mom, her long-time hairdresser heard me talking about my thoughts and excitement about hair and chuckled “You would be stupid not to do this for a living.” I literally went home and looked up cosmetology schools in my area.
Luckily for me, Paul Mitchell the School had just opened in Downtown San Diego. I had a few older friends who went there and I decided to set up a tour for my parents and me to visit the school. As soon as I stepped into the building, I knew it was the right place for me. I started a few months after graduation and dove in headfirst. I loved the people, the energy and the constant focus on education and growth. I graduated early and was able to take my state board test a few weeks later.
I began applying to salons that had piqued my interest during our school’s Guest Artist days. I remember calling ahead to Jet Rhys and speaking to the manager about a good time to drop off my resume and application. It all felt very organized and professional. When I walked in, I was greeted by name (they were expecting me) and the manager gave me a tour of the salon before sitting down with me for an interview. I was on cloud 9 and then one of the owners, Rhys, sat down and gave me an overview of what the assistant program looked like. I found out a few weeks later, after a technical interview, that I had the job. I have worked for this amazing company for almost 13 years now, moving my way up to Senior Stylist and Education Director of the salon.
Has it been a smooth road?
I think there are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about hairstylists and the Beauty Industry as a whole. There is absolutely nothing easy about what we do and certainly not if you want to be successful. I chose to train in a salon that specializes, meaning people chose to assist in a cut or color program, not both. It is a year – 2-year program that focuses on customer service, consultations, technical ability, speed and consistency. There were a lot of tears, a good amount of blood and definitely some sweat put into that time. I now have the privilege of coaching the next generation through these hard times. In the end, it is always worth it, but not many make it that far.
When the recession hit, my (now) husband lost his job in the radio industry. There were no jobs for him here in San Diego and I knew I could go anywhere with my career. We were 24, had never left home and willing to move somewhere new for work and experience. When he found a job in New York City, a few months after my first visit there, we decided to pack our things, sell what we could and move across the country. It was one of the best and worst times of our lives. I worked for a big name salon there and made very little money. He made the same and didn’t see much potential in his job. Our rent was insane for a bedroom in a sad excuse for an apartment we shared with far too many humans. We tried to make the best of our time there, knowing we wouldn’t live there indefinitely. We love that city so deeply but it just wasn’t right for us. After close to a year and some illness in our family, we decided to come home. Jet and Rhys welcomed me back to the salon with open arms, but I knew I had to work hard to rebuild.
I spent the next year doing anything and everything I could around the salon to keep busy. I also started to suggest some ideas I had seen in salons while working in New York. I helped update our website to have biographies of the staff with pictures so clients could put a face to a name. I made changes to our curriculum to keep it current and concise. Rhys and I had meetings weekly to discuss education and progress in the salon. This hard work landed me a promotion and a new title, Education Director.
I always tell my students, sometimes you have to do hard work for free now to see the impact later. It may not seem worth it, but if you do more than what is asked of you, people will notice and it will be worth it in the end.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
One of the many life-changing opportunities Jet Rhys gave me was to fly to New York, 9 years ago, to become a Network Educator for Bumble and bumble. Bumble is a company not unlike our salon, focused on constant growth and education. The experiences I have had with them include working backstage at New York Fashion Week, taking ongoing classes every year in cutting/styling/teaching, styling hair for models and celebrities at fashion shows in LA and teaching all over San Diego County. I am now one of three paid Bumble and bumble Regional Educators that travel to salons, teaching Razor Cutting, Curly Hair Cutting and Styling, Blow Drying and Up Styles.
In the salon, I specialize in Precision Cuts, Razor Cutting, Curly Hair, Weddings/Up Styling, Keratin and Yuko Permanent Straightening services. I teach in-salon training to our cutting assistants and continue to educate our staff on current and upcoming products. I know way too many details about the products, so I tend to be the go-to person in the salon if anyone needs specifics about any of the Bumble and bumble products. I love styling all of my clients, so I try to give them a small styling lesson with every haircut service with hopes they can recreate the looks at home.
I am always proud to see my coworkers, assistants and students succeed. I love that I get to have a small impact on their confidence and knowledge. It warms my heart and keeps me motivated to see others love this industry as much as I do.
Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
I will always attribute my hard-working, outgoing and accepting nature to my parents. The more people I talk to, it seems that not having the love and support in their home growing up was the beginning of many obstacles they were faced with. Though hardships have happened in my life, I always feel prepared to deal with them because I have a strong support system. Even through a divorce, they have remained a team and continue to be close friends and amazing grandparents to my son.
My husband, Andrew, and I have been friends since early in high school. We started dating around 19 and have been together ever since. I cannot begin to explain the level of love, encouragement and cheerleading my husband has given to me throughout the years. He continues to support my dreams and sacrifice so that I can travel, teach and take classes all the time. He is my best friend, an unparalleled father to our son and my favorite person.
Keratin Smoothing Treatment starts at $350
Yuko Permanent Straightening starts at $700
Wedding Styling starts at $170
AshGabes Photography, Bryll Hair Lounge, Jet Rhys Hair