Obtaining & Retaining Your Dream Client


Hey, it’s me, Amanda Riley!

This week I’m serving you up a big ol’ piece of my new series focusing on your obtaining and retaining your DREAM CLIENT!

Having a Dream Client doesn’t mean you get to turn people away because they aren’t necessarily your “Dream Client” but a Dream Client is the person you’re talking to on Instagram!

Interested? Read Below! 


Only post photos of the type of hair you want to do. 

If you don’t want to do crazy color transformations; DON’T POST IT. No matter how awesome your before // after photos are! 

I get it, sometimes you feel like you need the content but trust me, if all you’re posting is neon pink hair; you will ONLY get those clients.

My Dream Client is a blonde, copper or balayage girl, with long hair. So I only post photos of this kind of hair!

Hot Tip #2:

“I feel like I already know you!”; is the thing I hear the most from new clients! That’s because a) they follow me on Instagram b) they creeped me on Instagram c) their friend referred them. 

Most times they feel like they know me because I share so much about myself on social media. I share personal photos, I share about my husbands health, how much I love my dog and of course Disneyland. So because of the things I share and the way I share it clients that are attracted to those things want to get their done by me because they want to SPEND time with me since we have things in common. 

Don’t believe me? Listen to Jenna Kutcher’s podcast The Goal Digger! She talks over and over and over again about how her captions only talk about 1 of 5 things. 

My top 5 things are:

1: My Husband Timmy & puppy

2: Hair

3: Disneyland/Family

4: The Glow Social

5: Being an Entrepreneur & Independant Stylist

Hot Tip #3:


That client who’s name we see on our calendar and we’re so excited to see and catch up with. Who always wants your tips on their hair, pre-books and most of all TELLS ALL HER GIRLFRIENDS ABOUT YOU.

This is the client you should be going above & beyond for! Topping off their wine glass, commenting on their Instagram and giving them a discount for every referral they send to you.

Yes you heard that right! You love that client, she’s the epitome of your DREAM CLIENT so ask her to send you her friends. 9 out of 10 of those people you will also equally love!

Find These Tips Helpful??

Read my other series about Consultation & Pre-Booking below!

Learning to Describe Shades of Copper

One of my biggest learning curves for being a hair stylist was learning how to effectively communicate color. Clients have the hardest time expressing their #dreamhair when it comes to tonality. When it’s our job to effectively communicate hair goals or steps to take, this can be hard to consult through. How I describe and see color could be completely different from the stylist next to me or the client in my chair!

I’ve found a fun way to describe and verbalize tones of hair color, specifically reds or copper shades using food terminology! By using food names that are commonly used I’ve found clients think it’s charming and exciting to say things like “Orange Mocha” or “Sangria”! This can be utilized to better our color consultations and get us on the same page by saying things like “Are you visualizing an Eggplant red or a Cherry Red?”.

Check Out My Most Commonly Used Food Adjectives and Visual Aids Below!


Want to Learn My Top 4 Tips for Consultations? Check Below!

My Top Four Tips For Consultations

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Consultations are our number one most important thing where we come up with a plan for our clients hair, discuss goals, cans or cannots, talk price, product & maintenance. It’s also our #1 thing stylists get wrong because we’re not spending enough time creating a plan, saying no, doing a test strand or incorrectly communicating.

I’m going to share some things I’ve done wrong in a consultation (no guys I’m not perfect), some tips & things I’ve learned from years of being behind the chair and from numerous educational courses focused on this one thing alone!

Here’s my tips for setting YOU stylists up for a better and more thorough consultation process!

Tip #1:

I require all new color clients to do a PRE consultation before their appointment. (If you want to see it I’ll link it here)

Clients fill out a questionaire on my website that gets emailed directly to my inbox so we can chat further BEFORE making their appointment:

It looks like this:

Each of these questions are equally important because sometimes a client would say “all over color” for #2 but in #3 say something like “want to touch up my platinum roots” and in #4 say “I’ve been growing my hair out for 6 months and haven’t gotten it done so it’s virgin.” <— which we all know it’s not!

After recieving their PRE consultation questionaire i ask them more open ended questions based on their answers like:
-Are you looking for any kinds of a change or are you happy with your hair currently?

-Have you been getting your hair done professionally in a salon or have you been touching it up at home?

I always ask for photos of their hair in NATURAL light and for inspiration photos! (read my blog post on how to pick the perfect inspiration photos here)

These questions and photos help me see immediately if a goal can be achieved with “one” appointment or if they need to come in to the salon for an IN-person consultation.

Tip #2:

When you’re doing your consultation in person before their appointment (using the information you got during your PRE consultation) BE EYE LEVEL. *let me repeat myself* EYE LEVEL.

This leaves a couple options;

-sit with them in the waiting area

-take them to your processing area where maybe you can both sit on a couch together

-sit them in your chair and pump their chair up or down dependent on your height

-sit on a cutting stool

Based on my PRE consultation I ask more questions, here’s some examples;

-tell me about your last hair service/s⠀

-we were chatting via email about x, y & z. Let’s talk a little further about z & x!

-in our e-mails your inspiration photos all had some similarities but also some differences lets talk about them etc.

Why I recommend being at eye level with clients during their consultation is because you convey so much when you tower over people. It can make them feel small, overwhelmed, less in control or in charge!

You can also lower or heighten your chair based on the way your client is communicating by reading their body language, more in TIP #3!

Tip #3:

I’m dedicating an entire tip to BODY LANGUAGE or non-verbal communication!⠀

Did you know only 7% of communication is verbal??? Leaving 93% non-verbal and a whopping 55% of that being body language??

One thing we’re not paying attention to while we’re trying to read our clients body language is our OWN body language. Yesterday I shared in my #3 advice regarding having your clients at EYE level.

Did you also know that having your chair at certain heights sends subliminal messages??

-By having your client HIGHER than you, you can convey sympathy which would be good in a situation where a client is telling you something about their last service going awry.

-It can also help a client feel more like they’re in power if you can tell they’re having a hard time verbally communicating their service goals.⠀

By having your client lower than you, you convey that YOU’RE in power. For instance;

-maybe you need to say no to a service or you’re having a hard time verbally communicating with your client and need to regain control over the consultation. 

There’s so many ways to read or MISread body language! And it’s soooo important for stylists to learn how to properly read or notice what their own body language is conveying!

Tip #4:

We’re wrapping up our blog post with a story about a consultation gone wrong because I forgot a MAJOR detail. 

During a consultation a client told me she had box colored her hair black a couple months previous.

I still applied her beautiful balayage thinking it was no big deal and processed for 45 minutes… 

There was no lift whatsoever. None. 

When I asked her again about the box color she said “I’ve been doing it every couple months since I was 16”

I should have done a test strand! I would have discovered there wouldn’t be any lift and have gone about her service in a completely different way. 

A test strand is a road map showing us how to properly lift your clients hair and what it will or won’t do! 

I do admit I only do a test strand on about 7 out of 10 new clients but it’s something I’m practicing more!

My Top Three Tips For Pre-Booking


Pre-booking is quite literally the glue that holds my business together!


I can budget my life this way, I was also able to move my clients not once but TWICE in a year, I always know what supplies I’ll need that week in work and I can plan to take vacations because there won’t be any last minute texts from clients dyinngggg to get in!

While sometimes my weeks just randomly fall apart still (which is when I like to think God is telling me to take a break) I am still consistently booked 1-2 months in advance or more for weekends! Learning to Pre-Book wasn’t easy. I had to train myself to use the correct verbiage when talking with a client and train clients that they HAD to pre-book or they would have to wait a while to see me.

So I’m sharing with you my top three tips for Pre-Booking and how you can implement them in to your business so you can feel more finically secure, easily move your clients between locations AND not feel completely stressed when you see gaps in your day!

Tip #1:

When I became an independent stylist I was so nervous clients wouldn’t follow me that I opened my schedule to be available….every day….. all day long….

I was so scared of losing clients that I chose to be as available as possible to them and when booking them I’d say things like “ANY TIME, literally any time you want to come in.”

It was fine working like that for a couple months. But then I noticed some weeks I was coming in to the salon 6 days a week, with large gaps in my days, and I had 0 balance between personal and work time which ultimately led to feeling burnt out!

When I finally discovered in order to maximize my profit I needed to minimize my days in the salon. This revelation was something NO ONE HAD TOLD ME. I also needed to install boundaries with clients (which should be a whole other blog post). I went from 5-6 gap filled days to being booked solid 3, 11-12 hour days. Working less days of the week lead my clients to pre-book because I didn’t have as much availability options.

When clients are used to being able to call any day of the week and get in, that’s what they’ll always do unless you train them otherwise! By saying things like “I’m available ANY time, any time you want to come in” shows clients you’re really available any time so there’s no reason they need to Pre-Book!

Tip #2:


^^ which is the most important part of the hair service in my opinion!

When you’re coming up with a plan for your clients cut or color you best believe you should also include a plan for the future or “next time”! It’s amazing clients are able to go several months between highlight appointments with “low maintenance” colors like balayage or root shadows but you should absolutely be planning their next service and suggesting what that should be.

Here’s some ideas on verbiage you can use:

Your client is naturally darker than a level 6 and she wants that oh-so-instagram ashy balayage look! During her consultation you can say “We might not be able to get your ends as light as your inspiration photo and while we’ll certainly try, I’m going to suggest we set you up with another lightening service in 8 weeks to continue this process” or “In order to retain this ashy of a color you’ll need to come back in for a toner every 4-6 weeks, we can set you up with that appointment as you’re leaving to help keep your color on a schedule to retain maximum ashiness”.

By setting up a plan & expectations with your client about their next service your planting a seed for what they have to look forward to next!

Tip #3:

For my third & final tip it’s all about sealing the Pre-Booking deal! You’ve used better verbiage, you’ve talked about their next service during your consultation and now you’re just executing what you’re been gearing up towards: THE CHECK OUT!

Here’s verbiage to use:

1: I’d love to see you back here in ___ weeks to continue our journey or keep your color/cut looking fresh

2: I’m going on vacation ___ which is most likely when you’ll need your next service! I highly recommend you pre-book because I’ll be really busy before/after the trip

3: I tend to book up really far in advance so setting up your appointment today will help you not have to wait too long between services if you can’t get in!

4: (insert receptionist name) is going to check you out for your service today and set up for next time!

Remember when you’re starting to focus on pre-booking your clients won’t be used to it, have never done it OR you may have never asked them! So maybe they won’t Pre-Book the first time you start addressing the topic but start planting the Pre-Booking seed!

Purchase All My Favorite Products & Hair Tools!


Every wondered what size curling iron I use to create my “oh so beachy” curls?

You can now purchase ALL the same tools I use in the salon, on set or at home through my Amazon page!

I love being able to recommend you my favorite tools and products and can now provide you with a direct link so they show up on your front door in two days through Amazon Prime! You can also learn how to properly use my recommend favorites by watching my tutorials page where you’ll find links as well.

Hope you love this new feature I’ve been working on for you!


Meet My New Partner in Crime, Gel!

My last couple of posts were about The Harbor being on the long road to GRAND OPENING, I’m so happy to announce that we’ve been open for a couple months now and everything is going swimmingly! In the short amount of time that we’ve been open The Harbor has welcomed in many new stylists making us all feel at home and safe in The Harbor family. One of my favorite things about this new space is our adorable PHOTO BOOTH! The photo booth is a space created just for you to feel comfortable in getting the ultimate post-hair appointment selfie!

Here’s some cute photo booth pictures from The Harbor’s Grand Opening party!


Another thing I am so excited to talk to you all about is I achieved a HUGE business goal of mine this year by hiring an assistant, Gel! Gel is freshly graduated from school and so excited to learn! She’s been popping in and out of the salon already learning the ropes and will be working full time starting mid-October. She’s going to be such a huge help to me by allowing me to take more clients. She’s your go-to girl for anything you need while you’re sitting in my chair and I can’t wait for you all to get one of her awesome head massages!




Hip Hip HOORAY! 

I was recently interviewed by a Los Angeles magazine, VoyageLA about my business as a hair stylist and how I started! They're an awesome magazine sharing about new businesses and people doing great things within the city of Los Angeles!

You can read it by clicking below!


I was also interviewed by one of my dearest friends Kathleen for her series "I'm Not Supposed To" on her blog Solo Seule! Her blog is a how-to guide for the lone wolfette dedicated to a life of travel and adventure! 

To read "I'M NOT SUPPOSED TO // Start & Run My Own Successful (Hair) Business", click below!




Update on The Harbor Salon


 I've been updating all my clients on the move to The Harbor Salon on Instagram but I wanted to write a blog post to share the information here! The Harbor is all set up and ready for business BUT the city is not letting that happen yet! We are in the final waiting stages (yes, waiting as in for the past three weeks) to open the doors to all our patient clients but we still need some final inspections and certifications to happen! As soon as those happen all previously booked clients will be notified by email or text of the appointment location change! I wanted to give you a look at how special this space is going to be and the team that I'll be working beside!

Here's a sneak peek of The Harbor, the wait will be SO worth it! 

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Check out the new website: www.theharborsalon.com

Photos by Morgan Newton

The Harbor Salon/Moving Salons


If you’re an existing client and have seen me at Collective Hair I’ve been able to tell you in person all about the opportunities that brought me here! Not all of my clients have been able to see me since my move from The Hive LA so here’s a little bit more about what’s going on!

While most thought that the journey ended at Collective Hair in fact it’s just the middle! I’m so excited to share that my hair stylist journey continues to my brand new home salon; THE HARBOR! I’m so happy you’ve all been with me through this journey at Collective Hair for the past couple months while The Harbor has been finishing construction. 

The Harbor will be opening March 2018 and will be located back in my favorite area, SILVER LAKE (2827 Bellevue Ave, Los Angeles CA 90026 to be exact)! Sandwiched between two of the greatest things, a bagel shop and a wine bar, The Harbor will be a beautiful salon set in a restored brick building! I can’t wait to show all my clients what this space has to offer including new hair products, pop-up shops, a photo booth and my personal favorite a flower shop! While all these new things are awesome and beautiful you’ll still be getting the same wonderful services done by yours truly! Appointments will be made the same way, through me or existing clients can book directly online through The Harbor’s website to come! 

The salon's Grand Opening date hasn't been announced because we're still waiting on some last minute details and some final inspections! I'm getting more and more excited to be finally at home at The Harbor and can't wait to show you all exactly what we've been waiting for! All existing appointments will be notified of the salon change as soon as I possibly can contact you once I know the opening date!

Some of you might be thinking "Amanda you've sure been jumping salons lately...." WELL this is why! The Harbor has been my plan all along but construction got our opening prolonged! So I used the opportunity to learn a couple of things before we got to where our "salon journey" ends. Being at Collective Hair has taught me how to be an independent stylist and showed me how to further connect with the clients I have. I promise you, The Harbor is where we've staying and once you see it, you'll know why! 

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What is a Toner?


What is a toner?

One of my favorite questions! I remember in beauty school being taught this magical thing called the color wheel and using the opposite side of color wheel to counteract unwanted “tones” in the hair. Unfortunately I also remember being taught how that was more or less a bad thing and a very hush-hush part of the hair service. But man oh man, was I taught wrong!

The easiest way to explain a toner without going in to a whole lot of theory is its the actual color you want. When you come in and say to me during your consultation “I want ashy highlights”, “I want strawberry blonde”, “I want golden hair”. You’re all describing the color of hair you want and thats what a toner is!


This is most likely a part of your service when your hair has been lightened! It’s that magical color we put on your hair at the shampoo bowl to marry your color together, blend grays, add shine, add depth in areas, and cancel out any unwanted colors like yellow or orange!

There’s many ways to use a toner and many words we now call them! It’s a demi-permanent hair color that washes and fades out of your hair. It’s generally made of waxes and lipids so it will not damage your hair. In fact it will make your hair feel softer, healthier and shiny! The beauty about a toner is that it washes out of your hair so you never get a harsh demarcation line from it. But because it also lasts only 4-6 weeks depending on how often you wash your hair and what shampoo & conditioners you’re using, it tends to wash out faster than you’d like. To help counteract this process and prolong the life of your color there are several things you can do! You can come back in to the salon and get a gloss timed halfway between your future highlight appointment, shampoo less often and use dry shampoo, use great color saving products and shampoo with cool temperature water! A gloss is another salon service that has no tonality or depth to it. It simply adds shine, smooths down the cuticle of your hair which locks your color into place and helps it last longer, has UV protection and it also protects against minerals found in water! 


To book a toner click here!

How to Pick the Perfect Inspiration Photo

I previously wrote a blog post called "Why Book a Color Consultation"! In it I talk about bringing in an inspiration photo to help talk out your color goals! This blog post will help you have a better understanding of what is capable and what might take some time! 

Scenario #1:

Let's be honest, we've all seen this photo floating around Instagram or Pinterest and more than likely have it pinned to our board "Hair Goals".

Your inspiration photo:


Your hair:

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You might be thinking this looks easy, and you're kind of right. However because your hair has previous permanent brunette color on it you wouldn't be able to get your ends as light or as saturated the first round! But you be one step closer towards reaching your color goal! 

You'll get something more like this for round 1:


Scenario #2!

Your inspiration photo:


Your hair:

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So this client is a great candidate for her inspiration photo! However because her hair is so dark naturally it would be a process to get her as light her inspiration! You may think it's not "that" light but the ends are about 5 levels lighter than her natural! This would take about 7 hours for one appointment or accomplished in 2 appointments (if her hair is all natural color) 

One session of going lighter could look like this:


Scenario #3!

Your inspiration photo:


Your hair:


You're thinking "this is just a little more copper". What you're not seeing is it's a LOT lighter as well! This could be easily accomplished in a days work of: COLOR CORRECTION! This process would take about 5-6 hours depending on previous color/s and density/length of hair! We'd start with a very thorough consultation, doing a color remover, and do some all over lightener if needed! Then we do the copper color all over dependent on how light we could get it!

Scenario #4!

Your inspiration photo:


Your hair:


This goal is going to take some time! Either a very large chunk at all once of 8 hours with another "small" appointment. Or stretched out over several appointments to 1: be more cost efficient 2: help with the integrity of your hair 3: help so you don't have to be in the salon for as long or so you can get an appointment faster!

Session One: 


Session Two:


With your third session looking like your goal or very close to it!

Variables to keep in mind with all color changes:

1: Pricing! Would you prefer to spread your appointment out so you can invest smaller amounts or have one large appointment and pay one large lump sum?

2: Timing! Timing is everything with color. It determines pricing, it determines how long you'll be in the salon and it determines how long it will take to reach your goal!

3: Integrity! Will your hair reach this color goal still intact?? Is your hair already damaged? Do you use a lot of heat on it at home? Home maintenance! 

4: Your Hair! Your natural texture, density and length greatly determine is your color is achievable and the pricing behind it!

5: Is your hair natural or colored! Probably the number one thing we'll talk about during our consultation IF you have previously colored hair! Most of the scenarios above relate to clients who have virgin or uncolored/treated hair! 

Moving to Collective Hair!


I'm sure you've seen or heard I've decided to move salons from The Hive Los Angeles to Collective Hair located at 233 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena! This was one of the scariest decisions of my life and career and I wanted to share with you why I decided to make the move!

I've been working at The Hive Los Angeles for 3 years, I met awesome co-workers, got to do what I love AND I got to meet all my clients there! I can never thank The Hive enough for what they did for my career! They invested in a small town girl who loved hair and was good at it but still trying to find her way in the big city of Los Angeles.

I've been doing hair for 10 years and have never moved salons in the same state. I worked for 7 years at The Parlour in Colorado and the past 3 years at The Hive Los Angeles. Moving to Collective Hair was no easy decision but I knew I needed room to spread my wings and knew I was ready to take my business to the next level. I'd been praying and talking with my husband for the past year about what I was going to do.  Truthfully I used to mock those stylists who would "jump" from salon to salon losing clients along the way. But lucky for me social media has made it entirely easy for clients to find me and for me to connect with them on a more personal level! 

Being at Collective Hair means I get to be my own boss! I get to make my own hours, schedule all my own clients, and order my own supplies! It's a deep rooted investment in the loyalty I know I've been building for the past three years at The Hive. I'm so blessed by the outpour of love and generosity and well wishes I've received from my clients, family & friends. I truly feel that being in a new space will inspire me and you'll be getting the best hair you've ever had from me!

I can't wait to see you all there!

-Amanda Riley




Why Book a Color Consultation?


When seeing a new stylist for any color services I highly recommend going in to the salon for a consultation beforehand! I require most new clients to do this! Here's some of the reasons why:

1: What you think may be a teeny tiny change like "I just want to go a little lighter" or "I just want to go all over dark" or my favorite "I just want to be more copper and not so violet anymore" could actually be a very large color service! So it's always important to be clear with your objective (if you have one) and come prepared knowing that what you are asking for may not be achievable with one appointment! 

2: How is the health and condition of your hair? Have you thought about this at all as you switched from brown to red to blonde while being in the sun all summer longer?? Most times the answer is no. Most times we don't realize how terrible the things we do to our hair on a daily basis are! (another blog post for another day)

3: Timing. Often clients are booked incorrectly because they think their desired color is achievable within one appointment, or it is a simple "change". I can't stress enough how important it is time to have enough time for me to properly create the masterpiece we've envisioned. 

4: You probably didn't know that the box color you put on your hair 3 years ago is still in your hair. You've probably gotten 8 haircuts since then and you can't see it anymore. But the chemicals never lie! The important action to take before any color service is doing a test strand! This important little test is the road map to discovery where we can tell what's in your hair. (Old color, minerals, chlorine etc) Or if we can achieve your desired look and just what products I can use to get us there including scissors!

Color consultations are the key to success and us building a relationship. I like the analogy of dating when it comes to meeting your stylist. The first date is always about getting to know each other. Second dates are usually a bit longer, we've developed a connection after the first date and now we're having more in-depth conversation. Date three is when you truly know if this is going to be a lasting relationship! Chances are during the first date, I'm just learning about your hair. I'm touching it, asking questions and preparing us for the second date. Date number two is always the first large color appointment, usually where we're knocking a lot of our goals off the list! And date three is where we fine-tune and tweak your hair, maybe we didn't achieve everything during our second date but we know there's a third so we've made a plan for it! 

So are you ready for our first date?? Click the tab "Book an Appointment" or call The Hive Los Angeles today!