We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Alek Smith. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Alek below.
Alek, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Risking taking is a huge part of most people’s story but too often society overlooks those risks and only focuses on where you are today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – it could be a big risk or a small one – but walk us through the backstory.
This is the story of the biggest risk I’ve taken thus far in life. I moved to dallas at 18 with somewhat of an automotive tech background. I grew up in Connecticut and loved my youth there – it was just time for something new after high school. I was working a roadside assistance job during the day and worked nights at UPS here in dallas for almost 7 years. I was making good money and living a comfortable life. My girlfriend at the time (now fiancé) pointed out that sometimes it seemed i was on autopilot. This really resonated. It forced me to think inward – which was really new to me. I realized I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t feeling fulfillment or any sense of accomplishment. I knew it was time for a major change. I decided i was ready to change my career path at 25 years old. I had a friend who was in beauty school and he raved about it all the time, There was dope people, amazing art, creative energy – this got my attention. I toured a few schools in the DFW area and they all seemed great except the dropping 20 grand part.
Having had worked for 7 years I had a good chunk of change saved up. I didn’t really know what i was saving for but i wanted to put it to good use.
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken was deciding to take this money and invest it in myself to see if I would like the beauty/hair industry. It’s also been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made. I think the moral to my story is don’t be afraid of change. Along side that don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. It was a strange concept to me at the time but along the way I’ve realized it truly was an act of self love.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I got into the hair industry because i was ready for something new it caught my attention. Dope people, creative flow, art everywhere, amazing energy. I knew i had to give it a try. I specialize in cutting but offer a handful of chemical services as well. My continued education is very important to me. I like to stay sharp and be ready for anything to be thrown at me.
Any stories or insights that might help us understand how you’ve built such a strong reputation?
The biggest part of building a reputation is being present. I mean that in a couple of ways. You have to be in the shop to be getting booked. If you want the clients you have to be making yourself available in the beginning (that changes later in the game) I also mean it in the sense of remaining present with your people. Having genuine conversations and creative long term connections and relationships.
We often hear about learning lessons – but just as important is unlearning lessons. Have you ever had to unlearn a lesson?
A lesson i had to unlearn has to do with the hustle mindset. I always thought working 7 days a week to total exhaustion was “productive.” Maybe in a sense it was but it was unhealthy and It didn’t bring me joy. The past 3 years I’ve been on a huge mental health journey and part of this was unlearning that hustle mindset. Learning to nourish my soul and take care of myself.
- Website: Lhworkshop.com
- Instagram: @hairguyalek
- Facebook: Hair Guy Alek