Jenny Strebe has taken the Internet by storm. With a YouTube channel with over 1 million views, a combined following of over 100,000 followers through different social media outlets, and being named one of the top hair bloggers in America, Strebe is soaring above the rest. Strebe launched her hairstyling blog, Confessions of a Hairstylist, after realizing she had a love for educating others.
As if running a blog and creating weekly YouTube tutorials wasn’t enough, Strebe decided to take on the additional task of teaching educational updo styling classes around the nation and teaching braiding and balayage classes with national L’Oreal artist Jay Olson.
Couture in the Suburbs was lucky enough to get a free moment with the busy Arizonan as she is currently in the middle of publishing a hair tutorial book, “100 Awesome Hair Days” to be released this fall. Throughout our interview, we were able to learn more about her viral success in the world of hairstyling.
MR: How did you initiate your career in hairstyling?
JS: I grew up in Walla Walla, Washington and after graduation I wanted to go to a bigger city (Portland, Oregon) because my dream has always been to be a hairstylist. I then went to Wadsworth Academy and upon graduating, I entered a hairstyling competition where I won, and was approached by a Toni and Guy recruiter. From there on, I knew I wanted to pursue a career working for the popular educational based franchise.
MR: What major career moves have you made to help you get to where you are today?
JS:I didn’t get hired at the Portland Toni and Guy so I set forth to Arizona where they had five salons and I knew my chances were higher. I got hired immediately and soon after two years, I became their educational director where I helped train assistants as well as 27 senior staff members. That was a huge pivotal time in my career.
After not being able to take it to the next level, I sold everything I owned to pursue working in Europe in a Toni and Guy where I later was hired on as a hairstylist in an Ireland Toni and Guy. After seeing how Europe differs from corporate America, I came home to the states and I went into booth rental to start building my own brand.
MR: What made you decide to launch Confessions of a Hairstylist?
JS: I was bored with my hair, feeling uninspired and missed my passion for educating. I decided to change my hairstyle for 30 days in a row, and then launch a blog about it with how-to tutorials. I then realized that I had gotten attention from people quickly because I was known on Pinterest and through sites like Latest-Hairstyles and Divine Caroline. It took 2-3 years to actually get recognized.
MR: Was there anyone in particular who inspired you to create your videos and blog?
JS: My daughter has always been my inspiration. I wanted her to see that dreams can come true and you can do anything you want in life, so it helped me push forward. I also realized people were taking me seriously, instead of a beauty blogger, I was an actual stylist and that inspired me.
MR: How did you and Jay Olson start Braids and Balayage?
JS: Jay and I are both educators at heart. He was making an impact locally and instead of working against each other, I reached out to him to work together. We both add strengths to each other’s brand as well as educational experience.
MR: What is your favorite aspect of your career?
JS: Classes by far. It’s the best feeling knowing that women across the nation are learning from me. I love the feeling of instilling confidence in stylist when they are behind the chair doing what they love.
MR: How much of an influence is social media in the building of your Internet persona?
JS: Huge! It didn’t happen overnight; in fact, it took 3 years. Back then it wasn’t as easy as it is now but it’s what helped give my brand the credibility it needed.
MR: What is the secret to building a personal brand?
MR: How do you stay up-to-date on the latest hair trends?
JS: By watching what celebrities do. That usually sets the tone for hair cut and color trends. As far as styling, I focus on creating my own unique braids. I don’t want people thinking I’m ripping their styles off.
MR: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
JS: Eventually I see myself as a nationally known reputable educator. I would also like to create my own branded product line featuring various hair styling products and tools.
MR: What is some advice that you have for aspiring hairstylist entrepreneurs?
JS: Never give up, keep reaching for your goals. Don’t be disappointed if something doesn’t work out, it’s only pushing you towards what you are really meant to do.
So the next time you can’t quite decide what to do with your hair for a night out on the town, try one of Strebe’s many tutorials for a easy and stylish look. Simplifying trendy looks for hairstylists at all skill levels is Strebe’s forte.