5 Women Share Their Stories in the Hair Industry This Women’s History Month

Five hair professionals share their journeys in the hair industry, from what inspired them to enter the industry, their biggest mistakes and what changes they want to see in the industry going forward.
Five hair professionals share their journeys in the hair industry, from what inspired them to enter the industry, their biggest mistakes and what changes they want to see in the industry going forward.
Image from Rawpixel.com via Adobe Stock

March is Women’s History Month, a time to spotlight all of the amazing contributions and achievements women have made throughout history and in contemporary time.

Here, we are spotlighting five amazing women who have made an impact on the hair industry through their phenomenal work. They share their stories with us, including how they got their start in the industry, what keeps them motivated and what changes they want to see in the industry going forward. 

Getting Started 

Every hairstylist finds their way into the industry in their own unique way, whether it’s knowing their passion from a young age or stumbling into the industry by surprise. 

For Daisy "Daze" Henson (@curlyhairdaze), founder of The Daze Studio in San Diego, CA and curl specialist and educator, it was being disappointed by stylists who didn’t know how to handle her curly hair. 

“I started figuring out how to take care of my curls myself and then realized there were probably a lot of other people out there who were facing the same kind of struggles,” Henson shares. “On top of that, I really got into the whole creative side of transforming hair. It felt like this cool blend of art and practical skill—taking something and making it into something else, something better.” 

Sharon Blain (@sharonblaineducation), Australian hair artist and educator, knew she wanted to be a hairstylist from a young age, around 11 years old. 

“I used to roller-set my elderly next door neighbor's hair each Saturday afternoon,” Blain recalls. “The pleasure I got from making her feel so special and the way she smiled when her husband told her how beautiful she looked when I finished confirmed that I wanted to make people feel like this forever. I knew hairdressing was the career for me, even at an early age.” 

For some, it’s being introduced to the industry by a fellow stylist, like Corinna Hernandez (@corinna.at.pony), owner and founder of Pony Studios Co., Pony Education and Pony Education LIVE.

“I’ve always loved hair and fashion but it was a hairdresser in Sacramento who ultimately influenced me to go to cosmetology school,” Hernandez shares. “She told me how amazing the industry was when I first sat in her chair. She was so booked she didn’t take new clients, but somehow I got on her books. I told her maybe I could do hair while I went to school for something else. She responded with ‘Why?? Just do hair!’ She said work was play and home was work. She said she traveled to Paris 3 months out of the year and came back to a full book of clients. I signed up immediately after I left the salon! I was 23.” 

The Accomplishments 

Upon entering the industry, these stylists made big strides in their careers, breaking barriers and helping the industry to grow and evolve. 

Ivy Ann Miller (@ivyann.shears) founded Ivy Ann Professional Shears, “the first and only woman-owned, cosmetologist-operated shear brand,” Miller says. “It’s more than just a business venture; it’s a symbol of breaking barriers and inspiring others to do the same.” 

Henson went on to create the Virtual Curly Cut. 

“I’ve been able to revolutionize the way people with curly hair can achieve the perfect haircut, regardless of their location or access to a curl specialist,” shares Henson. “I connect with people from all over the world via video conferencing and step them through a customized, complete, 360 degree haircut. Through the Virtual Curly Cut, I've made it possible for anyone with curly, wavy or coily hair to perfect their look from the comfort of their home.” 

For some, however, their biggest accomplishments aren’t within the industry but personal achievements. 

Sarai Speer (@theplatinumgiraffe), podcast host and creator of the Balanced Stylist Society, overcame homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction and is recovering from a 28-year eating disorder. 

Blain shares that three children are at the top of her list of accomplishments, and she’s been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia by the Australian Government for her contributions to the hair industry. 

“I set goals, and never stop till I’ve actually achieved them; basically I never give up. It fuels my passion,” Blain says. 

Passion and Motivation 

In order to keep working each day, you need something to keep you motivated and inspired. For these ground-breaking stylists, it can be anything from their family and friends to the clients in their chair.

Hernandez shares that the latter is what keeps her motivated: “Making my clients feel seen, happy and beautiful, learning more about my craft, and teaching new up-and-coming stylists. Giving back for sure!”

Henson also echoes this sentiment: “What really keeps me going every day is the amazing feeling I get from helping people. Sure, making money is important—it keeps the lights on and lets us chase after new ideas. But what truly drives me is seeing the difference I can make in someone's day,” she shares. “There's nothing like the moment when someone looks in the mirror, sees their new hair and just lights up. That spark of joy and self-love they feel? It's addictive. It's why I do what I do.” 

For Miller, it’s about making a change and impact in the industry. 

“It’s about more than just success; it’s about paving the way for women in our field and breaking through barriers together,” she emphasizes. 


Of course, any great stylist knows that you can’t make any strides without a few setbacks. Mistakes are inevitable, but it’s learning from them that matters. 

Speer says that her biggest mistake was doubting herself. 

“I trusted the wrong coaches and listened to the wrong people and online business managers (to the tune of over $200k), and it turns out I CAN do all the things I thought I couldn’t,” she shares. “It taught me to trust myself, that no one has the vision for my business that I do. I now know I am fully capable of doing anything I put my mind to.” 

Henson agrees, sharing that imposter syndrome stopped her from going after new opportunities. 

“The turning point came when I realized that the only way to overcome these fears was to confront them head-on. I adopted a ‘just do it’ attitude, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and taking on tasks and projects I would have previously shied away from,” she says. “No one starts as an expert in anything; every skill is honed over time through practice, dedication and a willingness to learn from mistakes. I learned to give myself the chance to try and push through the initial discomfort and fear.” 

Miller shares that judgment caused her to hold back her true self. 

“Whether it was behind the chair, at hair shows or in any professional setting, I often struggled to show up authentically. It’s been a challenging journey, and I’m still working on fully overcoming this obstacle,” she explains. “However, amidst this struggle, I’ve learned two profound truths. Firstly, I’ve discovered that authenticity is not only appreciated but deeply valued by others. Secondly, I’ve come to realize that life becomes infinitely more fulfilling when you release the constant self-criticism and allow yourself the freedom to be genuinely you.” 

Blain sums up her thoughts on mistakes quite nicely: “To be honest, I never see a mistake – I see it as a lesson to learn from.” 

Advice for Their Younger Self 

With such whirlwind careers and ample experience under their belts, there’s plenty of opportunity for reflection. 

Hernandez shares what she would want the younger version of herself to know: “Be yourself. It’s so important! You are valuable and important and you have something to offer this industry. Also, don’t take criticism from your peers and mentors personally, remember it is a gift and an opportunity to grow and change for the better.” 

Both Speer and Henson expressed sentiments about wanting to have started their paths in the industry sooner. 

“You don’t need to have anything figured out. Wanna teach a class? Just do it. Want to open a salon? Just do it. You’ll figure it out along the way. STOP thinking that everyone is an expert except you,” Speer states. 

“When I first shared with others that I wanted to do hair in the beauty industry, many said it doesn’t pay well and only a few are very successful,” Henson adds. “Yet, the truth is, it’s a field with lots of potential for those who dive in. Anyone willing to work hard and continuously innovate will be successful. It’s about finding your niche and connecting with your audience.” 

Changes in the Industry 

Now more than ever, the industry is rapidly changing. The biggest change these stylists have seen since they’ve started? Social media! 

“It's been a game changer, opening up opportunities that weren't possible 15-20 years ago and catapulted my career,” Henson shares. “It’s completely transformed how I market my business and engage my clients. My audience and clientele became worldwide overnight.” 

“[It’s] a wonderful tool to use to stay booked,” Hernandez adds. “It’s always worked for me when I’ve made big moves and have had to start over with zero clients.” 

Blain dittos these thoughts, saying, “Social media has changed the industry forever – the way we communicate with the industry and clients and marketing our brand. It’s fantastic to see how we can create a brand and connect globally.” 

While there are positive changes the industry has made, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially in the area of education. 

“It’s not 1950, why are we teaching finger waves but skipping texture? I think the education (for the most part) is outdated and needs an overhaul,” Speer says. 

Miller shares what she wants to see the future of the industry look like: “I envision a future where professionals come together, share knowledge and support one another to create a more inclusive and thriving environment. Additionally, by incorporating shears education into cosmetology programs, we can empower students and new stylists to make informed decisions when investing in equipment, ultimately preventing exploitation and setting them up for success in their careers right from the start. It’s about building a stronger, more educated industry that supports the growth and development of all its members.” 

Advice for Other Stylists 

With the ample time these stylists have had in the industry, they’ve learned plenty – from mistakes made to experiences had throughout their careers. Of course, they’re going to have advice to share for the next generation of stylists. 

“When you are starting out, work hard to seek knowledge. Learn, absorb and soak it all in. Stay quiet, listen and observe,” shares Hernandez. “Practice! Don’t chase money right away, learning your craft well will be valuable for the long run. This can be a very fun career! There are so many different paths you can take! Reach out to the people you most want to be like, and see if you can work with them. Give back always!” 

Both Henson and Blain share insight on the importance of reinventing yourself. 

“In my journey to make an impact in the beauty industry, I’ve learned that the key to standing out is continuous innovation and reinvention. It's important to move past following the established norms and to constantly seek new ways to express creativity and artistry,” Henson explains. “It’s important to acknowledge and learn from the work of others, but the goal should not be to replicate their success but to build upon it. This approach has helped me carve my niche, and I feel I've contributed to the beauty industry. I strongly recommend other stylists to embrace this mindset of exploration and pushing boundaries. The continuous process of learning and evolving is how we can truly make a lasting impact.” 

“Always have an enquiring mind. Stay relevant, and continue to reinvent yourself,” Blain advises. “Change is inevitable, but it’s how quickly you change with the trends that is important. Surround yourself with people who have skills you don’t. Social media is a great example. Set achievable career goals, and plan how you want your future to play out. Always remember to be patient, professional and keep grounded. Having a big ego will not only close doors but limit your ability to make an impact.”

Miller advises taking a look at the industry and seeing what gaps you can fill with your own expertise. 

“For me, it was recognizing the absence of a shear brand owned and operated by a woman who, like many stylists, works tirelessly behind the chair using the same tools,” Miller explains. “By identifying such gaps and taking proactive steps to address them, stylists can not only fulfill unmet needs within the industry but also contribute to its evolution in a significant way. It’s about recognizing opportunities for positive change and taking bold actions to bring those visions to life.” 

Speer shares a variety of tips that have helped her throughout her career: “Figure out who you are at your core, not who everybody wants you to be. Share your story on social media. Work hard. Trust your intuition. Be part of a community that supports and uplifts you, not tears you down. Find a mentor. Pay for education and implement what you learn. Create without limits or expectations. Have a hobby outside of hair. Take care of your physical and mental body. You only get one. Protect your energy and mental health.” 

Happy Women’s History Month 

These are just a few of the amazing stories of women in the industry who are making a difference through their unique contributions. We are so thankful they shared their insight with us! 

You can follow them here: 

Corinna Hernandez (@corinna.at.pony)

Daisy Daze Henson (@curlyhairdaze)

Ivy Ann Miller (@ivyann.shears

Sarai Speer (@theplatinumgiraffe

Sharon Blain (@sharonblaineducation

You can also read more stories our followers shared with us below. 

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