ep57 – Min Kim

She is the resident master colorist at the Butterfly Studio salon in New York and she is a L’Oréal Professionnel International Artist. Thousands of hairdressers around the world have used her training videos. She is a corrective color expert and she is my next guest on Headcases: meet Min Kim.

  • She thought she was destined to be a doctor, but she was always drawn to the beauty industry.
  • In her earliest days as an educator for L’Oréal Professionnel, she realized you have to be true to your authentic self, and not try to wear a version of yourself based on someone else.
  • Min wants us to learn from our mistakes – they always have something to teach. Some people get stuck and never get past them.
  • Her best advice for stylists just starting out: listen, be present, pay attention. And don’t be afraid of failure.

Complete Transcription

Chris Baran 0:00
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do? I’m Chris Baran, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success

Well, welcome to another week of #Headcases. And I must say today’s guest is a real delight. She is the L’Oreal global ambassador and as well as a celebrity colorist. She is the a master colorist at the Butterfly Salon in New York City. She has curated content that has trained 1000s of hairdressers globally. She has presented in – catch this – 62 different countries. She is a balayage and corrective color expert. So let’s get into this week’s Headcase. Min Kim. Well, Min, it is a pleasure to have you on Headcases and welcome. It’s great to have you here.

Min Kim 1:11
Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure.

Chris Baran 1:14
Well, listen, you know, we what I love about doing this program is I get to meet so many people that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet before so we’re going to be soon become best friends, whether you like it or not. But I just wanted to say it is is great. And I have to admit I you know we unbeknownst to because you work at Butterfly salon in New York City. Yeah, yes. And And do you know that we lived on 21st? Between fifth between Park and Broadway? So we were literally we a block and a half from you. You were on your on 21st? And fifth, right? Yeah. And I lived on the 21st between Park and Broadway.

Min Kim 2:00
Live on 22nd Street between Park and Broadway. No way. The salon. Yeah, I lived in that apartment, I think for about eight years until I had my kid. And then I duplex so babies and stairs don’t go well together. So that’s when I left my amazing apartment around the corner. So you were around the corner, too. Yeah,

Chris Baran 2:23
yeah. So I mean, it’s that’s what I you know, and I have to admit that I went on and I Googled you and I stalked you a little bit to find out this and I just want help me this amazing when they find out they’re there. And we’re literally almost neighbors, you know, so I just it’s it’s a pleasure. You know, I you know, I’ve told everybody on the intro, how wonderful you are, but I just you know, I what I always like to do at the very beginning men is try to find out. Because we’re so diverse that there’s always a different beginning that we have. So what pulled you in to the hair industry? What was what made hair it for you at that time? Or was it the first thing you had to do? I

Min Kim 3:02
think it always called to me, but I didn’t think it was something that I could do as a career. So it was just something I did on the side. Like I was always doing my friend’s makeup, I was braiding the teacher’s hair in school when we should have been doing our lessons. I always had like something around beauty and fashion going on, even though I was raised to be in an academic mindset. So I think that’s kind of what at the end when I finally ended up specializing in color. It really was the the fusion of the creative, pretty things that I liked. And then also the scientific aspect of coloring and understanding how chemicals work was so

Chris Baran 3:49
it was right from day one. When you got out of school. Did you go right into hair?

Min Kim 3:54
Now? I mean, I went I was actually a biology major at Rutgers University. Wow. And I figured out early on that I did not want to go to medical school, like I told my parents I wanted to. And then that’s kind of when I went through the program very quickly at college. I wasn’t, I think like the first semester everyone in the biology program loved me because I used to just show up and not really take the exams because I knew I wasn’t gonna follow through the major. And then I went from the five year plan to I ended up finishing in three and a half years because I knew I needed to get my degree, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do with myself. So

Chris Baran 4:38
yeah, wild wild. And you know, it’s so interesting because in talking to so many people in our industry, there’s always that, that the people that they knew they wanted to do it straightaway. And then there was the other people that you know, started off with something else and veered to it, you know, I mean, I’m not going to go into mine too in too much detail because I’ve said it many times, but I didn’t I I didn’t even know I wanted to be here except my mom was a hairdresser. And I couldn’t get fired. So, and, and my first two years, I wouldn’t have hired me anyway, because it was just partying my brains out. But the reality is, I think we all have that wake up call Are we all called to something or we found something that gave us purpose when it was there? And so when you when you got into it, because you know, you you are, and correct me if I’ve got this wrong, but like baviaans expert, you know, corrective color expert. And, and what it what was in there that gave you that purpose? I think you alluded to it before, but was it what was at the Science nature behind it was, you know, because that’s, that’s tough for some people.

Min Kim 5:42
Um, I definitely love the science about it, and how there’s definitely proper steps and understanding if this is what you have, then you add this, and that’s the final answer. But also, I think just that aspect of transformation and having that intuitive type of experience with hair versus something’s like, I felt like if I went to medical school, I was really going to have to force myself to be somewhere that I didn’t want to be, versus I always found myself, like, you know, looking at hair, and it’s true, it’s like I have, if you’re, if you’re sitting there watching TV with someone, and they work in advertising, they’re looking at every aspect of the commercial from like, the production value, versus when I’m looking at a TV show or movies, the only thing I’m looking at really is like hair. So that’s always been like that.

Chris Baran 6:45
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Like? You know, I did reasonably well, in sciences, meaning I got a C, that was most of what my marks were, were not like your Bible, C grades most of the way through, particularly after I find out that there was these these things on Earth called female. But the the, what I what I have noticed is that you can be a science minded as you want, but there’s still that technical side that has to be pulled in with you know, and so was it what do you always adapt to was at balayage drew that to you right away? And that side of color? What was how did that lead into what’s the lead in your head?

Min Kim 7:26
I think the lead and also I hate to be so like financial about it, but it was also the mathematics. And I first started working in New York, I had to do the books, and I actually worked on the styling cutting side. And I remember like, you know, I was doing the books, and she was charging $150 For one haircut, she took one hour to do one haircut. And I would see the color assistants running around money falling out of their aprons, literally, like, it was just like so much like a higher pace and more energy. And like I just kept seeing, feeling myself being drawn into their side. So that was actually when I ended up thinking about switching to color. And then when I finally ended up moving to Butterfly, that’s when I made the final switch the jump.

Chris Baran 8:22
Yeah, and what was it like when transforming from that? I think right now that that so many areas in the US are there, you do everything. You know, you’re a cutter, you’re a colorist, you do everything and combined. That’s how you make your point. But in New York, I mean, at least maybe it’s changing a bit now. But everything was very, you had to be departmentalized. So you had to make your choice. How was that trance? Transitioning from? Was it an easy transition? Was that a hard transition, that when you went from being a cutter and finisher to over to color, um,

Min Kim 8:59
for me, it was definitely more natural. It definitely is like where my heart was happy. Versus when I was on the other side. It was just like, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t as fast paced, not that it’s not fast paced, but I feel like I’m managing so many different things when I’m coloring hair. There’s always multiple processes happening. And I kind of like managing all the madness. Wow.

Chris Baran 9:28
Yeah, see that. And I think that takes a certain kind of mindset to have being able to have four or five things going and being able to do it. And, you know, and I mean this with all due respect, because they say that women do that better than men. But I always say I’m a great multitasker as long as I’m doing one thing at a time. Right? You know, I think that you have to as a colorist with so many people in your chair, you really have to be thinking about what am I doing on each of those heads? How’s it going? You know, what am I doing on each one of them? What’s the next step and how do you like how do you work with with assists Students with apprentices or

Min Kim 10:01
I do so I definitely rely on the assistant to keep me going and keep me on track. So it’s really like almost like, I’m like, I’m just here doing the hair. So I need a great assistant that can help manage me and my day. Yeah, that’s part of it is it’s not just learning how to do hair, because there’s so much information information out there now. But I think what is being lost is, people aren’t really being taught how to deal and manage with people, people in time. So you

Chris Baran 10:34
hit on a great word there. And because I think that sometimes, when you hear the word apprentice, or you hear the word associate or assistant, whatever, pick your word, that they think it’s your, they’re the order taker. And I remember, I remember being in doing a gig in in, in Korea, and I just absolutely loved it there. And when you had somebody assisting you there, I still remember that that the first time I asked, I asked her, ask them just for an iron in the way that they passed the iron to me, you know, they passed it. So it immediately went in my hand. I didn’t have to do any fumbling, fumbling. And it was they really were thinking about it every step of what did you What did you need next? And, and I loved what you said about they become your manager. So sometimes that it’s the people that develop through there faster are the ones that really can help to manage you by really thinking what you’re thinking they’re really thinking what you need before that you actually

Min Kim 11:38
need it. 100% and it’s if, if if there’s something that I noticed, it’s always if someone is ahead, like, if you’re not thinking two steps ahead, then you’re not really present. Right? Right. Whereas if you can anticipate my needs, and what are you paying attention to? Yeah, and what why do I need you? Right, right. So I’m part of the learning Yes, it’s, I’m here to teach you as much as I can about my experiences with color and the products, yes, all this information is there. But what people don’t really learn, and I think that’s like a miss is how to deal with people. So whether you’re dealing with big companies and brands, or you’re dealing with, you know, working in a suite and having other suite owners, but like, you’re always gonna have to learn how to manage people. And that’s not something that’s necessarily taught at all, if you think about most apprentice programs, or even in beauty school.

Chris Baran 12:39
Yeah, that’s, it’s true. I think that, you know, I’ve often heard about people will you talk to one another, and, and that word, manage comes up, but it really is about a connection that you make, and if you can make that connection, you know, whether it’s, you know, and I always believed that things should be high, you know, not hierarchical, moving up and down. But they should be lateral. Like, when you treat your, your, whoever you’re working with, whether it’s your boss, if you’re an employee, or whether you’re an associate, or what pick the title is, you got to work, you know, horizontally, you know, meaning that you do what you do really well, I do what I do really well. But I, you know, I have to make sure that everybody has that same respect for one another, so that you can truly make a connection, and have a relationship with everybody. So I think that’s, that’s amazing. I want to just jump back for a bit here. Because the I want to go back to what was it like for you, at the very beginning, when you say you just got out of school? And what was the transition? Like from going from the school and getting into a salon the first time because so many of our listeners and watchers out and people watching right now or are they’re in that they’re in that area where they just got out of school? But what was it like for you? And what advice would you give to people when you’re just joining in at a at a salon?

Min Kim 14:02
I mean, I think you have to find the right environment that fits. Number one, so when I first started in New York, I think, you know, I was at two other salons to other large well known salons of more, I ended up at Butterfly, and this May is actually going to be my 20th year there, which is crazy, because I can’t believe I can say that I’ve been somewhere for 20 years. But you know, it’s I found my home and my people like my clients, my co workers like everyone there it’s grown tremendously from when I first started, and it’s insane now because it’s like, you know, whether you’re someone that’s in the early 20s That doesn’t have family or you’re a single working mom or you have kids like there’s really been this kind of fluid movement and how we’re working. So it’s been able to work for me where, you know, I still work with L’Oreal Professional in the US and internationally. And then I’m still able to go there and take clients. And everyone kind of knows what I’m doing. So everyone loves it respects it, but I also respect my clients and their time and also the salon. Right?

Chris Baran 15:20
And how did that grow into that, like, did? What was that? Was there something that you got along the way that you learned along the way that from the time that you got out of school, jumped into the salon, and you went, oh, oh, my God, I’m in a different arena, or did you not have that? And then what was the things that the build up things that whether it was that two, three years, 10 years, whatever? What were the things that you learned along the way, from when you just got in the salon, that that really helped you right now,

Min Kim 15:49
I think, again, going back to what we’re talking about, just like anticipating things, and seeing things before they needed to happen. So I think that’s something where it really makes you stand out. And then from early on in my career, I would say that I just did everything possible. So whether it was doing a million models, or 500, Dolly heads or making mistakes, but instead of beating myself up trying to figure out why that happened, and how to get out of it. And I think really starting to in my 20s I would say it was really hard on myself, I made a lot of mistakes, like we all do. But once I started developing and maturing and my 30s. And it was really about like how do you take these mistakes and turn them into lessons? And what can you learn? You know, and it’s when you’re when you’re in the poop, you just keep walking like you don’t just stay stuck in it, you just have to keep moving. So Let’s always be forward thinking keep saying yes to things even when you don’t want to. Because sometimes, when you do those things, that’s when people remember the way you showed up. So always show up.

Chris Baran 17:03
Yeah, wouldn’t you agree that I mean, sometimes, like you said something that I really liked it in there, which was that the mistakes are what lead to the lessons. And the reality is none of us know how to do anything the first time, you know, we might intuitively know or we might think we know. But you know, it’s it’s, I mean, I’ve said this 100 times, but what I think is so messed up about our society is that everything’s got to be what we call this definition of perfect meaning. It’s got to be done right and we never give anybody a chance to just learn and we know that we learn by making mistakes and we just end in mistakes isn’t like we jumped off a bridge and died it just something that happened that we need to happen and we learned from it and we can move on we get better each time. Right and I think that’s what I love that you said in there is that you know if you’re gonna make a mistake, just understand that there is a lesson in there and you’re gonna get better for it. And if you don’t, you’re just gonna get stuck right?

Min Kim 17:56
It’s like the glass half full or half empty mindset. It’s got it so you know, everyone has things happening. Good and bad, but it’s just how we deal with it and what you take from it. Though we

Chris Baran 18:12
said if the glass is half full or half empty, there’s always more room for Scotch the the now tells me that that being a Bali aaj expert, this is not what did you have was or what you got out of it all along. Was there something that happened that all of a sudden you hit here’s the switch, here’s the thing that I that I that I learned to do differently that that now I love it and when I didn’t Did you like it all the time? Did you ever make a mistake and a Bali? asure or,

Min Kim 18:47
oh my God, my balayage was was horrible. Like, I literally started doing balayage from the Academy with L’Oreal because my balayage was so horrible that the owner of the salon sent me in and was like, hey, Nance, Nancy, Ron, I’ve got a kid who’s got some promise, but she needs some balayage help. And that’s kind of how my journey started. And I discovered that it wasn’t balayage That was terrible. It was just my application. That sucked. Got it. I

Chris Baran 19:21
love it. I love it. And sometimes that’s all we need a little outside help, right? And do you have you always like, Are you the one that always says, Okay, here’s education. I’m going to see it. I’m doing it right away. I don’t care who it is. Where are you? What are you ever? Did you ever hold back from any education? Or was it always you’ve been an education junkie.

Min Kim 19:43
I’m always for learning as many different perspectives as possible. So I love to watch all the things like I might not do haircuts, but I like understanding how things happen. And I think that really helps to be can’t make You become a better colorist if you have a full understanding, especially because in major cities, we are departmentalized. Yeah. So it’s different than when you’re doing everything and you get to create the full book.

Chris Baran 20:11
Yeah. And you know what? I’m not sure if what I saw was when you were talking about balayage, but I saw an Instagram hit that you did know so little about it, you can tell that I don’t even know what the hell they’re called. But I saw the video that you did. And I remember you have you had this girl sitting in your chair. And you had people watching all the way around and you had put a I believe it was two ponytails or two clips on the side, and you had the back hair separated, and you had the top areas that were going to rest on top of that out of the way. And then you talked about in your consultation, how you determine whether you’re going to be covering one or the other, or both. Do you remember that one? Because I thought it was so profound. Could you give us just a like, give us the highlight? And I saw it, I thought it was brilliant. And it could you just walk us through it.

Min Kim 21:09
So I think people, clients tell us to professionals what to do too often. But a lot of times, I look at them, and I say you know, I show them what needs to be done. So if they have long hair, I flick the back to the front. And I asked them, How does this look? Do you want this to be lighter or brighter? Do you want more, because if they want this to be addressed, then that’s a full head. So it’s not even a comment, I just take the canvas and use that and make that a conversation starter. And it’s little things like a lot of times what I do before videos, I show my clients the back of their head because they don’t look at the back of their head. So they have no idea. So if you’re not turning them around and showing them these things and explaining to them when you have a layered shattered cut, you can’t just do a half ahead, right? Because you’re not paying the whole haircut.

Chris Baran 22:04
Yep, yep. Yeah. And it’s also there’s another one that comes up is if you don’t relate that to somebody if that’s going to cut her hair, if you’re not cutting it, that’s where that stigma comes in is that if you color it first, then the cutter and you let’s say you don’t have the underneath colored but you do have the top colored and then the the cutter goes in and layers the whole thing right then your whole color technique is wrecked. Right? Yeah. So I think that’s that’s and I love that and I also love that you said I don’t always How did you I can’t remember exactly what you said but I loved it. You said I don’t always do what they want. I’m paraphrasing, but tell us a little bit more about that.

Min Kim 22:49
So I think social media is wonderful because it’s really made our clients more educated. But it’s also made it a little bit of a nightmare because they come in telling you they want barley OSH when it’s a bleach out but they’re currently on a balayage because they created gradient look with the root mouth and colors. So it’s the terminology is being thrown around but it’s like okay, that’s not actually what that is it might be a color transformation, which the way I book a transformation is I charge by the hour because that is intense work. So a lot of these colors that they see you know are hours and hours of work but they’re just seeing the quick final result with the the beginning and they don’t get that everything that happens in the middle is quite labor intensive. You know, so I think that having the education is wonderful, but it’s also making it unrealistic when they think they know more than us.

Chris Baran 23:59
So what do you do when they come in like they they’ve they booked out for a certain thing and then they come in and want something totally different. What do you do? What do you do in that range? I mean, everybody has their opinion and what they do but what do you what does men do?

Min Kim 24:11
Well what min does is min doesn’t allow new clients in her chair without a consultation. So I do either a virtual or in person and depending on what they want and I literally had a girl who I had a consultation with her lovely girl. She told me that she had box dyed her hair blue nude been six months and she showed me a photo it was basically like level six neutral with like, you know level nine Sandy highlights on the ends and I was like, yeah,

Chris Baran 24:47
for an hour.

Min Kim 24:48
There’s a lot of color history, but this is someone that would have just booked in for half ahead. But I told her like you need to come in we I want to do a strand test. See what the color history is. And then once we go from here, I can give her some options about if you want to do a full transformation, which case she’s gonna have to find a day where I’m available at least three hours in a row. More, it’s a journey. And that’s something where we’re going to do it in steps, that’s more budget friendly. So I give them the options. And it’s like, a lot of times, like, they want to go from zero to 20 in one visit, but their hair handle it, right. If they’re doing thermal styling every day with it at the highest setting, and they’re not protecting their hair, you know, all these things factor into chemical risk, which I just want to make sure that I’m setting myself up properly. So when they come in, they know what to expect, financially. And also for me, I need them to commit to a certain regimen, right? If they’re going to do major color.

Chris Baran 25:55
I love it. I am trying to remember the person who said this, and I, rather than giving him proper credit, but I remember somebody saying that your hair is gonna sound like a weird metaphor, but they said Your hair is like a steak. And I apologize to anybody out there who’s vegan, and etc. But he said, if you’re want to medium rare steak, and you’ve got it well done, I can’t take it back to medium rare. You’ve got to give me time to help to regrow reprint and, you know, replace, you know, recondition your hair to get it back to where we actually can do these in steps. I love what you said about that. Do you turn Do you ever turn a client away? Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. How do you do so and tell us? What’s the circumstance? But then also, how do you do it? So that you do it so that you don’t just get lost? Or do you do it? So they can they can come back? But what are the what are the different circumstances?

Min Kim 26:56
I mean, if I have someone where their hair is damaged, and I won’t take them immediately I tell them that, you know, I might want them to come in and start doing a treatment series. And honestly, the first thing I do is I take a piece of their hair and I do a strand test. If the hair snaps if they see that. Yeah, it’s like, you got to work with me, like help me help you. And if you’re not doing the things you need to properly make sure that we’re starting with a good foundation. Because even if I do fantastic color, if the hair isn’t being taken care of, it’s not gonna look good, and it’s not gonna last.

Chris Baran 27:33
Yeah. And and you’re gonna blame us, right? Yeah, it’s helped

Min Kim 27:37
me help you. Like, doesn’t matter how great I am. If you’re not doing the treatments. If you’re not doing the shampoos, conditioners, if you’re not following our regimen or recommendations coming in for glossing, trims all these things, you know, you can’t come in once and then expect it to look great for two years.

Chris Baran 27:58
Yes, yeah. And the so the do you that so that sounds to me, I mean, you’re still got that client, you’re giving them the right recommendations, just like your doctor would do. And they and then they come back when they’re ready, a new a new, a new bring you you do the services when you can do them? Do what do you do? Do you ever have? Do you have clients that come in that I’m not sure how to say it either a, you know, you either get along with somebody and have a great relationship with them or don’t. And I remember, I’m not behind the chair all the time anymore. But I remember when I was I had, I had people that would come in. And I was ecstatic when I saw their name on on the book. But I also saw people that would come in and would go oh my god, and it would kind of ruin my day when I saw they’re in and it was actually affected all the other people around them. So I knew I how I handled those do you how do you handle those? I

Min Kim 28:54
am lucky enough at this point in my career where they have pretty much weeded themselves out. A lot of it is that you know, my prices are at a point where the clients that come to see me really want to see me and a lot of them are people that I’ve moved out of state and they’re coming in and scheduling their business trips around when their hair needs to be read on. You know, I’m I also have a lot of these clients where it’s, I’m not in the salon consistently anymore as well. So I always tell them, if you can’t get in, just send me a message and I’ll see how I can work you win. So even if that means I go in earlier or I stay later but I mean I really want to do that for my clients. But at this point, even the new ones because of social media, they’ve researched me so well. So they have an idea of what their experience in the chair is going to be like they have an idea of who I am as a person so they know coming very well versed in saying what it is that they want and also like they haven’t expectation of what their experience is going to be. Yeah.

Chris Baran 30:05
This episode is sponsored by the salon associate accelerator from trainers playbook.com. Are you struggling with the time and cost of associate training? Do you feel like your salon is running, you will get your associates on the floor, all with 90% Less time from you. So you can get back to building your business. Get them world class design, finishing color, and client care skills they’ll use every day for the rest of their career. While you focus on realizing your vision, go to trainers playbook.com and get the salon associate accelerator. And now back to the show. Yeah, and I think the, you know, the person I’m thinking about right now, because I mean, you and I have traveled kind of this Apex where we are right now. But I always keep thinking about, I remember when I first started, and I’m sure there’s kids out there that are listening watching right now they’re saying they’ve got that Yeah, but theory. Yeah, but I’m just starting off. I don’t have I haven’t got a full soul book yet. I have to be careful. I can’t just go indiscriminately firing people or making them unavailable. What is there anything? Is there? Do you have clients that you might have wanted at to one time get rid of but yet now they’re a good client with you entrust you more? How would you advise that? That young kids starting off that, you know, their boss is going got to be booked, gotta be booked, gotta be booked and that they have somebody that they don’t want to do? Or they don’t like doing? What would things that you would tell that person?

Min Kim 31:44
Sometimes it’s just about saying that I don’t think we’re the right fit. And I think that you’re going to be much happier having your hair done with someone else, they’re going to be a better fit for you. So a lot of times to even when I’m recommending someone to get a haircut, I asked them what kind of experience they want. Right? So if they want someone that’s quiet and doesn’t talk too much, then I know it’s this person, if they want someone that’s super quick, I know it’s this person. I think it’s that kind of thing to where it’s like, I might not be your cup of tea, because a lot of times I tell people if you don’t want to know the truth, don’t ask me a question. Yeah, there’s a lot of times people come in, they just want you to blow fairy dust up their butt. And I’m like, this isn’t realistic, right? So I’m great at what I do. But this isn’t, you have five hairs on your head, and you’re showing me an Asian woman with more hair than mine. Yeah, a lot of times, it’s like, if you can see that your your visions are not aligned, it’s never gonna work. And once you recognize that it’s okay, just to acknowledge that and said, this isn’t the right, this isn’t the right relationship for either of us. But I’m happy to recommend someone else. Or you know, if there’s another type of experience you’re looking for, we can find that for you. Yeah,

Chris Baran 33:04
I love that you use the word, the experience you’re looking for. Because you’re not necessarily saying experience of two years versus 20 years in the business, you’re saying, what’s the kind of person that you want to deal with? So and that person that that it could be even somebody else in the salon who has, you know, a different different tastes a different style than yours? Right? And, and it still can be within the salon. But I love what you said there because I think that you know, what you permit you promote? And I think you, if you let all those people come in and you’re doing that kind of hair, then that’s the people you’re going to draw, because they’re going to hang around with people like them. And that’s you’re just building your clientele. How do you want to build your clientele? Right. You know, I remember when I first I, you know, you would hopefully never knew knew me when I was like this, but I had, I had hair down partway to my waist, you know, layered, and it has a natural wave. And it’s why we you know, I always look more like the Cowardly Lion than anything but I had this full head of red of a reddish blond hair. And you can tell from the color right now, but the they, you know, that was the hair. Everybody looked at my hair and they said they came to me because that’s the hair I wore. So that’s what I attracted and finally and outed I had I just cut all my hair off just so that I didn’t track those kinds of people anymore. I know you’re probably looking at me go and cover the lineup Okay, I want to just I wanted to kind of shift here for a second because you uh, you kind of went that, that route were busy in the salon. You’re packed all the time now. But then there’s that shift that happens with hairdressers where they can get lured into want whatever and want to get on to the educational side. How did that happen for you? What like how did all of a sudden have I’m in the hairdresser packed with clients. And next day I’m on stage, how did that happen for you?

Min Kim 35:05
You know, it kind of happened accidentally, I want to say that I remember I just had to look up my start year. So I believe may have 2004 No 2000 Oh, crap, I forgot it. Anyway, my start here.

Chris Baran 35:29
This was in education education, I

Min Kim 35:32
got started because the brand needed someone to teach a class. And the salon owner knew that I was like using it and all the ways you were supposed to and not supposed to. So she recommended me and it got me put in front of the VP of education at the time. And I did two classes out in California. And it was right around when the balayage team was being formed. And you know, Nancy knew my work and Kato shell who was there at the time. So it just kind of all came together where I was saying yes to things where I didn’t know what I was walking into. I was going into environments, teaching classes and salons where I didn’t know what I was doing. But I did it. And I was just sharing what I know. And I think it’s really like the way you connect with people. And then if you’re also able to exchange and share information, then that really when education is something that comes naturally. Yeah, no, it just started from there. Yeah,

Chris Baran 36:39
cuz it’s interesting, isn’t it? How does you see so many we can you can tell that you have that this affinity to connect with people. And and I think that, that just creates a great relationship with everybody. And I think that’s the hardest part for most people when they transfer from doing hair at the chair to crack trying to teach where they’re actually building relationships with people. Because, you know, there’s that saying that we have people, people, people buy you, and then they’ll pay that’ll pay for a stage for you to stand on. But if they don’t, if you don’t come across as somebody that they can relate to, then doesn’t matter how good you are. They don’t they don’t buy into you. And then consequently they don’t buy into what you’re selling. Which is you in the product and everything else. How was that? How was that at first? Did you? Did you? When you were doing the education? did? Was there ever any? Is there any screw ups that happened? Or things when you did the first time’s up? Maybe you put on putting notes notes that you did to yourself? And you said, Well, I will never do that on. Try that one again. Or I’m gonna shift that when you were doing your education, what was what was that? Like?

Min Kim 37:54
I think when I was trying to be the educator, you know, at the theater, I stressed myself out. It made me forget the things that I knew versus me just being me. And I think this is what’s interesting is like, you know, education has really blown up, I think in so many different ways in the last few years because of what the world is going through. But education is also like not everyone is the same. So I think what people have to really think about is, what is it about you that makes you you and share that verb instead of you trying to be like, Chris, are you trying to be like men, like when you try to be a mini me of someone else, it comes across as completely authentic. But when you’re able to tap into what it is that makes your heart sing, or what part of your past or your learning experience or journey that you can share. That’s when these connections are really, really formed. So I think it’s just like, you know, anyone that wants to be in education or even when you’re like starting on the floor, how to connect with the people, once you figure out how to connect with the individual and or the audience. That’s what things really change.

Chris Baran 39:22
Yeah. And that’s, that’s profound. And you said something that just made me think of this. Never come into my head before. But I think when you think about if you take a look at a production video where somebody’s pretty, it’s produced, everything’s right on it. People always go well, I can never live up to that. But what when you look at Instagram and they see somebody make a mistake, or they talk about the mistakes that happen or they’re just themselves in there. They’re just being their true, authentic self. Then they immediately go Okay, good. I’ll forgive you have any little foibles that you might have going to have. But when and there’s this in education, we always kind of when you get stuck in your head, and that’s when your authenticity goes, you’re trying to climb out of a hole that you’ve dug yourself into. And that’s the hardest thing for people to do. Because then they get in their head, they can’t recall the message they’re trying to deliver. Whereas, you know, what I found is if you’re doing that, and you just say to the people look at I don’t know what happened there. I’m just, you know, I don’t even know how I kind of messed that up. Let me start over on that. And it kind of gives yourself that permission. That so when you when you do something wrong, that just to say, look, I kind of screwed that up, didn’t I here, let me start over. And I think that brings you right back to where they trust you again, because they see you as a human being. Yeah. The along the way, along the way, did you have was there mentors that you had? Things that helped you along? If you had to was are you more self sufficient? I didn’t need all the people don’t need other people to help me along? Or is your people that really guided you?

Min Kim 41:06
Um, I want to say, I mean, my education career has been with L’Oreal professionnel. Yeah. And I think along the way, we’ve had many great leaders and people that were able to provide us with so many different types of trainings. And I think that, you know, whether it was personal or professional development, just any work on development has really helped to have an impact on both aspects of life. So even if it was just a work workshop, that there was some application where in my life, I was like, Oh, well, this kind of crosses over. And if I do that, oh, my goodness, look, I’m having results there too. Oh, yeah. Having like this full 360 experience, and just being more present and aware, has been very helpful.

Chris Baran 42:04
You’re making me think here, because I’m, you know, I’m in that same thing. I’m obviously I’ve been involved with manufacturers for years. And I always love when I see that that name on the top left hand corner of the check when it comes to me. I wonder, like, for the, like, if I wouldn’t have got involved with them? Would I have all the training, personal development, professional development? What have I gotten that? You know, what have I got it in the same way? What I what I put myself out there for it or, like, because I remember even starting off that if they said that there was a when I first got into the industry, and that that’s I’m not proud of who I was at that time, because I was I was the guy collecting a paycheck. But when they came around to say there was an educational event on the weekend, I went, Man, you know, it’s going to cut into my party time on the weekend, and I just would never go. Whereas once you’re ingrained in it, it makes a big difference doesn’t that it? You know, it makes a big difference on how you how you see your growth based on what you get from other people. Yeah.

Min Kim 43:19
And I think like at this point, it’s like I’m learning every day from everyone. So even my eight year old to battling because I’m discovering he’s a lazy smart student. Oh, sounds familiar. So I’m like, I know all your tricks. Yes. But you know, even taking everything I’ve learned and now I’m applying it with an eight year old is flexing her brain in a different way than I’ve been. So it’s constant. Ya

Chris Baran 43:50
know, I think especially with growing up and partners, etc, I’ve learned with my wife never, she knows my trick. So she drinks it the other way around. She said don’t do bloody well debrief me, you know, so if the the, if you were at wanting to have somebody that was wanted to be successful at, you know, you you probably have three traits that you have within you, that make you great at being at being at the chair but also being a good communicator with your clients and with people that you got to teach. If you could what was what would traits that you would say that you know, you have that other people that they were just starting off and it’s something that they should Hone more, what would traits that they should really think about

Min Kim 44:45
listening? I think also being present and paying attention, especially like to the energy of what’s happening You know, otherwise you’re going to be completely off and miss the target in so many ways. Like, maybe the hair will turn out, right? Or you’re not going to connect with the person because you’re just not paying attention. And also to be persistent.

Chris Baran 45:18
Oh, in what way?

Min Kim 45:21
I mean, don’t you can’t be afraid of failure. If someone doesn’t like something, don’t let that ruin, you just try to figure out how to make it better. And I think the solution oriented mindset is something where instead of being a victim, when you see something happen, think of the ways to make it. Right. Right. So and I think if people were more solution oriented, then it would eliminate a lot of complaining. Because when someone’s complaining, they’re just talking, right? Yeah. Yeah. Offering answers. It’s a little different than, you know, just listening to the noise.

Chris Baran 46:06
Yeah. The I love what you said, especially about the listening. And I remember in a book that I read is that listening is different than waiting for your turn to talk? Yes. You know, and what I heard from you is just true listening will often inside there give you the solution that you’re looking for, if you if you talk and question deep enough, and so on. So I think that’s brilliant.

Min Kim 46:35
proper consultation, right. Yeah. And

Chris Baran 46:38
you know what, it’s funny, isn’t it? That I mean, I’m stating something that we’ve all said before. It was, I think it came from a study that L’Oreal did that 97% of hairdressers said that they provide a consultation, but only 7% of the stylists said that they actually got one beyond like, what do you want? So there is a huge misconception of what actually true consultation? Really, really is. Right? Is, is there and I’m hoping I’m not asking you to give away any trade secrets here. But what what is it? Like? Is there a step approach or a one a, you know, a five step approach that you do like things? What do you ask, or how do you employ in your consultation?

Min Kim 47:19
I mean, it’s always open ended questions, right? Yeah, that’s a basic rule. And it’s really just to extract I look at the consultation as my opportunity to extract as much information as possible, right, not just about their hair, it’s about their lifestyle, it’s about their budget. It’s about do they have special things coming up. So it’s really trying to understand who this person is, and then figuring out a look, that’s going to work for them. And if they want something, and it’s not realistic, I’m going to tell them, I don’t want you looking, walking around for six months with your hair looking crazy, like, Don’t commit to this type of schedule, then this is what I could offer you instead. Yeah, and yeah, this is what to expect. And this will be the iteration and the variation of color. So you know, if it gets to this point, then come in for a loss. And then we’ll see if we can do more. But I feel like that way, it becomes a much more collaborative experience as well. And that’s when I think you really get that client. So instead of there’s some people that like being told what to do. But I think because there’s so much information out there now people really want to be part of the experience, right? So at least when you have this type of exchange, then you’re going to be more confident that you’re delivering what they want. And they’re also going to be more clear on telling you and showing you what it is that they want.

Chris Baran 48:44
Yeah, and I love there’s something there’s a word that you used in there, that I’ve heard a lot of people talk about consultation before, but very few. And I’m no I’m gonna get letters on this one, because people be saying I do and if you’re doing it awesome, but you said budget, and I think that’s the hardest part for most hairdressers. I mean, if you’re if you’re watching or listening out there, and you came from my background where you, you know, money wasn’t easy to come by, and you feel that you were always, you know, it sounded like a sale or you’re digging into their pocket book or whatever, when you’re talking about how much it’s gonna cost them. I think a lot of people are afraid to just talk money to people. And and so give me a Can you give us a little more like, when you talk budget to people? How do you what do you do with that? Is it how do you get across this? Well, first of all, in your mindset, was there a trigger that you had to go through? Well, listen, I How did you get your mindset for it right first, and then what are the words you use?

Min Kim 49:49
I think that really it’s about managing expectations. So that’s when I asked them like, what can you commit to? Can you cut it like For doing someone so like, for example, I have a ton of clients that I do Bali, aaj highlights and lowlights. It’s not perfect for white coverage, but it’s white blending. So I call it a search and destroy mission and make it like a game, right. But once they start coming in, and if I see that they’re good, they’re coming in, they went from every three months to now I’m seeing them every eight weeks. And the first thing they talk about is their white hair, then I know it’s time to have a different convert conversation. And literally like, listen, you’re coming in every eight weeks, you’re spending $610, to do this highlight low light combination, versus if you come every six to eight weeks, and it’s $260. And we’re getting perfect white coverage, you’re getting better results of what’s bothering you. And it’s basically costing the same. So can you commit to the time, and I plan it out for them that way, because it’s they might think that it’s a lot. But if you think about what they’re spending in that interim, and then the the benefit of how much happier they’re going to be not stressing that their white hair is showing. And this is something but again, this is all part of that conversation that we have to have. But if someone isn’t able to maintain something, they might not start off with permanent color, maybe there’ll be a demo permanent for for great coverage. Maybe there’ll be a highlight low light combination. So it just depends. And that’s when that dialogue happens. How often do you want to be here

Chris Baran 51:40
because if they don’t live, if they’re not in the in the exact vicinity of where you are, because, you know, I know, I know of you. And I know that you have people that are traveling from all over the world just to come and sit in your chair. So if that’s not set up in advance, then you’re you’re really setting setting yourself up and them for failure. If they don’t either know what’s going to happen the next time or you can’t do anything, you just can’t do it, even though I flew in from whatever city,

Min Kim 52:06
right? I mean, ideally, they’re making their next appointment while they’re in the chair, and we’re looking at my schedule. And then I also, and they give me a ton of grace, because you know, you know how it is things come up last minute. So they’ll work with me, but that’s why I also work with them. So if that means I stay a little later or comment a little earlier than I’m happy to do that.

Chris Baran 52:27
Yeah, but I read in one article that I think you talked about is that you were talking about balance. You know, and I think that’s a word that’s coming up a lot lately, but I’m hearing from people is that because you’re a mom, you’ve got you’ve got your it’s your boy, right? You have a son at home. And and you have to have some balance in there too. If you’re like as you what did 60 Plus in your career 60 countries or whatever that you’ve been in, that’s a lot of travel. So you’ve got to have some balance in there too. So that you actually know what your son looks like when you get when you get home. Yes,

Min Kim 53:02
so I actually so now I have experiences with him. And you know, back in the day, I used to work like crazy and then go to to loom every three months or whatever. But now that’s too blood. It’s busy. It’s too crazy. But now Jake and I we started surfing together. So every six months we go to Costa Rica, we have a coach that we work with us but like Yeah, and it’s like the shared experience where you know, one day when he’s a he’s a young man. I’m able to tell him your old mom is the one that took you on a surfboard for the first time.

Chris Baran 53:46
I love it. Where do you go when you go to Costa Rica, where do you go? Tamarindo Tamarindo. Now that West Coast East Coast it’s

Min Kim 53:55
on the west kind of in the middle, say a giant to Liberia. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Baran 54:05
Interesting. Yeah. I’ve been there a number of times and I just I just love the beach. I love the weather. The weather is just phenomenal there as long as you’re not in the monsoons. But yeah, I that’s one of my favorite places. If I was there I was actually going to buy a home where that we could I could have bought a home on the beach there beach frontage and I think I can’t remember what it was it was like I can remember to 300,000 for this and I would have had to put in another 100 to make it but I’m kicking myself that I never bought it now because now it’s just through the roof. No but so congrats I love that you get that in there with with Jake that’s awesome. What what is it that pushes you what pushes men to keep you growing? etc. What is it? What is that thing?

Min Kim 54:59
Um Well, I get bored easily. Oh, so I need constant challenges and change of scenery. So like, I think if I did one thing only, I would be incredibly bored and unhappy. But that’s why as hard as it is to manage the travel and being in 100 different places, and wearing, you know, so many different hats. It really is what keeps me going. And I think like, I have a high functioning brain in the sense that there’s a ton of stuff happening all the time. And if there was less happening, I think that’s when my soul would slowly like we couldn’t travel and like see people that was like, horrible

Chris Baran 55:40
as hell for you. Yes. So do you have people that I mean, let’s face it, you’ve got a family, you’re traveling, you’re in the salon, when it comes to arrangements, like booking flights? And I’ll do you have to do all that? Do you have somebody that helps you with it? Actually,

Min Kim 55:54
I have a management team and social arthouse, and they do help me with everything happening here in the US. And then I also have people that I work with in Paris. So they help with all the international stuff. So I get a lot of money from all over the world. So I have a lot of amazing people that support me. Yeah,

Chris Baran 56:17
yeah. And it just I think there are so many people that when they start in this, they want to do it all themselves. But the little stuff is what will kill you. Yeah, you know, do what you want to do. And then I always say just hire hire people or have other people that are on your team do that work for you, even if it doesn’t work out every time. But that to me is really, really important. In your, in your evolution of where men got to and where is now. And this is going to be kind of a two parter. Well, I’m gonna ask you one part now and one part later. But in that evolution evolutionary process of where you got to where you are now, is there something that you wish you wouldn’t have done?

Min Kim 57:06
Hair related or

Chris Baran 57:07
anything in your evolutionary process, something that you went diamond, if I would have done that, I could have got there quicker, faster, whatever. What was there something that you wish you that you wouldn’t have done in that climb?

Min Kim 57:22
It’s Yes. And no, I almost wonder. I think there was so many benefits to me going to cosmetology school after university after having had a little work experience. But part of me wonders, like if I had gone to trade school right after, yeah, and I had a 10 year start, like, what more could I have been doing? But then I feel like I’m just being greedy. Because I’ve been blessed. I’ve had so many amazing things come my way. And I’ve worked very hard for it. So then I’m like, really men?

Chris Baran 58:02
Yeah, but you know, I agree with you. But I also the things that I’ve learned along the way as well, when it comes to that is abundance is okay. You know, it’s okay if like, if whether you want more of something that’s financial, spiritual, energy wise, you know, just the way that things happen, it’s okay to, to, to, and I had to learn it from a coach of mine, who just said look at if you’re not, if you don’t have abundance, as a part of the values that you have, you can’t really expect yourself to go that extra mile because it is something that you can have our world is built on that you can have what you really want. And, and I to me that’s always stuck with me. And I thank you for I mean, it was just, it was a great answer.

Min Kim 58:49
I was gonna say thank you for that.

Chris Baran 58:55
But listen, it was I just won’t come to that part where to start. There’s kind of this rapid fire stuff that we go through right now. So I’m just going to ask you a series of questions. Just you know, one two, quick sentence whatever comes to your brain. Okay. What turns you on in the creative process?

Min Kim 59:15

Chris Baran 59:17
and what stifles it.

Min Kim 59:19
Huh. Boundaries, huh?

Chris Baran 59:23
Yeah, cuz that, yeah, we want you to do this, but you can’t but you can’t stay within rules. Love it. An event or a show that you’ve done in the past that just you loved. I know. There’s many but first one that comes to your mind that shows you that you did that was just an OMG This was amazing.

Min Kim 59:42
Well, I just did an event in Paris and we hosted over 700 Chinese clients. Wow. And yeah, so I got to kind of work as the liaison between the corporate world and the You and the artists, yeah. So to be able to function in that manner, I was very, very proud of. So I got to work with my friends. And also, like, just participate on a stage where, you know, they use social platforms that we don’t have. Right. So it was all like, very interesting learning experiences. So I love that I’m constantly getting to do new things. That’s

Chris Baran 1:00:26
awesome. This is not written down here to everything, but it just kind of sparked to me when you said about doing it for six to 700 Chinese customers. Do you speak another language? No. That’s amazing. Because at first I thought, well, what are you translating? What were you doing there?

Min Kim 1:00:45
I was hosting the events. But I want to I understand a little bit of Spanish, a little bit of Hebrew, a little bit of French, but not enough to let me survive in any way. Yeah, gotcha. I’m

Chris Baran 1:00:59
pretty much the same way with English. A thing a thing in life that you dislike the most

Min Kim 1:01:10
thing in life that I dislike most? Yeah. I guess conflict.

Chris Baran 1:01:17
Yeah. And the thing in life that you love the most.

Min Kim 1:01:22
Discovery and love

Chris Baran 1:01:25
most difficult time in your life

Min Kim 1:01:32
probably my divorce.

Chris Baran 1:01:38
A thing that you dislike about our industry.

Min Kim 1:01:44
I think that I dislike about our industry. Hmm. I think that we get a really bad reputation. And I think that part of what we’re doing is to help dispel that false narrative that we’re not smart and successful and you know, business.

Chris Baran 1:02:08
I think that you just answered it, but I put the next one was what thing that you like the most about our industry? So I think that you I’m not sure if that was because that came out there at the same time. Proudest moment of your life.

Min Kim 1:02:23
Proudest moment, my life. It’s actually funny, but I was at my kids report card meeting. And his teacher was telling me that during their group, I guess they were looking up. Parents, but Jake was like, Oh, my mom. You can look her up online. Oh, this is my kid like sharing. Class. So I thought that was notable.

Chris Baran 1:02:55
Um, that’s brilliant. Brilliant. Yeah. A person that you wish you could meet living or dead.

Min Kim 1:03:03
person I wish I could meet living or dead. Probably my grandfather, my mom’s father. Like a mystery.

Chris Baran 1:03:10
Ah, interesting. ask them some questions. Right? Yeah. a month off. Where would you go? What would you do?

Min Kim 1:03:18
A month I would either go to Hawaii or Costa Rica and surf.

Chris Baran 1:03:23
Nice. greatest fear.

Min Kim 1:03:27
greatest fear. Hmm. failing.

Chris Baran 1:03:35
Favorite curse word? Fuck. favorite comfort food?

Min Kim 1:03:41

Chris Baran 1:03:43
I’ll see you next time on New York. I want to find out I want to because I love Korean food. Especially the Korean barbecue. So I got lists. Oh, I want them I want them because I absolutely love it. And I love Kim Chi. And let’s see so if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

Min Kim 1:04:09
Um, I work on this every day and it’s to be more patient.

Chris Baran 1:04:15
Your most treasured possession

Min Kim 1:04:18
my child of course. Something

Chris Baran 1:04:21
in the industry you haven’t done but want to

Min Kim 1:04:25
something? I’m going to put it out there teach a haircutting class there

Chris Baran 1:04:30
you go girl. Okay, one do over in your life. If you had something you could do over what would it be?

Min Kim 1:04:40
If I could do something over? I would probably listen to my parents more instead of doing the exact

Chris Baran 1:04:47
opposite. Yeah, there you go. Okay, tomorrow you couldn’t do hair. You couldn’t do anything hair related. What would you do?

Min Kim 1:04:58
I couldn’t do hair. What Do anything hair related? Do I have someone to financially support me or do I have to be like make

Chris Baran 1:05:05
that happen? Okay,

Min Kim 1:05:06
I will go back to school. Oh, very good.

Chris Baran 1:05:09
Okay, last one. What What if you had one wish for industry? What would it be?

Min Kim 1:05:17
I would that we all have reasonable health insurance and childcare access. Yeah.

Chris Baran 1:05:25
Yeah. There you go. Listen before we kind of sign this off here, but I want to know if people want to get a hold of you. Where Where do they go? What do they do?

Min Kim 1:05:39
Hit me up on Instagram at min Kim colorist. Look forward to connecting with everyone soon.

Chris Baran 1:05:47
Beautiful. Yeah, so definitely everybody you want to go out there and say it again? It’s men hair colorist? Men Kim colourise min Kim colorist? Yes. And that’s an that’s an install, right?

Min Kim 1:06:00
Yes. Instagram. Talk. Yep. All all the things.

Chris Baran 1:06:06
Man. I’ve got a new a new friend on here. It’s funny how just having some conversation about this really helps you to know people. So I just want to thank you for giving up your time and being here for our audience and saying thank you so much. Really appreciate you. My

Min Kim 1:06:22
pleasure. So nice to connect with you and let me know when you’re in town for that Korean barbecue.

Chris Baran 1:06:27
We’re gonna do that. That’s that’s a date. I love it. Showing on time I just bought on my heart. I just want to say thank you. You’ve been an inspiration for many, many people. Me included. I just want to say thank you for everything you do. Thank

Min Kim 1:06:39
you, Chris. Thank you. Appreciate it.

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