In 2010 I was contacted by a friend and former colleague to see if I would be willing to contribute an editorial for his latest start-up project, OCBESPOKE. OCEBESPOKE was intended to provide hairdressers and hairstylists a very simple, easily customizable, online web-solution for a low monthly payment.  I spent several days doing some research, primarily looking through census information and industry studies, until I had enough material to put together a short contribution piece. I’ve included the piece he used on his site below, as his site is no longer online.




et’s face it; the economy is heading for a double-dipping recession. In laymen’s terms this translates to a recession that follows a short-lived recovery from a previous recession. That means times will continue to be tough for the market, for me, for you. When the economy is in such a standstill our endeavors for financial and occupational success need to be as effective as they possibly can. Opening shop on any street corner will not guarantee a thing except a bill for rent and utilities. For one to have a shot at true success in this market, especially as a hairdresser in Southern California, public image and advertising is everything! Here are some statistics just to bring light on the matter.

According to the United States Census Bureau the California 2008 per capita income was roughly $29,405 with an average family income of $69,659. Both figures are roughly 2-6 thousand dollars greater than the national average. Looking at Southern California counties, Ventura County is ranked 7th in state and 77th in the nation in per capita and household incomes. Orange County – 11th in state 119th in nation, Santa Barbara County – 17th in state, 241st in nation, San Diego County – 18th in state, 253rd in nation, Los Angeles County – 26th in state 481st in nation. Speculatively, these figures speak for themselves – there really is money to be made!

Labor market data regarding Hairdressers and hairstylists in California reveal some interesting details. In 2010, the average wage is $21,468 annually or $10.32 hourly. This is the median point, which half of workers earn more, and the other, less. The low (25th percentile) make only about $18,911, the high (75th percentile) $26,278. As a hairdresser or hairstylist, where do you rank up, where would you want to rank up; the bottom 10 percentile or the top?

There is a grain of salt that any business or industry needs to be aware of, the threat of competition. Labor market data states that hairdressers and hairstylists are expected to grow faster than the average growth rate for all other occupations in California. Jobs are expected to increase by 14.1 percent, or 5,800 jobs between 2008 and 2018. With an already estimated 41,100 hairdressers and hairstylists employed, that’s some pretty steep competition. Furthermore, none of this data speculates the percentage of self-employed hairdressers and hairstylists, which if reflected in the data, could realistically, increase the number of people in the field dramatically!

In a state that leads the nation on staying on the continual edge of technology, people are now able to find goods and services, like hairdressers and hairstylists, on a number of websites that can all be easily accessed from a computer or cell phone. The threat of competition, to be overshadowed, forgotten, and driven out of business has never been more prevalent for the small businesses and self-startups. Someone who wants to really make it in the hairstylist industry, in this state, in this economy is going to need the power of the internet, the power of communication, the power of customer service, on their side and in their pocket. For if it isn’t your pocket that’s being filled, whose is?

-Mehdi J. Ghannadan
Economist, Marketing Analyst