Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fired over Foursquare?

Up to now the salon where I have worked for three years has been my financial anchor, and the place where I have chosen to do my clients’ hair. I have blogged about the salon, written pieces for my boss, and I’ve “checked in” on Foursquare to keep the salon name and address in the public eye. I’ve also made mention on Facebook and my website whenever we got a new product in or a new stylist because the salon had no social media presence other than the occasional piece in print. Since the boss had no website I felt I was doing a pretty good job at keeping his name out there. It’s only been recently that he asked me to cease and desist.

The first inkling that I had that my boss had an issue with everything that I had been doing in media for the past three years was when I was a guest artist for “Haircuts for Haiti.” It was an event that I brought up to him and he turned down so I attended with a salon down the street called Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa. (I had previously worked there for 14 years and left on great terms. I just needed a change.) In fact, I had also helped another happy Joseph Michael’s ex employee dovetail on the Joseph Michael’s event and he did the same event the same day at Chicago Male. I had helped “pool” the publicity, aka, social marketing. This successful event gave a nice glow to the people who worked at Joseph Michael’s and Chicago Male. Two salons and stylists from other salons, coming together to do a good thing: Right? My boss was enraged. He did not like the linking of one of his stylists with another salon in print or internet-wise. Basically, I laughed.

The first cease and desist came when my boss noticed that, when I checked in on Foursquare on FaceBook, the Googlemap would be the address to Bodhi Spiritual Center. Bodhi is where I had been the leader of what is called the Green Ministry. To make matters worse, sometimes my website, would show up. Now, I never saw either of these things come up in my FaceBook feed, or anywhere else, but I’m sure they happened. It took the salon manager to figure out that I had innocently put my salon’s work number in all three of my listed jobs as Hairdresser, Writer and Green Leader. So, whenever I checked into Foursuare on Facebook, the Foursquare address and number for the salon merged and matched with Bodhi’s weblink or mine. I guess this is what they call a bug but my boss was bugged off! He accused me of espionage and tinkering with Googlemaps and secret coding and all kinds of other things that he and I don’t understand.

I didn’t laugh that time. In fact I apologized to my boss when we fixed that glitch and I let him know that I would have fired me if I had actually thought an employee actually did what he had accused me of. In retrospect, I think he was afraid that I’d slag him in the social media world.

Social Media is part of what I do to. It helped me walk into a new salon with ½ a clientele, build up a new clientele, and even brought new clients to other stylist; all because of social marketing. It helps me spread the green word, keep in touch with my clients and, soon, it will help me publish my two novels and well as a third of which I am writing now. (Based on social media and a "Grindr" murder in Arizona--?)

The parting of the ways from “Blank” salon came when my boss asked me to remove any mention of his name from my website. Instead, he wanted me to put a link to his new up and coming website. He also asked me never to mention his salon’s name on Twitter or Facebook, nor check into his salon on Foursquare. No phone number to where I worked was to be placed in my job listing on Facebook, but I was allowed to put his website link in. All of this was to position and posture himself as sole administrator and director of his newly trademarked “brand.” Oh yeah, he would not put my link,, on his new Facebook fan page nor his up and coming website. He said that he was afraid that people would think that he was in the mafia because his last name was Italian.

Now, I’m all for being the ruler of your own brand. I have my own. I’m Mafia Hairdresser. I have a blogspot and a website and it is the name of my first novel. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or has seen my feeds on FaceBook or has read my blogs know that I’m a hairdresser and a green-guy who writes whatever I talk about to my clients—which is exactly what I’m doing now.

And my brand needs to reach people. Sometimes I want to look like a struggling writer: see my simple blogspot or Go-Daddy website. And sometimes I want people to think that I’m a bigger brand so I will partner with an art Gallery like Curly Tale Fine Art to host an Earth Hour fundraiser for Climate Cycle. These entities allow me to blog and Facebook and Tweet about them. And I know that Curly Tale Fine Art and Earth Hour and Climate Cycle have blogged, Facebooked or Tweeted-up my brand up as well for their own purposes. It’s all good.

But what happens when you work for an employer who may not understand how social media works? I know an aerobics instructor who is not allowed to Tweet, Facebook, or blog about his work and he cannot contact his clients in anyway shape or form through the internet. How does he get new clients or keep the ones he has? Of course the employer has not caught up with how social media can help their business and they are using antiquated reasoning trying to handle their own brand. And yet, I guess it is in their own right to try and do so.

Now, here is the slag. When I left my last salon three years ago, they referred all my clients; as well as gave them the option to stay at their salon with a “new client” special. And many clients did stay at Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa as it is wonderful salon environment. In which case, the clients got to choose, and they are where they are comfortable. When I left “Blank” (over reasons plus more being said here) to go back to the new-location new-salon, Joseph Michael’s Salon & Spa, the clients were not given any idea where I had gone to. They were just told that their stylist would contact them. Is it in the rights of this salon owner to issue such an order to his desk staff; to not tell clients where their stylist went to? Maybe. And maybe that is my problem and every other stylist’s potential problem for as long as I’ve been a stylist.

But how many clients think that this sucks for them? How many clients has this happened to? If I had hair (and I don’t), I think location would be key, along with the environment of where I got my hair cut. If my stylist left to a place where I didn’t want to travel to, I think I’d just like to stay where I was. I would have seen the other stylist work and I could pick out my next stylist. And that has to be okay. Okay for the stylist, the salon, and especially me, the client who doesn't give a "Hootsuite" about how my own hair looks. But if the salon tried to keep me there by not giving me a choice, I would have not stayed at that salon. Location or comfort would be put aside. I would have a bad taste in my mouth and I would just go somewhere else - closer.

I believe those days are over. There is social media. A client can reach out and find their stylist in Blogs. E-mail. Twitter. Facebook. Yelp. CitySearch. And more.
And what about the stylist? What happens when a stylist blogs and Tweets and uses Facebook for his work and passions and yet gets the ‘let-go’ from his financial anchor? I don’t know about the rest of you, stylists. But I blog.


-----Original Message-----From a client @ to MafiaHairdresser @

Sent: Wed, May 12, 2010 9:23 am

Subject: Where are you!!!!!

Hi JD,
I just called to make a haircut appointment with you and found out that you are no longer at "Blank!" I hope everything is OK with you! Have you gone somewhere else? The receptionist had the nerve to ask if I wanted to see someone else!!! I said I've been with JD for like 16 years!! I would love to hear what is going on. Please email me back when you can. And also - I'm hoping that you are somewhere else - I need a haircut!!!

I’m a hairdresser. I’m also an environmental enthusiast who tries to spread the word of good Earth stewardship and I’m a writer who has written two as of yet to be published novels. I’ve had a column in an Orange County newspaper and I’ve sold one screenplay and had a hit play. And every one of these endeavors or occupations has relied on the other to be able to sustain the other. Listening to clients gives me ideas and a pulse on the world for my stories. The money I make from doing hair pays for events that I might produce like an Earth Hour party to raise funds for a group like Climate Cycle or put me through programs like Chicago’s C-3 which teaches community leaders everything green in the city to know. I’m a good community leader because I care and I’m a feisty writer and a damn fine working hairdresser. And you are invited to subscribe to this blog or Tweet about what I say, share it on Facebook or "Yelp" on any other social network with your own opinion about what I say in your own words.

Please order your copy of Mafia Hairdresser, the novel about my life as a hairdresser to a mob couple in the 80's, and subscribe to this blog!


  1. You go, JD! I too hate that attitude, and the same thing happened to me with my stylist years and years ago, before it was easy to find someone online. Thankfully, I did locate her, and she went on to open Salon Blue!
    Best of luck with the new/old salon!

  2. Ooooh:Update. Before I was able to send a letter to my clients about where I had moved to, "BLANK" had either called them or sent a letter notifying them that I was "gone." He would not tell clients where I had gone so a few of my clients panicked (see above) and, of course, found me by Google,, FaceBook etc..., and then they went onto to either amend a past positive Yelp, or make a comment about how they were treated during the 3 years by "BLANK" at "Blank Salon."
    Those comments were soon removed and only the positive ones were left--and those were about me and another ex-employee!
    I think that YELP is going to have some explaining to do. Integrity is a key element in why people go to YELP in the first place.
    As for "BLANK," well, I'm not thankful, but if he keeps making these blunders, I will keep writing about them. I'm going to be a vigilant champion for clients and stylists. I'm against tyranny, hypocrisy and soft ego'd employers and shaddy paid off websites.

  3. Happy you found out and got to move on when you did! We're glad you're FREE to be you again!