At Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology, we’re as proud of our graduates as we are each of our students and are always thrilled to share and celebrate in their success. Today, we’re checking in with Alissa Puthoff, a 2016 cosmetology graduate of the North Dayton campus. Alissa is currently slaying it at Village Salon in downtown Troy and loving every minute.
CIIC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, Alissa. You were obviously born to be a cosmetologist, but when did you first discover your desire to work in the salon industry?
Alissa: It’s really something I’ve always wanted to do since I taught myself to French braid while on the track team in junior high. I started braiding the entire team’s hair before practices and track meets, and it really showed me how I could connect with people through that one-on-one time. It also taught me to love hair because each braid made such a big difference, even though it was just a simple thing. I was like, “This is really cool, and I get to talk to people all the time. How awesome is that?”
CIIC: That’s definitely pretty awesome. So, what drew you to Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology for your education?
Alissa: For me, it was the only logical choice. After I visited Creative Images, I just knew that was where I wanted to be. They had the best setup and the best atmosphere. The whole school was very clean, and you could tell they were detail-oriented. Plus, the staff really seemed to care about the students.
CIIC: Well, we’re certainly glad you found us! What did you enjoy most about your time at the school?
Alissa: I loved the environment as a whole, but the staff is truly the best. You can tell they really care about what they are doing and the students they work with. They always made sure that everybody felt comfortable. And if anybody ever needed help, they were right there with one-on-one time to make sure we would all excel in our new careers.
CIIC: Did you find anything particularly challenging while you were training to become a cosmetology graduate?
Alissa: I think it can be challenging to admit that you don’t always know what you’re doing, but you have to if you want to get better. It’s a tough one for everybody. But again, the staff was always there to help me with that. I had to admit that I was young and had plenty of room to grow, though.
CIIC: It sounds like you conquered that challenge pretty easily. How about the challenge of finding your first salon job? What was that experience like?
Alissa: I was considering salons that my educator knew wouldn’t be a good fit for me, so she told me so. She pushed me to the be the best that I could be, including applying at the salon I’m now working at. In my head, I didn’t think I’d be good enough for them, but I actually interviewed and got the job here—five days after graduation—and I credit my educators for that 100 percent. They pushed me to see my full potential.
CIIC: That’s fantastic! So, now that you’re a full-time professional hair artist, what do you love most about the work you get to do every day?
Alissa: Absolutely everything! I know that sounds really cheesy, but as cosmetologists, we have the ability to be the best part of somebody’s day. My clients come to me to get their hair done and they get to relax for one, two or three hours. I have that one-on-one time with them to turn their whole day around, and I get to be a day-maker. That is huge for me because I’m such a people person. I love to help people see how beautiful they are, too. We’re always way too hard on ourselves.
CIIC: That’s certainly true. It’s great that you can have such an impact on the lives of others through what you do. Is there anything you’ve found challenging about working in cosmetology?
Alissa: I’m a people-pleaser, so especially when I was starting out, it was challenging to accept that you can’t make everybody happy all of the time. You can’t be everybody’s hairstylist. It’s hard to accept that, especially when you are young. I mean, I was only 20 when I first started. But I’ve learned to be true to myself and be who I am because my personality helps to attract my clientele. Of course, you also have to work every day to be the best professional version of that.
CIIC: Personality and professionalism are definitely keys to success. What other advice do you have for Creative Images Institute of Cosmetology’s current students as they complete their training and enter the workforce?
Alissa: Just don’t stress about it too much and enjoy this season of growth. Looking back, you’re going to see that it was such a cool time in your life. When it’s time to choose an employer, find a salon that is going to help you grow and never put a limit on your potential. That was the number one thing I was looking for and, right out of school, I went into this incredible eight-month training program at the salon. It has totally boosted my career. Now, two years later, I’m helping do the training in that program.
By Angela Rose for Creative Images institute of Cosmetology