Behind the Chair – Meet Bernard

Nov 21st 2022

Jon Renau Gets Real is a program about real hair loss, real solutions, for real people. The program was born from the desire to empower men and women experiencing different stages of hair loss, as well as the providers who offer solutions available to them.

In prior years, we spotlighted our wonderful retail partners, inspiring Education Ambassadors, and of course, our beautiful wearers. To kick off Jon Renau Gets Real 2022, we’re spotlighting hair replacement providers and their clients, both of whom were impacted by this life-transforming hair loss solution.

Now, let’s meet Bernard Ory—educator, thought-leader, and legend in the hair replacement industry. He began as a hairstylist, trying to make a little more money and struggling to figure out how. Hair Replacement not only increased his revenue but helped him form lifelong relationships that changed HIS life along with his clients'.

How did you start behind the chair?

When my mother said, “Why don’t you try hair school”, my immediate thought was, NO! She knew I was struggling to find a passion and direction for my life in my early 20’s and she, herself, had done so well as a stylist, then a beauty supply store owner and then a wig shop owner, while I was trying many things to survive and make an income, hair was not one of them! I agreed to just go talk to the admissions guy and I was sold immediately! I was so excited that I started the next week.

How were you introduced to hair replacement?

One year into doing hair and I was not really making enough money to feed that new small family I had started. I was looking for anything and trying almost every network marketing business that had potential. 

Mom again! My mother, by this time, had a wig shop. At the time, she knew I was going to a network marketing meeting in Miami, (Amway), so she signed me up for, what we called at the time, “Hair Bonding for Men”. I was reluctant but made it to these classes and returned home with a hair system in my hand and ready to try it on the first bald man with black hair on the sides of his head.

When you introduced hair replacement into your business model what did it do for your business?

Before doing hair replacement, I could only make a person’s hair shorter and thinner. Now, I was able to give people what they never had before or what they had lost from either just getting a little older or even an illness that caused them to lose their hair. 

The amount of extra money per hour was life changing, but the feeling of changing people’s lives was much better than I could have ever imagined. I never expected clients to tear up or hug me. Never got that reaction from a haircut or style!

How is the alternative hair industry different from traditional barbering or cosmetology? How do these differences impact your consultations and the services you offer your clients?

Alternative hair is more than just putting hair on the top of a person‘s head. It’s also done with Hair Extensions, hair replacement, wigstoppers and more.

How do you stay on top of current trends and information in the hair and hair loss industry?

Staying on top of trends is important for any stylist or barber to stay successful and thriving. Alternative Add on Hair is no different. In fact, it’s very often part of the trends. You just have to recognize when it’s used. Very often it’s difficult to notice because the stylist has been trained so well and the hair blends like it’s their own. 

Attending hair shows and hair events of all levels, local, national and worldwide, as well as, following icons, celebrities and influencers on social media is a great start. Education from the companies you buy hair from helps. They are often following the trends and making hair to fit that niche.

If you could go back in time and give yourself as a stylist new to alternative hair one piece of advice, with all the experience you have now, what would it be?

When most of us start as stylists or barbers, we don’t think about being efficient. We just care about filling that chair with anyone who will pay for anything we know how to do! That usually starts with basic cuts and styling. Then maybe color and highlights will increase our income a little. 

If I went back in time and did it all over again with the same knowledge that I have now, I would focus more on Hair Extensions and Hair Replacement instead of doing regular cuts and color in the salon. It’s all very rewarding, so why not focus on the services that provide a much higher standard of living. These services are being done by someone and the clients want or need more hair! Why not be the one who helps them get it?

Want to learn more about hair replacement and other ways to boost your alternative hair business?