Back to Work by Patrick McIvor

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As many of you know I have been very lucky and, thanks to so many people, have had an amazing career. I have been traveling, teaching throughout the US since I was 21 and soon thereafter expanded internationally. My family has never known me not to be traveling 200+ days a year, all over the world. I met my wife when she was 18, dated for 3 weeks and then went to Europe to teach for 3 weeks. After so many years and so many amazing opportunities, in 2017 I came home from a trip exhausted and realized I was done. I said to my amazing wife I am quitting all my jobs and you need to get a job outside of our business, which she had run for years. The long years of not seeing family and the exhaustive travel brought me to a point where I could not live that life and live well. So, after sharing a TEDx Talk in 2016, I quit my professional teaching/artist life, wrote a book in 2018, and scaled down to maintaining guests at my salon, in a building we now owned.

For the past 3 years, my goal was to care for 3-4 guests a day, 3 days a week, and failing because I was caring for 3-5 guests a day, 4 days a week, simply because I love my guests! And I love caring for their hair. During this time I have struggled with the reality of using a haircolor I liked, but having to order in quantities that, meant I was going to be charged “Premium Pricing” above the MSRP (Unlike what I was used to when we had 29 employees and 2 salons!). The retail product order minimum was 6 of one item to get the right price that other distributors were charging in different parts of the country. So, I asked the manufacturer if I could order from a distributor that did not have “premium pricing,” but I found that I could not because of exclusive distribution territories. I struggled with this for years… but change can sometimes be harder than living with disappointment.

Then there was Covid. Everyone’s world suddenly changed in vast and innumerable ways. My DSC emailed me to let me know they were leaving the distributor and didn’t know if they would return. The less than enthusiastic prospect of finding a new route through which I would still be paying “premium pricing” led me to the decision that it was finally time for my own change. I reached out to the Facebook community declaring that I wanted to change color, and I could not believe the response. Three amazing color companies sent me product to test and a fourth reached out via phone. The next thing I knew, the conversation became about my doing limited work in the industry again. This was way more than I had expected and a lot to take into consideration. When I had finally made my choice, I posted on Facebook that I was going to announce who I chose. It was at that time that I was contacted by a friend from the past. Sue-z Webster reached out to me and said ECSS wanted to talk.

My relationship with ECSS has been a journey through time. In 1987, I started shampooing hair backstage for a new company called, LOGICS, and in 1988 I joined the company full time as an Educator. It was amazing. I was lucky enough to be selected as part of the First LOGICS University – a Philadelphia based event where the top LOGICS distributer was ECSS. That one weekend in Philly changed a lot for me. I met Marianne Dougherty, then the Editor-in-Chief at American Salon Magazine. At the event I showed her a photo that she ultimately published in American Salon - my first print credit ever. Also that weekend, ECSS took notice of my teaching style and asked to meet with me in Pittsburgh after which I began to teach for their salon’s there regularly. Because of ECSS requesting me (at age 22) to teach in Pittsburgh, I became exposed to a whole new world of creativity and understanding of business.

Throughout my career my road has led me to the ECSS Family many times – from my tenure with LOGICS, then during my time as Wella’s National Technical Training Manager; and most recently as a Global Artist and Exchange Facilitator for Redken. I had the honor to work and share ideas with the ECSS Family at Redken Symposium, The Redken Exchange, and as part of the amazing, annual ECSS/Redken Dream Team Events! ECSS has always been an important part of my life. So, when I had the opportunity to talk with another old friend, Kim DuPree, the ECSS director of Education, I took it. I was smiling the whole time we were brainstorming and smiling when I got off the phone thinking about our opportunities for the future.

So one day my wife came home from work and I said, “Guess what? I'm going back to work.”

I am so excited about being a part of the ECSS Team and to be back with this amazing family. I look forward to sharing ideas right here in my new monthly blog! I am excited to be focusing my time working with the team and helping to grow the future of our industry while collaborating with and mentoring present artists, educators, owners, stylists and students. I look forward to sharing with them, as others did with me - helping salon professionals become their happiest and best selves as leaders for our future. And I look forward to help continue the long-standing success of East Coast Salon Services.

It’s great to be back! Let’s get to work!