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Check Out Justin Householder, Sr’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin Householder Sr.

Hi Justin, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started my career a little unorthodox. I was in the military at the time stationed on Oahu and wasn’t too sure after 10 years of service if I wanted to continue my career in the Marine Corps or try something new. I was running out of time to decide so I made the split decision to leave the service and figure out a new career. I was fortunate enough to have about 4 months of paid time off saved up so I felt comfortable trying to figure out what my next career would be. I was going from job fair to job fair interviewing at random companies but never felt passionate about the jobs I was finding.

It was actually pretty funny how I fell into the beauty industry. I was leaving a job fair disappointed as usual and on the radio I heard an ad for a local barbershop school. The ad was so outdated and cheesy sounding I even remember laughing thinking how bad the ad was but it was enough to entice me into giving them a call. To my surprise, when I called they said they were doing tours that day so I drove across the island to make their next tour to check them out. I really didn’t have an interest in the hair or the beauty industry at the time and I had zero experience but I’ve always loved working with my hands and thought I could express my creative side in this field. I had no intention of enrolling that day but it sounded like something fun and I’m pretty impulsive so I said f-it and enrolled without even thinking it through. I attended Hawaii Institute of Hair Design at the end of 2016 and honestly my experience there was amazing. The staff were always supportive and I learned a lot but I hated it. I wasn’t very good and didn’t know a bobby pin from a round brush so I struggled being a Marine Corps Veteran who never played with barbie dolls.

After I graduated from barber school I really wanted to pursue a different career so I went back to Hawaii Pacific University to finish my MBA while I got a job doing hair at The Black Cat Salon in Kailua, HI. It was at The Black Cat Salon that I really fell in love with doing hair and decided to stay within the industry. The culture of the Black Cat was unlike any other I have ever experienced and honestly I have adopted many of its practices into my own culture mindset. It’s Unfortunate that the salon closed down because of COVID but the mark it left on the industry still remains.

While I was at The Black Cat Salon, I grew my skills and rose to one of the salon’s top performers and an in-salon educator. Because of this I was presented the opportunity to move to Colorado and work at Centre Salons as one of their salon managers and since then I have been promoted to be our General Manager and Creative Director. Being Centre Salons Creative Director has really allowed me to express my more creative side and fall even more in love with what our industry has to offer! It was this opportunity that was the drive for me to start my own business, Unortho Creatives with my business partner Michael Trey. Unortho Creatives is an all-in-one brand marketing business but it’s also a mindset! We’ve trademarked the term “Think Unortho” as our main motto to teach our clients to think outside the box and tap into their most creative and unique selves to represent their brand!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I had a hard time at the beginning just learning how to use my tools and it was only last year in 2022 after doing hair for 5 years that I learned how to properly use a bobby pin haha I credit every skill I learn to those around me and it’s amazing how much you can learn from someone fresh out of beauty school! Our newest stylists always teach me something new that I can incorporate or learn from. But education is the tool to get past any challenge! In Hawaii, the lived in balayages were more popular than highlights so I went and attended a Masters of Balayage 2-day course in San Diego, CA and paid over $2,500 in expenses and the ticket just so I could offer a more high valued service. I got back from the course and increased my balayage starting price from $200 to closer to $400 and made my return on that investment back in a matter of months! I preach education now and still am always looking for that next class to increase my skills in the industry.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a jack of all trades and master of none haha There’s times I am really passionate about haircuts and other times where I’m really excited about hair color but right now my main focus is my business Unortho Creatives.

Being a Director for the campaigns and projects we do at Unortho is what I’m most proud of and am excited about. I love collaborating with others and designing an entire brand for a business or taking a businesses ideas of what they want their brand to look like and building from that!

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Hmm COVID is starting to feel like a more distant past that I don’t think anyone wants to go back to but one thing I will say about COVID is that it taught our industry how to be flexible. Our guests needs changed and we had to as well. Even in 2023 it’s not back to how it was and that’s ok because those of us that adapted built a new business model based off the new needs of the salon guest! Those that are stuck Pre-COVID in the “this is how it’s always been done” mentality will eventually get left behind to those that adapted. The world is evolving and at a much faster rate than once before and we can give COVID the reason why.

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Image Credits
Michael Martinez, Scott Clark

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