Stylist Spotlight: Mac McAbee, Coven Haircraft

Stylist Spotlight: Mac McAbee, Coven Haircraft

Our Our stylist community is our family. Each Stylist Spotlight, we love sharing with you these brothers and sisters who not only support Virtue, but also help share our vision that everyone deserves to have truly healthy hair. They inform and enlighten us, and in turn, we continue to deliver the most revolutionary hair care they could ask for. What we’re trying to say is, we couldn’t do it without them. Stylist Appreciation Day is approaching, and during this time of uncertainty, we’re more thankful than ever for their passion and resilience.

When Mac McAbee’s mother encouraged him to work in hair out of high school, where he frequently styled his friends, he told her, “No, I want to make money.” Fast forward past fashion design school, a gig touring with Rent, and opening his own salon, Mac McAbee is still reaching for the stars. Here he discusses his start with Paul Mitchell, how he’s been inspired by Dolly Parton, and the ghosts who haunt his salon Coven Haircraft.

Q: Can you tell us more about your background and your journey? How did you get into being a stylist? How did you get to this point in your life?
College wasn’t for me, so I ended up going to school for fashion design. One day I went to a Paul Mitchell hair show with a friend, and realized that I could blend fashion design school with my love of design. So I left fashion school and went to cosmetology school. After graduating, I became a national educator for Paul Mitchell. Cutting, styling, color, texture—basically got my graduate degree in hair from great minds who happened to be recreating the education curriculum in all four of those categories.

By then I’d realized I wanted to be an independent hairdresser, so was born on Instagram. In 2017, I moved to L.A., and it was amazing, but it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It was challenging, though I did get some cool opportunities. I worked on the movie Low Low with talented people, and it really inspired me. During that time, a friend offered me the chance to tour with the Rent crew for seven months. It wasn’t my dream, and after a while, I felt guilty taking the spot of someone else’s dream job.

So I went back to Charleston and worked at a good friend’s salon. When his lease ended, I took over. It’s a great space with a lot of history in downtown Charleston. I’ve even been told by clients who are mediums that there are spirits in the building, a male and female who like to hang out around the 2nd floor bathroom.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about owning your own salon?
Being one person. They don’t work for me; I work for them. I like to give them a lot of freedom. They set their own hours. I have both independent and commissioned stylists, and they each have their own styles they excel at, like “lived-in blonde.” Everyone has their niche. What’s challenging is managing that, and continuing to create the space for them to be inspired.

Q: What is your best moment about the journey? When did it feel like you caught your “big break?”
The time I spent working on Rent meant a lot to me, but I’m still working for my big break. No overnight success actually happens overnight. I’m not going to settle, and I believe there’s still a lot more to come.

Q: Is there anyone in the industry or beyond, that you really admire, or someone who inspired you in your career?
Dolly Parton. I’m from western North Carolina, and she’s a small-town mountain girl. Her story is inspiring; she always knew she wanted to do something big. She didn’t let anything stand in her way, and she worked hard for it. Even after her success, she’s still a good person. She does a lot for her community, and I try to do that with Coven, even if it’s helping by delivering touch-up kits to clients during the pandemic.

Q: What is your salon’s unique approach to beauty and style? How do you define a “success” after a client leaves your salon?
Less is more. I believe that you don’t have to do a whole overhaul. I prefer simple beauty. Success is seeing their smile, when you can tell that they feel pretty and confident, that they can leave the chair and do things they felt they couldn’t before.

Q: What is your favorite trend/style?
Dimension—both in hair and fashion colors. I like to mimic natural hair, like the blonde you get after being at the beach: sun kissed, lived-in, and dynamic.

Q: What’s your personal hair routine?
I have natural dreads right now, and use a Whole Foods brand shampoo every four days. Once or twice a month, I use Recovery Shampoo.

Q: What other things are you passionate about that aren’t hair related?
Fashion and, since becoming a business owner, branding and marketing.

Q: What’s next for your career?
The sky’s the limit. I could be whisked away to a movie set for all I know. But seriously, though, it’s important for me to be a leader for my team. I want to give them everything that I wasn’t given when coming up in the industry. I think it’s important to share what you have. You may take for granted what someone else is struggling with, and in a community, you should share your talents.

Q: What’s your favorite Virtue product?
The Texturizing Spray. It’s my absolute favorite on the market. I’ve never used a Texturizing Spray that gives the feel I want but leaves hair soft and touchable. The smell makes my heart melt. I also love Healing Oil. When I used it on a blowout recently, it gave my client the smoothest, frizz-free hair. Her color even looked brighter.

And ColorKick is a GAMECHANGER. Charleston has a lot of blondes, and I’m always sharing with people that this stuff is not synthetic, it’s 100% what our hair is made of. It makes people’s hair feel how you want it to feel.

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2020-02-24 19:28:00 0 viewed