Life After HDC: Nova MacCormack

Life After HDC: Nova MacCormack

Nova MacCormack is a 29 year old Hair Stylist at the Portland Street Head Shoppe. She took the Hair Design course at the HDC where she graducted in 2008. Read about her journey!


What’s your favourite thing about doing hair?
My favorite thing about hair is how you can make someone’s day/week/month. When your client loves their hair and leave with a huge smile plastered on their face, it doesn’t get much better than that. I also love the human connection and the relationships you form with your clients. I enjoy spending time with them. I get to socialize for a living, that is awesome.

How does hairstyling fill your cup?
Making other people feel good makes me feel good.

Why do you do what you do?
I do hair because it makes me happy, it never feels like work.

What is the best part about your job?
The social aspect, being surrounded by beautiful people, making people feel beautiful, being surrounded by good and positive vibes when so many workplaces are not fortunate to have that.

Tell me about your career path?
After is graduated from HDC, I assisted for a bit at HS Studio. I took a slight detour after that and wanted to see what else was out there. So, I left the company for a bit. I survived three months. I learned a lot in those three months about my values, and what I expected from a workplace. Organization is one, goal oriented and room for growth also became extremely important to me. Being treated with respect as an employee, a teammate and a person. A fun environment, and a sense of family. Those are just a few things I learned in 3 short months working outside the company. I left where I was, and the next day I drove up to the city from little ol’ Falmouth, I dropped off three resumes all at different Head Shoppe locations. Greg took my resume, interviewed me and hired me on the spot. So, I began my journey at the Portland Street Head Shoppe, 10 years later, all my greatest friends were made here, I bought a car, a house, I travel… I’d say it was one of my better decisions in life thus far.

Where do you work from mostly?
I work full time in Dartmouth at the Portland Street Head Shoppe.

Describe a typical day in your role at the Portland Head Shoppe for us.
I come in everyday, coffee in hand. I spend a few minutes gabbing with my team. Then I set up for the day, and usually I have a fully booked day. Sometimes I don’t get to leave my little corner for nine whole hours, but once the day starts it is usually over in the blink of an eye. When I need help or assistance, there is usually always someone to lend a hand or consult with.

Would you say you have a specialty? Or signature?
My speciality are women’s cuts. I feel most confident in my medium – short cuts. It took me years to be confident, but I truly believe no one in my salon cuts a bob like I do.

If you could name something as a career highlight so far, what would it be?
Jumping to a Level 6 was great, as well as making Salon of the Year.

What are some goals you have for yourself?
My goals are always to grow and be busy but also to have a work life balance. I want to be able to support myself financially and live a good fulfilled life. Also, I would love to be a part of Salon Resource Group’s Prosperity Club.

What are the 3 most important skills you need to do your job?
Communication is vital, you will never make it anywhere in this career if you can’t communicate with people, build a connection with people and read people. Creativity, you must be creative, always thinking ahead of exciting new things for your clients to try. Patience, having that, and trusting in the process, knowing that good things take time and work. Not everything turns out how you expect 100% of the time, not everything is easy, and not everything is quick. If you have these three things and can wield a pair of scissors you will do okay!

How did you build your clientele?
I think my personality, and the fact that I really do love my job and making people feel great, I talk to all my clients and am present with them during their visit. I pre-booked and I asked for referrals. I used social media, I talked about hair goals and future visits. I shared in their excitement. It’s not rocket science, if you make someone feel important, valued and beautiful… they will want to come back to you.

When did you decide that you wanted to get into hairstyling?
Hairstyling is in my blood. I’m a third-generation hairstylist. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother do hair and have wanted to work in this industry my whole life. The high you get from making others feel good and putting a smile on their face is like no other. Growing up around that, how could you not want to be a part of it?

Are you happy with your current income?
I’m happy with my current income, but I’m also happy knowing that I always have the ability to make more, which obviously that’s what where I want to go.

Do you feel you have had a job security? If so, why?
I feel secure in my job, I know my value and worth as a part of my team. Dedicated workers are hard to come by, and I know my boss appreciates me and wants me here.

How do you find your schedule? From what we know, hairstylists can work some crazy long hours. How do you deal?
I like my schedule now, but it wasn’t always so great. I put in the time, work and hours to build my clientele, so I could be busy and earn the privilege of choosing my schedule. Nothing worth having comes easy, but it is so rewarding to have my three-day weekend.

Upcoming trends you like or want to try?
I love color but cutting is my passion. I’m always eager to learn new trends and improve my techniques especially for medium – short hair.

Where do you get your inspo?
I get a lot of inspo from celebrities and social media. My whole Instagram news feed is hair, hair, makeup, hair, clothes, hair, hair. Jen Atkin will always give me all the inspo.

When you aren’t doing hair, you’re. . .?
When I’m not doing hair I’m either curled up, immersed in a book at home, hiking with my boyfriend and dog or out laughing with my friends and family.

If you could be anywhere, doing anything, where would it be?
If I could be anywhere I’d be following around Jen Atkin doing hair and traveling the world, learning all her magical ways.

What made you choose the HDC?
I checked out all my options, but as soon as I walked into HDC I knew that was exactly where I wanted to be. I loved the vibe, and the fact that I didn’t feel like I was in school. The energy was magnetic, and I couldn’t wait to go to school every day. Hair school was an incredible year, I made so many memories that I look back on fondly. I never once woke up feeling anything but excited to go to school.

What memories do you have of our Hair program?
Just how much fun I had with everyone. I had such a great class of people and we had so many laughs together over wet sets and perm wrapping.

Is there training or info from a certain class in the Hair program you took at the HDC that you still think of when you’re working?
HDC first taught me the importance of sectioning and following the shape of the head. Every time I take a cutting class, it is reaffirmed in my mind. Sectioning is EVERYTHING. I preach to everyone I help mentor at work, always do your sections. You will never get lost, and you will always be able to follow your work when they return in 6-8 weeks.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about getting into hairstyling?
If you are passionate about it and want to be successful, you will do great in this industry. You get out of it what you put in. You must give 100% to get 100%. And always remember your sections!

Your mantra is                                                ?
There is a positive in everything,  Live well, Love hard, Laugh Often.

Follow Nova on Instagram @novabrittney


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Esthetics program at HDC