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There she is!

So here it is, the eve of the day before my 40th. birthday. In recent days every time I turn on the radio I hear an 80’s classic, I turn on the television and an 80’s movie is playing and I am constantly catapulted back in time with memories of ozone burning hairspray clouds in the girl’s bathroom, acid wash everything, loving a girls hair just to have her turn around and realize she is a he and then instantly asking “who did your perm?!?!”. I am also reminded of the person I really am. The fearless “Don’t like it? Don’t look” girl I was in my youth is coming back, and I am so happy to see her again. I lost her along the way, as we all have. I listened to the wrong people, believed the wrong hype. Today’s tale is more of a personal one.

The year was 1995. I was happily married (yes, I married at 22 and am still married to the same person and yes I still love him…I even like him, and I thank my lucky stars every day for him because he has always been there to kick my butt and give me a soft place to fall.). My mother had received a complimentary Mary Kay makeover and invited me along. It was terrific. The Mary Kay rep. wasn’t pushy, had lots of helpful hints and made my mother feel special. We laughed so much our mascara ran. It was a great afternoon. A few days later my phone rang and it was the Mary Kay rep.. She was calling because she said she loved my personality and thought I had such flare and a grasp of the products that she wanted to take me to a sales meeting and bring me on board. It was at this moment that I choked. I literally choked and couldn’t speak. It took me what felt like an eternity to compose myself and decline her offer. As I hung up the phone, I sank to the kitchen floor and sobbed. It was at this moment I was made to face the fact that I thought I wasn’t pretty enough to sell makeup, that I was too ugly and would be laughed at. Then I got angry. Angry at myself for letting the world get at me, for believing that a girl/woman had a certain role to fill, that having an opinion meant I was difficult, that my self confidence meant I had “too much pride” and was “too tough”.

At some point in the life of every woman, she feels inadequate, or stupid or even ugly. I am here to tell you what I tell my 15 year old daughter. We cannot stop what others may do or say to us, we can stop what we do or say to ourselves. I used to look back on myself with judgement and ridicule. Now I look back at that time and am grateful. It made me take a hard look at my life. It made me take a long hard look at who I had allowed into my head, rent free.

Long story short, I am proud to say that I have many an opinion and will share it whenever I choose, I am self confident and am over flowing with pride and I am tough. I am also kind and honest and truly believe that dreams can come true. A few little one’s  did…I am a Manager at a Salon/Retail shop, I met Tabatha Coffey, I am writing a blog about beauty and feeling pretty with every letter I type.

 

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Tales of Truth – Part 5

Yes boys and girls, it is that time again…tales of truth from the salon. A full moon is upon us in a few days and it seems it’s affect has taken hold on the general public earlier than usual. **Names have been changed to protect well…me. Hmmm, lets see, where to begin….

 

A nice looking woman came into the shop in need of hair extensions. I walked her over to our selection of Human Hair extensions and let her know that they were a 7 piece set and that the clips were already attached. I am used to getting a few questions about how to put them in, if one package of hair is enough for a whole head, how to take care of them. I have to admit I am never prepared for the following question – “How durable are the clips and how well do they stay in?” – you see, she has “clients” that sometimes like to pull her hair and she needed to know if the clips would snap open. (a visual I did not need before 10:00 a.m.)

A woman came up to the counter telling me she was there to pick up her product. I asked her which product in particular. She proceeded to rant at me “I called and spoke to someone named Betty and she said she would put the product aside!”. I let her know that I didn’t have a Betty working for me and maybe she called another store. Her lip began to twitch, her face became red, her eyes began to well with tears “she said she would hold it for me and now you don’t have it?!?!?”. Again, I told her maybe she called another store to which she began to recite a phone number that was not the phone number of my shop. I kindly told her that was not the shop’s number to which she stumbled out an apology before hurrying out the door.

I hear the chirp of the door chime, I look up and say “Hi there! How are you today” to which I get my all time favorite response “Just looking.”. I let the customer know I am there if they need anything and go back to my inventory. I see her walk over to the nail polish display, take off her sandal and put her foot on the shelf. I stop her just as she is about to open up a bottle and paint her toes and let her know that we have color swatches so she can see what the color looks like, to which she responds “They are in the shape of finger nails, I need to see what the color looks like on toenails.”. Yes, it is true, people like this do exist.

I was yelled at because the Hairspray I suggested to a client was wonderful for her hair. “Why didn’t you tell me about this hairspray 6 months ago?!” is what she yelled. Between you and I, 6 months ago I thought her name was “just looking”.

Never ceases to amaze me that the customer’s that refer to their child as “brat” have a child that acts like a brat and then the parent complains to me that she doesn’t know why their child misbehaves.

I was helping a women find a new product because her beloved product was discontinued. We have all been there. As I was helping her a customer came in and before I could excuse myself to greet the newest customer, she says “Get me my hairspray!”. I excuse myself from my first customer and ask the Queen of England which hairspray she wanted to which she says “Don’t you remember?”. I apologize and let her know that I have a customer base of over 10000 people. I ask for her phone number so I can look up her personal profile and I can see which hairspray she usually buys from me. To which she says “I never give out my number.”. Before I can speak my first customer pipes up and says “that’s too bad, if you had given her your number she could be helping you as much as she was helping me.”. The lady grabbed the first can of hairspray she saw and bought it, still no phone number.

A customer wanted to return her flat iron because of a defect. I had to let her know in the kindest most polite of ways that “being mad that you have to squeeze the flat iron shut so it will flatten your hair” is not a manufacturer’s defect.

A woman showed me her ingrown hair problem. It wasn’t on her legs. Enough said.

So there you go. A little insight of why I didn’t have a new blog up for 3 days. I was gathering material.

 

 

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AG…it’s Canadian eh?

Looking for professional hair products? Looking for hair care products that contain no salt, no parabens, no paba, no gluten, and are cruelty free? Look no further – AG Hair is your answer. That’s right, their products are free of all salt, parabens, paba, gluten and they love bunnies. They also love empowering women – AG’s Women Leading Change Foundation – builds schools in Africa so women and girls can get an education. AG Hair is a Canadian company and they have been making all their products themselves in Vancouver, Canada since 1989. Many of their products are alcohol free, humidity resistant and offer thermal protection.

Here is a list of the AG products that are well loved in my shop and are in high demand…

fast food – A cream based leave on conditioner. Heavy duty yet light enough for the finest of hair. Smells SOOOOO good.

spray varnish – A shine spray that is oil & alcohol free (seriously…it is). Adds glorious shine without weighing down your style.

foam – A foam to liquid mousse that is terrific for the finest of hair to medium textured hair. Gives maximum volume with minimum weight, increase shine, fights frizz and adds thermal protection.

bigwigg – A root boost. Alcohol free and no flaking.

recoil – One of my fav’s…I know you have read about it before…A lovely curl activating cream that is crunch free and humidity resistant. It smells like the beach.

details – A defining cream that helps get your curls under control. Alcohol free and moisturizing plus adds shine.

spray gel – AG’s answer to  a thermal setting spray. Doesn’t flake and doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your curling iron.

styling jel – This baby can do anything with your hair – slick it back,blow it out, set or sculpt it. Alcohol free, adds shine and doesn’t flake.

hard jel –  An extra firm hold gel. Awesome gel for slicked back looks. Humidity resistant, alcohol free and doesn’t flake.

ultradynamics – An extra-firm hold hairspray. Fast drying, flake free and humidity resistant…headin’ to New Orleans? This baby is your new best friend.

AG offers an awesome array of shampoo’s and conditioner’s for all hair types. All your bases are covered – from volume to moisture to smooth, AG has got you covered. Your hair will look great, feel wonderful and smell awesome. You will be saving bunnies and empowering women…what’s not to love?

 

1

Kindness 101

I sat down to write about products today and as I began to write I realized, nope. That’s not what today’s tale is going to be about. Today’s tale is about kindness. You see, I know you are expecting funny tales of my daily escapades in my shop or tales of products and how to use them. Today I feel I must write about kindness. You see I believe that kindness is a HUGE factor in beauty, be it physical beauty or spiritual beauty.

When I speak of kindness, I don’t mean holding the door open for an elderly person – that is called courtesy, I don’t mean avoid name calling – that is called having manners. I am speaking of kindness – truly listening to the person who is speaking to you, being happy for them and their achievements, how ever trivial you may think they are. Lifting someone’s spirit’s up – not pushing them down to where it makes you feel comfortable. Honestly, everyday I see or hear people choosing to be unkind and it stills astonishes me. Yep, I’m going to be 40 in a few weeks and I still don’t understand why anyone over the age of 12 chooses to be mean or chooses to belittle the dreams of others.

At least once a week I meet a woman who has changed her cut or color and loved it just to have her husband or best friend tell her it is a disaster or a huge mistake. While I help them wipe away their tears (yes…9 out of 10 times they are crying), I ask them “Do you like your hair?” and they say “Yes, but…” and before I let her finish, I tell her, “If you like it, who cares what they think anyway? If you are happy with your new look, that is what is important. You must do what you like, because in the wee small hours of the morning, it is you and you alone with yourself and your thoughts. People are gonna talk anyways, why not really give ’em something to talk about?”. Then we laugh together, and I help her find a product to help keep her new look going, or sometimes I just give her a hug and a tissue and tell her “they need our sympathy, you can’t fix stupid”.

Not to sound all hippie, gonna “buy the world a coke” kind of thing, I want you to try something. Next time you hear someone excited about something, be excited with them. I don’t care if they are excited because they found a dollar on the street or their child just got into Harvard or they finally had the guts for fire engine red streaks put through their hair. Whatever it is, it means something to that person and who are you or I to take that happiness away from them? If we can be happy for a child who has just found a nickel and thinks they are rich and we can join in their enthusiasm, why not be happy for someone who has a dream and has the guts to chase after it? We have all been there, so happy and excited over something and somebody comes along and dumps on it. Being cruel and unkind is ugly, not one ounce of beauty in that kind of behavior.

Be happy for others. Just be happy for them. It’s really that simple.

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Behave yourself.

Over the past few days I have encountered some of the most negative people and heard some of the most ignorant remarks made to customers when they were out and about. So today I am taking it upon myself to clear the air about what is inappropriate to say to customers, competitors and to people in general.

In business, when discussing your competitor’s, don’t go around stating “I’m gonna put them out of business!”. First of all, you look and sound like an ass. Second, what goes around comes around…you will only end up hurting yourself and your business.

As a stylist, when your client comes in after trying to do an “at home” Ombre…don’t laugh. Don’t say “What the hell did you do?”. Don’t make it worse for them than it already is. Tell them you can fix it and move on.

If you have done an “at home” color and now your hair is orange, do not yell at the stylist because she has to take you back to brown hair and your dreams of being blonde are shattered. It is not her fault that you ruined your hair. She is trying to help you keep the hair you have. Want to be blonde…go to the Salon.

Never, I mean never tell a customer “You are wrong. You don’t know what you are talking about.” * Remember this – the customer is always right…in their own mind. So if you tell them they are wrong…you have crossed the line. Instead of telling them they are wrong, educate and enlighten. Try saying “A lot of people have been told that, I was able to find out…and fill in the blanks. No one likes to feel stupid or made to feel like an idiot. No one.

Don’t take it personally. Unless someone comes right out and calls me a name, I don’t take their attitude personally. Most of the time they are mad at their husband or they chipped a nail or have a run in their pantyhose and need someone other than themselves to blame for their misery.

When a customer or client doesn’t seem to believe what you are telling them about a product, don’t take it personally. Everyday I meet women and men that have been given the wrong information about hair products. We have all been there…someone has led us down the garden path too. Be patient, be kind, don’t take it personally.

Call to cancel your appointment – no shows are rude and they take away a stylist’s income. You might as well go into their wallet and take their money.

Be honest. Lies are meant for children under the age of five who are in need of a cookie and will say anything to get one.

Listen to your customer. We have all been there, listening to someone we think is rambling on and on. Maybe they are, or maybe they have just buried a loved one or are heading to the hospice to see their mother and need an escape from what they have to face in their daily life.

When you see someone with a stroller or a wheelchair…get the door for them.

Be kind to the elderly, mind your manners.

Be kind to children. Acknowledge them. I have always found when I speak to the child that comes into the shop they behave better and are usually quite pleased that someone has noticed them and made them feel important. Remember, not everyone has a happy childhood, and maybe, just maybe smiling at that child that day will give them hope.

Make eye contact. It is rude if you don’t, plain and simple.

Do not treat stylists and salespeople as your slave or personal servant. We are human beings that like to be treated with respect just as you do. A nice “Hello” will do. Don’t walk into a shop like you own it…this isn’t New York City and you are not Donald Trump. (no disrespect intended Mr. Trump).

Do not raise your voice at your stylist. Do not raise your voice at your salesperson. Do not raise your voice at the manager. When all is said and done, when you yell in public, you look like a fool. A full grown adult having a temper tantrum is not a pretty sight, don’t do it.

Remember that most return policies are not the policy of the store. We are following the guidelines of our distributor’s return policy. If they won’t take the product back from the store, the store cannot take it back for you. Every product has a 1 800 number for customer service – call them. If more consumers called the companies and were more involved with their purchases, maybe these policies would begin to favor the consumer.

When someone asks your child what their name is, do not speak for your child and say “her name is brat.”. Again, you sound like an ass and if you call your child a brat that is exactly what you are going to have, a child acting like a brat.

Go out today and be kind. Remember, we all have the same amount of time in a day and it is just as important as everyone else’s. Oh yes, and don’t throw the flat iron.

1

Proceed with caution…

It was a quiet morning in the shop. The sun was shining, you could hear the hum of the hair dryers in the Salon and the lively chit chat of our stylist and her client, the air conditioning was keeping me cool and I was catching up on the payroll and inventory. I hear the familiar chirp of the Salon door and before I have a chance to stand up and say hello, the customer is at the front desk “I need you to get me color, toner and the applicator.”. (here we go…). Before I venture further into this tale, let me explain something for those who have not been in my shop. We do sell color. Wella ColorCharm. It is the only professional color line that is allowed to be retailed to the public. We carry it because our competitor’s carry it, and also in case stylist’s need color and either the wholesaler is closed or their license has expired and still do hair from home. In my shop we do not teach people how to do their own color, we do not even advise how to begin. Now, back to today’s tale.

I stand up from the desk and ask her exactly what does she mean and proceed to tell her that toner isn’t just one bottle and I also let her know that the applicator depends on if she wants to use cream or liquid. You see ladies and gents, by asking a few questions, I can tell if she knows what she is doing and if I need to proceed with caution. Guess what? HUGE yellow light. From the look on her face I know 1- she doesn’t understand what I am talking about and 2 – she is getting mad. “My friend said you would tell me what to do and give me what I need!”. (for a minute it felt like I was in a bad after school special). I explained that in the past the previous owner and employees may have given the how to’s for coloring at home, but we do not. I showed her the color swatch book, showed her where the product was and explained “We cannot guarantee the results because we are not applying the color, there are many factors that have to be taken into account when coloring hair, like the hair’s porosity, if you are on any medication it will affect your hair, how resistant is your gray, have you used box dye from the department store in the last year, and many other factors.”. I even offered to introduce her to one of our stylists to make an appointment. (which in turn made her more upset because the next available appointment was for the next week). As I was explaining that I didn’t want something to go wrong with her color and then she would be facing the cost of a color correction, she turned on her heel and stormed out. I understood her frustration.

Later that afternoon the telephone rings. I answer with my usual friendly afternoon greeting to which I hear “Is this the Salon in the Tim Horton’s plaza?!?!”. “Yes it is, how can I help you?”. “Is there a manager around there?!?”. “Yes! That’s me, how can I help you?”. “HHMMPT…were you working this morning?!?!”. “Yes, I was. I was the only one in the store. What can I do for you?”(smiling all the while…*a tip…always smile when you are on the phone…less chance of sounding rude). “…oh…you’re the…man…never mind.”. Before she could hang up, “Are you calling because your friend came in for color this morning?” I ask. “uh, yes, I am.”. So I thanked her for calling and apologized if I had offended her friend in anyway for that was not my intention. I explained the new ownership and the new rules. I explained that these are chemicals and yes, sometimes things go well but there is the chance it will not and I didn’t want her friend’s hair to turn into a nightmare for her. I told her I knew that our competition was giving the how to’s for at home color and I also told her how my stylist now has 10 new color clients because she had to correct their how to’s. By the end of the call, it seemed all was smoothed over. I am hoping so.

The reason for today’s tale is to let you know that there are salespeople who care about the customer, not just the sale. I would rather have a customer leave without a purchase and be informed than buy a product that is not meant for what they want and have their hair look horrible – and not for why you think. Yes, I care what people think and say about our store, anyone in retail does. I don’t want their hair to look horrible because I know what it feels like to be given the wrong information about your hair and then being afraid the mirror will crack every time you look into it, and I do not want to be the reason for that misery. I am sure when the customer stormed out that day she was putting a hex on me, and that’s okay. I would rather her be mad at me for a few minutes(or hours/days…take your pick), then to go home and have her hair turn green or orange. I know neons are in right now, but come on.

Stylists spend 18 months on color theory. Depending on what color you are trying to achieve it can be a delicate process. Remember, no matter how you slice it or glam it up with a hot new name, color is a chemical and when using chemicals you must know what you are doing. If you want to attempt your own color, the only advice I can give you is to proceed with caution.

1

Save the alcohol for your martini

Ahhh, the sounds of summer. Children playing in the streets  squealing with delight as they hear the ice cream truck, the roll of the waves at the seaside, the chime of a bicycle passing you  on the sidewalk, the whimper of a woman fighting the battle with frizz and losing. Yep, we have all been there. We have all been her…you know who…the woman who turns into a five year old little girl yanking the brush through her hair and stomping her foot exclaiming “I hate my hair!!” sending every man within a 10 mile radius to make a run for the hills. (who could blame them, honestly.).

Today’s tale is about alcohol free products. Alcohol free products are less drying and some have found that using alcohol free products helps eliminate frizz and said products have been known to save a marriage or two. (of course a glass of alcohol has been known to do the same but that is another tale for another day). The best way to eliminate frizz is finding the magical combination of alcohol free AND humidity resistant…don’t be so doubtful…such products to exist…read on. Since all these products are Salon professional, they are all color safe.

I have compiled a list of some of the favorite products sold at my shop that are alcohol free;

JOICO JoiWhip Mousse – adds great volume and hold (a little goes a long way…too much and can tend to be sticky…dispense so foam is about the size of a small egg)

GOLDWELL Glamour Whip Mousse – adds volume and hold

RUSK Jelle Gloss – Works great as a setting lotion or for that slicked back look

AG – Liquid Varnish – A serum to add shine, can be used on wet or dry hair (a little goes a long way…use too much and you will look like Danny Zuko from Grease)

AG – Spray Varish – A shine spray, to be added to hair after you have the look you want, just with a little more shine. (lightly mist it over your hair)

MOROCCANOIL oil treatment – use on wet hair to reduce drying time and to control fly-aways

MOROCCANOIL Glimmer Spray – A shine spray, apply to add shine to your lovely locks.

SOMA Hot Body – A volumizing gel, great hold and no flaking.

Now, the list of alcohol free and humidity resistant products…told you they existed;

SOMA Curly Cue – an awesome gel formulated for curls, keeps them soft and bouncy, and free of frizz

SOMA Prism Shine Spray – a lightweight shine spray that never leaves a build up or greasy look.

SOMA Rage out – a styling cream that can be used  for straight or curly styles.

SOMA Solace – A cuticle sealer. Meant to lock that cuticle shut so no matter what the weather, the humidity cannot open up that cuticle and create frizz.

I hope this helps silence the tantrums and whimpers from behind the bathroom door, if not… I can give you a great apple-tini recipe, you will still hear the whimpers, they will just become more bearable.