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Did you hear?

A dear friend of mine was the truest definition of kindness, beauty and being a woman today. I watched her reach out to another with kindness and sympathy. She shared another’s tears and helped them laugh through their tears. As Dolly Parton as Miss Truvy in Steel Magnolias said “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”. It was beautiful. It was not a planned visit, nor a planned conversation. Just one woman seeing another woman’s pain and helping her. She shared her story, she “spoke her truth”.

This is something that is so simple to do, but few do it. To be honest and open with another person – it is so simple. We all have secrets and mistakes that we aren’t the most proud of. We all have stories that “you don’t talk about at parties.”. At some point or another in our lives, we have felt like the odd man out or a little crazy.  I have said it before and will continue to say it – we all want to be seen and heard, everyone’s time is as important as everyone else’s. Everyday, at least once a day I have a customer that looks distraught or lost or both. Sometimes it is because they don’t know which hairspray to choose, sometimes it is because they just found out their husband is having an affair (yep…it happened), sometimes it is because they are losing a loved one to cancer. I always ask them the same question, “Are you alright honey?”. I ask because I know that we all want to be seen. I ask because I know how much it meant to me when a stranger took a moment to offer me a kind word when I was feeling pretty low.

It’s time to be nice again. It’s time to be kind. If your friend is excited to dye her hair fire engine red – be happy for her. If your son wants blonde highlights- tell him that would look great – do not tell him he is gay (yep…parents still say that crap). If your husband is insecure about his receding hair line, buy him some Nioxin – do not laugh and tell him to buy more hats. When you ask someone “How are you?” mean it. Take a moment and listen to them. If you take the time to listen, you never know what you may hear.

 

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The lady has guts

I started this blog to share the tales of my daily escapades in the shop/salon I work in, to give a different perspective, to educate and enlighten the masses about the world of beauty. There is something I feel I need to share with you all, an  educational tool if you will. Although today’s blog isn’t about hairspray or rash ravaged bikini lines, it is about beauty. The beauty of honesty and pain. Of sharing your story and speaking your truth.

There is a book that kept coming across my path. Every time I was at the book store, there it was. It was never in the section it was supposed to be in. So, I picked it up, flipped it open to a random page and the first thing I read had me laughing. I bought the book. The book is guts by Kristen Johnston. With each chapter I found I myself laughing, crying or shaking my head in acknowledgement, or all three. You may think I am romanticizing (and if so power to you), this book gave me that last little nudge to take a leap of faith in myself. I am not an addict, nor have I battled an addiction in a traditional  sense, but I have battled with the voices in my head saying “You are not good enough”, “You are not pretty enough” and so on. Come on…admit it…we have all been there at least once, ladies and gents alike. Kristen Johnston tells her story truthfully, she puts it out there for all the world to see. Most of us can’t even admit to ourselves in the wee small hours of the morning our shortcomings. I always thought I knew what it meant to have guts. Now I am sure of its definition. Her story confirmed what my father had told me all along…different is good, and she confirmed what I had always felt to be true, sometimes being a smart ass is a good thing.

Here is the reason I am sharing this tale today. I am all for voicing an opinion (if you have been reading my blog you know that) and freedom of speech, when it is the truth, not when it is a lie. Every once and a while I come across or hear an uneducated remark and it gets me a little fired up. Be it about our beloved author, bad hair advice or anything negative in general. (maybe I am entering early menopause…still got the ol’ ovaries).There is difference between being a smart ass and just being an ass.

Choose your words carefully. Do not use the internet as courage. If you won’t say something to someone’s face, maybe you shouldn’t say it at all. Be kind, because in the end, it may be your story being shared.

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You know you like it

Every day, at least once a day, a woman comes into the shop looking for something new. I see her come in the door, We exchange our “hello’s”, she heads over to her “go to” product, picks it up, puts it back on the shelf. She picks it up again and puts it back down. She starts to walk around the store, looking at all the shelves of product. I ask if I can help her. She tells me no. She ends up back at the shelf she started at, and sighs. I walk over and ask “Are you sure I can’t help you?”. She turns to me, sighs again and says “I guess you can. I mean maybe, I really don’t know.”. So I ask her why she picked up the first product then kept putting it down. (lets say it was Joico JoiWhip for educational purposes.). The response is always the same “I was told I needed to change my products.”. So I ask her, “Do you like JoiWhip? Are you happy with the hold and volume it offers?”. This response is always the same also, “Yes, I love it!”. I reassure her that if she has found a product that works for her and she likes it, she doesn’t have to change it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” is what I end up saying and usually I get a laugh. I was once corrected on my grammar but at least it wasn’t accompanied with a flying flat iron.

Ladies and Gents, when it comes to your hair products, if you like the products you are using, keep on using them. You don’t need to change because someone said so…that being said – I do highly recommend to stop using drug store product and invest in professional salon products. You know your hair, you know what it will do and what it won’t. You know how much or how little time you want to spend on your hair. You know the scents you like and the hold you want. The same goes for your life. If you like what you are doing, keep doing it. If you like to bang your head to Iron Maiden…bang away. If you like to skip down the lane…skip away. You know yourself and what you like. Trust yourself. I have said on many occasions that I believe a little fairy dust goes a long way. I am forty years old and I am sure many people I meet may think I am a little “off” because I say hello to caterpillars – you never know – the one you don’t say hello to may be the one caterpillar that is capable of speech.

If you like your JoiWhip or your Moroccanoil or your BigSexy Spray and Play – keep using it. If you like to sing along to Weird Al while you drive around town – be like a surgeon and tell ’em to eat it. Be yourself and trust yourself – there is nothing more beautiful.

 

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Do you want a sale or a customer?

Customer service. A term that we all know, a term we have all heard, a term we have all been taught. Unfortunately, as of late, a term many are not utilizing to their full potential, if at all.

It happened again today. I had a customer come into the shop and when I asked her “can I help you find what you are looking for?” it was met with a scowl and a snap of “I’ll let you know. Can’t I just look around?”. I have heard this many times and just let it roll off my back, nine out of ten times it has nothing to do with my question. After a few minutes I said “Just so you know, if you can’t find what you are looking for, many companies changed their packaging this year. Let me know if you need some help.”. She was quite happy with what I had told her. You see, she was looking for a KMS product and her stylist said it was discontinued. It wasn’t discontinued, the packaging changed and they renamed the product – KMS Flat Out anti humidity seal is now KMS HairStay anti humidity seal. She was over the moon with excitement. We got to talking about product and she ended up apologizing for her response to my greeting, telling me “I’m not used to getting service and dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about.”. I thanked her and told her not to worry about it, I know just how she feels.

You see, I am not only the manager of our retail/salon, I am also a customer. I am a customer of our distributors and manufacturers and I know how frustrating it can be when you are not being listened to or given the proper information about the product you have purchased. In my opinion (you know I have to give it), in business, it all comes down to customer service. The better the customer service the more business you will receive. Personally, when we need a product at our shop, the owner and I tend to buy from the company that offers us the best customer service and support. Back to the tale at hand.

After speaking with my customer about her hair, I found out that it was over processed at her last appointment at her salon and she wasn’t happy at all. So I gave her a few samples of the Kpak Revitaluxe treatment to try and let her know that it would help her hair look and feel better and would help repair some of the damage. I asked her what she wanted her hair to look like. I asked her what products she used at home. I asked if she liked to blow dry or air dry her hair. She laughed and said I asked more questions than her stylist. I told her that was my job, to help her find what she needed so she could do her hair and like the results. I asked a few questions and showed honest interest in her and ended up selling three products and she left smiling and hopeful, and with our Salon price list.

Take the time with your customers. Customer service isn’t just about making the sale. It is about building a relationship with your customer/client. If you build a relationship and trust, not only will you have a sale, you will have a customer.

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Mr. Miyagi and no wax floors

I hear the familiar chirp of the shop’s door chime. “Do you sell wax?” I am asked. “Are you looking for hair wax for styling or wax for hair removal?” (I always clarify…you never know.). “For hair removal, I want to do my own waxing.”. A phrase I hear just as often as I hear “I thought the hair color I put on my hair 3 weeks ago grows out that color.”. Yes, I hear it often. I do. Seriously.

So, I ask the question I always ask in this situation, “Have you waxed by yourself before?”. More often than not, the answer is “No, but it looks easy enough.”. Well my lovelies, looks can be deceiving. Yes, waxing is easier and quicker than shaving…if you know what you are doing. The wax must  be the correct consistency, the proper temperature and must be applied properly – not too thick or thin of a layer, and you must rip the strip in the proper direction. Also, depending on the area of the body, the proper wax must be used or Mr. Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off” will have a whole new meaning.

Waxing your legs is one thing. If you decide to wax your own brows, BE SURE you know what you are doing. One slip of the strip and you may begin to hear “live long and prosper” while strolling down the lane way. If you are attempting facial waxing, be sure to hold the skin taut or excess facial hair won’t be your only issue. The same goes for underarm waxing. This is not a one person job, at least not on your first 20 attempts. Unless you want to walk around with your arms sticking out like Randy in his snowsuit in a Christmas Story, have a helper. Oh, and if you prefer the look and feel of a Brazilian wax and you think it’s no big deal, first, god be with you. Second, get someone to slap you and go to a Salon. Seriously, it is an intimate procedure and if the wrong wax is used, there will be blood. There is a reason why homes have “no wax floors”. The only person besides you and your aesthetician that needs to see that is your gynecologist.

Oh, and one more thing. If you attempt to wax at home, and you get ingrown hairs, I don’t need to see them. I know what they are and what they look like. I really, I mean, I really do not need to see anymore bikini lines riddled with red bumps while I am standing at the front counter.

“Wax on, wax off”. Oh Mr. Miyagi, you made it sound so simple.

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What is your lesson for today?

As I was sipping on my morning coffee, scrolling through my Twitter feed to check the goings on of the world according to Twitter, I couldn’t believe all the negativity and insult. Yeah, I am forty years old and I am still amazed on a daily basis how immature and mean and down right stupid some people and their behavior can be.

Not to get all political, but the feeling is there and I gotta say it. “Anti-Bullying” and “Zero Tolerance” – two terms that I personally think hold no water. Why you ask? Look around…the problem is bigger than ever. In my life I have been bullied. In my daughters life, she has been bullied and at one point almost pressured into being a bully herself until she realized what was going on, came home and talked to me about it…that was a fun conversation. Long story short – her conscience kicked in, she owned up to it to me, her mother (the scariest thing for a kid to do) and apologized to her friend.

What I am getting at is this. Everyday, seriously, EVERYDAY I see or hear grown women being a bully, in front of or directed at their kids. Case and point;

– Mother and daughter come into the shop wanting to return a flat iron, with no box and no receipt. I explain that I need the receipt for proof of purchase and the manufacturer’s warranty states that we need the box as well. The mother, in front of her daughter, leans over the counter, yells “what the F*&! is your problem, just take it back!” and then throws it at me.

– Mother and daughter come in the shop and the mother says, out loud, with other customers around “Look at her hair! It is so oily and gross!”. Nice.

– A woman comes into the store, complaining that her “fat, lazy kids can’t even buy their own hairspray.”. Mother of the year right there folks.

– Mother and daughter refer to each other as “stupid” and “idiot”. Guess I should be more up to date on the newest trending names.

– A woman calls me a “stupid liar” when I say I don’t have the product she is looking for. Tells her daughter, in front of me “sales people are assholes”. When she realizes she is in the wrong store, instead of apologizing, she tugs on her child’s arm, and pulls them out of the store yelling “Why didn’t you tell me we were in the wrong store?”. – my guess…they didn’t want to mess with crazy.

My all time favorite is when people use the phone/Facebook/texting or Twitter as their shield of bravery. The way I see it, if you won’t say it to someone’s face – you probably shouldn’t say it at all. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and from what I see and hear there are a lot of ’em out there. Everyone is also entitled not to listen to an opinion. It is time to grow up a little. It is time to be the grown ups, it is time to be the parent to our kids not their friends. We can be their friends when they are 18. How do you expect your kids to be kind and not be a bully when they see you scream at a perfect stranger, or hear you call a salesperson an asshole? How do you expect them to say a kind word when they have never heard one.

Seriously, does it really matter in your daily life if you don’t agree with the new book a celebrity wrote? If it does, you need a new hobby, I hear knitting is fun. If you don’t like someone’s tweets…un-follow them. Don’t like their face on Facebook…unfriend them. If you don’t like it, don’t look.

When a child is born, they don’t know what kindness is, someone has to teach them. A child doesn’t know what a bully is or how to be one. Someone has to teach them. What lesson are you going to teach today?

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Stuart Smalley may have been on to something…

I am sure after reading some of my blogs some of you are thinking “what’s up with that girl in the red coat? I thought this was supposed to be a blog about  beauty and salon tales.”. We my lovelies, it is. As I have stated before, there is more to beauty than flat irons and hairsprays…although they can be quite helpful. Everyday I see all sides of beauty, from a woman walking in with a bad hair cut which one of our talented stylists transforms into a great cut, to a woman stepping over our threshold in search of herself…someone she lost somewhere along the way and together we find her. I am also a witness to some of the greatest stories and achievements. I love hearing great news or exciting happenings in the lives of our customers and clients and in some circumstances, it seems I am the only one.

You see, as I learned the hard way, not everyone is happy for you when something good happens to you. I know how down right devastating it is to open up to someone and share something that is so exciting for you just to have them either put you down, laugh at you or (the worst of all) not respond at all. So I make it a point to be excited for any news – be it that you found $20.00 on your way in to my shop, that you lost 5 pounds or that you are going after your dream – even if that dream is clown college.

We all love attention. We all want recognition. We all deserve these things and we can have them. You wanna know how? Give them to yourself. If you wait for everyone to tell you how awesome you are or how terrific your new cut looks or how great you look in your new size 6’s…you are gonna be waiting a long time. Be happy with yourself, get excited for yourself, hell, throw a party for yourself. Not to get all Stuart Smalley “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonnit, people like me.” but seriously, once you celebrate yourself, people will be drawn into your life that want to raise you up and keep you there and those who didn’t care to notice you will fade into the shadows.

When someone shares their story, listen to them. When someone is excited, be excited for them. When someone is happy, be happy for them. Plain and simple.