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…it just isn’t practical

Last week as I was scrolling through my twitter feed, I came across a link to a commencement speech delivered by Jim Carrey. Something he said has resonated in me ever since… “so many of us choose our path out of fear…disguised as practicality.”.

As you all know, I am the manager of a Salon/retail shop. I am also a wife, a mother and a daughter. I am also a person who used to think I was making the responsible choices, the practical choices when it came to my life decisions, be it a new hair style, a new hair color, what car to buy, what job to take, hell…even when was the proper time to introduce my child to the horror movie genre. Since entering my forties and getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy) I have come to realize most of my decisions were not based on practicality. They were based on fear of judgement, fear of ridicule, fear of non acceptance. They were made by fear, disguised as practicality. ( I will be forever grateful to Jim Carrey for putting into words a thought that I could not articulate). I am also a person who no longer allows fear to make my decisions and am here to tell you that you also can be such a person.

Everyday at the shop, I am sad to say, I hear someone, man , woman or child – take your pick, give up and give into fear, disguised as practicality. A few people stand out in my mind.They have since become customers of the shop and some have become clients of our Salon. Here are their tales.

A  woman came in the shop and stood staring at the display of the Babyliss Miracurl. (an awesome styling tool – full head of curls in 10 minutes!). I asked her if she had any questions or if she needed a hand finding something. She let me know that she had always wanted to have curly hair. I asked her if she wanted to try our demo model to which she said “I better not. I have been told in the past that curls will make my face look fatter than it already is. …and people would just think I am trying to look younger than I am.”. So I asked her “Do you think that your face will look fatter?”. She said no. So I told her to go ahead and curl her hair and not give anyone else’s negative opinions a second thought. Then I pulled my hair back to the side and showed her how I shaved the underside of my hair…because I like it. She smiled and bought a curling iron.

A gentleman came into the shop. He asked me if anyone else was in the shop because he wanted to speak to me about his receding hairline and didn’t want anyone else to know about it. I let him know it was just him and I. He let me know that he had been concerned about his hair loss for a while, but thought trying to do something about it would make him seem vain and that he would be seen as an old man wasting his money. I reassured him that it was not vain – wanting to be happy and wanting to like your reflection is not vain, he was not wasting his money – Nioxin is an award winning system to help prevent hair loss and promote a healthy scalp and that he was not old – 100 is old, not 62. We spent 20 minutes going over the products and I showed him their website. He thanked me for my professionalism, and for not laughing at him, like others before me had done. He left with product in hand and a spring in his step.

A young woman came in the shop to buy some shampoo. We got to chatting and she told me how she had a chance to move out west and go to school. I congratulated her and asked when she was leaving. She said she wasn’t going to go. I asked her “Why not?”. She told me that she didn’t know anyone out there and wouldn’t know how to get around the city. I asked her “In a perfect world…would you go?” to which she said “Yes.”. I told her “There’s your answer. You gotta go. You will meet people. You can use the GPS on your phone to find your way around.” to which she smirked a little. I reminded her this is the perfect time to go and try something for herself – no kids, no marriage, no mortgage, no ties. I reminded her, she can always come back. I am happy to say, she came in last week to stock up on her favorite hairspray, in case they don’t have it in Vancouver.

Ladies and gents, it’s time to become a little more impractical. It is time to let go of the fear of the unknown, the fear of judgement, the fear of ridicule. It is time to remove all the excuses from your mind’s itinerary – the excuses that shout; What will people think? What will the neighbors say? I can’t because of the kids, I can’t because of my parents, I am too old, I am too young, I can’t. …we all have ’em. It’s time to begin listening for the whispers of; I can. Go for it. Try. …those whispers are there. Once you remove the shouts, and remove the practicality, remove the fear, the whispers are heard.

If I was being practical, I wouldn’t be telling you this tale, I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life, I wouldn’t be the mother to a fantastic and beautiful daughter, I wouldn’t be the manager of a Salon/retail shop, I wouldn’t be me. I would be the version of me that fear dictated…and quiet frankly, it just isn’t practical.

 

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Taking a Tour

On June 2nd., yours truly took a little tour to The Cambridge Mill in Cambridge Ontario to attend the Spring Trend Tour show sponsored by Joico and Piidea Direct.  Inspiration was promised and inspiration was delivered…from the choice of venue to the artistry displayed on stage.

I arrived to warm hospitality from the staff at the Cambridge Mill, hot coffee and a glorious view while waiting for the show to start.

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20140602_093508 The view from The Cambridge Mill

Once at my table the music pumping, the lights flashing, I knew I was in  for a treat. The show began with a student competition and let me tell you, these students GOT IT! Great styles and structure to the cuts and creations and color. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for these young stylists and their clients.

IMG_20140602_103820    20140602_102620  Yep! Created by students!

After the student competition we were treated to some great cutting and color techniques using Joico and ISO color from Marc Galati and Darci Armstrong. True professionals and artists, who touched on all aspects of having a client in your chair, from foil placement, understanding your client, helping your client achieve their desired look and in my opinion the most important, making sure that you sell your client the proper products to protect their investment in themselves.

20140602_112340    Marc Galati

20140602_103214    Darci Armstrong

After a scrumptious lunch that included the best ever beet salad I ever had, wraps, sandwiches and tasty treats for dessert we were in for a real treat. Monika Lombardi took the stage with her creations for the gents of all ages. It was a wonderful addition to the show as, for those of you who follow my Salon Tales, our gents do not get enough attention and they are a huge market that needs more attention. Great barbering techniques were displayed and taught by Monika, as were styling techniques. Monika gave a step by step walk through of each technique she was utilizing. Another true professional and artist. I cannot wait to see what the next trend show will bring!

IMG_20140602_160233 Monika Lombardi

IMG_20140602_160044  All the creations

For those of you looking to change it up at your Salon, or are thinking of dabbling in more vibrant colors and creations, I recommend Piidea Direct and Joico. To be clear, I am not receiving any type of stipend. The reason for the recommendation? I am a manager of a Salon and retail shop which means I am also a customer. I am a customer that needs product, color and support and I receive all three from Piidea and Joico. Free education, support 24/7, samples for our back bar and our clients, even complimentary retail bags for our clients and customers…and awesome Sales Reps., like mine.

IMG_20140602_160557  Melodie Hergott – Sales Rep Extraordinaire! …and yours truly.

 

 

 

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Tales of Truth Part 11

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, gather ’round for another installment of Tales of Truth. Last week was the week of the full moon and Friday the 13th., so you can imagine what yours truly got to hear and got to see. As always, the following tales are based on real events…sigh.

– I hear the chirp of the Salon’s door chime. A regular customer comes up to the counter and says she needs my opinion. I say “Sure! What can I help you with?”. She proceeds to come behind the counter, lifting her skirt as she walks. I stopped her dead in her tracks, put my hand up and said “You can keep your skirt down. Let me guess…you want to ask me if red bumps after waxing is normal” to which she looked at me like I was Dionne Warwick and I was her new psychic bff. “YES! How did you know without seeing?”. ….double sigh

– A woman came in to buy her hairspray and she was concerned about leaving the hairspray in the car as she ran errands because it was such a hot day. I reassured her that if she put it in the trunk, it should be fine. She was quite relieved. As we were waiting for the debit machine to connect, she became a little anxious. “Can you hurry this up? I left my dog in the car!”. …wait for it…there you go.

– We carry products that are vegan and certified organic. I had a customer ask me if they were packaged on a farm. I let her know that they weren’t packaged on a farm, they were packaged in a factory. She then began to tell me that there was no way the products could be organic because they weren’t packaged on a farm.

– I have a dish of candies at our front desk for our customers and clients, to add a little sweetness to their day. A woman asked me if the candies were free of charge. I let her know that they were and to help herself. She couldn’t believe that I would just give away candy so she left a quarter on the counter “just in case I was trying to pull one over on her”.

– Later that same day I had a woman ask if the candies were free, I let her know that they were and to please help herself. She dug through the bowl and took all the red candies, 10 in total. How do I know it was 10? She counted out loud…people, I shit you not…this really happens.

– From time to time companies will offer a bonus size hairspray that retails for the same price of the regular size bottle. The bonus size can be up to 300 ml more than the regular retail size bottle – it’s like getting two for the price of one. I had a woman get down right angry that all I had in stock were the bonus size cans. She didn’t like them and thought they looked tacky. I let her know that although she may not like the look of the bottle it was a great savings. Her exact words to me were “Who are they to decide that I want to save money?”.

– As I was ringing through a purchase, my customer complimented me on my hair. I thanked her and let her know that our stylists in our Salon do my color for me. “Oh, is that why whenever I come here I hear blow dryers and the chatter?” …I just smiled and handed her a Salon price list. As she was leaving she looked back and said “Thank you! This makes so much sense now.”.

– A woman came in looking for nail polish. I took her over to our OPI and China Glaze displays. When she noticed my sign “please do not try on polishes, please ask for assistance with the swatches” she remarked that she couldn’t believe people would actually open up products and try them out. She chose her polish and said she was just going to look around. Not ten seconds later do I hear “ppffffftttt” – I came around the corner to her trying two different hairsprays, one on each side of her head “Oh…I am just trying them out. I just want to see which one holds better”.

…triple sigh.

 

Dad's laugh

 

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My Dad, Meatloaf and me

After 22 years, the retail gods have smiled upon me and yours truly has Saturday’s off from the Salon – a rare occurrence in our industry. At our shop I am needed more from Monday to Friday, as the owner is in the shop every Saturday if a customer service issue should arise. As I was running errands yesterday, the sunshine warming my soul, windows down, a fresh cool breeze blowing my hair out of my face, a song came on the radio that catapulted me back to 1977, Camaro’s, Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell and memories of my Dad. Those of you familiar with my tales know of my musical references – My love of music comes from my Dad. He would blare Bat out of Hell with the windows down in the Camaro.(for a 7 year old driving past the cute boy’s house…this was a BIG deal).  He would sing along to The Guess Who and Gordon Lightfoot. He would play me chords of his favorite Beatles songs on his guitar. He taught me the difference between Bach and Bachman Turner Overdrive.

I am going to give you all a little glimpse behind the curtain. Who I am today has a lot to do with my Dad. (to the rest of my clan…calm down…love you too…). You see, I was not your typical little girl. Sure, I played with Barbie’s, I would dress them up, have them pretend to go on dates. I would also pretend that they were beating up bullies and would get out my markers and draw a black eye on the receiver of the final blow. I didn’t like wearing dresses…unless it was my birthday or there was a promise of a photo op. (when I was little I firmly believed that a movie director would see me one day and say “finally…we found her”.). I was the kid who beat up the bullies or took down the kid hurting the neighbor hood cats. I was also the kid who slept with 20 stuffed animals (my protector’s from things that go bump in the night) and every so often went to bed wearing my housecoat and slippers in case there was a fire, I was prepared. I loved sports and was known to twirl after I scored a goal or hit a home run. I could go from Rocky Balboa to Dorothy Gale in 3.2 seconds…and my Dad never tried to change that. Ever. Even throughout my turbulent teens, hell, my early adulthood, he always gave me a soft place to fall. My Dad let me be whoever I had to be at the time. He forgave my anger. He let me have my anger without judgement. My Dad gave me the space and the time to find myself…the person he always knew I was, just that I had forgotten.

Whenever I am feeling a little lost, or can’t seem to get past a block in the road, I listen to Meatloaf. Yep. Meatloaf. With my headphones on and the tunes cranked up, unbeknowst to my Dad (until now), I am reminded of who I am. I am that girl who can do anything she wants, be anything she wants and am off like a Bat out of Hell.