Beauty, communication, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Tales of Truth – Part 10

Wow! Part 10. When I began my Tales of Truth series I thought I would run out of material. I thought I would write four, maybe five installments. I am beginning to have a sneaking suspicion that the public at large has heard of my Tales of Truth and are trying to see if I will write about them…at least, that is what I am hoping.

One evening, after my shift had ended, the phone rang and my ptg (part time girl) answered. She asked the customer to “please hold”, put the call on hold and turned to our owner/head stylist with a look of fear on her face. The call was about a brow wax, the customer on the phone wanted to book an appointment for her daughter, her daughter was a toddler. Yes, a toddler. – enough said.

Anyone who lives in North America know that this winter, Mother Nature has showed us what she is made of. We have been under the thumb of the Polar Vortex. Safe to say, we have had a lot of snow. I had a woman get mad at me about all the snow in the parking lot and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing anything about clearing it away. I let her know we had been shoveling a walk way to and from the door and clearing the sidewalk in front of the shop. She still had an issue with my lack of parking lot snow removal. FYI…our shop is in a strip mall that has over 250 parking spaces.

The phone rings and I answer with my standard greeting. “Are you open?” to which I answer “Yes, we are here until 6 p.m. today”. “Are you sure you are open?”. Again, I let the customer know we are open. “Okay, just checking. I will be in tomorrow”. – people, I shit you not. This actually happens.

From time to time, there are price increases on product. A fact that no one really enjoys. A customer came up to the counter and said “This used to cost $17.95. Now it is $19.95.”, to which I agreed “Yes, there has been a cost increase and a price increase on this product line.”. She scowled at me and said “I know! The price is higher!”, to which I answered “Yes it is higher. You are correct”. Then she looked at me and said “I know I’m right! I wanted to be sure you knew there was a price increase.”. ….sigh.

A woman told me I had poor customer service skills and was too abrupt. LONG story short – Poor customer service skills = I wouldn’t tell her how to color her own hair. (she had 3 colors in her hair and had used box dye in the past year). Abrupt = I explained that no matter what salon she went to or what color line she used, in 2-4 weeks she would still have regrowth and that the gray roots would return.

We offer complimentary coffee at our Salon and it smells wonderful. We have been using flavored creamers lately that make the Salon smell heavenly. (…a perk to the new flavors – yours truly gets to taste test them). I was at the front desk updating our Facebook page when I hear the familiar chirp of the shop’s door. Before I can get out my “Good Morning!”, all I hear is “What is that smell? …cough. ..cough…It smells so good! Do you sell those candles?”. To which I smile, hold up my mug and let the customer know that it is the flavored creamer in my coffee that she smells. “No it isn’t! cough…sniff…cough..You must have a candle burning in here!”. I reassure her that it really is my coffee. “No way! I don’t believe it! Give me your cup and let me smell it!”….needless to say, I didn’t finish my coffee that day.

A woman came in looking for KMS Molding Paste. I let her know that the packaging had changed but the product was the same. “How do you know?” she asked. I let her know that the line had been revamped over a  year ago and that I had the spec. sheet from KMS California on what products were discontinued and what products had been replaced and what products stayed the same. She looked at me and said “Yes, but how do you really know?”     …see link below

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/09/28/the-replacements/

In Ontario, in February, we have a provincial holiday – Family Day. A holiday the provincial government created for a little break in the dull days of winter, and to offer an extra holiday in between New Years and Easter. Retailers and most businesses close for the day. I had posted a sign in our window letting our customers/clients know that we too would be closed for Family Day. A woman came in the shop and as she was paying for her products looked at me and said “Must be nice to make up something like “Family Day” just so you can close the store”. …thank goodness she wasn’t a mind reader.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized

Step away from the scissors and listen for a minute

“This is not what we discussed. Look at my hair! What am I going to do? I can’t go to work looking like this!”. – you are picturing a woman right now, aren’t you? Yes, most people picture a woman uttering these phrases when she has received a bad hair cut…and that is the first problem. Women are not the only ones that suffer from bad hair days and bad hair cuts. Our lovely gents do as well. Actually, in my experience, men seem to be the victim of bad a hair cut/style more often than women. For some reason, many stylists seem to think for their male clientele. A gentleman comes in looking for a new style and ends up walking out with the same cut his father gave him sitting in the kitchen with the #1 guide…when he was 4 years old.

As you know, I manage a retail shop/salon. I have many men come into the shop for their hair products, from KMS HAIRPLAY Molding Paste to d:fi molding cream. Some of my lovely gents like to spike up their hair with Joico Ice Spiker and some like to slick it back with American Crew Firm Gel. Some gents like a bit of shine – SOMA Prism spray is a great choice -no hold, just lovely shine, and some like a matte finish – AG STUCCO is great and a big seller. What all my lovely gents have in common is they want to look good. They want to look professional and creditable in their profession – from Welder to Physician. What they don’t want is the “Charlie Brown” head, or as mentioned above, the cut they had from dear old Dad.

Many times, unfortunately, men come into the shop asking me “Do you sell clippers?” – they ask this because they feel their only option is to shave their head because they just cannot face another bad cut, or having another stylist not listen to them when they tell them what they don’t want their hair to look like. I know, believe me, I know that clients/customers do not always explain themselves very well. It is our job, as managers, owners and stylists to take the time to be sure we understand what it is our clients/customers want. When the gentleman in your chair says he wants it short – ask him how short. Place your fingers on his head as a point of reference if need be – every stylist has had a client that when they said take a few inches off, they really meant half an inch. What the client pictures as short may not be what you, as the stylist, pictures as short. You need to clarify. You need to be clear. You need to stop thinking for your client. If you are not sure of how to cut men’s hair, or you only know 3 cuts for our gents – pick up a copy of Canadian Hairdresser, or Salon magazine or hop on Google and go to http://www.behindthechair.com and check out the images and tutorials.

Think about this for a minute, I mean really think about it – what would happen if a woman sat in your chair with shoulder length hair and said she wanted something shorter and you gave her a pixie cut, because that’s what you thought she wanted and you thought that would be best…what would happen? A meltdown of Nuclear proportions, that’s what. When a woman is sitting in your chair looking for a change or something shorter, as a stylist, you may spend up to 20 minutes on a consultation, to be sure you know exactly what it is she wants, how she styles her hair at home, what products she likes to use on her hair and what she has done with her hair in the past. I believe our Gents are worth the time as well. Men are a key component to a successful Salon and retail business – they deserve our attention.

In my 20 years of customer service and in my 10 plus years in our beloved biz of Beauty, I know one thing with absolute certainty. Women may give you a second chance. Men will not, and honestly, when they aren’t being listened to…who can blame them?

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Uh oh…you thought my civility meant softness

As you know, I manage a retail shop/Salon. I love my job. I get excited when I have helped a woman love her hair. Yes, I am 41 years old and I will clap my hands and exclaim “YAY!” when a client thanks me for introducing them to the product that saved their hair, be it KMS HairPlay Molding Paste or SOMA Solace. I show my excitement. I giggle. I clap. If they are a regular customer and we have a good rapport, I even hug. I also show my genuine concern when a client is not happy with a product. I listen to their frustrations. I clarify what exactly was the issue with the product. I ask them how they are using the product and help them figure out if it is the right product, just being used incorrectly, or if there may be a better product for them. I say please. I say thank you. I make eye contact. I also, on some occasions, must keep my cool and stand there as someone loses their cool. Of course sometimes I have to duck – flying flat iron – enough said.

The reason I gave you all a fly on the wall glimpse into my daily life is this – to prove, once and for all that being a happy, positive person does not mean you are stupid and have your head in the clouds. That having manners does not mean you are fake and trying to impress everyone in the room. That keeping your cool while someone is losing it does not mean you have no back bone.

Every once and a while I meet someone who takes one look at me with my blonde hair and big earring and high heels and decides what ever they are gonna decide about me. After they speak to me for a few minutes I seem to hear the same things;

– “I thought you were going to be a snob” – because I said please and thank you and had so much manners. (actually said to me…yep.)

– “I thought you were a diva!” – because I like my bling. (I would so bedazzle this post if I could.).

– “I thought you were too young to know anything about this stuff” …thanks for the genes Mom & Dad

– “I’m sorry”. – said to me after I asked if they were going to calm down or did I need to call the police. Yep, a grown woman lost her shit because I wouldn’t take back a flat iron that had no receipt, no box, no proof of purchase and had a broken plate, which after the threat of police (from your truly) and apology for throwing said flat iron (from said crazed customer) she admitted she dropped it on the ceramic tile floor in her bathroom.

The point of today’s tale is this; be kind and never assume anything of anyone, good or bad, beautiful or ugly – in the end they will show that themselves.

– If you are fortunate enough to meet someone who is kind, do not treat them like they are simple and stupid because they offer their kindness. (see above title)

– When you see someone excited about something, join in the excitement, don’t roll your eyes and tell them “to grow up”.

– When you see someone, lady or gent, impeccably dressed, compliment them. Do not scowl at them – they are not trying to “out-do” you – that’s your problem honey, not theirs.

– When a woman has her hair done, make up applied and is wearing heels, it does not mean that she is after your man, or that she is a bimbo without a brain, or that she is craving attention. Maybe, just maybe, she likes herself.

– When you are talking to a sales person, do not belittle nor berate them. It makes you a bully. A bully picking on someone’s child.

…oh, and never mistake civility for softness.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized

Forgive me Gloria…

To be clear, I am all for “girl power” and am a firm believer in equality. I am grateful to all the women who burned their bras and for their swollen feet and blisters for the marches they marched in so I can vote and have a library card without my daddy’s signature on it. (yes, up until the 1950’s in Canada a woman could not have a library card unless it had a man’s signature on it…my mother remembers my great grandmother taking her to the library the day women were allowed to have their own library card).This being said, as of late I am not seeing much equality out there. The lack of equality is not for the ladies…but for the gents. That’s right. I said it, for the gents.

Every time, I mean every time a gent comes in for product, the second he leaves some woman makes a snide remark, or pokes fun at him. “Isn’t that cute? He wants to do his hair.”. “Hmmppt…who is he trying to impress?”. “He must be gay.”. Yes, although it is 2012, people still have their head so far up their ass they cannot see daylight.

At least a couple of times a week gentlemen come into the shop for hair product. Sometimes they know exactly what they want…so many gents out there love KMS HairPlay Molding Paste and American Crew Fibre. Sometimes they come in looking for advice. Yes ladies, believe it or not, the gents like to look good too…and not just for us ladies…for themselves as well. Sometimes my male clients are feeling a little insecure because they are going through a divorce and haven’t changed their style in 10 years and just don’t know what to do. Some men come in because some jerk at the office made fun of their gray hair and now they think they have to dye it. On one occasion, a young man had just come out of closet and was celebrating his new cut and wanted the right product for his new style.

As women, we want equality. We want to be treated the same as men. So, if this is the case why is it that we as women can have anxiety but men cannot? Why is it that we as women can show fear but men cannot? Why is it as women we can take time and effort in our appearance for our own pleasure but when a man brushes his hair and teeth it is assumed he is “after something?”.

What astonishes me about this back woods mentality is this…if a man said a woman must be a slut if she does her hair and makeup…well, no one would stand for that. So why is it acceptable for a woman to call a man “vain and a womanizer” because he likes his hair to look good? Equality goes both ways ladies.

Want to be seen as an equal? Treat people as you want to be treated. You want respect? You gotta give it.