2

Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear

You can get back up off the floor now. Yes, yours truly is posting again. I have taken some time away, to figure out my focus and where to go from here. Five years ago, as a manager of a retail shop/Salon, I sat down and began my blogging adventures. Starting with humour and hair “how to’s” in hopes of helping the Ladies and Gents gain control of their hair. Within months, as I regained my self confidence, my blog began to take on a life of it’s own. Job opportunities arose, questions were posed, I became a Retail Consultant and the light began to shine a little brighter. Fast forward to present day. I am no longer in the Salon. Although strong ties to my beloved industry are still intact, I am no longer on the front lines so to speak. At first I didn’t know what to do or where my blog was going. So, I took a step back. I turned my focus onto my life, my family, and quite honestly, how and where I was going to earn a living. I thought my blogging days were done, the powers that be had other plans.

Whenever I spoke to friends, I would find myself thinking “I bet a lot of people feel this way…I should write about it.”. Be it marriage woes, attempting to walk the tight rope of parenting millennials, watching a loved one in pain, emotional or otherwise and having no control or say in the matter or simply feeling overwhelmed by life in general. When discussing my idea’s for my “new and improved” blog with those I trust, many who have never met each other, they all told me the same thing. “I like your blogs about hair and products, but I LOVE your blogs about life.”.

Some of the favorites have been;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/09/06/beware-of-yoga-pants-ponytails/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/02/receding-hairlines-and-muffin-tops/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/08/06/the-emily-post-of-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/04/22/my-morning-coffey/

 

So Beauties, here it is, a blog to help add some humor and light into your day, about finding the beauty in everything, life, love, lifestyle and parenting a millennial …God help us.  Yes, I will still allow you to be a fly on the wall in my life and hear about the funny things I see and hear on a daily basis (well, I think they’re hilarious.). That Girl in the Red Coat Consulting services will still be available (call me.).

1

Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

1

…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.

 

 

1

What are you going to do?

The shop is closing. The signs are on the windows. The stock is marked down to clear. Customers and clients are walking in with surprise, wondering what is happening. Shelves are clearing and being removed from the sales floor, so I can see why people may feel worry or concern. “Where will I get my products?”, “What the hell?!”, “Why is this happening?!” are many of the questions asked, usually with a pout, sometimes with a shout. Yes, a shout – those are always a good time. After I explain that the owner has decided to close I get the all too popular question “What are you going to do?”… a question posed to yours truly at least 30 times a day for the past 14 days. Before I get a chance to answer, more often than not, I hear “Guess you’re out of job huh?”, “All you can do is this, so now what are you going to do?” or my all time favorite “Wow. Sure wouldn’t want to be you right now.”.

I get it. For most, their workplace closing it’s doors would be devastating. It’s a scary thing, the unknown. Household budgets are affected, vacations put on hold, major purchases moved to the back burner once more. Good thing for me that I choose to see it as an invitation to a party that I have always wanted to attend. Funny thing – when I explain this to the women I speak with, many of them say “Oh, I see. You don’t have to work.”. Hmmm. Interesting. To be clear, I do need to work, to contribute to my home and my family. Most importantly, to contribute to myself. Since the news of the shop’s closure, I have found the last piece of my confidence that was hiding on me – a sneaky little sucker that kept eluding me. I am once again thinking outside the box, a place I am most comfortable. I have faced fears and have done things I thought I never could do. Like what you ask? Driving to Toronto. Yes. I was afraid of driving into Toronto. I admit it. I feel no shame. Guess what? I slayed that dragon last week. As my hubby told me “You didn’t just drive to Toronto, you drove into the heart of the dragon!”. Thanks to my trusty Nav. system, the support of my loved ones and choosing to listen to the “you can!” instead of the “you can’t!” record playing in my mind, I did it. …and am going to do it again, and again and again.

For those of you reading my tale today that may be in the same boat as yours truly, or facing a major life change and are standing at the crossroads, I am here to tell you that no matter what, everything will be fine. Sooner or later, it all works out. Do what it is you have always wanted to do. Do the work. Be consistent. Be present. Do what you have to do until you get to do what you want to do. I am also here to tell you to stop listening to the negative nellies out there. Refuse to let their nasty remarks enter into your mind, let them roll off your back. Let their fears be their own, do not let their fears become yours. What people say to you says more about them than it does about you. Plain and simple.

For those familiar with my tales, you know that I know that I am not “just” a girl standing in a shop. I am not “just” the manager. I am not “just” anything. Neither are you. Remember that. …and this gem from Mr. Anthony Robbins,

 

 

0

Hair-surance

Last week I had a woman come in looking for a silicone oil for her hair. I asked her why she was looking for a silicone oil for her hair and she told me “that’s what my stylist said to use to fix my extensions, to make the frizz go away and to help get the knots out.”. I asked her how long she had her extensions in for and she told me 1 week. (I swear, I would have guessed a month.). “Oh, I see” I said. “Yeah, I know they look horrible. My stylist told me I am not taking care of them properly. I guess I am just stupid or something.”. It was then that I asked her if her stylist had told her how to take care of her extensions to which she said “Yes. She told me to go to the drugstore and make sure the shampoo was moisturizing and then she said…” it was then that I stopped her. I actually put my hand up and said “Stop right there. Hold on one minute.”. I took a breath and said “this is not your fault. I am sorry that you spent so much money ($400.00 by the way) and were given the wrong instruction.”. I let her know that she should wrap her head each night, or at least put her hair in a low ponytail/braid before bed. That only professional Salon sulfate free shampoo should be used with extensions. That a flat iron spray should be used when using a flat iron – not a silicone oil like her stylist told her. The poor girl just looked at me. Her eyes began to well up, then stopped. Her look turned from despair to anger, and rightfully so. “My stylist didn’t tell me any of that. In fact, she made me feel like I was an idiot and disrespecting her when I told her I thought there was a problem with my extensions!”. We spent the next 20 minutes talking product and after I rang her through, she thanked me for my honesty. “You are the first person who told me the truth about my extensions”.

The point of today’s tale? Clients and customers come to our Salon’s because they trust us. They trust us with their family secrets, the latest neighbourhood gossip, their fears and their self doubt. Most importantly, they trust us with their hair. It is our responsibility as stylists, Salon managers and Salon owners to guard that trust and help our clients and customers to protect their investment in themselves. It is our responsibility to explain;

  • the importance of the proper shampoo, especially for color clients. Explaining that professional Salon shampoo will protect the their color whereas drugstore shampoo will effect the vibrancy of their color = color fade.

 

  • how to apply shampoo – to emulsify it in your hands, then apply mid shaft and work your way up.

 

  • that sulfate free shampoo’s do not make lots of bubbles or suds. To make more of a lather, add more water. Adding more shampoo just wastes the shampoo and leaves the hair greasy and lifeless.

 

  • the difference between leave in conditioners and conditioning treatments. Yes, sadly many woman I have helped were using a conditioning treatment and leaving it in, which in turn messed up their hair, on many levels. * I ALWAYS stress the importance of rinsing out vs. leaving in. Trust me, your client may look at you like you have three heads, but they will thank you for it later.

 

  • all mousses and root boosts are thermal activated. No blow drying? No volume. Plain and simple.

 

  • the importance of thermal protection. Every client that uses a flat iron MUST have a flat iron spray at home and it MUST be used each time a flat iron is used. *the hair spray today will be cooked into the hair tomorrow without the use of a thermal spray.

 

  • All oils and serums should be applied to damp hair BEFORE blow drying or to dry hair AFTER using a flat iron or curling iron. * oils and serums are not thermal protectants. I want you to think of a hot pan on the stove – what happens when you add oil to a hot pan? Exactly.

 

  • how to take care of extensions. How to wash them. How to style them. Which products are best to use.

 

  • how to take care of their hair after a perm

 

  • how to maintain smooth tresses after a chemical straightening

 

  • how to wash their hair when they have had vibrant colors applied.

In my experience, almost every customer thanks me for being honest with them, for taking the time to explain things to them, the how’s and the why’s of hair product and hair care. Take a moment to speak with your clients about their hair and hair care routine, explain the importance of protecting their investment in themselves. They will thank you for it. As for me…no thanks needed.

 

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…out of Clay

Today’s tale offers yet another glimpse behind the curtain of That Girl in the Red Coat. Those familiar with me and my Salon Tales are well aware of my sass and my firm believe that a little pixie dust goes a long way. That with hard work, kindness and belief in yourself, sooner or later, what you need or desire will most certainly come to pass. Over the past few days, I, as well as many others around the globe, found themselves saying good bye. The world lost a great athlete, humanitarian and human being. I can still remembering asking my father “who’s that?” when I saw Muhammad Ali being sassy with Howard Cosell during an interview on ABC sports. I remember wondering how he could get away with it…and wondering if I could too. Safe to say, Mr. Ali had a fan in me from the start. I loved his sassy quips like “If you even dream of beating me, you’d better wake up and apologize!”, “I’m so mean I make medicine sick” and of course when he went on about how pretty he was. He was pretty.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned about all Mr. Ali had won, then lost only to rise once again to the top. How he stayed true to himself and his beliefs, no matter what the cost. He spoke with an educated elegance that resonated in me, and continues to do so. He never gave up. Any time life knocked him down, he got back up. Something I try to do everyday.

Since I was about 12, I have been a collector of quotes. Some funny, some rude, some inspirational. Many of my favorite quotes have been Muhammad Ali’s. I remember when I was pondering starting my blog and later when I was pondering the idea of becoming an Independent Retail Consultant and my fears and doubts crept up… “what if no one reads it?”. “What if no one thinks I am qualified?”. “What if I fall flat on my face?”. Then Mr. Ali’s words popped into my head “It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!”. …and he was right. Slowly but surely my fears and doubts faded away because I could back it up. I had the knowledge, the experience and the know how. I also knew when to ask questions, to admit when I did not know something and then learn about it with  a vengeance.

In the infamous words of Mr. Ali himself “I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”. So here’s the deal Beauties. If you want something, go for it. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Refuse to hear “you can’t do it” and listen for the whispers of “you can do it”. Be patient with yourself. Keep trying. Keep getting up. Always remember, Impossible is nothing.

 

Ali

0

…my stylist said…

“My stylist said I should use a volumizer.”. “My stylist said that my hair needs a treatment.”. “My stylist said I am using the wrong hairspray.”. These are a sampling of the phrases I hear on a daily basis, more then once, from women and men who have just left their stylist’s chair and have come to see me at our Salon/shop for their hair products. Many times they look confused and more often than not, they look and feel insulted. They have just been told there is a problem with their hair, or the products they are using and were not given a solution. After discussing what it is that their stylist said and more importantly, after I ask them what they think and what they want, I hear an even more common question… “Why didn’t my stylist tell me that?”.

Over the years I have realized one constant in our industry, a key component to any Salon visit is being neglected. Retail. Retailing the products that we use to help achieve our client’s new found love of their hair. Products that we use to keep the vibrancy of their color and the integrity of their hair. Letting your client leave without the proper products and tools to keep the love affair with their hair alive is, well, mean. Yes, mean. Think about it. Your client leaves your chair feeling prettier or more handsome (cannot forget our gents). They have a spring in their step. They are walking with more confidence. They like their reflection. Then the next day, as they are standing in their bathroom trying to get their hair to look as good as the day before, their self confidence begins to fade and they begin to feel stupid. Not giving your clients the proper products, tools and instruction is literally pulling the rug from under them. No one likes to feel like the butt of a joke.

  • First and Foremost! ALWAYS ask what products your client is using at home.
  • when washing your clients hair and you realize that they need to use a clarifying shampoo, explain to them what a clarifying shampoo is and why it should be used.
  • bright and vibrant colors are huge right now. For your clients with multi tone brights, explain the importance of how to wash their hair, that each color should be washed separately for the first few washes so that the colors do not start to bleed together.
  • when discussing the need for a conditioning treatment, explain what that is. Many times the women I have spoken to thought that they were supposed to leave the treatment in, which in turn made their hair look and feel worse than when before using it.
  • explain to your client that a volumizing shampoo and conditioner are a good start but if they want height and volume throughout their hair, styling products must be used. *Trust me, I know of what I speak. Many women I speak to thought that they were doing something wrong because the shampoo wasn’t making their hair look like it did at the Salon.
  • if your client has poker straight hair, let then know that a shampoo for curly hair will not make their hair curly.
  • when using mousse, explain the importance of shaking the can and dispensing it upside down. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – explain it’s like using a can of whipped cream – if not shaken and dispensed upside down, nothing happens but a great big mess.
  • explain the difference between the hold factors of the hairspray you are using. If your client doesn’t want to fuss with her hair throughout the day, that soft hold factor spray she picked up at the drugstore is probably the culprit of her bad hair days.
  • for your clients that use their flat iron on a daily basis, explain the importance of thermal protectant sprays. They should be used every time the flat iron is used. Every time.
  • if you see you client is dealing with dandruff, instead of just pointing it out, explain different ways they can apply shampoo to their scalp and offer them a Salon professional dandruff shampoo to use at home. *Most brands offer a dandruff/scalp shampoo, you just have to ask.
  • when it comes to waxes and pomades, find out if your client likes a matte finish or prefers a little shine, what kind of hold they prefer and explain the difference.
  • always show your client how to use the products. How to dispense them, how to apply them and how much to use.
  • show your client that every bottle has directions on how to use the product on the back of the bottle, in case they forget.

Ask  your client how they want their hair to look. Ask them if they like to blow dry their hair or not. Ask them if they use a flat iron or curling iron. Ask if they have a water softener. Ask them if there is anything about their hair they would like to change. Asking these questions opens all the doors to understanding your clients needs and wants and in turn, the doors to selling them what they need for their hair are opened too.

Retailing products, tools and giving instruction on how to use said products is a key component to any consultation/appointment. Plain and simple. Your clients are your advertising, they make or break your business and your reputation. If your client only likes themselves, their hair and you while they are sitting in your chair, pretty soon they will looking for another chair to fill.