A great stylist can change your life.
My hair is my security blanket. It covers my ‘melons’ making me feel less subconscious about their size (from an earlier post – so go read it if you haven’t) and it’s one of my most favorite features. If it weren’t for the men and women who have cared for, shaped, styled, and consulted me over the years on my hair – it wouldn’t be what it is today and as corny and cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth. Being in the corporate environment there is a duty to always maintain a clean, sharp and professional look. For me, that means keeping my long locks in tip-top shape and I don’t trust them to just anyone.
My hair is important to me because of my day-to-day role as a member of a corporate entity where I have to be front and center facing customers, who like it or not are judging me before I even open my mouth. But I wouldn’t be confident about it if it weren’t for the woman who helps give me that confidence; the woman behind my tresses, who is a badass Mom of two and a step-Mom, a loving wife, a talented stylist and business owner. I admire her so much for her passion, drive, and enthusiasm for what she does each and every day. I’m fortunate to call her my neighbor, my friend and a member of my tribe.
It was her nickname growing up and now that I have gotten to know her over the past few years, I see why this was her nickname – she still is a Spitfire – and that’s a very good thing. She grew up desiring a life where she called the shots, but also where she would have the ability to provide more for herself and her family, to be more than her circumstances and to do more, by following her dreams. These motivations became the driving force behind her determination to be successful. And it is also the reason why she continues to grind, day in and day out, always looking over her shoulder, afraid that if she stops for even one second – the fear of it all falling apart – might catch up to her.
But she’s so far ahead…it isn’t possible.
I’m in awe of women who run their own businesses. I’m even more in awe of women business owners who are wives, moms, step-moms and/or caregivers, because they have an added layer of stress when managing their day-to-day yet they also have the added level of desire to ensure that things go well and it looks effortless. And that is what amazes me about my friend. She makes it all look easy – and fun!
I work in corporate America where most of the companies and organizations are run by men. Granted this trend is slowly changing but I sincerely enjoy patronizing businesses where women are the leaders of the company. But more so than that, I work for someone else, who works for someone else, and so on – I don’t technically own anything, except some stock which will hopefully pay off in the end. So the idea of owning my own piece of something, of being the curator and cultivator of my dreams, gives me all the good feels.
When I sit down in her chair there is a level of relief, excitement and gratefulness that when I leave her salon in two hours, my long black hair will be restored to what it was the 6-8 weeks prior to my last visit. My hair goes through a beating during the time between our appointments so my time with her is very important to me. Like I said earlier, it’s corny and cliché, but when you’re in a customer-facing environment every day – you’re being judged, whether you want to admit it or not, so taking care of my asset is worth it to me.
And there is something to be said for dressing the part – that includes making sure you have a hair style that compliments your facial features and gives you confidence no matter where you are; the field, the office or the gym. I realize hair is not on the list of priorities for every woman, but it should be. All too often I meet and talk with women who neglect caring for their hair because of three reasons:
- the expense – cutting and coloring your hair can be pricey, but ladies – this is your hair we’re talking about – not press-on nails from the dollar store! Invest in yourself – we hear all the time about self-care…this is self-care.
- the time – even before I started putting a glaze (not color) on my hair, I still spent a good hour to hour and fifteen minutes in the salon, so I get how kids and work and activities can eat into the lack of time left in a working Mom’s schedule for getting her hair done – but it’s worth it…and it typically only happens every 6-8 weeks. Make the time.
- the fear that they won’t like the style – which basically means they haven’t found anyone who has cut and styled their hair to their liking. Keep looking – she (or he) is out there.
I’ve had my fair share of salon horror stories and I have had to wait six to eight months for my hair to grow out with minimal trimming just so I could start over – with a new stylist of course. Because of my very long hair, the natural inclination of someone who cuts hair is to…wait for it…cut it – and to cut it shorter than I desire. Which is why finding someone who understands your style and/or your lack of creativity and risk taking when it comes to changing things up, is imperative to enjoying your salon experience – and getting what you’re paying for.
Above all of this, what I enjoy most about my visits to her salon is that I get time to interact with and learn more about who she is as a person, aside from being my stylist. A female entrepreneur, a Mom with two very active boys who is also a wife and quasi-caretaker for her Mother, something I think we all become as we get older, and the fact that we grew up similarly were some of the connections that drew me to want to get to know her better. In essence, she’s a really cool chick who I can relate to and want as part of my tribe.
Her salon became a reality four years ago after she’d been working in the industry for a while and it was something her husband was very supportive of and helped in the initial planning and processing stages. Her biggest fears about owning her own business were probably the same for most folks who decide to risk it all and do something on their own; fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of being able to hire the right people – and keep the right people, and fear that they won’t continue loving what it is they do.
This fear of failure is ever-present during our conversation but it is what drives this Spitfire to continue to push through the day-to-day issues and grind of owning her own salon, the problems that arise with personnel and how hard it is at times to find and keep the right people. As she and I talk about her approach to the business, it is clear that she does not let her foot up off the pedal long enough for most of these things to ever get out of control. And because she has approached this salon from a business focus first, her success rate is already that much higher of one who does not.
I love surrounding myself by driven, focused, successful and ambitious women. It excites me to meet a fellow female who has not let fear keep her from living their dream. I am empowered by their determination and attitude towards their goals and it is refreshing to know that they don’t have it all figured out. That’s just it: none of us really do, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming and continuing to pursue our goals. Whenever I meet someone who has gone out there and done it, I am motivated and inspired by them; hearing their story, but more so sharing their story, is something I really feel drawn to doing.
An aspect of what I set out to do with this blog, this forum, this outlet – is to share. I talk to too many women on a daily basis who are all dealing with something, fearing something, working on too much at one time (often times out of necessity) and feeling like they’re barely keeping it together. Yes, the main concept of this is to discuss the corporate world and how it has impacted my life and why I enjoy (and sometimes don’t enjoy) being a working Mom in a large corporation.
But, the ladies around me who have built me up, supported me, groomed me (literally and figuratively) are my source of inspiration. They make this frazzled, way-too-busy-to-know-what-to-do-with-myself Mom, wife and manager of a high-ranking team, feel better about the work she is doing. And that every 6-8 week dose of inspiration I get from walking in the doors of Spitfire Salon makes all the difference.
Yes, a great hairstylist can change your life. But a great friend, even more so.
-Confessions of a Corporate Mom
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