Victory With Love

 

A long time ago, this revelation came to me: you can change a law to protect a man but that same law can’t change a man’s heart. The heart of the issue which still plagues America is hatred mixed with a hefty portion of fear. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr:  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Those words hold truth just as much now as they did during the civil rights movement beginning with Rosa Park’s refusal to sit in the back of the bus in 1955.

It seems the road to justice has been long, slow and troublesome. While many strides have been made, all the recent deaths of black men at the hands of white officers represents moving backward rather than forward.  Through it all, I’ve been holding my tongue, just observing, but I can no longer remain silent. For I have a voice and God has given me a gift so here are my words which, I might emphasize, didn’t arise out of emotions but rather an intentional, purposeful desire to speak my mind utilizing the power of words.

If you don’t embrace that #alllivesmatter ONLY When #blacklivesmatter then this isn’t the read for you. For those of you who don’t know, BlackLivesMatter is “an on-line forum intended only to build connections to fight against racism, to spark dialogue and to facilitate social action.” It is NOT a White Hate group. With that being said, how can we as a nation stand for police brutality? To watch video after video of Officers of the Law who took an oath to serve and protect, serving up their own brand of justice resulting in murder, we should all be outraged.  I am outraged but I am also greatly saddened. We are divided more now than ever it seems. To those men and women who wear the blue proudly and serve with integrity, mercy and compassion, I honor you, but those who wear the uniform as a platform to be the judge and jury, to take rather than preserve lives, you are part of the problem.  Until justice is hammered into these officers, until they are held responsible for their depravity, not much will change, and America will continue to be divided.

The only answer I have for healing few embrace, but it’s all I know, and I believe we can be great again, it’s “One Nation under God.” There it is. What I do know is this: if you have a personal relationship with God through Christ Jesus and truly believe in the power of God’s word, there is hope.  I’m here to testify you can NOT be a believer of Calvary, resurrection and Jesus’ message and be full of Hate. God is Love, Jesus is Love.  Those who truly have a heart for Jesus and purposefully want to please, praise and live their lives to serve Him, also have within them compassion, mercy, understanding, peace, joy and Love.  Yes we sin, we are human, yes we make mistakes, we are human. But we understand the power of conviction, ask for forgiveness, receive it and move forward toward a more intimate and powerful relationship with God.  This may sound like a sermon, but rather, think of it an opportunity, the possibility of better days: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 11Corinthinas 3;17.

I’m taking a stand now for justice, for what is good and right. I take a stand now on the promises of God, on the possibilities of “One Nation under God;” on the power of Hope.  We can heal but there is much work ahead. We will falter but I have to believe we can climb this mountain of disparity; we can overcome this insidious disease called racism.  I encourage everyone to embrace the idea of a “LOVE REVOLUTION” as suggested by Pastor Joyce Meyer. Love Covers all just as Martin Luther King Jr said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”   Those who purposefully walk in love know God’s presence. I love this passage in Ephesians 5:21: walk in love {esteeming and delighting in others} as Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me, a slain offering and sacrifice to God {for me, so that it became} a sweet fragrance. 

I pray for all the black men murdered by officers of the law. I pray for justice for #blacklivesmatter: Eric, Philando, Alton, Walter, Laquan, Jonathan, Michael, Travon and all the black men slain senselessly at the hands of police.

Finally, I would like to pray for the families of the slain officers in Dallas. Violence is Not the way. Violence in itself never brings justice. It just creates more confusion; it doesn’t bridge the gap of division, it broadens it.  I pray for Healing and I take a Stand for Love. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” Amen, walk in Love with intent and God bless

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“No, You didn’t Just Say that.”

“If you don’t have passion, you are just a cutter or colorist. It is the passion within which drives us to continuously reinvent ourselves by boldly pursuing education. It is passion which allows us the opportunity to artistically express that passion in shapes, lines and tones on our clients.”  K Williams

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     Everybody wants to be heard, and they want what they say to be not just their truth but truth to all who listen. Humans are indeed pre-occupied with their own opinions. I’m no psychologist, though I’ve experienced those clients who want to spew out their entire life once they sit in the chair. Yet after 35 years in this industry and many, many clients, I know one thing for sure, we are fanatical about what we know regardless of whether there is a grain of truth to it or not and we’d rather talk than listen. This was curious to me so I went a research mission. Here’s what I found.

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According to Wikipedia, A” salon” is described as a “gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation.” In the 17th century, especially in Europe the salon was not a place where women got their hair done, instead it was a gathering place for women to exchange ideas, educate other women and create agendas.  In reading further, I discovered women were powerful in salons as defined above. They had influence. Women were the center of life in the salon and were regarded as the “regulators,” where they selected the guests and decided the topics or subjects they would discuss and even try to solve. While most of the subjects were literary or social, they did, embrace politics as well and participated in valid discussions led by an appointed mediator. Fascinating.

The “salons” as they knew them, were an informal university for women where they exchanged ideas, received and offered criticism and studied literary pieces of that era. In fact, many of the more ambitious women used the salon to pursue a form of higher education. Salons in the 17th & 18th century “helped facilitate the breaking down of social barriers which made the development of the enlightenment salon possible,” according to Wikipedia. Who knew?

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  A salon, in today’s sense of the word, can still be considered a “gathering “of people who exchange ideas, but the main focus is hair. The entire client’s experience should be about how they can maintain the look at home until they come back into the salon to get it refreshed or reshaped. While the purpose of a salon has experienced metamorphosis, I believe some of what it used to be in the 17th & 18th Century still exists today but of course, modernized. Today’s clients have changed. Culture has changed, it’s a new era, with a new focus, and social media is at the forefront of it all. I see images of hair color and the techniques which produced the results, cuts & styles parading across the screen of smart phones, iPads, laptops all under the guise of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest and YouTube. These images are loaded by giants in our industry: individuals and iconic figures from brand companies as well as from hairstylists and barbers behind the chair. It’s amazing, curious and mind-boggling. I wonder, with the advent of social media at our fingertips in the matter of a nano second, have we lost the ability to socialize and interact one on one? That is a another blog topic waiting to happen.

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What can’t be denied is: Hairdressers are passionate, passionate not only about our technical skills and experience, but also about what we “know.” Oft times the opinions we adopt about our client’s “life” become melded with our knowledge of hair making it difficult to separate the “who from the do” and the outcome could create a genius in the mind of the stylist but the clients eat it up because, well, they’re very protective and like to view their “hairdresser” as talented but temperamental which is “Hollywoodish” making them feel prominent by default. I know, I’m stretching it here, but, wait, it’s my blog.  You’re under no obligation to read it. Yea, I just said that. I find it all so intriguing. Sometimes I wish I could be an apprentice just so I can study this theory however preposterous. I would definitely write a book and maybe sell rights to a producer. I could be famous (laughing out loud right now or LOL for those of you who need an acronym).

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If you have any professional ethics, you’re clever enough to know there are certain topics to avoid behind the chair. Regardless of this code; stylists still make the mistake of sharing too much information about their personal lives. You can care about your clients; reward them for their loyalty without making them your bestie. At the end of the day, they’re clients which you depend on for income. In fact, spending time with them outside the salon could affect your professional relationship and they could begin expecting discounted services. It’s just not good business practices. I’ve had clients I adored or appreciated and in addition to giving them my all with professionalism and integrity, I may reward them with up services such as deep conditions, waxing or products that will invariable make them feel truly valued.

In an article “6 Topics to Avoid Discussing” written by Dawn Rosenberg McKay, who is a career planning expert, the top 3 to avoid are: Religion, Politics & Sex. She elaborates by saying “religion is sensitive.” Your clients don’t want to hear your opinion about their beliefs. A discussion on politics can get heated up in less time than it takes to upload an image on Instagram from a smartphone. McKay wrote “it’s unlikely you will sway anyone away from their party or candidate.” Is your opinion important enough to possibly lose a client? Another hot topic to avoid is your sex life. I mean I find it absurd that I have to even mention this one, it should be a given. But I have heard more details than I care to mention from co-workers sharing their bedroom exploits last night, or the other day or last week. McKay writes: “Your business is yours alone.” Frankly, it’ distasteful, unprofessional and it starts rumors which could hurt you professionally. Why risk it. Those top 3 are topics you should avoid in any social situation but in a salon environment I’d like to add a couple more to the list. Stylists should never, and I truly mean never, discredit another stylist. In the end, it only discredits you.

And finally “your problems,” why do stylists feel the need to talk about their struggles? I’ve heard my share of trials, tribulations and circumstances shared with clients and sometimes over and over again throughout the day. I wanted to say “No, you didn’t just say that?” should I call the Whambulance or give you a box of tissues for your issues?” But rather than make a scene, I’d try to focus on the task before me; realistically, it should be all about the client who’s sitting in your chair. As part of their salon experience, their interests, wants, needs & desires should be your only concern.  And yet, some stylists monopolize the time with copious conversations of partner problems, money issues, gossip and complaints. I’d be curious to know what their client retention and referral rate is.

My final thoughts are this: we are a curious, temperamentally-creative bunch of crafters who sees the world in tones, lines and shapes, and the result of this is magic. Our focus should be on the making of this magic: it’s formulas and techniques and shapes-of-the-lines as well as honoring the clients who allow us the opportunity to express ourselves with their hair. We need to get back to what is important which isn’t just delivering a bunch of spoken words that can strike like lightening and rumble through the salon looking for self-confidence and joy to devour and destroy. It’s not our opinions that matter, but rather our magic-in-the-making.

Let’s get back to that “inspiring host” mentality. Yes, I did just say that.

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The New Grooms-Men

Ladies, I get pretty stoked about the direction of men’s grooming these days. Oh my to those low fades and pompadours and undercuts with hard parts and groomed beards or a wet shave. The forecast for men’s grooming has just gotten sunny with an eminent chance of cleaning-up from the scruff and shabbiness of yesteryear and I say Amen.

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Being well groomed is the quintessential trend of today’s man whether he is white collar or blue collar, metro or country, from Madison Avenue or Silicon Valley, a Celebrity or your own GQ man.  If you’re a stylist where men are a huge part of your clientele, you should get excited about being a part of the movement, learning new skills, refining old ones and just being a part of their transformation.

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Men’s hairstyling has come a long way. True, the styles of the past were current for the year in which they were born; however, they are no competition for the shapes-of-the-line, designs and overall magnetic appeal of today’s well-groomed man. Let’s take a look at a few shapes of the past with a side-by-side picture of today’s man, you decide.

505c2465ce7ad62c1cee8e8996c6a4cd     The Mullet   5134e0fbbb8e64c0990fbe1101cabdaa The Undercut

15492fae9238d9e1dee040f724b1f3a0  The “Super-Fly” 70’s FRO   55694b49e055f4f5be722e41b682e718  GQ Fly

b8603f63efb32974874fcc6dcbf807b8  Bowl Cut & Scruff   c6dbd864b55a004e348cfa161df382dc  Hardpart Fade

In an article from the June 2014 Edition of Modern Salon, titled  “Madmen: Pompadours, Severe Parts and Clipper Cutting,” Maggie Mulhern writes: “Shape and design is trending at an all-time high in men’s hair: think Macklemore, Bruno Mars, David Beckham, Adam Levine and Miguel. Thanks to big hits like The Great Gatsby and Mad Men, pop culture is embracing longer lengths, versatility, shine and severe partings—it’s a great time to be a groomer.”  I agree, it is an excellent time to be a ‘groomer.’ In fact, it makes me long to get some training as a barber, use some of the amazing clippers and tools and to try my own hand at some these manly shapes and designs. I’d go so far as to say, I’d love to learn how to give a ‘wet shave.’ I do love a clean shaven man.

I did some research on” wet-shaving” and I must say, I’m a bit jealous that men get to experience such decadence. There is an element of danger and allure to this service. Shaving has a long and somewhat of a hair-pulling history according to Wikipedia:  “Before the advent of razors, hair was sometimes removed using two shells to pull the hair out or using water and a sharp tool. Around 3000 BC when copper tools were developed, copper razors were invented. The idea of an aesthetic approach to personal hygiene may have begun at this time, though Egyptian priests may have practiced something similar to this earlier. Alexander the Great strongly promoted shaving during his reign in the 4th century BC to avoid “dangerous beard-grabbing in combat”, and because he believed it looked tidier.[4] In some Native American tribes, at the time of contact with British colonists, it was customary for men and women to remove all bodily hair using these methods.[5]  This is just one more instance where we can be ever-grateful for technology; hats off to all those “thinkers and doers” who invented tools which make our lives easier and well, today’s men more handsome with their well-groomed and polished haircuts and facial hair.

Wet shaves are nothing new though they seem to becoming more popular. They date back to the late 1800’s; in fact, the first Barbershop opened in1893 in Chicago. Men went to the Barbershop not just for haircuts and shaving, but also for socializing, where men could be men and amuse themselves in just a man’s world. I can imagine brandy and murmurings of politics under a haze of cigar smoke. Its been documented that the Barbers in the Middle Ages were also Surgeons and Dentists. Oh My! I wonder, did they use the same tools for cutting the hair and for cutting open the body? Now that is hair-raising scary.  Anyway, back to the story. Want to give a wet shave? It is enticing. Personally, I’ll never forget that scene with Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover in “The Color Purple.” While I’m not trying to inflict harm, wet shaving seems like a sensual act for a woman to gift to her man. Am I right or Am crazy?

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Unfortunately, unless you shave in the privacy of your home, you have to be a licensed Barber to ‘wet-shave.’ The good news is, in the State of Washington, you only need 1000 hours to take your exams  and be licensed. You can also apprentice for 1200 hours. For us cosmetologists whose license includes ‘barbering’ we’d have to be certified. Oddly enough, but not surprising, there are hundreds of videos on ‘wet-shaving’ on YouTube. It’s crazy to think someone might watch a video and try it at home. LOL. Here’s one link from the “Art of Shaving” where one of their barbers demonstrates a wet-shave.  http://youtu.be/EcOwpzJuShA  I’m a little jealous. It looks so relaxing, calming and bit precarious. Wet-shaving is global man-thing. I guess that stands to reason since not all men like facial hair and pursue ways to remove it. Here’s a video of a “street-shaving” in Mumbai, India. This demonstration takes shaving to a whole new level. Whoa, I’m still blown away just thinking about it, but it was fascinating and hypnotizing. Check out this Turkish Shave. http://youtu.be/JmEkown9XOg.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not much for facial hair on my man; I suppose a small mustache is acceptable but I think it would be pretty cool to try the ‘art of wet-shaving’ just to say I learned something new and let’s be honest ladies, there is a lot of power that we could wield with the straight razor. Ok, I’m not all the way serious, but almost. Haha. If you are a bit squeamish with the idea of using a straight razor you can always trim up the facial hair with beard trimmers and even a pair of shears. The following link is rather long; 29 minutes to be exact but the Barber extraordinaire, Dave Diggs demonstrates how to do a ‘low fade pompadour” with a beard trim with both the trimmers and the straight razor. As you will see, he is a master and very skilled at his trade. Hope you enjoy.

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It excites the hairdresser in me to see how men’s styles have evolved. Women’s hairstyles can be labeled ‘classic’ and withstand the test of time and make a comeback with a little contemporary twist, whereas, men’s styles haven’t seen the same kind of notoriety they are enjoying right now.  Hail to the new and improved; to the undercuts, the pompadours, the new reinvented shapes and designs and the clipper cut craze which is sweeping the globe. It makes me happy to see a well-groomed man. That’s it for now ladies. Hope you enjoyed my humbled thoughts in writing.

 

 

Hair business is people business

Hair Business is People Business”

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As an educator in the Hair Industry, I find it most difficult to help students comprehend the significance of Customer Service and how it contributes to their success. If they haven’t already been in the work force experiencing the complexities of this activity, then it can be somewhat a challenge to teach. Unfortunately, and quite often, it’s not until they become licensed that they realize customer service drives either their lack of or abundant success! POW, it hits them like an icy slap in the face from Old Man Winter.

Customer Service is defined in the dictionary as The provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.” While this may be the dictionary definition, it is more multidimensional.

Nordstrom’s Department Store, long hailed as the exemplary model for providing excellent customer service, warrants its success to one tool according to Wikipedia: “every employee receives a handbook which is a card, one side says it’s our commitment to provide outstanding customer service always,” and the other side simply says, “use good judgment in all situations.” Intriguing, yet it must work. Nordstrom is in Fortune Magazine’s “Hall of Fame.”  I recently read an article I found fascinating: 50 facts about Customer Experience” In the “Return On Behavior Magazine,” here are some statistics to consider:

  • 91% of unhappy customers leave and never return
  • Dissatisfied customers will tell 9 to 15 people about their experiences (probably more with the dawn of social media)
  • 55% of customers would pay more to guarantee better service
  • It takes 12 positive experiences to overcome 1 negative experience.

What about the Hair Industry? What do leaders in the field of Cosmetology have to say about Customer Service? In an interview with the Director of the TONI&GUY Academy/Bellingham, KarlyTygret, says with conviction, the formula to success as a stylist is “90% Customer Service and 10% technical skill.” She went on to say, when she worked in the salon, “customers came to me because I got excited and it was my goal to give each of them the total experience.”

I‘ve been known to share many of my experiences with my students including my thoughts on the sustainable power of customer service as a Hairdresser. I have story after story; here’s one I tell frequently: I hired a newly licensed stylist, Tammy; her technical skills were below par for the higher end salon we were, but her personality was charming and enduring. She truly had passion and wanted to learn. Needless to say, I had to fix her haircuts and redirect her daily. However, time after time, clients called and requested her and while they admitted the haircut wasn’t the best, they appreciated her outstanding customer service: Tammy went the extra mile to make my experience special.”She treated me like a King or Queen. Tammy was tapped in to the secret to success as a stylist. Are you tapped in? Here’s my thought: technical skills can be taught, Customer Service, well, more of a task. However, it’s not a lost cause, and there is hope, go ahead and jump for joy—you can learn the art of customer service if you are willing to try, willing to try again and again until you find that magic formula; then dedicate your career to the marvelous and mystifying complexities of customer service. Can I get an Amen? (Rhetorical question people)

In a recent conversation with the Salon Owner of The Grotto in Fairhaven, Bellingham WA, Karly Lane, said:The advice I would give is treat each guest as if they are a visitor to your home. Welcome them with a smile and be genuine. Listen to your guest during the consultations and make recommendations based off what you mutually agree on. That is service.”

Tabatha Coffey, Hairdresser, Salon Owner, platform artist, writer and reality T.V. star, states: “The most important thing to provide is excellent customer service every time! Make sure the salon is clean and inviting. Offer beverages. Acknowledge them with a smile when they come in. Don’t keep them waiting, conduct a thorough consultation every time and be prepared for recommendations. Keep your work consistent and be professional with a personal flair.”   In the book “Raving Fans,” Author Kenneth Blanchard attributes salon success to the “5-Sense Plan,which involves, yes, you guessed it: the sense of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. To summarize, he’s suggesting the salon needs to be cleaner then the client’s home, smell like a bouquet rather than a chemist lab, present refreshments tastefully, provide aesthetically pleasing music which caters to the customer rather than the staff and finally, touch. Yes, massage the client 3-5 minutes during the shampoo. For us hairdressers, we’ve long know the secret of the 5 minute shampoo and massage.

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Our clients deserve our best. It’s not rocket science, but it is a science you can put to practical use that will guide your client retention and referral to the moon and back. Here are some of my own tips in no particular order of importance: greet with a smile, never over promise and under deliver, be honest with heart, listen and repeat, understand your client is your billboard, be professional & always maintain the integrity of your client’s hair, educate yourself than educate your clients. Get involved in the community. If it’s raining, grab an umbrella and walk the client to her car. Offer them not just coffee but be their personal barista if they so desire. Don’t offer them water in a Styrofoam or paper cup, offer them filtered water or a bottle of Perrier- champagne in crystal glasses.

Remember: Your client is the star in your chair whether it is act one or act five of the day.

Thank you for reading my humble thoughts in writing.

The Curse of Which Designer?

“If you don’t have passion, well, you’re just cutting hair. Passion sets you apart, passion brings life, color, shape & creativity into your designs.” Kjowill

I find it fascinating some of the general public believes Fashion Designers set the Hairstyle trends for the seasons.  How the model’s hair is styled, ends up driving the trends for the upcoming season or so I hear client after client attest during a consultation. “I be like, umhmmmm, let me set you straight, haha.” But I got to thinking, these clients just may be right.  Top Fashion Designers such as Marc Jacobs, Marchesa, Givenchy, Victoria Beckham ect…have their names all over the Hairstyles trends for Fall/Winter 2014-15. Their vision for the total look, launches and inspires these hairstyles. It then becomes realized in Hollywood and all the celebrities are sprinting to their personal Hairdresser so they can be the first “Star” to wear one of these trendy styles. It seems the “Side-swept” look  (which Is just a current but chic comb-over) was inspired by the Alexander Wang team and is sweeping the runways. While I appreciate Fashion Designer’s “inspiration” and realize their value, the truth is, as a hairdresser who has been the industry for over 30 years, the behind-the-chair stylist has been creating like styles for decades. The curse is, is it not valued as a ‘trend’ until it’s on the runway? Curious. fall_winter_2014_2015_hairstyle_trends_side_swept_hair (2) Another trend is the Buns & Knots. They’re Chic, stylish and functional. No surprise Fashion Designers such as Carolina Herrera and Robert Cavalli have their stamp of approval on these hairstyles. Trouble is, not only were they made trendy last year by Giants in the Hairdressing community such as TONI&GUY, Wella, Paul Mitchell & Aveda to name a few, but the everyday woman in communities all over the United States can be seen rocking Buns & Knots. Sometimes it seems the Hair industry gets no respect. fall_winter_2014_2015_hairstyle_trends_buns_and_twists2 The Straight look, most commonly with a central part, is a strong contender in the Fall/Winter 2014/15 hairstyle trend. This is effortless styling whether it is worn messy or sleek. I wore my hair exactly with a center part, long and sleek in the 1970’s!  Then it was hailed as Hippy Chic. As it is in the “creative realm;” the old adage, “everything old is new again.” always comes back with a current twist. fall_winter_2014_2015_hairstyle_trends_straight_hair The final trend I’d like to highlight was seen on the runway from Fashion Designer Zac Posen, with respect for Posen and for his interpretation of pins as hair art, the ‘hairpin’ has been around since 600 b.c. according to Wikipedia (see illustration below). Hair pins, bobby pins and straight pins are used daily by hairdressers worldwide for a variety of effects. The Posen inspired pins could be considered more Avant Garde rather than conventional but I find it curious the simple little ‘pin’ has found a new wave of respect. Cheers for the useful and ever illustrious hairpin. fall_winter_2014_2015_hairstyle_trends_pinned_hair   230px-Hair_pins_old My final thoughts: one thing I’ve learned over the years, is hair and fashion are one in the same. I find it peculiar and curious, marvelous and delightful, both industries are ever-changing, pushing the limits, awe-inspiring and creative beasts which ultimately set the trend forecasts; I just wish that as hairdressers, we’d get a lot more notoriety. We probably did it first, as so eloquently asserted by TIGI “By Hairdressers, for Hairdressers.

Thanks for reading my humble thoughts in print. KjowillThough we Travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson