Age in the Beauty Industry

S/W Ver: 96.B0.0AR

Cosmetology Graduation, June 1974

Last week I had a break in my schedule and decided it would be a worthy use of time to do a survey of what is considered, by some, an appropriate age to cut ourselves loose from the beauty industry.

I have watched, mostly in the background, as women come and go in this industry. Silently I considered when that time might be right for me. Down through the years, that time has changed as I approached the yearly looking-glass, and now I’m considering staying as long as clients knock on my door. Quite different from what I had previously thought. Possibly there will be some redefining, but it seems as if the beauty industry will always be a part of my life while on this earth.

I’ve tried to tell myself that maybe I should call it quits. But that’s just silly thinking. I’m sure it’s because of the days I spend waiting for talk to happen, in this new location that I find myself to be in, and hundreds to begin rushing to use my services. My newly formed business is building, but nothing is ever fast enough for me. I want to open the doors, and business pour in, as if it was just waiting for me to get there. Can you relate?

So…I decided to take a poll to see if anyone besides myself was looking down the road further than a couple of years. These are the questions I asked, and the percentages of answers I received, of the working stylists that would give me their time. Be prepared for a small amount of boring statistics. Some were with clients, so I asked permission to invade their time also. Amazingly enough, the clients wanted to participate in the questionnaire and asked to have a voice in some of the answers. So, here are the percentages from the stylists. Following will be a few comments from the clients.

Q1) Have you considered the longevity of your profession?

A. 90%  No

10%  Yes

Q2) Do you believe there should be a certain time to “retire”?

A.  90%  No

10%  Yes

Q3) What time would that be?

A. 20%  Between the age of 60 and 70

80% believed as long as they were physically able, they would continue to

work behind the chair.

Q4) Why?

A. 20% Not sure

80% It’s what they know and love. It pays the bills and they couldn’t see       themselves doing anything but.

Q5) Are you passionate about this industry?

A. 100% Yes. All that I spoke with said they were passionate about what they do. They love coming to work and they love interacting with their clients.

More than the questions, I enjoyed visiting with all those great, forward moving, gals. Each one had a special input that I will always remember.

One of the stylists that was so passionate about the industry, had previously worked as a product developement manager before going for her license in cosmetology. She spoke of the “trickery” in our industry to get clients to purchase over the counter products, as they were lured into believing what the manufacturer wanted them to see. She spoke of the levels of ingredients placed in various products, and confirmed what I tell my clients. “The less expensive a product, the less effective.”  “Laundry detergent will clean your hair, but damage the integrity of it.”  “A bar of soap will clean your hair, but leave a film that in time will build up and dull the appearance of it.” (My words) This stylist actually sounded like a younger me, with all the experience of my years. One of the things she said resounded with me. “You are the sum total of your life experiences.” As simplistic as this is, it is also very life-giving. Stop for a minute and consider these words. What do you want your life to exemplify? What legacy do you want to leave for those following in your steps? We can only speak wisdom of those things we’ve experienced. Right? She also made the statement that she believed herself to be a “chameleon of sorts”, having the ability to provide beauty services in any genre. Any age grouping, any life style. How cool is that?!

Now for the clients!

One in particular client stood out to me. She told the story of a family member, age 90 something…yes, you read that right! 90ish and still going strong. I laughed when she told of this dear lady’s endeavor at staying young-looking. I wish I had written her words down for a quote, but alas…I did not. However, I DO remember her saying this lady has had so many surgeries, she looks pretty much like plastic…but wrinkle free…and working the cosmetic industry with passion! Now, that is dedication and love of life.

Maybe my thoughts will change with time, but I can’t remember a time (thus far) where I have considered retiring. I may redefine myself in this industry, when (and if) my stamina gives out, but even the word “retirement” says death to me. I just think I would be bored to tears, or worse, depressed beyond words. Maybe that’s because I don’t have the financial means of traveling the world over. Maybe that’s because I’m not there yet. Maybe that’s because I can’t see myself without access to other human beings. Maybe that’s because I’m delusional. Take your pick…

Other clients that chimed in, simply said they would stay with their stylist as long as she/he was providing the services. Age was not a factor in that decision. Which makes me remember a very dear YOUNG man and his YOUNG wife, back in Oklahoma, that told me I had to keep going in this industry. His words were, “Even if you have to work from a wheel-chair, I will always be your client.” Now, I’m crying. I left them, to move to North Carolina.

Many clients won my heart while doing business in Oklahoma. Many…too noumerous to mention. Some were closer than others, but all very needed and appreciated. Librarians, Professors, Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Stay-at-home Moms, the Retired, the blue and white-collar workers, parents that brought their children for that first hair-cut, the toddlers, the teens, the Prom goers,the Wedding Party’s, the whole Families that trusted me with their finished look, and the Race Car drivers from Mooresville, NC. that came to see me while their coach was being serviced just down the road from my then business, South Side Salon. All loyal clients, that spoke into my life over the years.

So, you see…this is an industry that not only gives needed services to their clients, but their clients give back to them…more than financially. It’s a passion driven industry that can resonate with an “over-the-top” or a casual existence, or somewhere in-between.

Should we reach a time of retirement? Maybe…however, age is only a number, if our health is stable. We truly are the sum total of our life experiences.

Forge on Passionistas!

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Giving Up Is Not an Option

Well…I suppose, in truth, anything is an option. But when we set our minds, our hearts, on something that is filled with hope, giving up will haunt us with the “what ifs” for the rest of our lives. Is that really what we want? If we are honest with ourselves, we won’t be saying “I don’t care”, as I’ve heard others say when their backs are up against that proverbial wall. You know the wall I speak of, because we all face it (or our backs do), at some point in our lives. And it’s usually right when we least expect it, things begin to turn around.

There will be times we are pulled between what seems to be two different worlds. The safe, do nothing world…and the challenge filled, reach for the stars world. In reality, the “safe” world isn’t really that safe. It’s just a place where we think we can breathe free, with little to no challenges. Again, truth must be faced. No matter where we find ourselves to be, there will be times when our minds do battle. For one thing or the other. If we are still breathing, life must happen.

So, work is hard. Business is hard. Life can show itself to be hard. But what is the alternative? Let me be clear. Life isn’t hard 24/7. Life is what we make it. How we face the “hard” issues. There are times, God will pull us aside, and whisper “peace” in our ears, especially when we allow the cares of this life to pull us away from His grace, His peace, His reality. And at that moment, we really do breathe free.

Tomorrow is always a new day…a new opportunity, a new way of looking at life and it’s challenges. Change happens on a consistant basis, and if we position ourselves to receive of its goodness, the bright days will show themselves faithful.

What are you passionate about? What have you given your heart to do? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about the profession you have chosen, but can hold true even in the trenches of life in general.

As we put our hands to the task in front of us, whatever that might be, we will also reap the rewards. We won’t reap, if at first, we don’t sow.

Never give up, Passionistas!

Never say Never

Never in a million years would I have guessed my “fork in the road” would lead me off the well-worn, already conquered obstacles road, that it Elements Fork in the Road 3did. My husband and I have faced, and defeated, many of those nasty difficulties we must forge through in the course of a lifetime. Those that really mattered anyway, and unlike Alice in Wonderland, we usually knew where we wanted to go.

August 2012, brought a whole new adventure for us. That was when we made the decision to pack up as much as I would need for a short period of time, and headed toward North Carolina. Having left my home of 37 years, surprisingly, the trip was a really good one. I felt no remorse as we got further and further down the road. We had fun along the way, not being in any hurry. The horizon looked promising, even though we knew there would be new obstacles to face. We knew our future depended on our attitude and the hope God had put inside us for our last hurrah, or as some would say, “The place of spreading the icing on the cake.”

My husband would stay in Oklahoma, until our house sold, to move to where he was taking me. We weren’t comfortable leaving our house empty, and felt it was the appointed time to get the new salon business started before the holidays of 2012, and really believed the wait would be only a couple of months, at the most. So, off we went. And now, here it is 8 months later, and he is still there…and I’m here. That’s a really big bummer. Yet, it won’t be forever…

Those of you that have kept up with this business blog will remember the post titled “Passion, Patience, and Persistence”.  It’s something anyone starting out in business, will need. The three P’s. I remember those first few months way back in 1978, when I started my very first business, and thought I would never make it this far. Fast forward to 2012 and starting over in a new state some 1200 miles away, I am once again reminded of the three P’s. As I sit here writing this, I’m once again amazed at how quickly the years seem to have slipped by us.

This new business of mine is located in Apex, NC, in a Market Square with other types of businesses. Yet in my particular building, there are other beauty salons in close proximity to me. Like next door, close. It’s a whole different set-up than what I had grown accustomed to in Oklahoma. I’ve always had a “stand-alone” building in which to do business. I liked it like that. But change has happened, and I adjust pretty well to change, it would seem.  I rent a room…a suite…from an umbrella salon called Sola Salons. Not much of a compromise of old passions. Instead of owning my building, I simply rent a room to house my business in. The area my room is located in, has many rooms rented out to 22 other stylists, and one Esthetician.  I was the only one in this industry starting afresh with no client base…at all. Well, I think the esthetician was beginning fresh too. When asked how I was doing, I would declare that I was “hemorrhaging” at the moment. In other words, a lot of money was going out the door in rent and professional products, along with purchases to make the room look as good as it could. But I knew it wouldn’t last. I made the statement, “I’ll know in 6 months if I’m going to make it here.” I felt I would know the signs of business health within that period of time. Yet, I also knew it would take twice that long to build a sufficient client base to become a viable entity. Many were the days of waiting, hoping, praying…doing everything I knew to do to expand the business.

The time came when I was finally able to make rent and not depend on my Oklahoma business savings account. That felt really good, as I watched the numbers rise. Bleeding stopped. Yay!  And then what I was waiting on, happened! Clients began re-scheduling and even asking to be put on a “standing appointment” basis. Elements Salon was on its way up.  Now, all I need at this point, is a blood transfusion. A lot of money was taken from the savings account, and now it needs replenished. I’m still not where I want to be. It’s only been 8 months, so there is a lot of room for growth. I have way too many open schedules. But we’ll get there! It sorta feels as if the wind is at my back now. That’s a great place to breathe a little easier in. Out of the red and in the black now, albeit minimal. Regardless, the bills are being paid without assistance. Elements is sitting up now…not quite standing yet…but at least we’re not horizontal any longer.

The moral of the story is this…never give up on what you’ve been given to do. Many times we quit right before the break-through, thinking it just isn’t going to happen. We fail to make the curve in the road, and end up crashing and burning. I suppose it’s possible to choose the wrong profession. I will give you that, simply because I think we try our hand at different things hoping one might work for us, and too easily move on to the next idea, before giving it a real chance to blossom.  And there are times we don’t have a choice. We must have money to live. But, if that is the case, we should see those jobs as stepping-stones to get us across the torrent that is trying to sweep us away from what we love.

We must follow our passion, and watch our life change! Follow the road Passionistas! Possibly I’ll see you there and will be able to help you forge ahead.

Passionately…Mary

Beach Weddings

Top Sail IslandMoving to the Southeast region of our nation, has opened my eyes, to many new and exciting things. One being, beach weddings.

I recently met a very sweet Southern family, who hired me as the beauty consultant to their daughter’s upcoming beach wedding. To say I am excited is an understatement of great proportion! It will be my first North Carolina wedding, in charge of hair and make-up.

First of all, Katy is going to make one beautiful bride. At our first meeting, I immediately loved her spirit, her total trust in me as we visited about the event, and the obvious love she has for her mother.

We will have our trial run soon, at which time I hope to be able to document the time with each of Katy’s entourage. There will be a Maid of Honor and three Bridesmaids, besides herself and possibly Momma, as well.  On the agenda for our pre-wedding trial run is a table prepared with fresh-baked bagels from Panera Bread, various cream cheeses, and orange juice. The bride has asked permission to bring fixin’s for Margarita’s as well, since our pre-run is on Cinco de Mayo. I’m guessing this is going to really be a lot of fun. I am so over-the-top excited to be a part of this very special time in this wonderful family’s life.

Pictures will be posted on this blog site, along with details, as much as the bride allows.

Stay tuned Passionistas!

Which Kingdom Do You Visit the Most?

Lindsey's fb bannerHow many times have you been out and about and wished you had what it took to say these words out loud to someone you were in the surrounding vicinity of? “Smile please”

As the years fly by me…and they DO fly by…I think I have learned a thing or two about the human race. A thing, or maybe two. I really don’t think we ever totally figure it all out. But humanity being what it is, we all have our own set of circumstantial evidence that on occasion, causes the lips to droop a bit at the corners. Our brains being the powerful (yes, powerful), muscles that they are, will relay what our eyes tell it, as truth, and like Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Star Trek) would say, “Make it so.”

We become convinced that life just isn’t going to comply with our wishes and then we decided we might as well give in to the attitudes of the Kingdom of Sour, becoming more and more detached from the Kingdom of Pleasant. After a bit, we’ve sunk into a lower kingdom still, the Kingdom of Despair, as it wraps its spiny, claw like tentacles, around that powerful brain of ours. Now, it’s almost impossible for us to climb up out of the depths of the abyss we find ourselves living in.

Never fear! All is NOT lost!!! It’s time to find renewed hope in the profession we have decided to give our energy to. What caused you to choose this profession in the first place? Has your passion grown cold for one reason or another? We must ask ourselves some hard questions. But whatever the answers are, they must be truthful ones. No one is ever helped up out of despair by lying to oneself. If there are more people around that bring us down, than people who encourage us, we must dump them. Sorry. If we are to live in the Kingdom of Pleasant, showing others we are bigger than our problems, it can’t happen until our passion is more powerful than those muscles in the face that have to work over-time just to keep the sour look in place. And somehow those we allow in our space, seem to dictate to us which muscles we’re going to use. It really doesn’t have to be that way, ya know. Especially since we’re only responsible for our own actions…and not the actions of others. But many have bought the lie that it DOES depend on our environment. And I’m not talking about the outdoors area of our existence. I’m talking about those we’ve surrounded ourselves with. THAT environment.

I realize we can’t have a smile pasted on our face 24/7. That’s a little unrealistic. Okay…it’s a LOT unrealistic. However the industry I am blogging for, must have in its arsenal, a lot of smiles. I suppose this is one of my “soap boxes”. I think I would rather keep myself tucked away from the public eye, if I couldn’t muster a smile as my clients walk through my door. A real smile…knowing that without them, I wouldn’t have a business. They really do deserve more. It doesn’t mean we are being phony…it means we are being considerate of others and that we are professional people. And then, as we leave the business on any given day, if we have problems that need solved or at least have a little salve applied to them, we can then pick them up from the back door where we left them, and try to find a solution.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe tomorrow you can wear a smile instead of the frown that takes so many more muscles to maintain.

Encourage yourselves Passionistas!

Testing, testing…

Elements Profile PicI really wish I was a computer geek…I think. Mostly, I see computers as I see motor vehicles. When I take either of them for a spin, I would like very much for them to do as I say. If they can’t perform that simple task, I don’t know that I’ll have much use for them if it continues. Doing things I haven’t commanded just isn’t cool for me.

So, here I sit…trying to figure out this crazy renegade graphic that has decided to attach itself at the hip, and not let loose!

This is a test blog. Plain and simple. If that darn chicken is still sitting at the side of the road along side my blog entry….well, I really don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll think of something though. I hope…

It’s True…Your Time Is Limited Time

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  ~Steve Jobs

It’s a rare thing for us, while living the young years of life, to think about our futures being anything but long. The reality of life is that it is just a whisper. We begin to realize this as we age. As I look in the mirror, I wonder where my years have gone. I know I’ve lived them…just am amazed at how fast they seemed to have gone.

If I were to give any encouragement, any advise…I would say to “embrace transition”. Change happens. Years demand the transition from one ideology to another. From fantasizing, to reality, as we merge onto the redefining highway. Now…that doesn’t mean we look at our future as being a downer. No, no, no! The years bring CHANGE, not despair. A different reality. Possibly a NEW reality. All very good!

Seriously…think about it. Would you want to do (and be) the same today as you were yesterday? Okay…maybe stretch that a bit. Would you want to be doing the same thing today, as you were doing maybe 10 years ago? Nah…me neither!

I have been in the beauty industry for 38 years, with a couple of sebaticals…which brought change themselves…and I can tell you, my life has been a beautiful journey. But I believe the best is yet to come.

The purpose of this particular blog entry, is to dispel any type of fear one might face when looking into the looking-glass. I used to (long ago) watch the people who attended our beauty industry events. I could not imagine myself aging, and still being in the same business, as some of these older ladies. They were so dated in their hair styles, their clothing, their over-all appearance. I decided then and there, that I would go out strong…at my peak, and never allow myself this sort of (what I perceived to be) humiliation.

Well, that was one reason for my last sabbatical. Determined to re-identify myself, I closed the shop down, much to the dismay of many clients. That was in 1994 or ’95. Six years later, I was placing myself back in the industry that I loved. Crazy…simply crazy! Yet, it took only a short 6 months before my client base had built to where I could go back out on my own and open yet another business. It felt boomerangish. I threw it out, away from me (totally), and it returned to me as if it were so much a part of me, it had to come back. Just like those little paddle boards that have a rubber string attached to a small ball. You hit the ball away from you, and the rubber band brings it back to the paddle…or in the near vicinity of said paddle, to which you have to make the decision of whether to hit it again or let it fall.

Needless to say, I hit it again. Sometimes I question that decision, yet the ball keeps coming back to me. I suppose it is such a strong part of who I am, I must embrace it, with some element of change. Maybe a different way of hitting that little ball. But it all is good. We are made to be, and do, certain things in this short life we experience here on planet Earth. The sooner we follow the road we are set on, and stop taking all those rabbit trails, the better our lives will unfold. Sure, rabbit trails will bring a different kind of adventure. And maybe you can allow them once in a while. But what we are made for, is greatness in the inner person. Who we were created to be. And since we have a body of flesh and bone (and all those other ingredients), we must use it to get to where we are going. There is a plan, that if followed, will lead to a peaceful existence. And if we don’t follow that particular road, (for whatever reason), we will know no peace. Because we were not made for that existence.

When we find ourselves going in the wrong direction, we can always turn the car around, right? Right!

Don’t waste your years, do your own thing Passionistas!