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!

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!



The Tax Man Cometh

Elements Tax ManI’m guessing most of you already have your taxes filed and waiting on Uncle Sam to throw a dollar of two your way, from all that you’ve thrown HIS way. But…if you don’t, you’ve only got a few short weeks to get yourself in gear.

Being self-employed, I choose to give all my information to a CPA…someone that knows all the tax laws, and is the best one to keep us out of trouble and is able to keep us from paying huge fines. I don’t know much about those sort of things (taxes and insurance, I stay far away from), and am very grateful there are those that do.

In this blog, I would like to address a little know fact, when it comes to tips. Tips are looked at by the IRS as being income. It doesn’t matter if you are in the beauty industry or the restaurant business, or any other business that accepts tips. Uncle Sam expects (no, he demands) a bite out of every piece of bread that is headed toward our mouth. I have worked with a lot of people in my years of living…of which we won’t discuss…and continue to be amazed how easy it is to just not document tips. After all, they are gifts from those we serve. It says, “we appreciate the care you have given in the service you have provided for me.” Right? Right! Yet, our government says, “As a tax payer, you are required to give a percentage of EVERYTHING (sometimes twice…sometimes thrice), you receive.” And therein lies the kicker. For me, anyway.

I was raised to obey the laws of the land whether I agreed with them or not. A sense of pride came with the fact that we were not thieves, taking or holding back, what was required of others. And because of that, we could lay our head on our pillow (if we had one), at night…knowing we had done what was right. So because of that simple rule, I have never tried to hide my earnings from the government. Tips included. I remember one very dear client of mine from Oklahoma, that knew I was this way. As she was paying one pre-Christmas week, she looked me square in the eyes and said, “Mary, this is not a tip. I just didn’t have time to wrap this Christmas gift to you.” And that is how she kept me from recording that particular extra bit of money. She wanted me to have it all, and not just a percentage.

Now, just in case you’re thinking, “Well, I’ll just say that I never received tips, if I ever get audited, or questioned,” let me warn you. The type of return you file tells the government what you do for a living, where you work, who your employer is (if you have one other than yourself), and how much you should be reporting in tips. If there is any variation from that, you are targeted for review. Sure, there is a real possibility you can get by with some of that…but it raises a red flag with the IRS. Or so I’ve heard.

We can play hide and seek for only so long, when it comes to business. For me, I’d rather not come into question in the first place. And I know there are probably more than I realize those that are cheating Uncle Sam and his rules. My problem is this conscience that was instilled in me from the time I was only a wee little lassie. Actually, it all started way before I was born. God commanded us to “give to Caesar (the government), that which is Caesar’s (taxes), and to God (the One who redeemed us), what is God’s (the tithe).” Mark 12:13-17

When we come under the authority of the One that really matters, it won’t seem to matter so much what is required from a government we don’t agree with…because we’ll always have enough…and at times, possibly more than enough.

Forge on Passionistas!

Guard Against Indifference

Elements Sunshine toonSo…I just came from a small, hometown eatery. Well, it’s a sandwich shop. I see it (indifference), all the time. And each time I come into contact with it, I leave feeling gloomy. I seriously doubt I will return to this place. Who likes walking into an establishment, just to leave feeling as if the world is about to end?

As I walked into this place, the gal behind the counter looked up, but I doubt she saw me. There wasn’t any sort of eye contact, and no welcoming smile, such as, “We are so glad you stopped by to see us” smile. You know what I’m talking about. The kind of silent greeting I got was a, “I have to say these words, but I really don’t know what they mean, or why I have to do such an embarrassing act” sort of contact. At times I wonder if we are just that miserable but still have to share the planet, so have absolutely no interest in a sincere greeting.

The next gal…the one that actually takes the customers order, came out with such a solemn countenance, I knew right away I was in for a not-so-pleasant experience. I thought about changing my mind and walking out.

The very least we can do as professionals is to share a smile with our clients. It’s okay to have outside (or inside) problems that seem to consume our waking hours…but to suck innocent bystanders (those we’re suppose to be serving) into it, is just wrong. Well, this steeped in misery person, mumbled something unintelligible. I said, “I’m sorry…are you speaking to me?” I really couldn’t tell, since her head was down the whole time. I just knew she had said something. At least I though she had. She looked up at me as if I had intruded upon her day and asked some kind of question, of which I have no idea what it was…but since she was putting on gloves, I assumed she was asking for my order. “I would like a 6 inch Turkey on wheat, please. Toasted please,” I said. She preformed her duties, and when it was time, we went through the next step of what vegetables went on the sandwich. She didn’t seem to like it very much that I requested a fat-free Italian dressing. But then again, she didn’t seem to like much of anything. Never once did a smile escape her molded face. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to smile. I’ve found there to be a culture present here, that just doesn’t smile. At least I’ve never seen any of them use those particular facial muscles.

I think my passion for business calls to my inner client compassion. Much of the time clients are so mentally abused…when they should have a warm, “thank you for checking us out” welcome. And at some point, we all are clients. Right?

The greatest gift you can give to a prospective client is a genuine smile and do what you do well. Everyone has problems. If you want to succeed at anything in life, find a place to come to peace with yourself and whatever situation you may find yourself to be in.

Some years ago I had monthly meetings with those in the restaurant business. “Quest for Excellence” encouraged the servers to leave their problems outside the doors of business along with navigating the workplace properly. When their shift was over, they were to pick their problems back up, find a solution for it (or them), and begin to live their lives with purpose. It’s no different in the Beauty Industry. Clients come to us for a break. A place to breathe easy. A place to walk out differently than when they came in.

Something we professionals need to remember is that life is not a coincidence. Those that come through our doors, do so, not by happenstance, but by design. Our paths cross for a reason. A deeper reason beyond the evident one (hair or skin rejuvenation), which we need to pay close attention to the detail of. Some reasons we will know about immediately. Others, not so much. It may be years later as we look back in review of our lives, that we realize the importance of that time.

As you think about your career, or your life in general…do humanity (yourself included) a favor and look it smack dab in the eye. Whatever problems you have (and we ALL have issues from time to time), find a solution quickly. It may be just to walk through them with your head held high (not the snobby high), as you respect the position of responsibility you’ve been given.

We have all we need to navigate life…right inside us.

I lost a sister in July of 2008, to PSP. One of her favorite Scriptures was found in Philippians 4:4-9. It reads like this:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing (strong) spirit be known to all men, for the Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. ……practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Indifference is our enemy. It simply means we don’t care. We don’t care about you…we don’t care about our job. But mostly it means we don’t care about ourselves.

Shine on, Passionistas!

Keep Dreaming!

No matter what profession you’ve chosen, it’s important to embrace change. The time to slow down, is the time you give up living.

“When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” I can’t remember who it was that said it, but they were definitely right. We plan, and then plan some more! Some plans go belly up, some are home runs. But change is inevitable! Embrace it, plan for it, love it.

Here are a few successful marketing plans, that have helped me “stay the course” over the years to increase my business:

1) A referral program.
A. My most profitable were the gas cards I awarded to those that sent me 3 new clients. At $5 per new client sent, I found myself putting money back on a frequent basis. The promotion was that new client sales (from each existing client) would be totaled at the end of the month and then sent their free gas cards. The client that earned the most, received her first $50 gas card only a month after the program went into effect. Schzaam!!!
B. My second most profitable was the averaged new client sales . When existing clients sent me 3 new clients, the average service amount spent by those three (when totaled), would be added to my existing clients file. They could use the money any way they wanted. It could be used on services, retail, or gift cards. It was my “Thank You” for spreading the word.

2) Business Magnets
Make this one a concentrated effort. Many times your business card (you DO have one, right?), will suffice, and you DO need it to reflect your logo…something recognizable when seen anywhere. This marketing tool will be seen every time they go to the fridge. Everybody has to eat…right? Make it stand out! Now’s not the time to be frugal in the selection of material used.

3) Realtor Invasion
Be certain the realtors you pick for this one, are known aggressive property managers. Introduce yourself, offer them a free service during a slow time, like a Wednesday (that’s MY slow day, if I’m going to have one). In return for that free service, you’ll ask them to place a basket of your retail and other special service offers (attractively done up, of course), on a recently purchased home’s dining room table.

4) Prepare for Monthly Specials
This one is at the bottom of my list simply because it’s never been a strong event for me. There was a certain time of the year, usually the month before school starts, that my liter sales sky-rocketed…but other than that, my clients always purchased whatever it was they needed, when they needed it. Maybe when you are just beginning your business, it would be more of a magnet for shoppers. Also, I personally like giving back to the client through other means. Like…

5) Loyalty Rewards Program
With every service purchase, my clients automatically receive 10% off every $200 spent. My ClienTrak software lets me know when they have rewards to be used. It’s always a welcomed surprise when they’ve reached their jackpot.

A word to the wise…

“Everyone creates their own value.” Wise words spoken to me, by my late (and great) sister, Becky Johnson. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves for failure, or lack of productivity. When we embrace these true words, we will fly! We will leave others in the dust, so-to-speak. Responsible for our own actions, gives us the ability to be all we can be. No-one, no circumstance (as much as we would like to think), can thwart the plans of God in our lives, if we but do what is right, what is good, and put our hands to the task. And that, my awesome beauty consultants, is GOOD NEWS!!!

I remember an “off the cuff” remark by a brother-in-law of mine, some years ago. He said, “Mary, you need to slow down.” My response? “Why? I’ll have plenty of time to slow down when they bury me.”

Ah…passion! Without it, your dreams become non-existent. With it, you can touch the sky!

Dream on, Passionistas!!!

In the Beginning…

Having begun this journey in a little town known as Miami, Oklahoma, it seems I have come full circle now, in this ever-changing beauty industry. Never did I dream I would find myself “starting over.” Through the years I have given spaces to rent in my business, or allow a commission type endeavor, to other beauty school graduates. I have watched as they struggled to make ends meet, waiting for people to “discover” them. Last April 25th, 2012, I sold my business in Oklahoma (then known as South Side Salon & Day Spa) and relocated to North Carolina. I now find myself waiting longer than my patience wants to, waiting to be “discovered”. Always wanting to do my own thing and not be dependent upon someone else to grow my business, I started out on my own in Apex, NC. After a full, excruciating 6 months, I am seeing a lot of promise.

When I started my first business in 1978, I had a second income in the form of my absolutely awesome husband. He has always encouraged me to be the very best I can be, and has provided opportunity for me to do just that. While building my first client base, he provided for me…never questioning my decisions. If my memory serves me well, it took only 3 months to build a client base worthy of real income. It’s been a bit longer this time around. Maybe in those early years, success was more easily attained because of my geographical domain. Situated in an area with equal distance between several small towns, I was privileged to absorb those in my community and its surrounding areas. It kept the residents from having to make a trip into town. Ahhhh…those were the days!!!

When I had down time in the salon of my first offerings of beauty, known as “Mary’s Place”, I could attend to the pressing household duties and always have a very neat and clean “castle” for my young husband, and dinner on the table when he got home. If I had only realized what he had actually given me…