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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Each One Reach One

      We are in the greatest profession in the world perhaps in the greatest time ever. If you think your job is just to paint nails, you are thinking way too small. To borrow a mindset from Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks I believe we are in the people business serving beauty. How did Starbucks grow so fast and become so successful? He built community, a home away from home, where the baristas know your name and even your regular order. We have this opportunity at our nail tables. To be that home away from home. To connect with our clients, an escape, even if just for an hour from the jungle of their everyday world. To be that positive voice, possibly the only positive voice in their life.
There is a deep connection clients form with their beauty providers. Dr. Lew Losoncy is a psychologist that has been working with Matrix for many years. Living in Cleveland, the birthplace of Matrix, I was lucky enough to hear his very first presentation in the early eighties. As a clinical psychologist Dr. Lew became fascinated with the connection between hairdressers and their clients. When speaking with a patient one day he asked her if she had taken his advice from the last session. She told him no, my hairdresser didn't think that was a good idea. This completely changed the course of his life's work. Why is it that a person would pay him hundreds of dollars for a session yet follow the advice of their hairdresser? He discovered clients will tell their beauty professional things they wouldn't tell their therapists. We create a physical bond with clients, a safe haven. We are the only profession that touches clients, in a positive way.

      Clients feel secure in telling us things because usually we don't know who they are speaking about and there is no judgment. We are like the best friend that doesn't have to be caught up each visit, we follow their life struggles and triumphs week by week, month by month, year by year. I have been with clients through their weddings, the birth of their children, the death of a spouse, the promotion at work, the birth of grandchildren, there aren't too many situations that haven't come across my table. It is an opportunity to be a "Day Maker". David Wagner, author of Life as a Daymaker also became well aware of this connection. I had the good fortune to see David speak at a show October 2001. When the world was still reeling from 911 thousands of beauty professionals gathered in Minneapolis to carry on. How timely his message. David shared a story of a woman that came into the salon for a blow out. He was a bit surprised to see her in-between her 5 week usual appointment and asked her if she had something special going on but she insisted she just wanted to look special that night.

David Wagner/Daymaker
      He writes, during their time together he gave her a great scalp massage, shampooed and styled her hair, laughed and joked and at the end she smiled radiantly and gave him a hug goodbye. A few days later he got a note from that same client. She shared with him that the reason she wanted her hair done that day was because she wanted it to look good for her funeral. She had planned on taking her life that evening. Without even knowing what she was going through David gave her hope that things could get better. She checked herself into a hospital and got professional help. The note was to thank him for caring even though he didn't know what she was going through. Never underestimate the effect you have on your clients. I take this opportunity very seriously. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say my work is my ministry. I know every person put across my table is there for a reason. Many I may help and lift up, but just as many help me. In light of last weekend's tragic events we need to pause and understand we are all interconnected, woven of the same fabric of life. We share the same challenges of the human condition. We joke at times that we are their therapists but it is no joke. I encourage everyone that is blessed to be in this industry to take pride in the fact that we have the power to be a "Daymaker" to lighten another's load. You never know the ripple effect you will have in another's journey.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Meade


  1. Millie, You are sometimes my Day Maker! And I truly mean it. Your Christmas card in my salon mailbox put a smile on my face. I told every client that it came from you. They all know my crazy nailfriends and got as much of a kick out of it as I did.You made my day. Speaking of clients... my clients keep me sane when everything else seems insane, they are my Day Makers. :-)Gina Nailbuffie

    1. Thanks Gina, you have made my day plenty of days too :)Thank God for our clients! xoxo