Welcome to 2014. The new year. Tis’ the season for Resolutions, Reminiscing, and Regrouping from December’s hectic schedule. The holidays were a heavy time at The Bell Tower this year. In December of 2012 we lost one of our favorite stylists, Kristen, to cancer. 2013 at the salon felt like learning to breathe again, and hopefully this year will be our exhale. When I picture Kristen, this beautiful woman, a blend of compassion, and passion, and charisma, and life, I see so many things I want to be. So much that we should all strive to imitate.
These are just a few of her shining characteristics, still inspiring us today. Consider this an ode to her, but also a cosmetologist (and life) manifesto to adopt. And while you read, ask yourself, who inspires you?
Kristen was lavish with her affection and loved to give thoughtful gifts. Every year around the holidays she gave each member of our stylist team something special. I can still remember her arriving at the Bell Tower with her large gift bags trailing behind her. She was by far the best looking Santa Claus I have ever seen. Learn from her and love your coworkers, and when you don't love them, love them anyway.
The phrase, "love what you do" has become cliche and overused. While some people carelessly toss the word "passion" into conversations, Kristen embodied it. She showed up at work, even through her sickness, and lit up the salon as she entered. You wouldn't have known her struggles unless she told you, because she was strong. Because styling hair is what she loved and it made her face alive with passion. Do you have passion?
Kristen effortlessly mopped the floor with us when it came to incentive contests and competitions around the salon. She didn't have to be pushy to make a sale. She would simply and honestly state what her clients needed to keep their hair healthy and happy. She wasn't reluctant, or apologetic, or skittish about suggesting products. She was the expert, and thus her clients confidently put their hair in her capable hands.
We all knew that if you want a straight and honest opinion on anything fashion related, go ask Kristen. She led many a wayward head away from the path of fashion faux pas and onto the road of recovery. She did it honestly, yet in a way that didn't seem offensive or chiding. I mean….they came back again. She possessed some secret charm, using her words to separate the hair from its person, rebuking the former one while making the latter feel pampered and cared for. Can I have some of that magic, please?
She also used her words to encourage her coworkers. She was notorious for coming up with nicknames for each of us. While incredibly busy and productive at work, she almost always made a cute and cheery comment as she walked by. I've had many dark days brightened up by her sweet remarks.
This list only scratches the surface of this incredible woman's strengths. You could fill a book with testimonies of lives that were touched by what they thought would be a simple haircut with an average hairstylist on any old day. Nothing about her was average.
I want Kristen back, but if I can't have her back, I want to be more like her. Because, honestly, The Bell Tower needs a Kristen. Every salon does.