I had a lunch date with a friend who owns one of the busiest salons in my area. I came a little early and had decided to hang out in the reception area to read a book while waiting. However, while sitting there I noticed Mary…
Mary was sitting alone in a chair right by the front desk. I noticed several staff members of the salon come to get their clients, but all ignored this woman like she was just a decoration on the wall. After over 25 minutes of this happening, I went over and sat next to her… The next thing that happened changed my life.
When I sat down next to Mary she smiled as big as life. It was a genuine smile. A smile that makes you smile on the inside. I asked her how she was doing today, and she very quickly said “It’s going well! I am in my favorite place with my favorite people!” She went on to tell me that she has been coming to this salon for over 45 years. She has been through 5 owners, 3 renovations, countless stylists, and many hair colors. When I asked her what she was in for today, Mary told me that she has had a standing 11:30am appointment every Friday for the last 25 years. She comes in for a wash and set, but because of her budget she can only afford to get a perm twice a year now. It was now 12:30pm and she was still patiently waiting for her “standing” 11:30am appointment.
She didn’t complain once. Mary just sat there and waited patiently. As we talked, she was saying how over the years she has sent all of her friends and family to this salon. She has helped them with fundraisers when she was younger, and been around for every milestone. Mary was so proud of how this salon has grown and had loved being a part of it.
At 1:15, my girlfriend came over and said she was ready to go. I took her aside and asked her if she knew this woman had been sitting here all morning. My girlfriend, one of my very dear friends…said the following to me: “Oh that’s JUST Mary! She’s always here all day on Fridays. She doesn’t care that she has to wait all day.”
Now I am not throwing judgment on my friend... She is a very successful salon owner, mother, wife, and great friend! However, I was very saddened by her “That’s JUST Mary” comment. I went over to Mary and asked her if she would like to join us for lunch next door. Mary was overwhelmed and said “of course! As long as I am not intruding” I assured her that we would love to have her.
The three of us talked like old friends during lunch, and my dear friend learned so much about this woman. My girlfriend had learned that Mary had been around in HER salon since before she came along. We learned that over 30% of the clients in the salon had been sent through Mary or Mary’s family. If Mary hadn’t been around, neither would this salon… After a great lunch, Mary and my friend walked back over to the salon friends.
I know that sometimes in life we want to disregard the elderly. We want to rush through their service because you are tired of the same story over and over…You are sick of the same set and comb-out... You may not like that they are on a fixed budget and are poor tippers. Take time to sit in their shoes. Where did they come from? Have they been one of the most reliable clients in your salon? Have they sent in all their family and friends?
Always keep in mind that you build relationships with people while you are a cosmetologist that go so much further than how you style their hair. Take a look at what kind of person you want to be. Who helps you build your business? Who supports you the most? Who is your biggest cheerleader? You will be very successful in life and as a cosmetologist if you always remember those questions. They will help you grow as a person and a cosmetologist.