- Edition 6, Chapter 3.5 -
I’m surprised by how much I still love doing hair every day. When I got a random job assisting at 21, I never thought this would be a career for me. I was pretty aimless after high school. I wasn’t sure where to put all my crazy energy (I still run pretty hot most of the time). I loved assisting from the first day. I had never had a job that fit me so well. The fast pace, the multitasking, and the meaningful interactions with people all day… I kept assisting through beauty school and became completely obsessed with all things hair. Discovering Hair Heroes [a book published by Michael Gordon] was a big deal for me; I was frustrated with the lack of info on the history of hairdressing, all spread out in bits and pieces. Here was a book with all these people!
I moved to Austin, Texas about two years after I was licensed. I worked in a huge salon that departmentalized. They had a very strict training program where I really learned how to cut. I had to unlearn and relearn everything. It was hard as hell, and amazing. Cutting is still so much fun and so challenging. I learn new things all the time. Shayne and I are big fans of the small edits that can change everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love a huge, life-altering chop as much as the next hairdresser. But sometimes a slight adjustment to a fringe or a loosening of a layer can be amazing.
I can’t stand all the extraneous crap that comes along with this industry – “luxury, glamour” – where are the real people? Why do I need to carry 27 mousses? Hairstory showed us that there are hairdressers out there just like us. They love what they do and they are sick of the bullshit. We just want to do great hair and make real connections.
I got into hair pretty late. I left a job in the emergency room to begin an apprenticeship at the ripe old age of 28. It was a large salon, but it was a Bumble salon. I think even then, Michael’s vision really spoke to me; I often wonder if I had started somewhere else, would I have found myself in hair the way I did? I was a history major in college, so Hair Heroes was and is such an important book to me. I'm somewhat OCD in my research and love of references, art, film, music, and the times that they were created in.
I was just okay at drawing, took okay but not great photos, and really struggled to find a medium. I would talk to friends who could write songs, or draw, or paint, and I never understood how they just knew the notes, the lines, where things go on the canvas. It wasn’t until I got into hair, and started seeing the shape and patterns, the tones and undertones. It clicked; it all made sense. My eye got sharper and my work got better.
I didn’t start getting my hair colored until I was 25; there were Sun-in tragedies, but I was pretty tame. I was NEVER the girl who did everyone’s hair. I still don’t own a hairbrush or have a dryer at my house. As for color, I love all of it – the slightest change in hue completely changes the way someone looks; eyes seem brighter and skin absolutely gorgeous. I enjoy the process, mixing, placement, watching it develop. I know how lucky I am after 12 years to be really excited to do what I do every day.
ALLIE & SHAYNE
We have built something that we always wanted – a small studio where clients feel a part of the process. And, a badass partner-in-crime who loves collaboration and geeks out about hair. Hairstory came on our radar right in the midst of the creation of the studio, and blew us away. These people are actually doing what we want to do! And it's brilliant! It works!
We needed to get back to basics, to hair. We were talking one night, and saying that we missed being behind the chair. So it seemed like a perfect match (totally risky mind you, but perfect). A small, tucked-away loft where we just do hair all day? How novel! We wanted to do it differently by putting consultations and our relationship with each client front and center, collaboration at every level. It takes more time, but it simplifies everything as well.
Hairstory came along at just the right time. “Less is More” might as well be spray painted across our front door. We appreciate Michael’s honesty and transparency when it comes to shampoo and products in general. It spoke to us at a time when every line seems to be churning out a dozen new products every year. It’s confusing for stylists, and definitely for clients – it all feels disingenuous. We are honest with our clients (tough love for sure); sometimes we have to send them away, to grow something out, or take a break from color. It’s risky saying no to people. I think everyone sleeps better at night, which is a lovely benefit of trusting your gut.
We collaborate, push each other and our clients forward. We’ve created a safe space for people to make changes. We do the heavy lifting, creating shapes and movement so that nobody is expected to spend hours with a blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron. How boring!
It’s so damn fun, and we want people to feel that.