In The Beginning
“How did you get into doing hair”. If I had a nickel for every time I had been asked that question; well, I wouldn’t be rich but I could sure get a fancy meal someplace.
I have two answers that I’ve used over the past 50 years. The first answer is with no serious intent – but just a good test to see if a person has a sense of humor. “You know, I’m a farm boy from North Dakota. When I was young I used to curry the horses mane & I decided I wanted to work with old hags all my life”. Perhaps I’ve enjoyed the look on their face more than they enjoyed my answer. The clients who had a good laugh became good friends for many years.
The real answer: I’m an artist. I always have been. As I was beginning to look at career choices I thought I would look at three art forms. 1. Hairdressing 2. Culinary art 3. Broadcasting. Each had an appeal to me. Growing up on the farm I was the youngest and during field work time you might say I was the assistant to my mother in the kitchen. Additionally there were times that her health gave out and she was in the hospital for a long while – it was then I took full control of the kitchen out of necessity. That was cooking meals and packing lunch boxes for the morning and afternoon lunches during field work. I didn’t mind a bit.
Broadcasting held an interest; probably because I like to talk to people and learn so many interesting things. In those days it was the time of the “radio” – and I spent hours listening to the disc jockey’s spinning vinyl with the hits of the day and relating details about the artist. I wanted to do that too.
But HAIRDRESSING won out. Now I’m not going to tell you that is was a popular career at the time. This was the mid 1960’s and no doubt it appeared to be a strange thing for a farm boy to move in that direction. As I said: it’s an art form and I’m an artist. I thought I’d give it a try and if I didn’t like it I would move on to something else. However, the creativity it presented – the expressions of appreciation from clients – the ability to change a persons appearance—-it just gave me true satisfaction. Little did I know at the time how many avenues would be opened up along the way – how many interesting people I would meet. By reaching out and learning it allowed me to travel all over the USA. I was sought after by manufacturers to represent their products and teach in salons, at trade shows, man a national hair color hotline, train the trainers in various regions of the country. But importantly it enabled me to provide an income so I could care for my wife and two daughters. They were and are my number one —- I just happened to land in a field of work that was not work to me at all. What more could I ask for?