Is the Customer Always Right?
Created On: 10/18/2011 07:04:39
Dealing with difficult people
A crowded Virgin flight was canceled after Virgin's 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travelers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said,
"I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS".
The attendant replied, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out.."
The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?"
Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: "May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please," she began - her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.
"We have a passenger here at Desk 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Desk 14."
With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, "F... You!"
Without flinching, she smiled and said, (I love this bit) "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to get in line for that too."
R.I.P. Grand Rapids
Created On: 01/27/2011 14:33:24
What it's like to live in a "dying" city
Recently, for those of you who don't know, Grand Rapids was listed as number 10 in Newsweek's list of “America's Top Ten Dying Cities”.
Interesting perspective. As a seven year resident of Grand Rapids, I can see nothing but growth. There's the obvious-- “Pill Hill” (as I call it), the DeVos Place Convention Center, the restaurants, pubs, bars, and grills, the J.W. Marriott and Amway Grand Plaza Hotels, the newly remodeled Civic Theater...the list goes on.
So are we “dying”.....?
Only when we want to, one day a year, when Rob Bliss organizes a Zombie Walk.
So take that, Newsweek.
Some articles of interest:
Michigan Success Story
A "Dying City"? Residents beg to differ.
Grand Rapids: Alive and Kicking
Mayor George Heartwell's heartfelt response to the editor of Newsweek:
To The Editor
Remember: It's not what people say about you, it's that they care enough about you to have your name on their lips.
Love, peace and hair grease,
Leave It at the River
Created On: 12/10/2010 13:31:45
Why I always confront an issue and move on
One of the highlights of the Maly's Midwest Hair Show this year was the special VIP classes and events Paul Mitchell Pro lined up for Paul Mitchell Focus Salons. Perhaps my favorite special feature was guest speaker John Paul Dejoria, CEO and co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems. He shared a story with us that I found incredibly moving, and gave me a new philosophy in life:
There once was a young monk and an old monk. They decided to go on a religious pilgrimage across many miles, a journey that on foot would take them several days. They set out very early in the morning on the first day, and not too far from the monastery, had to cross a fairly wide river. The current was fast and the water was cold, so the crossing would be very difficult.
The monks looked at the river, looked at each other, and started across. It wasn't easy, but the young monk made it to the other side. The older monk glanced to his side and saw a woman struggling to make it. Even though he knew he wasn't having much more luck, he knew he needed to help her, so he waded over, picked her up, and carried her to the other side. The woman was moved to tears, thanked the older monk for saving her life, and they parted ways.
The monks walked the rest of the day and well into the evening, stopping deep in a forest to build a campsite. They started a fire, dug in their knapsacks for the provisions they packed, ate a nice dinner, and soon were discussing retiring for the night. Just as they were about to lay down and close their eyes, the young monk said to the old monk, "Do you mind if I ask you something? I've been thinking about it all day, and it's been weighing heavily upon me. When we entered our spiritual journey as monks, we took a vow against touching women. That woman in the river today....not only did you touch her, you picked her up!! You held her against your chest!! You carried her across the river!! How could you do such a thing?"
The old monk thought for a minute and looked slightly amused. He looked at the younger monk with a more serious face and said, "You know the difference between you and me? I left that woman at the river. You carried her around all day."
Love Takes Time
Created On: 12/02/2010 10:29:48
Why I refuse to rush your service.
I have had several interesting conversations over the past few days and thought they were worth sharing.
Yesterday, a favorite guest of mine (who am I kidding...they're all my faves!!) called me with an odd question. "Lauren, I love the salon and I love how you do my hair, but it takes SO LONG. The stylist I went to before you did it much quicker. I don't understand what's taking so long."
Legitimate question, right? I told her I'd do some homework and we'd chat before her appointment today. She has been going to a chain salon, and though I don't have anything against these salons, in my personal experience I have found them to be more "numbers" oriented than "quality" or "customer" oriented. I have a good friend who works at a different location of the same chain my guest had been visiting, so I called her up. I found out some very interesting things, and when my guest came in, here is what I shared with her:
1.) PROCESSING TIME: Many of the commonly used color lines in West Michigan (Matrix, Redken, etc) take 20 minutes to process. Since Paul Mitchell the color has a gentle lift and a thorough depositing time, it takes 35 minutes to process. Pretty simple.
2.) TONING: More importantly, my friend revealed that most stylists working at this chain don't tone their blondes. For those of you who don't "speak hair", here's what that means: Toning a blonde refers to applying a demi-permanent topcoat (Diamond Shines) or a deposit-only hair color (Paul Mitchell the color) after rinsing lightener off the hair. Why is this so important? I have my guests think about lightening hair as they would refinishing a hardwood floor. When you lighten it, you're sanding it down.....you remove any existing "stain", much of the buildup, and existing tones. A lot of times, it looks great, but if you leave it unprotected, it's dry, damaged, and unhealthy. Since we don't use polyurethane on hair usually (haha!!), I ALWAYS INSIST ON TONING A BLONDE.
I told my guest all of this information, and she actually surprised me. She was a bit angry. Not with me, but with her old salon. "Why didn't they tell me any of this before?? Why is this the first I've heard of the importance of toning??" Not only did she tell me she understood why it takes a little longer to do her hair color, she said she greatly appreciated the knowledge I shared with her and the time I take to deliver the best I possibly can.
SO......here's what all the blondes out there need to be saying: "SHOW ME THE TONER!!!!!!"
Love, peace, and hair grease,
Created On: 11/26/2010 09:22:01
What I'm blessed with this holiday season
Irving Berlin wrote a great song called "Count Your Blessings," in which he suggested that whenever you're down, counting your blessings helps you realize how truly lucky you are.
As we sit and reflect on the past 365 days or so, I think we all can agree the past year has been incredibly difficult for many of us. I am an incurable optimist, however, and while I don't forget the negative or not-so-great things that have happened, I strongly believe that the good outweighs the bad.
That being said, here is a (brief) list of things I'm thankful for this year:
- Seeing my dream grow here at Ecouter with lots of successes, happy guests, and great team members
- A supportive family
- A growing "chosen family" of close friends
- Three smiling faces and wagging tails (my pets!!) that greet me at the door every day when I come home
- Seven years spent with a cat who's now an angel
- The smiles on my guests' faces when I spin them around and they see great color, beautiful cuts, and fabulous makeup
- An expanding network of amazing, inspirational leaders through John Paul Mitchell Systems and Business Networking International
....and most of all, I'm blessed with a career that I love more and more each day.
I hope all of you feel just as blessed as I do, and that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.
Love, peace, and hair grease,
Stop Creating Diversion(s)!!!!!!
Created On: 11/11/2010 12:49:20
For anybody out there who doesn't know what "diversion" means to a stylist, I thought I'd give a quick peek into our world....
I'm sure everyone has seen products by Paul Mitchell, Redken, Pureology, and dozens of other "professional use" lines at the drugstore or grocery store. So if I'm already at Meijer, and I'm not due in the salon for another two weeks, but I really need conditioner...why not get it here?
THAT IS DIVERTED PRODUCT.
When you read the back of any of these bottles, they all have a similar warning, much like the FBI warning a the beginning of a movie. Ours say "Only guaranteed when sold in a salon or school." So why does Meijer have them? Pretty simple: somewhere along the way, somebody thought they'd make a quick (illegal) buck by selling these products to Meijer. What does that mean to the consumer? Actually, this is pretty horrifying. When you buy these products and take them home, they are usually old, expired, or tampered with. That last one...that "t" word...that should make your eyes bug out in fear. Ok, so I buy this "conditioner" and take it home...weird that it made my hair FALL OUT!!! What do I do? Well, hate to say it, but you can't call Paul Mitchell (who, by the way, DOES guarantee all their products...none of which should make your hair fall out). Remember that note on the bottle? That's right...and you didn't get it at a salon or a school.
People also assume that Meijer, Wal-Mart, or wherever will be more affordable than a salon. Usually...that is dead wrong. They are more expensive.
Do people actually have bad things happen? Well..when I thought about what to blog about...I actually chose this because of a recent experience. One of my favorite guests, Natalie, was in last night and was saying that she had run out of conditioner and she saw some Paul Mitchell on sale at Meijer so she grabbed it. Well...maybe not so much "grabbed" as "overpaid"...but you get the point. When she got home, she noticed the packaging seemed old, and when she opened the bottle, it SMELLED old. When I jokingly asked if it smelled like an antique store, she said that yes....it actually did. YIKES. And it was yellow. YELLOW?!?! Gross. She used it once and, sorry to say it, had to throw it away and buy some while she was here. So now she had to spend MORE money on what she thought was a deal. How frustrating!!
Moral of the story: save yourself the headache, heartache, and potential follicle frantic, and come to Ecouter Salon for your favorite Paul Mitchell products. Don't get diverted along the way!!
Love, peace, and hair grease,
Something Wonderfully New
Created On: 02/23/2011 12:47:44
I just had the most amazing day at the salon. I got to give a client a complete change and it turned out fantastic. She had amazingly dark hair..very thick, and very course.. and she wanted to be a lighter shade of golden brown with caramel highlights. Now for the people who know nothing about coloring hair this may sound fairly routine, however, stylists will tell you that Asian hair is some of the hardest hair types to color let alone blonde. This is because we have to lift them to a certain level and lets be real they have very dark hair, and lightening is risky if you dont know what you are doing....luckily she came to one of the best salons in town . The end result was a beautiful golden sunny brown with super warm highlights strategically placed to keep edge to the dramatic stack cut I finished her with. I am so happy that she was so happy!!! I get to work with amazing people, make clients super happy and help support the most beautiful daughters on the planet...my life is awesome!!!
Created On: 02/21/2011 20:35:57
I wanted to take time to write about the amazingly fun weekend I had with the team at Ecouter Salon. The cutting class was good but the fun I had with all of my friends was the best part. I am so lucky to be somewhere I can be myself and be open and be encouraged to grow in all aspects of my life and career. Not only do we have amazing skill and talent we also have personality and compassion for one another and that is so important. I am here for the long haul and encourage anyone who is looking for not only an amazing cut or color service but also a fun and interactive experience to come to Ecouter...it is like no other salon. We love what we do!!!!!!!!!!!!
Never a Dull Moment
Created On: 02/14/2011 17:16:16
This blog goes out to Jason my team member and dear friend....thank you for making me love being at the salon even more than I would anyway you are amazingly funny, smart, dedicated, and just perfectly witty. You are a great friend and a great co-worker. So thank you again baby doll!! I can wait for you to take the industry by storm. Inspirations come with spring.
Created On: 02/08/2011 15:44:00
I am so excited for the snow to melt and the temp to rise. And with all of these things comes new inspiration and new energy. I am looking forward to learning new styles and trends and incorporating them into my everyday work at the salon. From new color formulations to new and exciting haircuts to freshen up the face and expose the natural color of eye true potential...the ideas are perfect in every way. I encourage everyone to try something new and exciting for spring...try a bold blonde, or an adorable pixie...expose yourself to change and wonder. Let me live out my inspiration through you.
Welcome Back Brandon
Created On: 01/24/2011 19:44:00
I just wanna take a minute to say that Brandon you were missed and that I am happy to have you back. I know that you needed a few days due to being sick but it wasn't the same with you gone and the salon runs so much more smoothly when you are around. You make me want to be a better stylist and you keep me on my toes. Thanks for all the help you give to not only me but to all at Ecouter!!! I love you doll and I love working with you....here's to many more nights of working together!!!!
Another Day Another Color
Created On: 01/22/2011 17:37:11
Ok so those of you who know me are well aware that I am always changing the color of my hair. I am especially proud of the "hue of my do" right now at this very moment. I am a definite and no messing around PURPLE!!! But not some crappy Sally Beauty store for anyone purple...I am talking Paul Mitchell Systems amazing stay in your hair, vibrant, shimmering purple. I am loving it. Performed by my gorgeous friend Kelsey, this very service has definitely made my week!! Basically anything you want Paul Mitchell can give you and you won't be disappointed. Come in and change your mood and your color at our one of a kind color bar and ask us what special pro mos are happening right now. Can't wait to see all of you at the best Salon in Grand Rapids...........ECOUTER!!!!
Created On: 01/21/2011 19:33:35
So the crew is going to Boyne Mountain for a retreat at the end of next month and I couldn't be more excited. We are going for team building, fun, and an awesome cutting class!! I don't just consider the team co-workers, I consider them family and friends. What a way to get away than to spend a couple days with amazing people who share the same passions I do. It's not work for us it is a lifestyle...and I'm in it for life!! I love my career, my friends, and my family. I am in a good place right now and I am happy to say that I am enjoying the ride.
Happy Hour at the Paul Mitchell Color Bar
Created On: 01/10/2011 18:31:17
I wanted to take some time to talk about the Paul Mitchell Color Bar and how it has totally brought my love for color to a whole new level. It is a completely interactive space where you the client is given the opportunity to watch how we formulate and mix the color cocktail before your eyes. It allows for a look at what normally happens behind the scenes during a color service. It show customization, and authenticity in that you can't get this color anywhere else. I believe the concept is genius and modern...as is the entire Paul Mitchell brand and culture. I am so pleased to step behind the bar and to be able to create for you in the coolest setting possible. Come in and experience the most unique color experience you will ever have and fall in love with Paul Mitchell...I am so glad that I did!!!
What A Day What A Friend
Created On: 01/09/2011 19:06:54
I write a lot about the team at Ecouter and how much I enjoy the people so much, but tonight I want to single out Brandon. Saturday at the salon was full of bumps and challenges that really made things difficult. He had been at the salon very late the previous evening and had to be back at the salon to open with me. And due to computer malfunctions the day before I was accidentally double booked, and normally that wouldn't have been an issue at all, but supplies were low and we were super busy! Brandon went above and beyond to help me with everything!!!! Without him I couldn't have gotten through it and I love him for it. He wasnt just my "team leader" he was truly my friend and I just wanted to let everyone know that he is not only a wonder behind the chair, but he is also a caring soul who truly wants all of us to succeed....I love him and I couldn't be more happy to be where I am!!
If You Don't Know Now You Know
Created On: 01/05/2011 13:01:52
I have to say that a prettier salon there is not in Grand Rapids. Ecouter Salon has been transformed in to a chic boutique like setting that could sit right in the heart of Soho, New York if no one knew better. The exposed brick against the signature black stained hardwood floors is awe inspiring to say the least. The Color Bar is modern and edgy, to compliment the Signature Paul Mitchell style. From the moment you are greeted at the door to the second you exit the building it is a real sight to be seen. I have to say that I am so impressed by the time and effort put in by the entire staff, but mostly I want to recognize Lauren, Jason, and Brandon for their true dedication and skill. I am always happy to go to work...even happier now that the stage on which I perform is so very beautiful. So now not only will you get the best service, color and cuts in town, but you will also be getting these services done in the best looking salon there is...so if you didn't know now you do!!!!
The Evolution of Ecouter!
Created On: 12/30/2010 10:32:18
I am so excited to say that Monday we will be revealing the new and improved Ecouter Salon!! I was there last night helping to square things away so that the construction could begin. We are going to have a new reception area, a new color bar, a new floor, and so much more!! But what I am most proud of is the fact that I am going to have been a part of making the salon into something even better than it was before. I am honored to have met my friend and co-worker Jason, who helped me get the job, and being able to work with all of the Ecouter Team. We are more like a family and it feels great to go to work! So thank you everyone and i can wait to see you in the newly evolved Ecouter!!
On To The Next One...
Created On: 12/27/2010 06:40:09
Well another Christmas past and already it feels like it never really happened. The build up to the biggest holiday of the year is huge and then it is over so quickly that it all seems like a blur. I swear, that if it weren't for the constant sounds of the new Michael Jackson game playing on my daughter's Wii, or the 3 story Barbie penthouse taking up reality in my living room, I don't know if I would really be able to tell if Christmas was even here. But, I did get to spend precious time with family and friends, which as I get older is really all I could ask for.
So on to the next holiday..........New Year's!!!! This means the beginning of a whole new opportunity to change what we want about ourselves, and improve what we can. Brand new memories and witnessing the growth of children. I am blessed, as we all are, to have another 12 months to enjoy all of these blessings and more. I love my career, I love the team at Ecouter, I love my family, and all my friends! So I would just like to thank the powers that be and to ask them to keep me humble, and ever thankful.
Holiday Wishes and Salutations From Ecouter
Created On: 12/21/2010 09:29:48
I am just going to dedicate this entry to all of the wonderful friends that I work with and have come to work on in the salon. Ecouter Salon has become more than a place that I go to daily to work it has become a place that has given me lifelong friends and memories. I haven't been a part of the team for very long, but I don't know what I would do without all of the wonderful support and laughter I get from Lauren, Brandon, Kelsey, Jason, and Brandias. Not to mention all of the wonderful guests that come in and allow me the privilege of making them look as good as possible. So here's to a safe and happy holiday season and a happy and healthy 2011.
I love you all!!!
The Silver Bullet
Created On: 12/15/2010 08:39:04
I am so happy....I am now back to my favorite color of hair, silver!!! I fall more and more in love with Paul Mitchell color every time I use it. I have to give the entire team credit with helping me achieve this, however, because it was a pretty lengthy process. For those of you who don't know much about color let me give you a short run through of how complicated our job can really be. I was pretty dark and I was also very red when I decided to change up my look. So in order to go light like I did we first had to remove as much pigment from my hair as possible, which is not only time consuming but risky if you are not well informed and educated on how to do this without frying the hair. Then if it doesn't lift to the desired or required level of blonde it has to be redone and then toned to the desired shade. Not only did we have to do all of the above to get me where I wanted to be but we also had to ensure that when I did get to my dope silver, that my hair still looked and felt shinny and healthy. And here is the perfect solution...the Keratriplex treatment from the Awaphui line! I am certain that without that conditioning treatment that I wouldn't have been able to accomplish my oh so sweet shade!! Bottom line this color line and product line is the best I have ever worked with and I want everyone to try it once and I am convinced you will be hooked for life!
A Window to Inspiration
Created On: 12/11/2010 19:49:35
I was just finishing up a service for the night and I noticed a couple outside the window looking at me, and I didn't think anything of it. Then they walked through the door and the woman asked if I had time to cut her hair exactly like mine...I was so flattered and immediately I said that I absolutely would. She was in town for a convention and was leaving the next day for home which is in Toronto Canada. Allyson was her name and she told me that I inspired her to change her look!!! She is in the States every year and is looking forward to coming back to see what I can inspire her to do next time...I love my job and I love people. I think that it was Allyson, and people like her that inspires me every day I walk into the salon. This is my passion and pure inspiration is what keeps me going!!
There Is No "I" in TEAM
Created On: 12/05/2010 09:24:36
Friday night was a good night at work...I was relatively busy and the guests were exceptionally nice. My last appointment was a woman who had gorgeous long blond hair that needed to be touched up...it was quite the undertaking! But, I was up for the challenge. However, she was on somewhat of a time crunch, that's where having a wonderful team comes in. It had started to run late and I wanted to finish her style with a great blow out but she was late, and had suggested leaving the salon with wet hair. I wasn't having that, nor was Brandon or Brandis!! Both of them had gotten right in there and started blow drying and in turn cut my work in half!!! Needless to say she left happy, beautiful, and feeling like a VIP because we as a team will do what it takes to make you look and feel your best. I am so lucky to ba a part of a team that values not only the guest that sits in the chairs but value me as a friend and employee. So thank you Ecouter team, WE truly are amazing!!!
This One's For Amy
Created On: 12/03/2010 19:51:33
Amy is a guest at my salon...she is also one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Yesterday she came in to see me for a very specific task...to give her back her natural hair color. Now this is a fairly normal request, however, the purpose has so much more meaning than boredom or vanity. Amy told me that her father has cancer and that he wanted to see her hair back to its natural color again. So she came to see me! Amy looked amazing and I was touched and humbled by her visit so much that I had to write about it. Amy you are wonderful and I will keep you and yours in my prayers. I love my job...sometimes it just means so much more
An Amazing Day
Created On: 11/28/2010 09:43:48
I had a great day at work yesterday I met an amazing guest who had me put in a full head highlight and an ink stamp and do a brand new haircut on her that completely changed the way she looked. I toned her highlights to a beautiful ash. Her ink stamp was a deep brownish red...amazing! All in all I have to say that I have the greatest career and I work with the most amazing team....YES IT WAS AN AMAZING DAY!!!!!!
New Year New You
Created On: 11/26/2010 18:28:17
Wow, lots of food on Thanksgiving. Time for a change as with every New Year that fast approaches most people make the resolution to change their appearances. So come in and let me transform you. I'm thinking a complete color make over...hair color; make up....lets all transform for the New Year. I'm red headed and will soon be gun metal silver...awesome!! Let me make you just as spectacular. I will also do a free haircut for first time clients!! So happy holidays from me to all of you!!!
Created On: 11/25/2010 19:21:50
Well it was quite the Thanksgiving here in west Michigan!! I'm gearing up for Christmas and all the shopping that will be done! But surprisingly enough I am super happy where I am as far as family friends AND my career!!! So I'm thinking of ways to theme the salon's services to fit the upcoming Yuletide month... like free cuts, brow waxes, or holiday make up tutorials that will spice up your new year look or for the truly daring maybe a complete transformation! I can't wait to see what 2011 brings for the salon, my passion, and personal growth...I love what we do...come in and see me and you'll love it too.