By Adam Armour
FULTON – There’s a lot more to being a hair stylist than the title suggests. Certainly there’s the usual cutting, coloring, styling, etc.
Being a stylist also is a social job; it’s all about the people. That’s exactly why Mane Attraction founder Pam Shields – who owns the salon with her friend, Allison Forrest – enjoys it so much and what’s kept her in the business for more than two decades. Shields loves keeping up with the latest trends, but she’s more enamored with the amount of one-to-one interaction the job provides.
“You have to love talking to people to do this job, and I do,” she said.
But the job isn’t just about knowing when to talk; it’s also about knowing when to stay silent. It’s about becoming comfortable and familiar with the customer. A stylist like Shields may sit with a single client for hours; it’s important to know that person’s likes and dislikes.
“It’s all about their personalities,” she said. “You have to learn to mirror their personalities a bit.”
Chatting, while fun, also serves a very practical purpose for a stylist: It helps familiarize her with the customer’s personalities – specifically, his or her likes and dislikes. Shields said this is an essential part of the job.
It’s dangerous to make assumptions, she added with a laugh. Assumptions can lead to “bad” haircuts and dissatisfied customers. Few things in this world can seem more disastrous than a dissatisfied customer with a “bad” haircut.
“There’s a lot more to it than I originally thought,” she said of her job as a stylist. “But I love it. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”