Prairie Person of the Week June 20, 2014
Posted June 20, 2014 by Prairie Wife - 9 comments
As a busy mother of four Cowkids, the times when I get to be alone and focus on me, and only me, are few and far between. Once I became a mom I began to look forward to my haircut appointments like a beacon of light and calm. Two hours of pampering and then heading home feeling so much better about myself was an occasion to celebrate. I’ve had good haircuts and nice looking color in my life…but when I finally listened to my friend Cheeleo and went to David at Rootz, I learned that I had been missing something all along. I hadn’t realized how much confidence just the right color and cut can give me! Since going to David at Rootz I have gotten a ton of compliments on my look, I even got stopped in Vegas and France by people asking about my cut and color! David listened to my concerns (no time, dry hair, well water, and an inability to use a curling iron) and picked up on my innermost dreams (hot rocker mom), and gave me the cut and color that perfectly suited me! I’ve sent all my friends his way, and they’ve all agreed that he and his staff at Rootz are AHHH MAHH ZINGG!
I booked Ma an appointment with him and he gave her the best cut of her life, the Facebook raves about her new look almost froze my computer. I’ll even admit to crying when I had to cancel my appointment a few months back due to sick Cowkids…I hadn’t realized how much I’d been needing that me time and pampering until that moment. That’s one of the main reasons that I asked David to be our first ever Prairie Person of the Week. David understands that being a hairstylist is about the woman (or really the client) as a whole, not just the hair. When you read his very personal story of struggle, and how he fought to gain the life he dreamed of for his family, you’ll see why I had to share his story with our readers.
Prairie Wife (PW): Tell us a little bit about you and your family.
David (D): I grew up in Casper, Wyoming and after a long and winding journey I have found myself with my roots firmly planted back where I began. Eleven years ago when I came back, I just knew that this was where I belonged. I wanted to open another Salon, buy a house and have a family. Now I have two sons, who I of course adore, a thriving salon business, and a house near to my loving friends and family.
If you had told me as a teenager I would be living here, and genuinely happy about it, I would have laughed in your face. As a child I hated Wyoming, I never fit in, and I felt like an outcast. Some of this was because of me being aware at a young age that I was gay, and some of it was just the normal preteen and teenage anger and angst. Thankfully I had parents who loved me and never gave up on me. My parents still live here and both were small business owners, I was raised around self starters and this definitely became part of who I am. Not only did I always know that owning your business could be done successfully, I had seen firsthand the flexibility it would offer me as a parent.
PW: When did you first become interested in becoming a hair stylist?
D: I started doing hair when I was 11 but technically I did my first haircut at 5, when I gave my cousin bangs. Though my artistic sensibilities were not appreciated at the time (she had hair down to her waist) I think they’ve forgiven me now! My mom bleached her own hair at home and loved going to the salon and I always went with her, it was part of her weekly ritual. Even at a young age I would see what they did at her salon, and I knew I could do a better job. I hated public school for a variety of reasons and eventually my parents decided to home school me. My mom was supportive of my interest in hairstyling and intuitive to my abilities and went with it. She put me in Malcom Crow (a local beauty school) when I was in my mid teens and I took off from there. It was always a natural fit; I didn’t ever consider that I would do anything else.
PW: Tell us about the steps that led you to open your own Salon.
D: My first job was at Regis Salon at the local mall; Barb Williams gave me my first job. I worked there for three years and opened my first salon called David & Company, when I was 20. As I said before, my parents were small business owners and I knew that someday I was going to be the boss.
Somewhere after about three years of moderate success with the Salon, my life got in the way. I had a lot of personal issues, including the death of my best friend. This combined with my youth and ego (I had no appreciation for hard work because things had come so easily for me) and it resulted in me making one careless choice after another. I got involved with drinking and drugs to numb the pain I was feeling, rather than simply dealing with it.
It was the wrong path and I (and those who cared about me) suffered for a lot of years because of those choices. I eventually hit rock bottom, I lost the salon I had dreamed of, and friends and family were understandably leaving me too. I remember being at my own salon and being kicked out because of my inability to function properly. I watched my mom carrying out my stuff from the salon when it closed. I will never forget her carrying boxes full of bits and pieces of my salon, what she had helped me to create, and it made me hate myself. I didn’t want to be that person, I ached with the disappointment in myself and my choices…yet still, I kept on with the self destructive behavior. I traveled around the US doing various jobs in salons, working just enough to make money to pay for what I thought was important and necessary.
PW: What inspired you to open up your second Salon?
D: When I finally moved back to Wyoming again I was ready to become the man I was supposed to be. I started out simply, I set goals for myself-Staying clean and sober and owning a home and a salon again…this is what I focused on.
I worked at a Salon here in Casper and I worked my butt off. I saved every penny so that I could buy the building that became Rootz six years ago this September. My now ex-husband helped me with the business/financial aspect and I used my hard lessons learned in the past to move forward and create this amazing future for myself and my family. So many things fell into place for me after I started to focus on all the good in my life, I knew it was right. When I opened my second salon, my mom came to help me and everything came full circle. As she helped me move my boxes into the new Rootz, I finally felt a release and I knew this was going to be a success for me, and for us. It was such a gift that she stuck by me.
I can’t emphasize enough how important my staff, or my girls as I call them, are to me. I know it sounds cliche, but they have become like family to me. Watching them develop right alongside me in our profession is wonderful, and I am so proud of each and every one of them. Their support and confidence in me has allowed me to take risks and grow in ways that I never thought possible.
PW: What are some of the pros and cons of being both a Salon owner and hairstylist?
D: Pros-I get to still work behind the chair and do what I love. Working with clients and the chance to help change people’s attitudes about themselves never gets old for me. Cons-Being able to meet the level of customer service I want has been hard in the past. But, now I can hire a receptionist and other staff to take care of these things so I can focus on what I love! At first I had to do it , but I think I’ve got it pretty good now!
PW: Walk us through what you like to hear from a client when they come into you for a cut and color.
D: When you utilize a hairstylist you need to remember it’s not all about the hair. It’s about your look, and lifestyle. I never know what a person is going through when they sit down…and then to have five minutes to read them and pick up on what they want…well it can be tricky! I love when people bring in pictures; it lets me see who they want to be and how they see themselves. It also lets me get a better idea of their expectations of me.
Do I always do the exact cut and color in the pictures…no! I think that’s one of the reasons why our clients choose Rootz, we have ideas and they trust our training and knowledge. We want them to look their best and we know how to explain that in an honest and caring way. If someone goes home and doesn’t like their cut or color I hope they feel that they can be honest and tell us! Sometimes the hairstylist you first went to isn’t the right fit, and if you don’t speak up we can’t get you paired up with the perfect stylist. The one that gets you and you click with. Frankly, it’s insulting for us not to know! So if you go home and decided you don’t like your cut and or color, call and tell us what’s wrong, so we can you back in the chair and fix it!
PW: Locally you’ve become known for your amazing ability with hair color, what does that kind of expertise involve?
D: I love the impact that color has! When it is done correctly it accents the cut and the lifestyle of our client. I was always ready to learn about the latest in color and cut trends, and several years ago I went to a Matrix show where I was absolutely captivated by what they were doing. I wanted to be a part of it. So, I went up and asked them what I needed to do to be an educator. They flew me to NYC and I auditioned to work for them. It was such a wow moment that they had enough confidence in me to fly me out for the audition! They called me two weeks later and I got a job as a artistic educator. I am now a platform artist and artistic designer for them. Part of the training involves flying twice a year to a course where I get trained in all the latest cuts and colors, trends and technology. I then go to Matrix events around the country and train other hairstylists in these techniques.
My girls here at Rootz are just as passionate about learning as I am! At Rootz we currently have seven girls…and are still growing. Their dedication to their profession is phenomenal. All my girls at Rootz train above and beyond the normal levels for cutting and coloring hair. Besides doing no less than four mini trainings a year with me, based on my Matrix classes, they attend a variety of hair shows across the nation. All of my staff is dedicated to learning as much as possible in our field, so that we can find the best cut and color for each of our clients.
PW: On August 12th you will having a grand re-opening of your salon in a brand new facility, talk to us about the innovative layout and what guided your design decisions.
D: Being able to create this salon from the ground up has been such a wonderful experience. I hired Sharon of Fields Creek 104 here in Casper as my designer. I gave her my concepts and she put it all together. The layout and vibe is all me, after 24 years in the industry I knew where I needed and wanted everything! I absolutely have to have natural light because of the impact it has on color in the hair. So, Rootz is full of windows. Our LED lighting was custom designed in NYC by Beth Minardi. It’s eco friendly and beautiful with a stunning impact. We have orbiters rather than the standard heat dryers/processors. They use an infrared heat to process color and a laser temp guidance system to keep hair at an even temp to keep from over drying or processing our clients’ hair. Our Pedicure stations have light therapy besides the massage, and the jets have new technology to make them more hygienic than other chairs.
We also now have a Esthetician on staff, and I am thrilled about all the things she can do for our clients. We have a rejuvenating spa facial, this is custom facial that is developed around each clients individual needs and concerns. We also have the Rootz signature facial which includes a luxurious parafin treatment for the hands as well as a facial. We also offer microdermabrasion and chemical peels. We have full body waxing and we hope to soon be offering laser hair removal.
I want someone to walk into my Salon and feel welcome and I want them to walk out feeling fulfilled! My goal for Rootz is to give people a few hours to rejuvenate their spirit.
PW: Ready for the rapid fire questions?
D: Of course!
PW: What do you love to hear from your clients?
D: I love it!
PW: What do you hate to hear?
D: Sorry I’m late.
PW: Wash your hair right before you color it or come in greasy?
D: Trick Question! You don’t want to be squeaky clean, but a buildup of grease and product isn’t going to make the coloring process that much better. The hairstylist has to judge if you need wash first.
PW: Favorite Shampoo and Conditioner?
D: I have to go with Biolage Color Care (Matrix)
PW: Best hair product invention ever?
D: Design Pulse Mega Dust my Matrix! It adds volume and texture that is so in right now.
PW: Color that makes you cringe?
D: Home color.
PW: Long or Short hair after 50?
D: Rules don’t apply anymore; if you can rock it go for it.
PW: Plucking your eyebrows between waxing, do or don’t?
D: Do…if you’re good!
PW: A woman is beautiful when….?
D: She feels confident in her whole self.
PW: Any final Prairie Person words of wisdom?
D: You’re the only you so be confident in who you are. Life is good, live it!
PW: We hope to see you August 12 at the Rootz open house, 633 East A Street Casper, WY from 5:30-7:30. It will give you an opportunity to see the beautiful new Salon and also help support a local charity. If you are interested in an appointment at Rootz please call (307)472-7668, don’t forget to pamper yourself with a mani/pedi or a facial, and tell them Prairie Wife sent you!