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By Wendy Weinstein
The Non-Essential Hairdresser
I looked up the meaning of non-essential just to be specific as to what my business was categorized as. It’s an adjective that means: “Not Absolutely Necessary.”
I have to disagree.
Of course, in this horrible situation, we are certainly not as essential as the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines taking care of sick people. And we’re not as essential the gas stations and supermarket workers who work so that people can have access to food and gas.
But I’m having a hard time believing that what I and many hairstylists do for a living is seen as non-essential.
I understand that getting a haircut is not absolutely necessary, but we do more than just cut hair.
At my business, I have met the most amazing people just because they walked through my door. I’ve been in six different locations all over Philly, so I’ve met A LOT of amazing people. People that tell me about their life struggles, their families, their promotions and unemployment.
I’ve done hair for weddings, proms, bar mitzvahs, and Christenings. I’ve gone to the funerals of clients I’ve known for 30 plus years. I see some people every four to six weeks — more than some people see their own family members.
But, in light of the small panic that is swirling around right now, sometimes all you need to do is go to your hairdresser to feel better.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a hairdresser. My mom and dad weren’t too keen on the idea, and they told me I should go to college and get an education. I had to go for a year before I could convince them that this was a passion of mine that can’t be ignored. My parents eventually came around and invested a lot of money into my business — they also worked there and became a big part of Ground Zero Salons until they retired to Florida. What they came tolearn was that the people that would walk through my doors were the greatest teachers I could have asked for. I’ve taken so much from all of those 45-minute lessons while my clients are in my chair, and I passed all of those lessons onto my staff.
I will not go against the city’s orders, and the salon will stay closed until they say we can resume business.
I’ve had clients calling to see if I was okay. I am, and I think my employees will be okay as well. I don’t see any chance of this closing down my business for good.
For all of the hairdressers out there that are unemployed right now, if you still have your job when this is over, get ready for a very busy time.