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Salida Beauty Salon Ethnography

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Salida Beauty Salon Ethnography - Page Text Content

FC: The Ma'ams of Glam | By Lexi Trujillo

1: Introduction | Beauty salon: an establishment providing women with services such as hairdressing, to improve their beauty. Salida Beauty Salon is one of the ten salons in Salida and has been open for more than thirty years. The main hairstylists are Debbie Brown and Pam Wedige (pronounced Wadey) - the main owner. Also employed are Chris Hemmert and Roger Bill. These hairstylists do everything from cutting hair to coloring, perming and providing a social outlet for their clientele. (See Jargon pg.) The salon is located on 230 West 16th Street - Salida, CO 81201. They are considered a subculture because the hairstylists have developed their own client-base and they interact in a professional environment. Most of Salida Beauty Salon's clients have been longterm customers and some are lifetime customers. Pam, Debbie and Chris are graduates of Salida High School, certified in cosmetology and barbering and returned to their community to provide these services. There is a conglomeration of personalities who visit in the salon-- making no dull moments.

2: Plan | Salida Beauty Salon & Clients Interview - I plan to interview 4 clients and one of the hairdressers. The clients would be most important to interview because they are what the salon is there for. I'd probably ask questions like, "How long have you been a Salida Beauty Salon client for?" and "Why did you choose Salida Beauty Salon to get your hair done?" The hairdressers, Deb Brown and Pam Wedige are ideal to interview because they run the salon - they are the ones who see and do it all. Locations - I will observe at Salida Beauty Salon. Observations - I can most definitely observe for a minimum of 30-45 minutes a week. I plan to observe on Thursdays and Fridays - they are busiest on those days. - There will be no problems with access; Salida Beauty Salon is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Appointments are booked every hour so meeting clients will be an easy task. - I plan to take notes by just the regular required field notes. | Hypothesis - I feel that during my research, I will find a variety of reasons why clients attend the salon - but mainly because the hairdressers are experienced and very familiar with them.

3: Proposal | Group Name - Salida Beauty Salon & Clients Purpose - The purpose for me researching Salida Beauty Salon clients is to understand who and what kind of women go to get their hair done and how they behave toward their hairdresser. Assumptions - Salons in general have been stereotyped as gossipy, beauty queen-filled places. From watching movies like Beauty Shop, it's easy to assume that all women do in salons is gossip. However, at Salida Beauty Salon, I find an equal ratio between older and younger women. I wonder which group of women will gossip more, older women or younger women. Since some older women's hearing aids or bifocals lay out on the counter while they relax in the stylist's chair -there may not be much talking there. So maybe there is a stereotype no one sees. Obstacles - As of now, I have no idea what I am walking into - aside form the beauty shop where I get my hair done. However much I look forward to meeting new people, I am worried to be rejected for an interview or to encounter a bad-mouthed client. But, the desire to meet and understand others will make up for the rejection.

4: Research Questions | What are the reasons women go to salons - Salida Beauty Salon in particular? Does Salida Beauty Salon follow the same gossip stereotype? Are clients close to the hairdressers?

5: While at the salon, I heard some gossip. But only a few select things about others who didn't pertain to the client. However I heard a lot about the clients, themselves, their families and friends. Nothing really negative, or worth listening to if it wasn't my business. | Women like Salida Beauty Salon because of the atmosphere that Pam and Debbie create - fun, pleasant, warm. Aside from the professional experience Debbie and Pam have, the clients find them extremely kind and pleasant to be around. Needless to say, clients are always happy with the outcome of their appointment. | Clients seemed very close to the hairdressers - some more then others. In their conversations, Deb or Pam would ask about the clients' family or a recent event that they knew about. In interviews I got, Debbie was considered family. Pam was also highly regarded.

6: Interviews | I interviewed four clients, and Debbie. The four clients I interviewed had only great things to say about the hairdressers and the atmosphere at the salon. | Interview One - Deb Bixby | How long have you been a client? Since the mid-90's. Maybe sooner. Why do you come here than anywhere else? My husband has been coming here even longer than me. What do you like most about Salida Beauty Salon? The atmosphere and the congeniality. | What's so special about the atmosphere? Aside from it being warm on so many levels - I mean blow driers, to sun shining in the windows. (laughs) It's just conducive to napping. It gets all warm and I wanna take a nap. What's the most helpful hint Deb ever gave you? One day I was working in my yard when a big glob of pitch fell in my hair. So I called deb and asked what to do. And she said, 'Try olive oil.' I smelled like a salad. But it worked!

7: Interview Two - Bonnie Paul | How long have you been a client? Um, I think like 12 years. Well probably more than that. Yeah probably 12-13 years. | Have you personally known Debbie for longer? No, I don't think so. I knew her mom. | Why do you come here? 1. Because she always does so good on my hair. 2. And because she's so pleasant. She treats me well here. 3. And because I used to do my own perms and that didn't turn out too well. | What do you like most about SBS? Just the pleasant atmosphere. | Why here then anyone else? Just cause they do a better job. They're easy to get along with. I've had a couple who I didn't get along with.

8: Interview Three Cheryl Trujillo | How long have you been a client of SBS? 20 years. | What has been your greatest hair challenge? I just had Debbie cut Carmen and Lexi's hair at a beginning of the school year. A couple of days later I had discovered that my first grader, Lexi had cut her doll's hair. And, surprise, a chunk of her own hair was missing. I had to call Debbie and ask a big favor. When I told her what Lexi had done, she just laughed and said 'Bring her on in.' | What do you like most about SBS? It's like going to therapy. I can just relax and be myself. And we just talk. | Have you personally known Debbie for longer? Her dad hired me 27 years ago. And I'd heard good things about Debbie. | Do you feel like you gossip when you talk? I wouldn't call it gossiping. I would call it chatting. Not really gossip-fodder, just the usual issues that affect us personallr--the usual family-stuff, health and politics in our community.

9: Interview Four Susie Ragan | What do you like most about SBS? I love Debbie like a daughter! She "gets" me. They're like family here. Deb hugs me and loves me and would do anything for me. She's great with really old ladies too. I love Pam too. They tell jokes and make me relax and laugh. It's a fun place. Debbie was raised here and knows everyone, so I can always count on her to explain who is related to whom, etc., which was really helpful when I taught full time. Now she keeps me up-to-date on her friends and classmates. I would drive a long way if she ever moved her salon to Canon City or Colorado Springs or maybe the moon. | How long have you been a client? 20+ Years | Do you feel that you gossip a lot here? Sometimes, not always. Mostly I catch up on news from her family, her mom, her stepsons, her grandsons, her grandma, her grandparents before they passed away, and also news from retired teachers I use to work with. She always knows whats going on around town...

10: Interview Five - Debbie Brown | How long have you been a hairdresser for? 30 years | Does the job ever bore you? Why or why not? Nope. Cause it's creative, and fun. Does it make me crazy? Yes. | How big is your client base? Some days, too big. Don't write that down. 30 years worth of big. | Do you believe that your salon follows a stereotypical salon? (Beauty queens, gossip, etc.) No. I don't like that gossip. | How many (percent-wise) of your clients would say are pleasant to you? 90-95% | Define your salon in one word. Wild!

11: Secondary Research | "You thought you'd heard it all in the barbershop, but you haven't heard anything yet - the women get their own chance to shampoo, shine, and speak their minds in Beauty Shop." | I did not really read any books or articles about beauty salons. I did, however, watch the movie Beauty Shop, and I saw many stereotypes; gossiping, dramatic beauty queens. Also from previous experiences of being in SBS for my haircuts, I was familiar with the hairstylists and routines built around appointments. I wasn't very inclined to do reading or researching before my project. | Gossip: to talk idly, esp. about the affairs of others; go about tattling. | Bibliography: Beauty Shop "Alex" "Beauty Shop (2005) - IMDb." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 07 Dec. 2010. . This was a good source because it can give many facts and summaries about movies that are credible and quality. I got the summary of Beauty Shop from IMDB.

12: Observations | Reflection 1 - October 14, 2010 From already knowing Deb and Pam I really tried to focus on their relationships with their clients. I saw Deb and Pam interact with each other - noticing silly things that they hadn't noticed before about each other. Deb told me about a certain client and how annoying she could be. You can see the connections between the clients and Deb and Pam. | Reflection 2 - October21, 2010 For the small amount of time I spent at SBS this week, I saw Debbie's frustration with clients. I watched the steps they went through to help and service the clients. It's just all a long process for them. Perms, cuts, washes, no breaks.

13: Reflection 3 - November 3-4,2010 It's amazing how busy Salida Beauty Salon is. Both Pam and Debbie have an average of 9-10 clients per day. If each client has a one hour appointment, thats 9-10 hours per day each of them works. It was obvious to me if they are comfortable with their clients. I noticed Debbie is always nice and friendly, unless she has something to say to a client she's uncomfortable with, she won't. Off the top of both Pam and Debbie's heads, they know basics about their clients; family, career, religion. Other clients she knows more indepth facts about their family, career, religions, problems, who they are friends with, etc. It's remarkable how many things Debbie and Pam are familiar with. | Reflection 4 - November 10, 2010 More than ever have Debbie and Pam's feelings showed through today. The care they have for their clients is remarkable. Debbie was worried about a client who didn't have quality tires, and she swore she'd buy her new ones because it just wasn't the risk! A little bit of gossip was also noteworthy. "Don't take me to the bank on this but..." It's amazing how quiet the salon seems, but how much is actually heard is remarkable.

14: Reflection 5 - November 12, 2010 Quite bluntly, I had some giggles today. Jo, Deb's current client is - I think obliviously - hilarious. She's just someone with character, and even though she had a hard time not talking, she still made us all laugh. For some who come to this salon, I wonder if it's like a therapy for them - just a place to talk and literally get a bit of weight off their shoulders. | Reflection 6 - December 1,2010 I've really found the same thing. They are non-stop busy. They've replaced their appointment book with a new one. They've even brought out little Christmas gifts to give to their clients - I guess they're mini samples of hair-sprays and lotions. But they're really cheerful and spirited - it's obvious how much they value and appreciate their clients. It really is a beautiful place here, as are the clients, and of course Debbie and Pam! | Reflection 7 - December 2,2010 Today was not just another observation. I enjoyed helping out by decorating, and socializing with the clients. The world at the salon seems like a perfect place because of Debbie's thought. "Until the life blows back in at the end of appointments, I can control emotions and make people feel good about themselves."

15: Jargon Glossary | Shampoo and Set - The weekly appointment where women get their hair shampooed, (they don't wash it until the next appointment) curled in a roller set, and styled so it's set for the week. | Perm/Permanent Wave - A chemical treatment that sets a wave, or curl in hair. | Trim - A haircut with the minimal amount of hair to be cut off, but to still stay healthy. | Highlights - The application of color on selected hair strands to bring color out. | Lowlights - The application of color on selected hair strands to make them darker than the natural color. | Foils - The application of color through special pieces of foil. Foils are generally used for lowlighting or highlighting.

16: Artifacts | Hempz Body Butter - my favorite item on the retail shelves. It sits top-shelf, and best smelling on my list. Debbie and Pam use Hempz Body Butter and Lotion sometimes on clients after they wax their eyebrows. Hemp also coexists in the building Salida Beauty Salon resides in. Just down the hall from SBS is the medical marijuana dispensary, Natures Medicine, which sells the true plant of Hemp, Marijuana.

17: Rollers - these are what form the wave and curl for perms. The size of each rod's diameter determines the curl size. The smaller the roller, the smaller the curl size: Yellow rollers - .5 cm diameter Blue rollers - 1.25 cm diameter Pink rollers - 2cm diameter Red rollers - 2.5 cm diameter Grey rollers - 3.5 cm diameter Black rollers - 5 cm diameter | The Hair-driers - The warmest, most relaxing room in the salon. After getting hair set in rollers or foils, the hairstylists send their clients in this room to let their hair dry under the driers for at least 15 minutes. Here, a wide array of magazines are provided for different age ranges to read while they sit. There's also a jar filled with mints and hard candies to enjoy. It's really a tranquil room with a fountain and a fern.

18: The Retail Shelves The retail shelves hold many products and are hard not to miss. Products include shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and hair treaters. Every product used at the washing and styling stations can be found on the retail shelves. Finding a client browsing the shelves is standard practice. | The Shampooing Stations There are two shampooing stations located across from Debbie and Pam's styling stations. (Also referred to as "The Sinks.") Both hairdressers wash their clients' hair - which to some is strange because often in other salons, people are hired only for washing client's hair. There are many products for shampooing that the dressers use. The sinks are used twenty or so times a day.

19: Unspoken Laws | When the hairdresser tells you "chin down," you do what you're told, because you aren't paying good money for YOU to mess the whole cut up. | The hairdressers will listen to what you want, but they will do it in their way so it looks right. | What you see in photos from magazines of hairstyles only look good on the models. | Only use the bathroom before or after your appointment, or in a transition between procedures. (i.e. moving from chemical treatment to hair drier.) | What you hear in a salon, is not gospel-truth, but it's probably 80% accurate. And if you don't want your business in the rumor-mill, don't talk about it in the salon. | The customer in the chair is the stylists priority, if you come into chat with the stylists, be prepared to be ignored to a degree.

20: Interaction While observing, I found and saw many different interactions between the clients and hairdressers, as well as interactions between clients with other clients, and also with me. Many clients were interested to hear about my project and why I was there, which I found very kind. | Client and Hairdresser - When a client and the hairdresser got along well, it was really obvious. They talked, laughed and just had an obvious connection. If the hairdresser didn't really get along or know their client, not much talking or laughing was done. The hairdresser instead made small talk and concentrated on her work. Client and Client - While clients spoke to the hairdresser, other clients waiting often listened or added to the conversation. All clients respected each other and were polite toward one another. Under the hair-driers, you can often hear the clients conversing among themselves.

21: The Blue Hairs | The Blue Hairs are a group of women that exist within SBS. A blue hair is another name for an elderly person, but I find the name blue hair is quite fitting for this group of women, because of the word hair not because they have "blue" hair. Every Thursday and Friday, the blue hairs are scheduled for their shampoo and sets (see jargon glossary.) Usually a group of the women will come in at the same time, while they have their done hair at the same time so they can converse about whatever under the hair-driers. I didn't have the opportunity to meet or see all of the women, but I was able to meet and become familiar with Jo (photo at bottom left.) Jo had a personality just as the hairdressers had described had described the typical blue hair. | She was talkative, silly, and kind. I don't think she was always aware of how funny she was, or if she tried to be, but she had some funny things to say. Her style was great and her hair was obviously important. She is the model for what I imagine the rest of the blue hairs to be. Jo was one of my favorite clients to have met.

22: Conclusion | Assumptions - Few of my assumptions were correct. I had assumed that the salon followed the typical stereotype of women just gossiping and being divas. But there really wasn't much gossiping and women were really humble. There were only a few things that were said about others that didn't pertain to the client. I only heard anything like that from perhaps, 15% of clients. As for women being beauty queens/divas, I found every female client pleasant. Not only were they respectful, and polite to their hairdresser, but they were also very kind to me. Some women talked about themselves more than anyone else, but they weren't demanding or condescending in any way. Therefore, my assumptions were incorrect. | Patterns - A pattern I saw while observing was the connection between client and hairdresser. In all my observations, the client and the hairdresser almost always had a lasting conversation, or at least got along. The attempt at small talk was always shown and reciprocated. In all of the interviews I had, a pattern I saw was the praise and gratitude for the work and relationships clients had for the hairdressers. The clients had a personal relationship with their hairdressers, Debbie and Pam alike. SBS and all the clients almost resemble their own family.

23: Obstacles - The only obstacle I ran into was finding a time after school to observe. Because SBS is closed on Monday, it was difficult to find a day that worked for me where I wasn't working or being distracted by other school work. By the end of the report, I had taken enough time after work and school to get all of my information completed, and it all worked out. | Salida Beauty Salon & their Clients are definitely a subculture because they are a group of people with their own purpose for being at the salon. Their purpose: to do or get their hair done while visiting with one another. | From observing SBS outside of my usual hair appointment, I learned a lot about the Salon and other clients. I am part of their subculture because I go to SBS for the same purpose. I enjoyed being around and learning connections about others. Overall it was a great experience and I appreciate everything I got from it.

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  • By: Lexi T.
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  • Title: Salida Beauty Salon Ethnography
  • Ethnography December 12, 2010
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  • Published: over 7 years ago