William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 32 - Business is Thriving, Expansion is in the Air

March 24, 2016

As my business continued to grow and Salon 1500 became more popular I brought more people on board. We designed another work station that could accommodate two people which meant when everyone was with a client it was quite cozy. Imagine four work stations providing a work space for the designers each working on a client with someone waiting in the reception area and a receptionist, that’s ten people in 600 square feet. It was tight with only one bathroom and a dispensary about the size of a small powder room. We were appealing to a young unisex clientele that were coming for haircuts as well as color. The music was loud and wine was served after 5:00PM. Dorothy Bullit still a regular client of course, was a expectation, we did alter the volume to a level appreciated by a more mature person. Retrospectively speaking I am not sure she would have objected to the loud music, she seemed to enjoy the youthful energy of the salon.

As the years passed we were feeling the need to grow. About that time I purchased a small salon in West Seattle. Salon West, a small two station salon gave us the opportunity to extend our particular brand of modern hair care; Haircuts every four to five weeks with emphases on daily shampooing. Redken Laboratories produced the suggested product for daily shampooing, Redken continues to be a viable competitor in the hair product industry having gained a reputation in the late sixties as a pioneer of shampoo and conditioning as a daily routine. The product was sold as a salon exclusive giving salons that offered this product a certain distinction, which was further complimented by hair blowers allowing the style to be maintained at home. The shift that occurred back in the early sixties continues to dominate the modern salon culture with a slight deviation, emphasize on the “slight” (Thank gawd!) that took place in the early eighties: BIG HAIR! As the cat was released from the so called “bag” we are free of the burden of confinement. Today’s expression sees hair as art combined with tattooing and distinct hair coloring techniques that extend the ever evolving individuality of our modern tribe. The symbolism of contemporary artful individual expression adds to our expansion collectively as we transition to a more inclusive human environment. As technology continues to push our perception of how the future might occur in most ways imaginable, we become less encumbered by knowing and more comfortable with what we don’t know.

With Salon 1500 thriving and Salon West catching its stride we continued to grow. Haircutting and coloring classes held after work hours were conducted on a regular schedule with a glass of wine at the end of each session for those wanting to hang out and socialize. These classes were not mandatory, they were well attended with enthusiasm and excitement and a genuine interest in practicing new techniques. There may have been some mild interest in sharing a glass of wine and socializing, hair designers being notorious teetotalers. Haha. As time would have its way the mild stirring of the need for change began to ruffle the edges of my reality. Complacency lurking intermittently has always been a motivator; the wind of change was in the air… Colliers on 6th Avenue next to I.Magnin was evolving out of what might be described as a tickle in your nostrils prior to sneezing, ever so slightly uncomfortable as an introduction to an ambiguous release.

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