William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 10 - The Home Stretch

October 15, 2015

[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text" background_layout="light" text_orientation="left" use_border_color="off" border_color="#ffffff" border_style="solid" saved_tabs="all"]

Once I started working on clients, being in the training became more real. Even though most of the clients were older and quite set in their ways I enjoyed applying the best of my newly acquired skills. Of course in the back of my mind I would imagine a completely new look for each person. Occasionally one would inquire about what I thought and agree to give something different a try. My willingness to venture outside my skill level wasn’t always a big hit; however, it certainly encouraged a more stimulating discussion. I soon began to gravitate to suggesting slight changes, and in doing so I became much more aware of the nuances involved in determining who wanted to discuss a possible change. There was a distinct difference in the personal dynamics when the client considered that I might have some conceptual skill, rather than continue to hang onto the “tried and true” method that produced results that would allow them to remain in the shallow end of the pool.

After a few months, I progressed to the Senior level which meant that I was now in the home stretch. Most of the students that were in attendance when I began had finished and taken their state required examination, or were preparing for it. There were a few distinct advantages to acquiring Senior status. The new students were a little intimidated and treated the Senior students with a bit of respect. The Senior section was much more visible from the reception area, giving customers visual access, and an opportunity to describe a certain student to the reception person with the intention of having their next appointment scheduled with that student. Unintended consequences began to occur -- my commitment to my shirt, tie, and clean pressed double breasted smock (with gold buttons, of course) began to pay off. There were days, usually towards the end of the week, that I was so booked that Mr. Carl would assign a Junior to assist me with shampoos and wrapping perms. The results of my commitment to my appearance remain a contribution to my success to this day. Once you have made your particular choice,  look the part.

Although I had a strong connection with the contemporary techniques of the Vidal Sassoon expression I must acknowledge another notable super star, Mr. Leo Passage. Mr. Passages' unique methods of cutting, as well as setting and hair styling were offered as part of our advanced training at Mr. Lee’s Beauty School. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Passage personally, not to imply that this was some special meeting arranged for just the two of us. As a credited school teaching the Leo Passage Pivot Point method, we had the honor of enjoying a personal visit. There was no mistaking his professionalism, and genuine commitment to the art of hair design. The Pivot Point method was another tool in my ongoing collection of experience that would prove invaluable. At around this same time a horst-slide-2young Horst Rechelbacher visited the school. It was interesting to see a man so young with such amazing insight. Horst was the original force behind the very successful Aveda hair and beauty product empire. We were the same age -- he looked so young it was hard to take him seriously. I believe he was there promoting hair products that could have been the precursor to Aveda. Horst passed away on February 15 of 2014.

After completing my training, and then taking the Washington State Board of Cosmetology examination I had a couple of weeks off. While anticipating the arrival of my license I was ready for a well-earned break. I completed the course with perfect attendance. My time spent at Mr. Lee’s was greatly enhanced by a particularly talented and extraordinary instructor, Wilma Wilbanks Lehman. She was a masterful beautician with amazing teaching ability. She was loved greatly. During this break I received a call from Mr. Carl, indicating that Duane Bennett, owner of the House of Edward salon, was interested in interviewing me for a position. House of Edward was one of Seattle’s most prestigious salons, Of course I accepted. Now the plot thickens….


Back to blog