Letter from the Editor:
I was talking with my good friend Jen, who does marketing for a living and is just a smart person in general, and she suggested that Lucky 13 do a regular e-mail newsletter. It's a way to connect without algorithms or evil social media intermediaries, and folks have said they've really enjoyed the notes I've sent out during all our COVID emergencies.
"Just think of it like a little magazine," Jen said. OK, done!
Little known fact: I was a writer and editor for a lesbian print mag in the 90's (holla Girlfriends), and so I'm much more motivated to sit down and write a "little magazine" than a newsletter.
So, look out for these little nuggets every month in your in-box, and let me know if there's any burning hair or salon topics you'd like to see us cover.
Lucky 13 2.0(21)
Like it did for many businesses, 2020 put Lucky 13 in a blender, chewed us up, and spit us out. We’re coming out of this experience much different than we went in. We’re smaller, and a collection of independent stylists rather than employer and employees. What does this mean for you?
Some things are the same: you can still pick any stylist you’d like, alternating between us if it’s more convenient. Our stylists are a team, have been working together for years, and help each other out. But there are some major changes:
There are less people. We have about half as many stylists as we used to, and everyone sets their own schedule, so when you come in you and your stylist may be the only ones in the shop! Most times, there are 2-4 stylists working. If we’re really hopping, there may be 5 or 6, but our stations are spaced out and we have no extra staff, so we don’t have to worry about overcrowding.
No more front desk. We now have automated call forwarding that allows you to connect directly with your stylist or their voicemail. It’s not as convenient as always having someone there to answer live, but we are transitioning into doing more text and e-mail communications so we can still be as responsive as possible. We are also able to check people out directly from links we text to your phone, which is kinda cool.
It is quieter. Not only because there are less people in the salon at a time, but because we have no more ringing phones. No matter how soothing a ringtone we picked, eventually the volume had to be turned up to be heard over hairdryers, and it just added to the overall noise level.
It is slower. Like the rest of the world in the “before times,” the salon used to be focused on maximizing productivity, seeing as many clients as possible, and squeezing people in whenever possible. It was just the way things were done. After everything came to a screeching halt, when we opened up again and added extra time between clients to fully disinfect each station, a funny thing happened: that extra breathing space was nice. There wasn’t a rush to finish one person to move right to the next. We could finish and reset. So we keep experimenting with adjusting the time of our services, because there is no need to be rushed and stressed.
There is more one-on-one focus. All of the above factors mean that each stylist can focus more completely on you while you’re here. There’s less background distraction, less time crunch, more tranquility and calm. Stylists can really focus on you and the task at hand, and the level of our work reflects this.
If you enjoyed the crazy hustle-and-bustle of our previous incarnation, you may not welcome these changes. It seems like everyone’s nerves are a bit jangled right now, so hopefully enough people will like it so we can continue. We’re still gaining our footing, working out our new style, and things will always keep evolving, but for now we’re trying to create a little peaceful oasis.
Parenting in a Pandemic
When Kathleen asked me to contribute something as a working single mom during the pandemic, I didn’t know where to start. I turned 41 the day Governor Dewine shut down the restaurants. I am approaching 42 this next week. A whole year of my children’s lives has been lived in our little house on a patch of land that I am so grateful for. I can count on one hand the times they have been inside of a store, seen their cousins, experienced life outside of our little bubble. I often wonder how they will describe this year to the younger generations that come.
For me, it’s been a roller coaster. It started off great: those first months when we were shut down were the happiest time in my life. Our small bubble, which included my partner at the time, my children’s father and our lovely neighbors with their 3 children, were all that we saw. I was home full-time, and virtual school didn't seem like it would be endless quite yet. We bought one of those out-of-ground swimming pools and lived outside as much as possible. Parks and camping saved us from feeling isolated. We had yoga outside and occasional socially distanced happy hours with friends in the yard.
The salon reopened the day after school ended last school year. I was thankful for summer vacation, and that I could focus on reopening the salon while not also be dealing with school. But it turned out that returning to a job where we had to be inside of a person’s personal space and touch them, when we were not actually supposed to even be touching door handles, pushed me and many of my coworkers over the edge. I became the person in my bubble who was most likely to bring the plague home. Some of us cried often from the fear and pressure of being in that position. As the salon manager, I found the pressure of caring for both my family and the well-being of the staff damn near debilitating. It was a fear of the unknown. There was no guidance from the government agencies, there were way too many variables. The heaviness of the BLM injustices on top of the pandemic made the world feel even heavier.
Then school started up again in August. Being a single working mom with children in school at home is easily one of the hardest experiences I have lived through. We’ve tried several different desk arrangements. There were rewards, discipline, crying, and bargaining. Meanwhile, the cold weather increased our isolation. Finally in February we found our groove, only 6 months in! Motivation for online school seems to grow more difficult each month and the kids were very happy to start attending their 2 days a week in person. On those two mornings a week when getting ready to be dropped at their school, I get to see my kids feel normal for a bit.
We have gotten through this last year by adapting every day, hoping for the best, and knowing that we just don't know anything. Without the help of those in my life I don’t know how I could have survived this time. I am lucky to have the support I have. I am lucky to have a job where I can change my work week to three long days and an evening. I'm thankful for faithful clients who will come at 7pm on a Saturday night to get their hair done. I am thankful to see other good parents who are experiencing the same struggles as we are, and talk it out. How those without this flexibility and human contact survive, is beyond me. I am thankful.
Comings and Goings