Our Hair, Our Money, Our Value & Our Stylists: That Special Relationship

Me & Oumou .jpg

So I got my locs retwisted the other day by my excellent stylist Oumou Sy. There's NOTHING like that feeling of freshly done hair, is there ladies? And when your hairdresser is punctual, pleasant, courteous AND great at doing hair, that's even better! Oumou and Harlem Natural Hair Salon are the best hairdresser/salon I’ve ever been to.

Actually, this isn't my first time locing my hair. I've had locs for over 15 years. They grew so long that they were down my back. But I started doing them myself to 1) save money and to 2) avoid visiting my very skilled but unpleasant hairdresser.

 Over the years, I had the money to get my hair done regularly but the idea of visiting my gossipy and sarcastic hairdresser kept me away unless I had a special event (like my wedding, college graduation, a singing event, etc.).

Long story short: refusing to visit the hairdresser cost me a lot. My hair grew weak and broke off from over washing and over twisting. So last year I decided to accept the inevitable, and cut off my locs to start over.

This time around, I decided I was going to find a skilled hairdresser with positive energy. My sense of value and belief that I deserved great customer service had increased over the years. I was determined to work ONLY with a truly good-hearted and friendly stylist. This time I intended to take much better care of my hair and I was NOT going to spend years dealing with a snippy or late stylist. I was going to spend my money with someone that valued me and my business.

It wasn’t easy. I spent over six months looking: I visited 3 different salons and dealt with four different hairdressers. From ones arriving over an hour late for our appointment (with no apology). To ones who refused to get on the phone with me to clear up questions they hadn’t answered clearly enough by text (even AFTER I had already become a paying customer). To ones who just didn’t seem to like me, for who knows why (shrug).

But I refused to pay to be treated poorly and so I persisted in my search. I called  a lot of salons and talked to many unprofessional stylists. I was amazed at the overall poor customer service and wondered why they operated this way.  

I came to the conclusion that hairdresser seem to have such poor attitudes and behavior towards potential clients because they KNOW how important, personal and special our hair is to us as Black women, and how deeply emotional we get about it. So they act like we need THEM rather than that it is an equally dependent relationship.

Then one day I was searching the web, and viola! I stumbled upon this new website for Harlem Natural Hair Salon. The website was very basic, but professional. So I sent them an email asking about their services. Not long after, I got a response from the owner, Paula. And that was the start of a wonderful relationship!

I’ve been going there for almost a year now and enjoying punctual (you can tell that’s a really big deal to me, can’t you?), friendly, well-organized and excellent service. Their website is top notch now, just like their place of business. My locs are growing strong and healthy and I am happy. I’m glad I didn’t give up looking!

What about you ladies? Have you had similar experiences? Have you found that hairdresser match made in heaven yet (that you so deserve)? Let me know.