AND THE WINNER IS...

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The highlights this year were monumental, significant and a wild ride, at times!!   The opportunity to become a Kevin Murphy’s Concept School in Vancouver was one of the first big things and after much consideration and many meetings I decided to go for it!! This was an honor that I could not miss out on for FHTC, the staff, client experience and most of all student experience!

 The demolition notice was a shocker, given five months to sort out a business and move in the city of Vancouver can be onerous for a small business owner even with over 25 years in business.  The decision to move downtown to a much larger space to accommodate the expansion has allowed us to have a beautiful beauty room, larger salon and my not so little office space is important to me, as is good closet(s) at home.  Like everything, it has its ups and downs but over all 1259 Granville is a pretty awesome space.  Students, Staff and clients new and loyal have spoken highly of what has been achieved in a small amount of time.

  About that time….it is true what they say, it flies; not limited to when having fun either, it simply flies all the time.  With 2018 in the rearview mirror, it was the end of it that was sweet.  To be nominated was a privilege but to be awarded “The Best Training Academy in British Columbia” was a remarkable achievement for FHTC.  With the two largest competitors in the same category I was not expecting this victory.  It was not only my victory to have been awarded this either.  It is every person that walks into FHTC on a regular basis.  It is the clients that come regular and some not so regular, but they come, and they laugh and tell stories and become a part of the culture.  Speaking of culture; it’s about the Instructors.  Both Laila and Yves bring such amazing art into the space that they create using their hands, paint and canvas.  People love to come see their art. They have even inspired me to hang a few of my own at The Centre! Granville Street is not always pleasant but FHTC has become a little gem in an area that is somewhat sketchy on one side and high end on the other…. it’s downtown Vancouver!!  We embrace our neighbors and our neighborhood. 

Of course, winning is also about the students.  Every year different, every group leaves a plethora of memories behind for us.  We have an eclectic, diverse, creative, artistic and fun groups. They learn from the instructors in an environment that is open, friendly and supportive to their needs.  We are all winners.  We all contribute to something that is real and honest and inclusive. That was one busy year.  Not sure what this one has in store.  If you are reading this, it is with thanks that YOU are a part of our award-winning team as well…. We are all winners!!    All the best in 2019 and forever 😊 xo, Cynthia

Frequently Asked Questions

Recently, I was inspired to answer some frequently asked questions by students, clients, and colleagues. Do you ever find yourself with beauty questions or wanting to seek advice without leaving the comfort of home? I remember reading Dear Abby when I was younger and always admiring her gift of gab. I’ve been told over the years I have that gift myself. So here it is: I will feature a question every week. Being a creative individual I decided to answer them with video footage as well. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject! It can be a way to connect and share tips. I hope you will join me!

My Day Trip to Whistler

I had an amazing day trip to Whistler recently! I hadn’t been to Whistler in a while due to the stress from the drive on the Sea to Sky Highway, and I don’t have snow tires because I don’t bother to drive when it snows. However, I had been hearing a lot of good things about The Scandinave Spa for so long and really wanted to check it out. I found an easy and affordable solution to checking out Whistler for the day without the stress of driving! I did my research and found that the Epic Bus would be the best option. I boarded the bus at the Hyatt Regent Hotel downtown Vancouver at ten in the morning.  The earliest option to leave was 8 o’clock so I pre-booked leaving Vancouver at ten, and arriving in Whistler at noon. Then, I pre-booked my ride to leave Whistler at seven and be home by nine in the evening.

 The ride there was simply breathtaking.  The Epic Bus driver was very professional and engaging, mentioning sites to see along the way.  The view from being higher up on the bus was stunning; as if I was seeing this otherwise familiar drive for the first time. Upon arrival at the tourist centre in Whistler I received coupons for the Scandinave Spa for ten percent off.  It was a quick and convenient ride in a cab to the spa and the cost was about $12.00. It would be a lovely walk however, if you don’t like walking, public transit is also an option.

 After a day of quiet lounging; back and forth from the cold pool to the hot pools, steam rooms, saunas, and walks in the wilderness while not speaking a word, (trust when I say the rule is taken seriously, I was hushed a time or two myself for merely whispering)! All of the spa activities left me exhausted and starving.  After heading back into the village for a little walk, some shopping, and dinner it was easy to meet The Epic Bus again and head back over the mountain.

The experience of taking the bus rather than driving was amazing.  The ability to enjoy company while enjoying the scenic ride without having to pay attention to the road was beautiful.  I highly recommend this fun day to anyone. Not including dinner in the village, the trip costs less than two hundred per person. (To save, one could bring their own food or picnic), The village is very costly but worth the treat which is why people travel from great distances, or fly from all over the world to visit Whistler. If you’re looking for an unconventional gift over the holiday season or for a birthday, anniversary or ”just because”; consider this one! It is bound to satisfy and you can also partake when you give the gift of adventure.  If you do, please let me know how you enjoyed it and share your experience!

Scandinave Spa, Whistler BC

Scandinave Spa, Whistler BC



Learning Can Be Fun!

What do you do as a small business owner to keep your Top Producing Employees stimulated and inspired to come to work??? It could be easier than you think!!

I recently had a professional experience that boosted the level of satisfaction for my job while re inspiring my Top Producing Employee. It made me see the importance of finding something fun within your industry to do and look forward to it. I chose a two day event hosted by Kevin Murphy and an amazing team of experts. I brought my most producing employee along who was thrilled. It helped that it was in Vegas, which in itself is always a treat!! When we came back to work we wanted to share what we learned. While we were away other employees had the opportunity to accomplish tasks on their own that may lead them to have similar opportunities to work towards. It is important to give employees a reason to want to continue to work hard. There is always upgrading of some sort happening within every industry. Combine learning with a little holiday and it can be like setting the refresh button.

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Teaching is my passion and so is having fun. Laughter is love. 

The Game Plan for Thinning and Hair Loss.

My Game Plan for the Thinning and Hair Loss Client…

In a world that is thin obsessed with THIN this is one part of us that we want as BIG AND VOLUPTIOUS AND VOLUMOUS AS POSSIBLE PLEASE!

At work I notice a significant number of women of all ages losing hair.  When I say losing hair I don’t mean a strand here and there.  I am also NOT talking about losing hair when going from black or dark brown/ red to Instagram filter grey or silver blondes.  I am talking about unavoidable, unexplainable hair loss and thinning.  It can be absolutely devastating to be this person. The one that investigates the mirror and wants to see who they used to see before the hair loss took over.  Can you imagine watching the process…? now you see it; now you don’t.  Why is this happening? Why me?

As a professional Stylist it is part of our job, part of customer service and part of being considerate of our clients that we know how to address this in a non-threatening way.

The Milady Textbook of Cosmetology states that one that is thinning or losing their hair sees themselves as less attractive, may become depressive and isolate themselves from family and friends.  It is such a sensitive subject that one must tread softly.  As a professional I have my way of helping my clients and friends along the way, so they can take it in stride while being pro-active.  If we start the conversation when the symptoms of hair thinning, or hair loss start; should the symptoms become a problem for the client you are already a confidant that they trust to advise.  If you see it, they see it.  I have an approach A, B and C that I will share:

A. If the client is thinning based on stress, beginning or during menopause, hormones including men and women I will always start with our Ethical brand Stimulating or energizing Shampoo coupled with the Energizing Serum.  This is easy.  You shampoo, and you apply the Serum.  That’s it, anyone should be up for it.  It is not terribly expensive either!!

B. If the Ethical Shampoo and Serum does not do it, or it works to keep the thinning or hair loss at bay for as long as it can, but the problem is getting more obvious I may suggest a “semi-permanent” solution such as Hair Club.  Hair Club recently did a recruitment at FHTC including a demonstration.  They would assist in applying a hair pieceon your head and it will stay if you treat it with respect and go in for regular appointments to ensure it remains natural.  This is not a permanent solution.

C. The most permanent solution for anyone experiencing hair loss is a Hair Transplant.  This is done by a Doctor and is considered Day Surgery. I have always recommended Dr. Hasson and Wong in Vancouver.  The work over the years is incredible.  Some think of the term “Hair Plugs” or picture a bad hair transplant; we’ve all seen it.  Trust these things have come a long way. 

When you help your client to live their lives with a little less stress over how they look or when you see a client walk with confidence and talk with affection about themselves and their lives you will be glad you, too had a game plan for the thinning and hair loss clients.  When you can assist from the beginning of this road traveled by so many of our clients, maybe by the time their hair gets from thinning to loss they won’t mind because they are somewhat prepared.  They know they (and you as their Stylist) have done everything you could, and they may let it go.

Our clients build our success and we build our clients image both beauty and attitude. 

A Pug Love Story

We all know when two women fall for the same guy it doesn’t typically end well for all.  This is a different kind of love story.  One where I had the opportunity to share one of the longest loves of my life with another. Even after HE is gone, the love between myself and my dear friend Lucy is still here to remind me of my great, unconditional and endless love and what happens when you share the love.

As I looked across the table at my friend when we were having lunch I couldn’t help but feel grateful.  A haircut appointment that turned into a lunch which then to a few hours in the spa. None of this would have happened so easily if we tried to plan the same day in advance.  With a couple decades between us, Lucy and my friendship are as organic and spontaneous as she is.  I cherish our friendship and genuinely appreciate all her advice and wisdom.  I consider it a privilege to be called her family after many many years of getting to know each other through our mutual love for Lewis. In fact, I have made many of my Adult life decisions while thinking “What would Lucy say? “We share a bond. 

Like many relationships, ours with Lewis had to come to a physical end.  Seventeen and a half years later Lucy was strolling him along in a fancy stroller while I carried him like an infant, somehow feeling better about it as if he could perhaps start the aging process backwards.  Ok., I have always been a bit delusional…

I remember the incredible sadness I felt thinking of the news I had to bear to Lucy.  It had all happened so sudden.  I thought for sure I’d wait until she was home from her travels, but I just couldn’t.  I felt guilt as if I had anything to do with timing, as if one could time this. She wailed, cried like a hyena or some wild animal; I could not have prepared for it.  I thought I had it under control but when she asked about him and requested I bring him to see her the minute she arrived back in Vancouver I lost it.  I told her.  We were devastated.

Like many of our visits, the waitress was asking us about desert and it seemed we had only just started.  We soon realized we were late for the spa and didn’t care.  We talked about our mutual love.  We talked about how perfect he was, how unique to both of us he was.  He would wipe his feet at the front door before entering HER house…. but he would sleep in MY bed!!  We shared stories about how comforting he was to both of us during hardships.  We were both so lucky. 

As I was having my massage at the spa, I could not help but to think about how two lives could not be any different than mine and Lucy’s.  Surely, we would not be friends, never mind FAMILY if it was not for the love of the Champion Chinese Pug named Lewis.  We are forever grateful, and we will forever take care of each other now like we took care of Lewis.  Let your pet teach you patience and love the way Lewis taught us but also make friendships and relationships that will continue forever.  Having a connection to a dog can be a magical experience. 

 

Dear City Hall

Dear City Hall:

Why?

When my student was telling me a story about how long it is taking her to transfer a house from her name to her brothers she went into detail about timeframes etc.  I was like: “Oh, that’s not a long time; where is your house?”  She replied: “Bagdad”.

Hmm, they are so much more efficient at getting things done there I thought to myself. Blew my mind that in a city where there is bombing and such distress, how can it be that I am even comparing??? What has happened to this city since 13 years ago when I moved my business last??

I have had my business for over 25 years.  I do an amazing community service while employing some of the happiest people I have ever met.  We run my business with what seems to be effortless.  Let’s say we have a formula that is working!!  When my Landlord (which has changed more times than my hair in the past decade and a half) informed me I have six months to move I got right on it!  Anyone who knows me knows that I am one that is very task oriented.  I have moved my business two times before, after all.  Once to an arson (you may have read about that in my previous blog about the story of FHTC) another time because of a demolition, so it was not my first experience moving.

BUT IT IS!!  I will not bore with details, all one must do is turn on the radio or t.v. to see the news.  People are given these ridiculous expectations from our City Hall that often end in failure….not on the applicants side, just in timelines.  I have had wonderful experiences at City Hall as far as the people I have dealt with.  Very real, very compassionate, willing to help and WANTING TO HELP but that doesn’t really matter when the city is so “backed up” or so very “understaffed” or whatever may be.  It is not the fault of the city worker at City Hall but whose fault is it?? Why is it that one must go, stand in line to get a ticket which by the way can take hours in itself?  The “seasoned” City Hall people include Architects, trades people and homeowners that have dealt before.  They show up at times two to three hours before they open City Hall.  This could be for ANYTHING.

Why, I ask to City Hall…Why is it that a small, medium and large business or situation must go through the same thing?  Why is it that my landlord is told by the city that six months is appropriate for me to be removed from my premises out of the blues, but after I pay fee after fee for Licensing, Change of Operations, and so on and so forth……it may or may not be enough time??  Why can’t we have a line up for the small stuff, the medium stuff and the large stuff??  I do NOT fear the big stuff.  I do NOT fear the work…. read my blog on fear vs love and you will know that I have complete faith in the love of what I do.  I will get the work done.  What affects me as a Businesswoman is that our city is gobbling up small and medium size businesses and simply does not have the ability to care.  Why do I see buildings being literally demolished and building being built in a timelier manner than the City Hall allows me to simply move into a new location?  Let’s make it clear that the location is literally up to code and ready to go upon completion of painting.  13 years ago, I moved from my last demolition to my new one in less than four months including a demolition of the entire space, re flooring, building a washroom, building a laundry room, classroom, office and lunchroom.  It was all approved by City Hall, all inspected, and all done using an Architect, Contractor and so on and so forth! 

It is my opinion that even the friendliest of City Hall employees simply are over worked and tired.  They may be empathetic, sympathetic and even go above their “duty” but it may be in vain.  If you have a business in Vancouver and you must move, I hope that you have better luck than me.  I am starting to think that it is about luck, not work, not doing your diligence and certainly not relying on your business’s reputation to survive.  You will need motivation, guts and a lot of hutzpah.  Did I mention a whole lotta MONEY as well?  Expect every trip to the City Hall to cost a lot too 😊

I am all for development, growth and sustainability.  I believe in growing communities and hiring people that want to work.  This is a philosophy I pass onto students every day.  Work hard and it will pay off.  What is wrong with this beautiful, lovely city of ours that it has given up on all of that and instead instructed their employees to suggest to small businesses to just give up and be gobbled up by the new ways of doing things.  No wonder we have so many “back alley businesses”!!  Even dentist’s, doctors and of course many many beauty practitioners including Hair, Aesthetics and Microbladers are putting clients at risk everyday working out of home.

 

Honestly City Hall: GET IT TOGETHER!!!!

Welcome to my House..

If my house is a mess and I don’t have the time to take care of it in a timely manner it can really take over my mind!!  Honestly, when I go to work all I think about is my messy house, at the gym, everywhere and everything I do becomes about how I am going to get the house clean…

When I realized that a messy house is the root of anxiety/stress for me I started to wonder about my Mental House.  You know, the house in your head where all your anxieties, fears etc. live.  I am constantly cleaning that house lately. I take things one situation at a time, allowing myself to enjoy the journey along the way.  Just like taking out the garbage at home, I take out the garbage in my mind that may say “This is too much work”, “You can’t”, “You may fail” …and so on and so forth.  Just like tossing old fashion magazines into the recycling when I have learned all I can from them, I will toss out the negativity that can creep into my head during tough times and I will replace it with how I am going to make it better. 

This practice is a wonderful way of making things happen.  It is a way to live life in the moment, when change occurs, when momentum builds and when magic is seen.  When people tell me, I am always energetic and upbeat, seemingly in a good mood at work and ask what my secret is I say:  Keep your luggage empty so you can always be ready to fly to a destination that is offered to you at any moment, keep your house clean and keep your Mental House clean. Take out the garbage in your head that says you CAN’T, OR WON’T OR SHOULDN’T. Replace that garbage with fresh flowers, beautiful music and a head full of POSITIVITY, SELF LOVE AND SELF WORTH. Go from thinking you are NOT Capable to being more capable than you could have imagined.  There is no Maid Service for the Mental House so get it in order by utilizing the power you posses when you are treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated.  xoxo

LET’S GO INTO 2018 WITH A LOVELY STOREY, OK?!!!!

Something beautiful happened at Future Hair Training Centre.  This is a true story.

We have many clients, hundreds, maybe thousands. And this is what one did: 

This client has seen over twenty years so many of my students.  She has seen the work I do with Scholarships to Union Gospel Mission, The Cinderella Project and YMCA.  She has always been so openly respectful of my students, no matter where they come from, what they look like on the outside and she has never judged. She has heard stories from some of my students who have lived on the streets, provided for themselves and their families including their children who at times had no clothing, no food and no hope.  She has heard about struggles no one should have to endure!! She has met students who come to FHTC broken and without confidence leave with a whole new outlook on life and themselves and was always so impressed with the work we all do with these students.  She thought it was the biggest gift we could give. She wanted to do something.  She could have donated to a charity, she could have adopted a family at Christmas, but she wanted to do more than that and she wanted to remain anonymous! She asked for an ongoing list of students enrolled in our program.  At the end of the student’s 1500 hours I present them with an envelope.  I make it clear it is NOT from me or FHTC, but from an anonymous donor.  The envelope has a wonderful letter, as if written by a close friend or family member.  It talks about what a pleasure to watch my student grow it has been for her.  She puts cash into the envelope as well.  It is not a small amount.  The letter instructs the student to treat themselves to something special because they deserve it. 

This touches me deeply, and I am sure this story will touch anyone.  The client is not rich, not doing this to tell about it in hopes that someone will tell her how fabulous she is.  I don’t even know that she reads the blogs I write or if she will see this one day.  The most amazing thing is that she is not compelled to help my students out of anything but her human nature.  I love this.  Moving into 2018 I will be grateful for such people.  The people who make a loud difference in a quiet way.  What are you going to do in 2018 to help people feel that there is always hope?  We can all do something for someone 😊

Happy New Year.  May it be filled with love and compassion for everyone.

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Art is Therapy.

Have you ever woken up from a night of sleep grumpy as hell for no apparent reason?

Well that was me on Sunday. It was a Sunday, and I was GRUMPY AS HELL!!

I had a great week at work and there was simply no reason for this mood.  I got out of bed and thought I should go for a big walk on the beach to try and relax myself. I did not want to impose my monster mood on my loved one.  So off I went...

As I was on my walk all I could think about was work stuff, random holiday stuff, how many additional hours I’d work this week, how crazy clients are this time of year (umm...like me maybe??), all the anxieties that one can get about the holiday season I was having.

Fast forward a few hours in the day: I walked into our new “Art Room” at FHTC.  It was filled with Art Easels, paint, festive decorations and lovely music in the background.  As the “students” started coming in, there was a shyness...after all, no one that had signed up has any experience painting, it is just for fun that we started offering these painting days so there should be no pressure felt.  

Once everyone got settled in, the most amazing thing happened.  I was asking a mother with her young daughter what they wanted to paint together.  They talked about a reminder of a family holiday, on the other side of the easel there were two friends that decided to paint together to do something they could enjoy together.  There was a boyfriend/girlfriend painting on one easel together and a mother and son on another one.  It was beautiful.  I watched in amazement how beautiful the paintings were. 

While adoring the artwork I also couldn’t help but notice the interactions between everyone in the room. We were laughing, chatting, looking at each other’s art and getting to know each other. One of our students was painting off a picture of a temple she worships. Everyone had such beautiful reasons for their concepts.  Some more difficult than others but everyone willing to try their best and have FUN! I don’t know when my mood lifted but it did.  As the day went on it also became a bit of an open house. 

We started making Christmas cards and drawings on the side with pens and pencils.  We had some snacks and drinks as well.  The Centre filled with a creative buzz.  We were all enjoying the attention from Yves who’s so positive and encouraging while guiding each person through their creative journey.  It was so beautiful to see and experience.  How could I possibly remain grumpy??  Art is therapy!

Being creative is therapeutic! When some of the students did not finish their art at the end of the session I was happy.  I thought “Perfect, we can do this again”!!  It was not unlike a great Yoga class or Spin class that way.  Everyone helped to tidy up, we put away the easels and arranged times for everyone to come back to complete their art.  Those that had enough time in this session took their canvas home with such delight.  It was such a feeling of community.  It was cool that everyone’s art was so unique.  Everyone was so proud of their work too.  No one said they did not like it or it wasn’t good enough.  There was encouragement and inspiration from everyone.  It an experience.

A day of painting with a small group can restore community.  No cellphones, getting paint on your hands, on your clothes, laughing at yourself. All the things we no longer make a priority in society.  We are so caught up in work and trying to balance all our duties.  I experienced it first-hand Sunday:  Art is therapy!!  A wonderful escape!  I did not do a canvas yesterday.  I was inspired to draw and make Christmas Cards even though anyone who knows me knows I am a competitor of Scrooge himself, not a big fan of it all!!!  Painting Christmas cards  gave me a new lease on the season and a more positive mood.  Who would have known!!!!  Perhaps it’s the contact with others, being vulnerable enough to show our art to each other without judgement. 

It restores faith that there is so much positivity about getting together and socializing with others outside of social media even when you feel super busy with work and the holidays.  In person, we are all the same.  We forget that when we see how perfect people are on Social Media.  After my major mood change yesterday I am still feeling it today.  I woke up feeling like there is more to the holiday season than working and shopping for silly presents, I learned that collectively, we can all alter each other’s moods from negative to positive by coming together in person rather than online.

I look forward to more art days.  I look forward to more families creating art together, to sisters, friends, husbands and wives, boyfriend and girlfriends...put the cell phones and tablets down and open the creativity for a few hours once in a while. You never know what it will unlock in you!!! 

Art is Therapy!