The other day, whilst talking to massage therapist friends about the best and worst places to do massage, we came up with lots of candidates for best, but the worst won hands down: beauty salons.
Yes, it has happened to many massage therapists. It may have been a fill-in job during massage school or a way to circumvent crazy local regulations, or just a desperate attempt to pay the rent. We had all, at one time, worked in a beauty salon.
Going in, we all agreed it looked like a great opportunity. A room in the back of the place, a built-in foot traffic that might be interested in massage, and a few people hanging out there to talk to when it was slow.
My friend said: My first day I got a lecture about why I had to wear make-up. I don’t know a lot of massage therapists that wear make-up because it slides off in the first 10 minutes of a session. I actually had to tell the salon owner that we sweat.
My other colleague stopped mid-sip in her Starbucks. She said: I got to wear a Minnie Mouse uniform with cap sleeves and a skirt. I felt like I was about to parade down Main Street. Our salon owner thought all the spa people should wear dresses so we looked cute. Meanwhile, everyone in the rest of the salon wore black jeans and T-shirts.
This brought back my own memories. It was a part-time job during massage school. The salon was a seething cauldron of drama. The stylists liked to unload about their unhappiness in the area where they mixed color – right outside the door of my massage room.
Asking people to hold it down or take their conversations elsewhere led to chaos. After more than a few jabs about being too quiet for a salon, I fled shortly after graduation from massage school. Much to my surprise, a few clients found me. One told me she just put up with the salon because she liked the massage.
I left salon world, happily, for better-designed spas and medical offices. My spa kept the hair stylists corralled in a separate room with a real door. No drama.
Much to my horror a client confessed to me one day that he was a salon owner and wanted to develop a spa-salon combination. Would I be interested?
Been there, done that I said. But a salon needs separation from a spa environment. How about a real door and a real wall across the back half of the salon? That way the sanctuary could be established.
He asked me to visit the place when it was remodeled. Yup, a real wall and a real door. It was very successful.