By Jo Petteruti
Thanisha Conway and Cierra Leal of the Chandler & Coleman Salon located in Suite A at 625 West Williams Avenue came up with an idea to give a little something back to the community for Thanksgiving. It was the first time either one of them would attempt something like this. They knew it could be a challenge, but they wanted to reach their community in a positive way.
Caroline Coleman, one of the salon owners said, “Two of our girls have been promoting a Thanksgiving Give-Back. They asked for people to nominate family members or friends that are going through a tough time, needing a pick-me-up. They have been receiving quite a lot of responses with many sad stories. The two people chosen will receive any free hair service of their choice.”
The winning selections were announced on the salon’s Facebook page. Julia Gomes, who was nominated by Mary Smith, was selected. Gomes is a stay-at-home mom with two children, one 4-year-old and one 6-month-old, who usually does her own hair. Sheena Openshaw nominated Lisa Openshaw; she respectfully declined the service.
Conway said, “I didn’t share with anyone why I actually did this because it was super emotional for me to share. But I can now, it’s okay. In May of this year, I had a death in my family, and I wasn’t okay with my feelings of grief. I didn’t know how to handle this. It’s obviously nothing I’ve even dealt with before. When I was having my first holiday without them, I didn’t know what to do. Then I talked with my aunt who told me that these were the moments that make us stronger. She also said to just remember that people out there have it way tougher than me. But she wasn’t saying that as if my pain was any less, or to minimize my feelings. I realized that she was so right. So, I started thinking about what I can do for someone who is having a hard time right now. And what better than to do their hair and have them feel good about themselves.”
During a salon staff meeting, she pitched her idea to them. “Let’s do it. It will be especially great for Thanksgiving.” The salon has done giveaways in the past such as free haircuts to school kids and the staff supported the idea. Conway and Leal came together to promote their giveaway services, posting ads on Facebook, then on the Chandler & Coleman website. They also posted fliers at numerous locations around town. “Not everyone has Facebook, so we didn’t want to miss them,” Conway said they received 10 submissions and had to shear that down to two. “It was so hard to choose because everyone’s story was so heart-touching.”
When Gomes arrived for her appointment, she surprised Conway with some holiday fudge treats. “That’s awesome, thank you. I love treats.” Gomes had some ideas for her hair and the two ladies, who hadn’t met before, discussed them together deciding on style and color choices. Gomes said she wanted something that would be fun, and to give Conway the creative freedom to do what she thought would be fun. “We’re going to give her a little pop,” Conway said.
Conway has been a hairstylist for five years, and also wanted to ensure that Gomes would be comfortable with Conway doing her hair. She described the color process that would start by lifting any old color, then doing some test strands to see where the lines of demarcation would be before adding the new colors. She explained she started from the back of her head and work forward with the whole process taking about four hours. That is some commitment on both their parts. But far from the commitment of Conway and Leal to add joy to someone’s holiday.
More information about the array of salon services offered by the Chandler and Coleman Salon can be found on their website, https://www.vagaro.com/chandlerandcolemansalon, and their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/chandlerandcolemansalon/.
Thank you, Fallon Post.