Monday, May 02, 2011

Highlighting a Hairstylist

Anyone can cut hair. Trust me.

At the age of 2 my mother dressed me up in my Easter finest, pulled my silky blond hair up into the cutest little pig tails and went to the baby room to gather a few more things for the diaper bag. We had an important appointment that day. Upon returning to the bathroom she found me standing proudly in front of the mirror - admiring my new, much shorter, hairdo.  She should have known better than to leave an eager child near a pair of scissors. Two silky blond pig tails lay helpless on the floor. Cut off at the hair-tie.

So much for our family portrait.

Thankfully I have learned to leave my hair in the hands of skilled stylists. Recently I made an appointment with one of the best in Cleveland County.

When I moved here in 2004 I discovered that you had to know someone who knows someone to get a job. I later realized that you also have to know someone who knows someone to find the gems and treasures you're looking for in this city.

It took me 7 years to find Laura.

Halcyon Salon (formerly Salon 206), Shelby, NC

An unassuming entrance leads into a beautifully designed salon on South Washington Street in Shelby, NC.  Four chairs spin throughout the day as men, women, and children sit down to give new life to their short, medium, long, and curly locks.

I first arrived in late winter to put my hair in the hands of Laura Gant Eslick, hair stylist extraordinaire. She skillfully explained how the cut she was about to give me would compliment my face shape and features. We talked effortlessly while she washed my hair, chatted tirelessly while she snipped, and discussed life, love, and the pursuit of happiness while she styled.

Enthusiastic about helping small businesses, I asked Laura to meet me for coffee. I shared the brief history of Shelby Known making sure to get to the point of our present coffee-date as quick as possible.

Shelby is charming and full of character. I want to help others connect quickly and experience this city instantly whether they are looking for a new home, a place to visit, or a unique atmosphere as they pass through to other destinations.

I want them to remember Shelby, NC.

Laura herself is charming and full of character and I think other people should know her too.

Believe it or not, Laura's early career choices didn't include "Hair stylist". Matter of fact, hair stylist never made her list of "top 10 career choices". She had her sights set on being an accomplished musician, an interior designer, or a teacher ... but while she was at Music Camp one summer, diligently practicing her cello, her career focus took a drastic turn. Not because her instrument broke or her talent waned, no - she was an excellent musician, one of the best in North Carolina. But at the end of camp, preparing for the Semi-Formal, she agreed to work on her roommate's hair. When she finished, another girl was waiting at her door. Then another. Suddenly a line of musicians had formed - all waiting for Laura to add the final touches to their hair.

She was hooked. Laura always loved being creative & enjoyed working with her hands. With God-given naturally curly hair of her own, she had faced the challenge of styling difficult hair from an early age. Styling other people's hair just made sense;  she was making people happy doing something she loved.

We've all experienced bad hair days, bad hair cuts, and, well ... bad hair. Laura's struggle was no different.
"My curly hair was so challenging, I had to learn for myself how to care for it. Now one of my favorite things to do is teach people how to manage their own hair to reach its full potential. Many people with natural curls don't even know they have curly hair, they just think they have bad hair!"
Prior to moving back home to Shelby, NC three years ago, Laura spent several years as a Stylist in Charlotte, NC and almost five years in downtown Charleston, SC.
"Charleston was the place where I bloomed as a Stylist and as a person. I was in an environment with really talented Stylists. Being around excellence on a daily basis, I observed their professionalism and techniques and I've gained a lot from them. It's like a big puzzle; each Stylist I worked with added a little something to how I do hair."
Laura Gant Eslick putting the finishing touches on Natalie Underwood's curly hair.

While anyone can cut hair, very few can create locks of luxury as well as Laura Gant Eslick.
UPDATE: Laura purchased Salon 206 in December 2011 and opened under the new name Halcyon Salon. On September 10, 2013 the business relocated just a few doors away to 214 S Washington St, Shelby NC. Go visit her!

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