Renu Day spa owner Anna Pamula, left, watches aesthetician Isabel Kaczerzewska shape the eyebrows of client Gail Lewis on Jan. 13, 2017 in Deerfield, Ill. (Jim Young/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Salon Therapy: When Clients Confide In Their Beauticians

By Emily Perschbacher
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As columnist Emily Perschbacher points out, “Opening up to a stylist or technician seems to happen naturally. It’s one-on-one time with another human being, and physical touch is involved. And despite any type of confidentiality agreement, there is some comfort in knowing the individual is most likely outside of your circle of friends and family.”

CHICAGO

When Anna Pamula looks to hire an employee for her day spa, she focuses on personality.

“Those who are warm and friendly and open will be the most successful,” she said. In many cases, this trumps technique, she added.

That’s because Pamula has found that repeat clients often come for more than just a manicure, massage or facial; they are looking to engage with their technician.

“I can easily train someone,” she said. “But I can’t teach them to be good with people.”

Pamula, 66, who owns Renu Day Spa in Deerfield, Ill., has been in the beauty industry for more than 30 years. Over the years, she has built relationships with countless clients and listened to their many secrets, including marital affairs, medical diagnoses and financial trouble.

“It’s like confession for them,” she said. “You have to figure out if that person wants to hear from you ‘Yes, absolutely,’ or if they’re waiting for you give them some sort of advice.”

Opening up to a stylist or technician seems to happen naturally. It’s one-on-one time with another human being, and physical touch is involved. And despite any type of confidentiality agreement, there is some comfort in knowing the individual is most likely outside of your circle of friends and family.

“There are a lot of things that go into (the relationship),” said Rebecca Slusher of Balanced Life Counseling in Chicago. “If you think about how we sit with our stylist, we’re not making eye contact, so there’s not a lot of pressure. And, typically, your stylist isn’t going to probe you or encourage you to change your behavior; they just listen.

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