TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 1: August

The building itself was a two story, white box that sat on Rodeo, shaded by 30-foot palm trees. Tall glass windows gave street viewers a glimpse into the lavish salon life, a plush waiting room complete with a beverage cart strategically placed to seduce the passersby. This was the type of salon where you could get any number of services. We were the echelon of the service industry in the U.S. We offered tans, teeth whitening, makeup, eyelashes, hair, grooming, IV drips. Basically if you had money, we had a service. Our clients knew that money was the language and our salon assistants were very money motivated. Unfortunately, an environment like that can get out of control fast. 

One salon assistant, Summer, was known to take things too far with clients. She was gorgeous, smart, and hilarious. She had played volleyball at UC Santa Barbara but she looked like she could have been a swimsuit model. The clients loved her but she would only give the time of day to the best looking men with the biggest wallets and the most famous last names. She could collect men the way most of us collect parking tickets in L.A. - effortlessly.


The worst part was that she loved to brag about her conquests and bedside escapades. We were all an adoring audience but we were also all lowkey worried about her. Beverly Hills was a small world and we knew that when news got around that Summer was banging every other husband in Hollywood that she would be in big trouble. Not only was she recklessly bed-hopping but her newly minted fiance would not find any of this as amusing as we all did. She claimed she loved him. Maybe I was naive, but I believed her. Some girls are just as bad as the guys. Not because we want to be bad but because it is just so fun. Summer clearly fell into bad girl territory and we loved her for it. 

Until next month,

Besitas!

Crystal Hotel
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 2: September

We were two different brands of glamazon. Sade was skinny and statuesque. I was voluptuous and sweet. She could sell the hell out of product. I could run the salon like a well-oiled machine. She, the model. Me, the pin-up. Together, we were quite the team! Both of us were after the same thing... manager.  We were after the title and the pay. I had age and experience where she had initiative and cleverness. It would be a battle but only one of us would win in the end. Only one of us could be assistant manager to then crawl our way up to manager.

The manager preferred Sade to me. I knew this because I would watch his body language. He would ask her what shifts she would prefer. He would bring her food. They would text each other between shifts. I needed to bring my best game if I was going to win this dog fight. I was used to going through life as the underdog though so that didn't take the steam out my engine. I kept my head down, worked hard, and brought no drama. I completed tasks ahead of schedule, anticipated the needs of employees and clients alike, and most importantly came early to shifts to clock in early because I knew everyone else would be drowning under the workload.

After a month the manager offered his favorite, Sade, the assistant manager position. I was gutted. I had been running circles and never late in order to keep the salon open and helping everyone else so they wouldn’t be too tired. I wouldn’t give up though, maybe there was an opportunity for me somewhere else in the company. So I kept my pace and didn’t let Sade’s success make me feel bad for long. Then shockingly one afternoon the manager pulled me to the side and told me that he needed two assistant managers, the promotion was mine too!

Fast forward a few months and I got what I wanted. One day I woke up and went to work and the manager never showed up. He just didn’t come back into work. Sade went back to her hometown because she couldn’t afford the cost of living in the city. Now, half the team was gone. My friend was gone. I realized the curse of getting what you hope for is usually not what you hope for. The glamorous salon with bronze mirrors and 20 rooms was my nightmare. This was just the beginning of a long and bumpy road...

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
Palms.

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 3: October

I'm not saying there weren't great times at this beauty salon. We would jam out to great music while we wiped down the walls and dusted the rooms. We always had an extra piece of gum for each other or a food recommendation. Us girls genuinely looked each other unlike most relationships I had had with women in the past. I had learned from being burned in the past that just because I was open and honest with girl friends did not necessarily mean they would be open and honest with me.

Sade was the sweetest when she would make sales for me. It was a big deal because Sade ONLY cared about sales. I needed the sales because I spent most of my time wiping down and sanitizing the equipment. I could not be in the back rooms and making sales simultaneously. For Sade’s generosity, I would make sure to keep her rooms clean for her too. We looked out for each other.

Chloe was from California but looked like she was from the Midwest. She had gone to school in Oklahoma and brought back that sensibility. She worked hard and was super friendly but sometimes streets smarts escaped her. Clients felt that they could walk in and pull the wool over her eyes. It probably worked in her favor that everyone thought she was so naïve and sweet because she could be nice and then the rest of us could politely negate whatever misinformation she had fed the client and then no one was hurt or angry, after all it was just a sweet misunderstanding. Chloe was polite and helpful so I brought her a brand new dress from this website and some shoes  in order for us to look banging at the Beyonce concert that we won tickets to when we smashed our sales goals with the company.

Then there was my girl Hunter. Hunter and I shared a realism and a desire for a refined life. We had both spent time in our youth living in the Midwest and understood cultural and social issues. I told her about my misadventures in Lalaland, and she cried to me when she found out about her boyfriend talking to an internet thot. She hadn't even told her best friend!

Lastly, there was Raquel who helped our salon when we ran out of associates because our district manager refused to let our managers hire on employees. Raquel and I had had the same weird upbringing so we connected on a level that can be uncomfortable for strangers. It could have been awkward but instead we remained on good terms and were more like sisters who respected one another but had different interests in life.

Laughing hysterically together was our remedy to manage our stress from our demented district manager and clueless upper management. We genuinely wanted to see the other each other win even if that meant we had to give each other a leg up with what limited energy and resources we had in life as young women. Our teamwork and good attitudes came in handy when dealing with impossible customers and that woman-hating district manager. We all had experienced our obstacles with family, boys, friends, school, and work but together these hardships seemed minor and manageable.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 4: November

You know that girl in school who kissed the teacher's ass. Not because she needed the good grades but because she wanted to misbehave and have a strong character witness. She just pretended to like the teacher in order to wreak emotional havoc on her classmates. Maybe you can't relate but we have all encountered manipulative people and that was the first descriptor that came to mind in regards to the salon's district manager Tiffany. That word 'manipulative' has become a dirty word in society due to that fact that it is primarily targeted at women but I believe most people have self-interested motives. Manipulation is a fact of life and Tiffany had mastered it. It had been said that she could talk a customer into saying whatever she needed to hear, talk a superior into giving her control over the company, talk her employees off a ledge. I had to give it to her, at 22 years old she could mentally run laps around most people twice her age. Luckily for me I had already lived nine lives so I saw through her immediately. This made her uneasy around me because she knew I was on her trail.


I have many entertaining stories concerning Tiffany and I can't wait to tell those but the point that I must get across is that Tiffany was a dangerous person. She was used to using her subordinates to make herself look better, working many of us to the point of alcohol and drug relapse. She was consistently dishonest to our bosses about the culture of the salon and abuses taking place. Tiffany was in it for the power and the pay which wasn't even that great. The company was basically abusing her which was why she felt nothing when she turned around and abused us. I was on the receiving end of her nastiness on one or more occasions. I never checked her to her face or challenged her for her position. Who would want that? No one wants to be a miserable, broke 22 year old telling everyone they are 32 while dating an alcoholic hillbilly new to Beverly Hills depending on her for a job. She was unhappy and so she drove everyone around her away. You can never truly be successful with a personality like that so she did everything she could to set all of us up for failure. That is why the saying 


"There's a special place in hell for women who don't support women"

comes to mind when I think of Tiffany. She just was not suited to the industry. 

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 5: December

I interviewed on Monday and Wednesday and then they called me right after to tell me I would start on Friday. I love the beauty industry so I was excited but I wasn't dumb, they obviously needed to fill the position fast and they were willing to pay for it. They didn't have faith in me as much as they needed someone to pitch in cleaning rooms, sanitizing equipment, making sales, resetting mechanic equipment, and most importantly looking cute. We were expected to have our hair, nails, lashes, and makeup done. The expectations were high and the amount of work was tremendous.

They kept us perpetually understaffed. No matter how hard we worked, we could never catch up. That's why the majority of the staff were dancing in their addictions. Kate had been caught passed out in her vehicle by a customer after shooting up her arm. Summer had gotten into debt with an Armenian gang or was it Italian? Either way she awoke at Cedar's connected to an IV. Hunter was selling drugs to Christian in one of the back rooms with no camera before shifts. Dylan had been let go for clashing with Sade but we all knew it was actually because he couldn't keep his eyes straight when he came in to work the front desk. One eye would go left, the other would go right. It was unsettling to us and the concerned clients. We were constantly being set up to fail and then having to turn on our friends in order to survive the chaos of the salon. Really, no one was to blame but the leadership of the salon but we were too tired and beaten down to always remember that. 

We were all good people, even the ones victim to their flaws. although we all believed in our own super abilities, charms, and good looks, it turns out that we were all just frail humans. 

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 6: January

Ragging on the salon comes easily but don't think for a second I didn't secretly love working there. I had been self-employed for the past few years and worked at a previous tanning salon that I ran by myself. I was longing for social interaction and I was addicted to the dysfunctional energy of this scene. This salon was unique because it offered a buffet of beauty services. It drew in every type of person in Los Angeles. You never knew who was going to walk through those glass front doors or more discreetly duck in through the back entrance. There had been a rich kid of Beverly Hills who needed a fully sanitized room, reality stars who had cold sores, reality spouses that needed jobs, child stars that didn't realize fame had fled them, aspiring stars investing in their looks, porn stars who couldn't pay their bills, and models that I followed on Instagram. The trick was not letting my jaw drop in excitement when I got to book their treatment. 

Some people were lonely, some people were cheapskates, some people were crooks, and every once in a while you would encounter a stable person. My favorite person who would come in was named Jose Perez. He was probably in his 70s but looked like he was in his 50s. He had thick white hair and wore expensive clothes that looked like they had been dry cleaned and ironed. He smelled like fresh cedarwood and carried a stack of cash in the silk-lined pockets of his pants. I never knew when he would saunter in. Even though he was more than 30 years older than me I found him quite attractive. I liked the way he looked and I liked to think about the life he had lived. No matter how much I protested he would give me $100 every time he came in to tan to get my lashes done. He would always say, “You always need to have your lashes done so you can flutter across this city.”

But my favorite thing about Jose was that he would let me talk business with him. I would always take time away from running around the salon cleaning and setting appointments to talk in depth with him. It is rare for an established man to talk openly about business, but I knew his advice was from the heart because he would tell me I was on the right path and doing the same things he had done to build his wealth. As someone without a father it was a source of validation that I had always sought. Yes, Jose was one of the good ones. A good influence and a soul as  pure as honey in this land of fructose.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 7: February

Jose was one in a million. A kind soul who expected nothing in return for his generosity and cheekiness. The majority of people in Beverly Hills are total nutters. We had seen people leave behind their handles of alcohol after getting a facial that none of us had even seen them drink. We had watched couples come through and steal product while their friends came to distract us. Some people thought being a background actor on Game Of Thrones meant we should know them by name. A retail executive from one of the top luxury brands would come in and try to sleep with anything that walked. His flirtatiousness was legendary. The truth was that we could expect to encounter any brand of crazy on any given day. We all aspire to live in the 90210 but the reality is that many of these wealthy people are very lonely or extremely socially unaware.

Many times a person’s money has complicated their relationships with others and they make a go of life on their own terms which can be very isolating. Social isolation can damage a soul. Svetlana was the perfect example of someone driven crazy through isolation. She had no schedule. She would come morning or night. Sometimes she would call ahead to make sure we had exactly what she needed. We always did. That was just Svetlana, calling to chat real quick. It’s like she needed to hear someone else’s voice to make sure she was still in reality. In the beginning we used to just refer to her as the crazy red head who liked to walk around naked. As I got to know her, however, I liked her more and more.

She was the type of crazy that knows she’s crazy. For the most part, a harmless person. One day I asked her what her friends thought of her new hair and she said she didn’t have any. I understood perfectly what she meant and I was happy for her. She didn’t say it in a way to elicit sympathy or to highlight her strangeness. It was just a matter of fact. It can be hard for a woman with money, beauty, and opinions to have and keep friends. Add to it that Svetlana was from Russia and had a thick accent. I imagined that other women must be intimidated by her or expect her to take care of them. She was smart to try to make it through life on her own but I understood her loneliness. She was willing to trade loneliness for safety.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 8: March

Svetlana was sweet and difficult. She was a walk in the park compared to others. There were some clients who were just hateful. Whatever had happened in their lives, it had turned them rotten. I would take a million Svetlanas over half of one Dina. Dina was an executive in the entertainment industry. Her last name carried weight in the business and her footsteps weighed heavy on our hearts. Her father was one of the biggest directors in Hollywood and that’s probably how she got her job because her personality did not do her any favors. We always knew when Dina was coming because the energy in the air turned bitter. She hardly ever came to the salon on her own. Afterall, doesn’t a bully need to harness more power through a posse?

She never had anything positive to say to us lowly workers, only complaints. “The salon ran out of water glasses, the salon was too busy, the equipment wasn’t working to her satisfaction, her preferred tanning booth was broken.” When she would start complaining then her friends would be compelled to join in, even if there was nothing for them to really complain about. “The air is too hot, my car is parked too far away, etc.” The thing is, we kept a detailed history of each customer in order to make note of their salon preferences, personality quirks, anxieties, abusive behavior, etc. Everyone working in the salon could see her long rap-sheet of awful treatment to past and present salon assistants.

Her customer history even revealed that she had berated a manager or two on more than one occasion, so everyone had been warned of her condemnable behavior. When I met her, I already knew who she was by the angry tone of her voice and the way she glared at me through her eyes for just daring to breath the same air as her. She tried to get me fired because I couldn’t fix her tanning booth in 5 minutes but by that time, I was manager and she knew that I wasn’t going anywhere. Her friend left before her and tried to apologize for their behavior, but her apology didn’t settle well into my psyche. She was still friends with the enemy.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 9: April

Of all of us shop assistants, Hunter had the most street cred. She had grown up between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. She was street wise and cute. A killer combo in life, plus she was the only one of us all who could speak Spanish. Hunter could have been manager of the salon with her experience and level headedness but she declined the offer more than once. She was smart enough to see that it was way too much work. The salon could get hectic fast.

She could keep up with the pace but she didn’t excel or go the extra mile like Sade and I. She just didn’t see the point. Maybe she was right. Don’t get me wrong, she was a good worker but just not the best. She was the type of person to skate through life by being average and fitting in. She could probably get away with murder. That girl was secretly a boss. I knew I had to be careful though. Even though I respected her and thought she was cool, my experiences told me she was not the best influence. Every once in a while she would cut corners at work and that just wasn’t my style.

Maybe she didn’t try as hard as the rest of us because the salon was her side gig. Her real money came from trafficking weed across the U.S. with her brother and boyfriend. She was known to sell drugs at work. Even if it was just low-level drugs it still seemed odd to me. But like I said, the salon was just her side gig a couple of days a week. On the weekends she was a bonafide rave girl. Dancing across the city with her best friend didn’t seem like the best life plan but I was happy for her. I wanted her to have all the happiness. Girl had hustle and I liked it.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 10: May

Even though Tiffany was a district manager, she would commonly hang out at the Beverly Hills salon because it was the biggest, the nicest. She would sneak into work and then sneak around the salon. Trying to listen to conversations and catch someone up to something. But she was the only one of us who was truly shady so she never caught anyone else’s bad behavior. Instead, it was her who was caught up on the thorny side of the business.

I heard through the gossipy grapevine, from a manager of another salon, that she was named in a lawsuit currently being litigated. She was way too involved in the day to day activity of associates considering she was being sued. I could tell that her life was unraveling before all of our eyes but she would do anything she could to project her sloppiness onto us. It was easy to see through her since I was 5 years older than her. We would report any naughtiness we caught at work and she would do her best to bury it instead of fixing it. Its hard to take your job seriously when a dysfunctional environment is encouraged.

I secretly believed that Tiffany was stealing from the company. That’s the real reason why she wanted the dysfunctional environment. She had accused Hunter of stealing lotion and tried to punish her even when Hunter begged her to check the surveillance video. Finally, Tiffany checked the video and Hunter hadn’t stolen the lotion. Instead, it was in Tiffany’s office. Tiffany would keep us consistently understaffed even when some of us would offer to pick up extra shifts at our salon and at other local salons. We would go to her with issues and she would do nothing about it.


Then after she set us up to fail she would blame us. It was a very abusive situation. Only a certain type of person would be willing to accept the mistreatment. I wanted to believe I was strong enough to handle her abuse but when I saw that her bosses encouraged her dysfunction I stopped believing in the salon’s ability to be successful.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 11: June

In fact, the salon was so commonly understaffed that our friends at other salons got used to us asking for them to “join the team.” We were desperate. None of us realized that we were understaffed by design. Tiffany was not there to be our friend, she was there to work us to death and smile in our faces while she did. She insisted that every new potential hire be interviewed by her after the manager and assistant manager. If they were a personal friend of ours, she would not hire them. We kept sending her people to interview and she kept sending them out the door.


Tiffany thought, as long as a few of us were able to run the massive salon then that was better for upper management and better for the bottom line. She didn’t care if it killed our spirits and put our health in jeopardy. She was the one that ended up getting sick first. Everyone else quit when she was being outwardly abusive. She got the flu and ended up in the hospital. Then it was the manager who broke his leg on his way home from work riding his motorcycle through Los Angeles traffic to Simi Valley one day after a long day of work. Hunter quit because Tiffany wanted her to stay two hours after her full shift for someone to tan half an hour after we had closed.


We were down to the bare bones running the salon. The only reason we were able to keep it running was because I would come in an hour early to clean the shop before I needed to be there. They expected us to do an hours work in 15 minutes. It was ridiculous and malevolent. If we didn’t do part of our job or someone didn’t like the salon or a service it fell on us, but upper management made it impossible for us to actually be successful. No one would be a winner in this situation. Not Tiffany who abused us with glee, not upper management who would lose all of their workers, and not the customers who would keep seeing new workers who didn’t know how to run the shop because no one there had the time or energy or had actually been properly trained themselves.


For some reason all of us had found ourselves at this salon in the most luxe town in America. All of us thought we had the answers but life has a funny way of checking us all back into place. A place of humility and growth. In all of the chaos and dysfunction, the gift was the lessons we would take away.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 12: July

Between being abused by our bosses and clients, we would party. Penthouses, clubs, warehouses - anywhere that we could connect our friends and find a good time. Some of us would party out of state, some of us camped out at home visiting VIP restaurants and hitting up celebrity hot spots.

We each partied to varying degrees, meaning that some of us partied harder than others. Warehouses and culinary heavens were my hot spots. Sade was dating a musician from a well-known band so she spent her evenings at networking events and on photoshoots for publications. But don’t be fooled, between events she was dropping heavy drugs, that’s probably why she was so young and so interesting. Hunter was meeting up with Summer and Dylan at various clubs and festivals on the weekend. They were ideal customers for Hunter’s real job. Hunter said that Dylan and Summer would make out if they stayed out long enough. Even though Dylan was a gay man, I believed Hunter because Dylan and Summer would flirt and kiss at company meetings.

It sounds wildly inappropriate but that’s showbiz baby. Once Summer and Dylan got to a certain point of intoxication they probably didn’t know who the other was anyways.  They were two crazy peas in a pod and I loved it. Her the melodramatic bikini model, he the award-winning hair stylist. As for me, I was between relationships and seeing a DJ every other weekend. I was the tamest of the crew but I was also the oldest. I had had my wild days in the past and that’s why I loved their foibles through La-la-land. Summer and Dylan were like dysfunctional mommy and daddy and we were their adoring, freakshow children. We were all headcases. That’s why I loved us.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 13: August

Even though we went wild on the weekends. That didn’t mean we didn’t work hard. We all came to work on time and came eager to please. Even those of us with the worst habits were good workers. You must be more than competent to keep a job in Los Angeles and to live in Los Angeles. It is not a city for the faint of heart. The pay is what kept us going and what kept us anchored to reality. It was not great but it enabled us to survive and was better pay than most of us were used to (for a lot more work too).

So, I was shocked one day when I was reviewing my paycheck and noticed more than half of it was missing. Tiffany was responsible for payroll. It was probably one of her easiest tasks, but she had made huge errors. It did not seem possible to me that it was by accident. I was older and experienced enough to keep track of my schedule and my hours. I told everyone else that they all needed to check their pay stubs as well and sure enough, we were all missing money.

As much as I didn’t trust Tiffany, I secretly wondered if she had been instructed or encouraged to mistreat us by her bosses. They had to sign off on payroll, or did they? Tiffany had too much control over the company for some inexplicable reason. There were plenty of people she could turn to for help or she could have given the store managers more responsibilities which would have been customary of a manager. Instead she kept all the control and power and wielded it in the ways she wanted. She thought she wouldn’t notice that she was stealing from us. I did. We did.

The craziest part is that she and the regional manager would not respond to our calls and messages regarding missing pay. We called everyone on our call sheet until we had to call the owners. Then Tiffany and the regional manager were apologetic and said that there had been a “mistake.” Sure. Whatever. I warned everyone to watch their pay stubs from then on.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 14: September

Tiffany thought she could mistreat all of us because she thought we were all drug addled losers. She thought maybe our mental states were so altered that she could insult us for her mistakes, pretend to be our friend, and secretly resent all of us even though we were the ones keeping the doors open. She got off on having power maybe due to some childhood trauma. We all secretly wondered if she had dirt on the company and that was the reason they tolerated her incompetence.


Even though I intensely distrusted Tiffany and saw her manipulative ways, she had reason to believe she could treat us all like trash and get away with it. To begin with she learned this behavior to be acceptable from the company. Her bosses treated her like garbage, so she would turn around and treat us like garbage. We were like a twisted, abusive family. Secondly, she saw that we would not fight back against her. She felt like she held all the cards against all of us. She knew there had been team meetings where they had all sat around “playing with” cocaine. She knew that half of the employees were in NA, probably because her boyfriend who also worked for the company saw them there.

She wanted to live in a world of delusion where she really believed she was smarter and better than the rest of us. She was so mistaken because we all eventually got away. She was all of the way sucked into the company and was being sued for her loyalty. It was her karma in many ways. Just because you see a weakness in a person does not mean you can exploit it. That makes you a horrible person. Some people are okay with that and Tiffany was obviously one of those people the way she treated us, overworking us, talking down to us, and withholding pay. She wasn’t the nice girl she wanted to be perceived as. She was a snake.

Until next month, 

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 15: October

Just like every other morning I arrived early. The small parking lot was empty, so I got the best parking space at the end with more space. The same jerk was parked there again this morning but I hadn’t called to have them towed yet this week because I didn’t need one more thing on my to-do list. Our parking lot was one of the few in the city that offered free parking for customers and this idiot had been taking advantage of that fact for the past week. I unlocked the back door and ran to disarm the alarm. I got the mop ready and started turning on lights. I dumped the dirty mop water and then locked the door again when I came returned from dumping it down the outside drain because customers would always try to come in early if it was unlocked.

I turned on the tanning beds and booths, wiped down all the lasers and facial tools again from the night before, and swept up all the hair rooms as I made my way through the salon turning on lights and machinery in each of the 25 rooms. I went to change the sanitizer and restock bathroom napkins when I realized we were out of towels! The salon could not run without towels. Everyone expected a towel, no matter what service. If everything was falling apart at the least we could offer or clients a towel and that constant sometimes was enough to take away any anxiety about having to come into the salon, or the cost, or a bad day.

Why didn’t we have any towels? I ran to the laundry room and saw that all of the towels were in baskets next to the washing machine! What the heck! There was no time because customers would be walking in any moment at opening. Some mornings there was even a line at opening. The salon phone rang from my back pocket. It was Tiffany. I told her about our predicament and she told me to email maintenance and then to call her back. I emailed maintenance and they said they would be out that day to fix the washing machine. There was nothing I could do but hope that the towels we had would last until the machine was fixed. I washed a handful of them and then left them to airdry. Then I ran back downstairs to unlock all of the doors.

Would I make it through the day, or would I break?

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 16: November

I loved to remember my clients’ names, what treatments they liked, and the rooms they preferred. I wanted them to know they could expect the Beverly Hills experience and platinum customer service. “Hello, welcome! Here’s your towel, how may I kiss your butt?”

It was about having pride in ourselves and our salon, but it was also about making sales and ensuring our clients returned for treatments. Our clients knew they could get away with all levels of behavior. There was the run of the mill harassment and whiners. Then there was my favorite couple, a husband and wife in their 60s with tan, leathery skin and sunglasses. The husband was tatted up and the wife wore short skirts. They would hang out until after closing and crack some beers. Who was I to stop them? Honestly, that was a love and friendship I longed after. They came about once a week.

They were pleasant and just looking to chill in the golden years of life. They were the totally opposite of the executive from Atlanta who came in about once a month. If I made any missteps, he would glare at me like he wanted to murder me. It was so unsettling that I warned everyone in the salon. Another challenging client who came in weekly would always want to test me when I came in to see if I knew his name, his job, his favorite masseuse, etc. I would give him my best performance even after I had worked a 12-hour shift. I was probably the validation he needed in his life with all the attention he needed.

The executive was tough but manageable. We also had clients who were just miserable. They would call customer service whenever there was a problem. Customer service knew to expect their wrath. Some people were just impossible to please. There was a lesson in there for anyone who was looking.

My favorite customer Deborah was a middle aged white woman from the Midwest. She lived in a penthouse in Beverly Hills with her husband where they were known to host big parties. She was a shrewd business woman, realistic, practical. I respected her opinion of which she had many.  I liked to imagine that in another context we could have been friends. She was crazy like everyone else in LA but she was a force. I found out later that she had wanted to buy the salon and more.

Until next month,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com

CONFESSIONS OF A BEVERLY HILLS BEAUTY SALON

Confession 17: December

My latest waltz into the beauty industry had been a success. I met many interesting people as clients, made lifelong friends in my coworkers, and had clawed my way to the manager position. After all of this it occurred to me one day that I couldn’t stay here at the salon if they were only interested in setting me up to fail by not letting me hire more people and them not taking the initiative to hire any associates for me. I could not manage a shop of 3 people when the shop was open 15 hours in a day 7 days a week. They wouldn’t restoke my product and they wouldn’t let me input any new product into our computer system even if we did get it. They were trying to fix any equipment on my list of repairs but progress was slow because the technician was more interested in chatting me up and getting paid on company time.

It was a cycle of anxiety and frustrations for me day in and day out. I wanted the salon to sparkle the way I knew it deserved. I wanted the clients to look forward to their days there the way that they should. I knew I was going to crash from exhaustion, anyone would. If they couldn’t care enough about their business to run it properly, then I was wasting my time. In order to preserve my sanity and any left over youth, I was going to need to leave my position and my memories behind.

An intense work ethic has always been a point of pride for me in my life and I was giving up one of the things I had committed my time to which is priceless in my opinion. At least I could be grateful for the lessons and the friends. That’s more than most people get out of Los Angeles.

Love you babes,

Besitas!

 
TheFinleyHouse.com