BROOKVILLE — Most of her life she has wanted to be a hair stylist, but at one time Maggie Heath had started school to become an attorney.

Heath, the owner of the newly-opened Imagine Hair Studio, says, “I can’t sit at a desk. I can’t do paperwork” all day. “I have to be moving and one of my friends just said, ‘This isn’t for you. You need to go do hair,’ so that’s what I did.”

Heath is a third-generation hair stylist, following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. Her mother, she said, did not encourage her to become a hair stylist when she was growing up.

“She was very against me going to beauty school actually. It was a very hesitant thing when I decided I was going to go. She originally did everything she could to make sure that I didn’t go, basically. And then one day she just switched and said, ‘Ok, it that’s what you want to do.’” That switch came on the day Maggie signed her enrollment papers for beauty school. “There was no stopping me. I was too determined at that point.”

Heath has now worked for three years as a hair stylist. “I originally started working at Marnie’s Salon in Treasure Lake and when I graduated my mom still had her salon and she offered it to me and I didn’t feel like I was ready for that,” Heath says. “So down the road I started working here (Teased Two Hair), all my clients are here and I know it here real well so that’s just what I’m sticking with. I also like that I get to meet a lot of new people here because I’m not from here. So it’s a whole new dimension for me basically – I really like that.”

Heath is very passionate about what she does and the impact she has on her clients.

“I just like that I am the sunshine of people’s lives most days. They come in here and when they leave they are just so happy. It doesn’t feel like work. I love my job. I love doing it every day and in the meantime I’m also helping people feel better about themselves. Getting to know people, making friends – extended family, basically.”

As she starts this new chapter of ownership, she has received advice from her mom “to be very patient throughout it all because you don’t become successful in a day” and “to kind of pace myself for slow days and slow months.”

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Today’s beauty industry, however, is not the same as when her mom or grandmother worked in it. Heath says, “the beauty industry is so complex now. It’s always, always, always changing now. There are so many techniques and ways of doing things. Different products, different lines, it’s a whole 180 completely.”

Because of the constant changes education is important to stay on top in the beauty industry. Heath says she and her staff go to hair shows and take educational classes that she gets through her product line distributor that helps keep them on top of new products, new trends, etc. “I’m constantly looking for classes and what not.”

Running the new shop isn’t completely new because she says she was basically running the salon prior to getting the opportunity to buy it. Her former boss lives in Virginia so Heath handled the day-to-day running of the shop. Being the owner now has brought the change that she says she is definitely happier being in control. “Not much has changed in the aspect of what I do, but now I do it on my time, when I want to and I’m in more control of things.” Which she says is good as she laughingly admits she’s kind of a control freak about what she’s doing. “I need everything in place.”

Since she has taken over the salon, the name has changed, of course, but she has also changed a lot of the decor and says the other big change is “consistent pricing and nothing is up in the air. I keep everyone in the loop at all times.” She even talked to the other three stylists before buying the salon.

“That’s my favorite thing. Now I can say I don’t like this, let’s change it in a totally different direction. And I also like that I’m very close with my stylists and they will come to me and say ‘I think that we should do this’ and I will automatically take their opinion into consideration all the time.”

Heath has three other stylists working for her at her salon along Route 28, near Brookville.

“Everyone that works here we are all so much passion about our career. I feel that when you have a lot of passion for what you do you just do really well. There’s not one person here who does not love what they do which I feel you find a lot in the area salons. I feel they are just there to work. We’re not in it for the money, we love what we do.”

She also says that the myth that salons are always filled with drama does not hold true with her shop. The stylist there do not take it personally if someone is a client of there and switches to another stylist. Nor is there a lot of gossiping. “This salon is like that at all, which is why I love it here and why I love all my workers. We don’t gossip; we don’t worry about what’s going on next door. It’s really, really nice not to have that drama aspect here.”

As she looks into the future, Heath says her biggest challenge is “making really big executive decisions like changing a color line or a products line because it’s not cheap whatsoever. It’s very scary. Everyone here is used to this color, they don’t know anything else so I can’t get anyone else’s opinion. Researching everything is difficult.” She adds that “finding the best products, testing things out” is also a challenge. She usually tests new products on herself and a few of her friends whose hair differs from hers and they provide her with feedback.

So does Heath have a favorite thing that she enjoys doing, like coloring or cutting hair to create new looks?

“We have Dreamcatcher Hair Extensions. I flew to California and took a class with the Dreamcatcher Hair Extensions so I could actually be an educator for them because it’s such a passion of mine.” She also likes doing coloring because she says she like “something that makes huge, huge change” for a client.

While some clients know what they want not all do. So how does Heath handle a client that says she doesn’t know what she wants but looks to Heath for answers. Heath admits it can be a little difficult depending on the age range but for color she always goes with their skin tone and says “it’s super easy to tell if people like warm golden colors or cool ashy colors.” She says she simply asks them what their favorite color is, what colors do they wear most often, what color of eyeshadow, etc. to see what hair colors will clash with their choices. She also utilizes Pintrest a lot to find what a client likes.

“In typically five minutes I can get to see exactly where we’re going. It just depends on the person some of them are a little harder,” she says but adds, “That’s the fun of my job. Not everyone is easy, it’s challenging sometimes and I like that. If it was the same every day I’d hate that, I would hate my job.”

While she may go through the same steps on a daily basis, each day brings new challenges because each client is unique and hair is not the same for everyone. “It’s like going into a forest every day. You have no idea what you’re getting into,” she says. “It’s so fun though, it’s great. I have so many blank canvases everyday and I get to do whatever the client wants. It’s like an art.”

Imagine Hair Studio accepts both walk-ins and appointments. They are open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

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