Name: Gary Benson
Founder and owner, Creative Color and Cuts
How did you get started in the field?
I used to be a welder, but I kind of saw what was going on with the manufacturing industry. I've always loved working with my hands, and I love meeting people, so I thought I'd do this. My friends all thought I was crazy at the time, but they don't think so now. I went to school, got started, and I absolutely love it.
What do you like most about the profession?
I love meeting new people and being able to make their day. They can come in for a color and I'm able to change their look or enhance it. In this economy, this is one of the last luxuries people do for themselves. And we really pamper them. I think we go above and beyond.
What is the perfect client like?
I love when people come in and say, do whatever you think, because then I can use my artistry and go at it. I love doing total makeovers, complete changes. But my favorite clientele is color. That's my specialty.
People say, "You really love your job, huh?" and I say, "Who wouldn't? I get to paint all day long." But what people don't always know is there's a lot of chemistry involved, and I've taken a lot of education and I'm now a master colorist. Everyone at this salon has to do six classes a year, because I want them all to be master colorists.
What are some famous hairdos we may know that you've encountered?
Five years ago, everyone wanted Victoria Beckham's hair style. I'm so glad that's over! I could do those cuts in my sleep.
Do you ever see people walking down the street and think, if I could only get my hands on them?
It's the grocery store. Every time I'm in line at the grocery store, it's the hair lines that I notice. That can tell you a lot, the hairline. It's kind of like the signature of your cut. And it's the line at the grocery store where I notice everyone's hairline.
What is the most difficult part of being a stylist?
The most challenging thing is when people bring in a picture and say they want to look exactly like that. We can give you the cut and give you the style, but it might not look exactly like the picture, because of different face shapes and other factors. But I'll always give my honest professional opinion for your face type and say, maybe that's not your best cut. There are so many face shapes - heart, diamond, pear are just a few - and if something will no work for someone's face shape, I'll recommend they not do that.
What do you do when you have a bad hair day and still have to go to work?
I buzz it. Every week it gets buzzed by one of the ladies here, but the payoff is that I'm always doing their hair, so they get the easy swap there.
Hair salons often have pun-based names: how many did you go through before arriving on Creative Color and Cuts?
I didn't know 12 years ago when I started the business how it went with registering names. So I went to the place to register and I was in line for two hours. When I finally got up to the front and told the woman my idea, she said I couldn't have it because something too similar already existed. So I could either go back in line and wait another two hours or come up with one off the cuff, so that's what I did. And I knew to put color first, because that's what I love. But I was under the gun and saw the line behind me and I was not getting back in it.
But I've had marketing people tell me that it's great, that I hit all the important points - creativity and color.
Cooking. I'm a Paula Deen fanatic, all things Paula Deen. I do more meat and potato dishes, I'm not a baker at all. (next page »)