The Ultimate Live Work Situation with Carrie Irvine

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I grew up with a salon in my house. My mom is a hair stylist. Actually my great aunt was a hairstyle too. It definitely comes down the line in our family. I helped my mom in her salon, wanting to be a hairstylist. My dad said I was four years old and I went around telling everyone I was going to be a beautician when I grow up [laughs]. So that was my sanctuary, my getaway. And I loved it. Well, I still do.

So, when I got older, I thought “I don’t want to have my own salon in my house. I want to be a platform artist. I want to travel. I want to teach. I want to get out. I don’t want to this at all.” But once I had Carter and settled down, I realized this is the perfect idea. I’m home. I can cook. I can clean in between clients if I have time. It’s fantastic! I can work in yoga pants if I want to. People come to my house! And it’s fantastic!

The salon is in the lower level of the house. It has a separate entrance and exit and it’s own bathroom. It’s wonderful. Steve [Carrie’s husband] built me everything. It was a total bare basement down there with a real crappy bathroom. He knocked down bathroom walls. Redid the plumbing and wiring. He’s so talented! My only overhead is water, electricity... you know, everything I’d need anyway for my home. And all of my products, appliances and all of my color.

I make my schedule around taking Carter to and from school. It is my favorite thing to do. Our school is super little. We live about a mile and a half from his elementary school. I get up, get him ready, drive in, drop him off and then go back home. It’s so simple, but I love it [laughs]. He has to be there between 8:30 and 8:50 so I do that and then afterwards, my day starts.

Today, my first color wasn’t until 9:30. That’s a good time for me... 9:30, 10 o’clock. If it’s any later than that, I won’t want to do anything! [Laughs]. I work about six days a week. Five or six days a week, usually six. I know I am busier now than when I was in a salon. I do absolutely no advertising. Ever. And I'm booked solid. It's like my people have a secret hairstylist, and the only way in, is if you know me, or someone gives you my number.

I love color. My whole world is color. I do a lot of continuing education in color. It’s the best when someone comes in and says, “I hate this. Fix it.” It gives me a problem and I love to problem solve. I love to make you happy. I am such a people-pleaser. I constantly want people to be happy before they leave this house whether it’s my husband or my kid [laughs]... or my client. No one leaves unhappy. My whole day is definitely made up of color. Lots of brush on highlights. Ombre is kind of going out now. Can I just tell you about some of the pinks and lavenders and mint greens I have in my shop right now? They’re everywhere!

I just had a client the other day that has never had any color ever. She’s in her 30s. She’s starting to gray and she’s worried about it. I told her, “Color can whisper, talk and scream.” And so I said, “Let’s put a whisper of color in there.” Nothing crazy so when it grows out, it won’t have roots. You’re not going to see it. It just looked sunkissed. It worked out really well. She loved it! It looked like if she would go live on a deserted island for five years and then come home.

I’ve been open a year December 7th. I told Steve when he was building the shop, “Don’t make it big enough that I could ever have anyone else work for me ever.” I was so sick of people at that point that I definitely did not want anybody else to work with me. However, now I would say that I would be interested in having someone help me. I do a lot of weddings. Wedding season is about to start and I could definitely use someone else to help me because I just become a crazy person. And I would like to have a massage therapist for sure. I love the idea of seeing the massage therapist while you’re processing color. Wouldn’t that be so relaxing? I want to get to the point one day where people will come in, put a terrycloth robe on and just really relax and get out of the world for a little bit.

-as told by Carrie Irvine

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