An Interview with
March 08, 2021
Is it possible to be a hairstylist and support small businesses? The short answer is - Yes! When I still lived in the Philippines, the top 3 career choices were - Nursing, Medicine, and Law. If you're not in any of these professions, you're not successful or you're working a job that is deemed unsustainable or not worth bragging about. The dignity of working a blue collar job/trade is looked down upon in Asia because it doesn't bring enough money or prestige. When I came to America, I've come to see a different culture where you can live a vibrant life, not be a doctor, find fulfillment despite being a hairstylist, and create avenues to support artists who need that initial boost.
Reconnecting with Ann
I've known Ann for a while now because of Ivan. Ivan (my husband) used to rent their basement before he studied Music Therapy in Marylhurst University. I've only ever known of Ann as one of Ivan's few close friends that he considers family. She loves music, art, and dogs. But I've never really explored the side of her that supports her local community through her business and her being a beautician (cosmetologist/aesthetician/hairstylist/hair designer). When we moved back to Portland, OR, we had a hard time reconnecting with friends because of the pandemic. But in October 2020, we were given the opportunity to reconnect as Ann opened her Salon and Gift shop officially in the historic city of downtown Aurora, OR.
Around that time, I was looking for something to do. I didn't quite want to return to the 9-5 life because I wanted to take a break from working. My husband also doesn't have a company car like he used to, so using our vehicle to commute for work is not an option. I also figured that daycare or early schooling will be tricky for Gale because of the pandemic and the new surroundings. Gale was having some home sickness for the first few weeks. I started knitting and posted my work on Facebook with the hopes that someone will take interest and purchase them from me. When Matt (Ann's husband) saw my knitting, he suggested that I show it to Ann and work something out with her. I initially thought that I'd only be making stuff that she can sell at her salon and we'll share the proceeds. Little did I know that I'll be creating a website, expanding my social media, and pretty much take the deep dive in the world of "Small businesses".
Getting to Know Ann
Ann is a hair stylist for 35 years now. She's a mom of two lovely people (Halle and Gunner) and wife of Matt (owner of Be Good Monster). She started beauty school when she was 16 and became an official hair stylist when she was 18. She has been taking courses on cosmetology and expanding her business from hair styling to barbering, facials, being an aesthetician, and she wants to explore more facets of beautifying people by also organizing wardrobes.
The Gift Shop
Ann (snippets from the video interview) -- "Matt is a Saturday market vendor. I know a lot of artists. I have a great appreciation for art, and for design, and people's homegrown effort to create. And I like to have a stage for that for people to create. They can come here and sell what they do. They can be a little bit serious about it. Not so serious that they have to go to a Saturday Market for it. The rules are really intense and a lot of work. So here, they can market from my shop. They are encouraged to have a bio and a QR code so people can go straight to their website. I'm just a launching pad for them. During events, the artists are encouraged to set up booths in my shop and they can do it for free."
All photos in this post are not mine. Photos are either sent to me by Ann or are photos I chose from her Facebook Page as she has permitted me.
List of People/Local Businesses Ann Supports
(no website but available at BASGS)
Jewelry by Susan
Kath's Hats and Baby Clothes
Spa Mani-Pedi by Amber (call for an appointment 503-209-9128)
Rambling Rose by Gale
(With website and available at BASGS)
Be Good Monster by Matt Wayne
My Copper Heart by Christine Terhaar
Momma D's Cosmic Creations by Danelle Startin
Entowhimsy by Heather Andrews
27th Avenue Jewelry Designs by Jesse Lister
Cup of Tea by Susie Q.
More of the Interview
We visited her shop and had a "hair day". Here's a video of that encounter with Ann and Matt.
Blue Alley Salon and Gift Shop, LLC is located in 21680 Main St. Aurora, OR 97002. You can book an appointment either by calling Ann at 503-267-3969 or by checking out her website at https://www.bluealleysalon.com/ during these hours:
Mon: closed Tues: closed
Wed-Sunday: 12nn to 5pm
You're required to wear a mask, have your temperature taken at the door, and sanitize your hands prior to entering. In case you have questions regarding setting up the appointment, you can also reach out to Ann and find out how your visit can be safe and an overall pleasant experience.
Ann's enthusiasm in art and sustainable living has created an avenue for me to share what I have to offer with all of you. It is through people like her that small businesses thrive in the economically unstable environment that we live in. It is possible to study a trade that you stick to for a lifetime and still manage to support people who love their craft. Ann shares of stories of families who have had their hair cut by her since they were children and they still come back to her to this day. Ann has a certain charm about her where you meet, greet, and become friends for life. Small businesses offer this kind of relationship where it's more than a monetary transaction. Next month, we'll be featuring Dotty of DJSFarmjoyables where we'll be looking at a rescue farm in Milo, IA. Until then, happy Women's Month and let's continue to support each other.