Eighteen years ago I found myself searching for a new career. I wasn't sure of what path to pursue. A friend, who was a licensed cosmetologist decided to train as a nail tech. I decided to train as well. We were fortunate to train and get licensed before nail technician hours were required. While I was working in the salon as a nail tech, I watched the stylists' in the salon and knew I wanted to get my license as a cosmetologist. . I was raising two young daughters and I was extremely fortunate to have great parents that inspired me to do well and helped out with the children.
I immediately fell in love with the hair industry and knew this was my passion. This was the career I had been waiting for. I worked at a salon for almost a year after attending cosmetology school at Staunton School of Cosmetology. After working at the salon, I was invited to go back to the Staunton School of Cosmetology to teach. Teaching was one of the biggest turning points in my life because it taught me how to manage and teach others with professionalism. I taught for two years at the school, and then moved to the island of Chincoteague with my husband, Bill, and my two daughters, Brittany and Brianna.
Chincoteague is an island on the eastern shore of Virginia with small population. It was there that I learned how to build and maintain a steady cliental. By word of mouth and getting out in the community to advertise my new coming, I was able to successfully acquire a large cliental. My family and I lived on the island for four years and then decided to move to Lexington, Va. First in Lexington, I worked at Merle Norman where I established a steady clientele and met a lot of wonderful people. Before I could start my own salon, I needed to get my daughters to an age that I felt they would be more independent. I moved on from Merle Norman to a salon where I worked for five years. My clientele continued to grow and I had a great rapport with most all of them. My oldest daughter graduated from college and the youngest from high school and I knew it was time to continue towards the goals I had set for myself. It was time to own my own salon.
On December 3, 2007 I opened my own salon. "The Salon of Lexington". I wanted to bring this salon together not only for myself, but for new students getting out of cosmetology school that needed a place to work, build a cliental and feel comfortable working and learning. We have eight chairs that are all filled with wonderful girls that have graduated from Staunton School of Cosmetology. I felt like it was very important for new graduates to have a place to call home. I strive to make the salon a place where the can grow professionally as well as emotionally. The salon is a great place to enter into every morning and I wouldn't change one thing about the whole cosmetology industry. I love it and feel very fortunate to be a part of it.
I graduated from Staunton School of Cosmetology in 1979. As I look back on 30 years in this industry, I am so thankful for my career. I feel like it is a rare thing to still be so passionate about my work, even more so than when I started. I remember my first job in downtown Staunton. It was slow of course, but I had fun learning. I have always continued with my education and appreciate every client that sits in my chair. I love bringing out the beauty in people and to have the opportunity to encourage others. My business has grown from having a salon in my home to operating salons in the Staunton area for 16 years. I now own “Shampoo” located in the Wharf Area of downtown Staunton and have always enjoyed great success in my salons that have provided for me and my family. I never stop dreaming about new opportunities for my career and feel I am extremely blessed to love what I do and to have a vision for what is next in my business. In closing I always have to give God all the thanks for giving me a great gift and talent and love for this profession and for the people.
When the Staunton School of Cosmetology opened I was the second student to enroll. The school was on Augusta Street in Staunton Virginia and I had to ride a bus to school because I lived in Harrisonburg. Boyd and Rose Thompson started the school and also owned their own Boyd’s Beauty salon on Frederick Street. Mrs. Thompson was the teacher and Mr. Thompson conducted weekly classes in many phases of advanced hairstyling. After graduation I was employed in a salon in Harrisonburg and later became the manager of another salon in the same area. After my Husband was transferred to a business in Staunton I began my hairdressing career at the Terry Court location of Boyd’s Hairdressers. Mr. Thompson’s Hair Mates salon was also located in Staunton and I later performed my Hairstyling in that location. My services were between the two locations while from time to time substituted teaching at the schools location. I became involved in the film business by working with the local theatre. It was here that I decided to investigate a career in the movie film industry. After being referred to an organization in Richmond, Virginia I was given a part as an extra Stylist in a film that was being filmed locally. This helped me get an inside look at the industry and it was then that I was positive this was the career I wanted.
I was directed to a film company and became employed as a part time stylist while still being employed part time at the Staunton School of Cosmetology Company. After a few years I joined the Makeup and Stylist Union in New York as a professional Hairstylist specializing in period films for twenty five years. It was then that I began working on some small films and it gradually became a full time career.
I’ve had the privilege to work with great people and stars on a variety of movies. Some of these include "Sommersby" with Richard Gere and Jodie Foster filmed in Warm Spring Virginia, "Evan Almighty" with Morgan Freeman and Steve Corell, "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson filmed in Charleston South Carolina, "Gods and Generals" with Robert Duvall filmed at Silverbrook Farms near Staunton, Virginia, "Big Fish" with Tim Burton and Danny DeVito filmed in Montgomery Alabama, "Flags of our Fathers" with Clint Eastwood, "The Replacements" with Gene Hackman and Annabelle Farrell, "John Adams" with Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney It was the story of John Adam's life, "My Fellow Americans" with James Garner and Jack Lemon and "Glory Road" with Josh Lucas and John Voight filmed in New Orleans.
To be successful in any career or profession there must be a solid foundation with the best education available. I believe I did that when I enrolled in the Staunton School of Cosmetology. This was my foundation and it proved to me that with a little hard work and perseverance I’ve had a great career in the salon and film industry.
Photos of my experiences as a Professional Stylist in the Movie Industry.
Mary Jo Myers
There's nothing special about my background other than I worked hard, and I dreamt big. Anyone could duplicate this formula to success:
Embrace teamwork, have a vision, surround yourself with great people and have a little bit of luck. And maybe it helps to grow up poor. My parents always made sure all our needs were met, teaching us to go out and work for the luxuries. They taught me that if you wanted something you could have it if you were willing to sacrifice and work very hard. We were encouraged to find odd jobs, to keep our grades up in school and take responsibility for our actions.
I've done everything from babysitting, bar-tending, fast food drive through and working on a chicken farm to telemarketing, you name it, to get ahead. I saw people living different lives, lives that I thought would be fun and more comfortable but I was willing to work very hard to get to where I wanted to be. I always wanted to be a hairstylist since I was 4 years old starting with the sewing scissors incident as it became known. A few hours later my little sister and all the stuffed animals and dolls had "new Haircuts", l0ls!
Ultimately, that meant attending a great beauty school, "Staunton School of Cosmetology", and numerous advanced classes at "Vidal Sassoon", "Toni & Guy", "Pivot Point", "Graham Webb" and most recently training at "Devachan" in N.Y.C. with curly hair expert and bestselling author of "Curly Girl" Lorraine Massey. I have to say the Staunton School of Cosmetology gave me a great foundation to build on and I'll never forget it. My favorite teacher, Linda Ingram, now runs the school and looks to be keeping up with the current trend which is great for anyone headed into the beauty industry.
Imago A Salon For Hair began in Richmond, near Cary Town, in September of 1999. We moved four blocks closer to the city to purchase a circa 1905 old house in the fan area to renovate into a salon. I bought Imago from my partner in 2007. We grew slowly at first, and because our foundation was so solid, we were able to continue our growth. I had to focus first on helping my stylists be successful and the salon to be profitable. They have to be successful and profitable if you want to build a successful company. I now have four stylists besides me and our focus is on curly hair. All of my staff are encouraged and have money that's set aside for advanced education every year. I also advertise and send out an e-letter with daily last minute openings and other updates on new services or happenings at the salon or in the area, as well as promotions.
Mary Jo Myers
S.S.O.C. graduate, July 1988
2602 W. Main St, Richmond, Va. 23220