It was in her San Juan Island salon that she first saw haircuts as more than a fashion statement or just an act of maintenance.
She saw people have the ability to let go of something, or to make a big change with a dramatic cut.
A women once came into the salon to cut off 10 inches of her hair and teared up as the locks of her hair hit the floor. Other clients have left with a glow — ready for a fresh start.
“People say we hold a lot in our hair,” said Tea Quinn, a certified Redken colorist and owner of Harper Poesy Hair Salon. “It seems to hold a lot of energy and people can get very emotional about it.”
Experiencing such transformation was not something Quinn, 28, thought about when she first got into the hair business.
She began as a receptionist at an Indiana salon when she was 17. She describes herself as always dressed in high heels and often flipping through fashion magazines.
She eventually worked as a stylist and colorist, and as a color educator for Redken. She worked on the road five days a week visiting different salons to talk about color, and worked in a salon the other two days.
She frequently started work at 4 a.m. and didn’t finish until 11 p.m. She wore expensive clothes and had a fancy car, but not much of a social life. Gradually, she grew tired of the long hours and lack of balance in her life.
Quinn said that she can’t quite explain it, but one day she knew she had to quit.
San Juan Island was appealing because she wanted to get in-state residency and eventually attend Evergreen State College, but then she never left the island — she’s lived here for four years.
During her first years on the island, she worked on a farm and cut hair for fun — either for friends or the farmers she worked for.
“I’ve always liked the act of cutting hair — it’s creative and I love connecting with people,” Quinn said. “It’s a reward to interact with different people and make them feel good.”
Eventually, those friends urged her to open her own salon. And a year ago, she did just that.
“It all happened really fast,” said Quinn, who celebrated the salon’s first year anniversary this month. “It’s all very breath-taking, it has been a fast first year it has been a lot busier than I expected.”
She said her strength is color correction, but she enjoys the whole package of “coloring a design,” stylist jargon for a haircut. In February, she will travel to New York for a Redken advanced haircutting class.
“It’s important to keep learning,” Quinn said. “I’m a better hair dresser than when I started, but you can always get better.”
Harper Poesy Salon offers haircuts, hair coloring and waxing services, and 20 percent off all gift cards this December. For more info, call 298-5901.