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Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon Assignment One

Mariel Butler

Description: Fusions Salon is located in an old house in the historic district of Matthews, NC. The house is over a hundred years old, and was renovated to be a salon in the early 2000’s. The old world feel of the historic location and building combined with the family oriented staff gives a certain charm that is unmistakable from the minute the clients walk in. The front room holds the waiting room and the receptionist’s desk. The space is an open, warmly lit room with butterscotch walls that hold jewelry and hair products that clients can choose to browse if waiting for the appointment to start. To the left of the receptionist Tiffany’s desk holds a large room, which was at one time, a bedroom. This room is now home to Jenna and Kayla’s stylist chairs with two large mirrors mounted on perpendicular walls. Directly behind the receptionists desk is a hallway that leads to the break room, rest room, and three more stations for Kristi, Mark and Heather. Directly to the right of the receptionist’s desk is another hallway that leads to four more stations, the shampoo room, and the esthetician, Terry’s room. This salon offers hair services, such as cutting, coloring, straightening hair along with hair extension services, and waxing and facials services. If you follow the link to the right, it will show you critical steps of what the stylists go through before being employed at this salon: http://prezi.com/pourbrammbx7/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy Figured World: A figured world is a community of people who share an environment and hold similar social expectations as well as exhibiting comparable social characteristics. While rules and conventions are very prevalent in this salon, due to its staff and small business feel the atmosphere is more relaxed than some other corporate salons might be. Humor and talking is encouraged and in some cases necessary for success; although, respectful language and behavior is of course noted and demanded as well. Due to its small business state and local ownership, there are some more lax guidelines as far as disciplinary guidelines and actions. When stylists are assisting clients they are encouraged to engage in conversation and answer any questions or concerns that the client may harbor. While standards and rules are set, many conflicts between coworkers are solved with brief meetings with the owners as opposed to cosmetology write-ups. As with most work sites, there is a slight difference in behavioral expectations between the floor and the break room. For example, profanity and gossip, while never encouraged is accepted if and only if, inside the break room. By separating that type of behavior from the clientele, it provides a more professional environment and an open, judgment-free zone for clients who feel the need to talk to their stylists/estheticians. The receptionist’s guidelines for appropriate behavior are the same as that of the stylists, though some differences are pointed out due to the difference in position. Since the receptionist is dealing head on with the client and overseeing the trade, it is important that the receptionist follow the typical “customer is always right” mindset to ensure that the clientele’s needs are well taken care of. This creates happy clients, which promotes the individual stylists and the business.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

While I was a former receptionist at this salon it did not give me much bias towards my observations. If anything, I would think that it would’ve benefitted me because I know the typical patterns of behavior for each actor. By working at this location for two and half years I knew that it would be the perfect place to observe due to the common conversation that goes on between the staff. I knew after working there that the relationships that are formed between the stylists/receptionists and even the owners is strong which causes for a lot of good observation opportunity for someone wishing to observe a figured world such as this one. Literacy Practices: Commonalities found between the actors. Literacy practices are events, knowledge, or behaviors that bind the actors together. Knowledge of Cosmetology: All of the esthetics and cosmetology that is common knowledge at the salon was all taught at a cosmetology institute, therefore qualifying the actors for each of their positions. Past experience: While the salon does not decline fresh-out-of-hair-school employees, none of the girls are allowed to start working with clients until they have completed an apprenticeship with one of the advanced stylists. This normally involves assisting for three months with either Jenna or Nicole. This experience helps prepare the stylists for juggling clients, making relationships and conversation with clientele and many more useful experiences necessary to be successful. Actors: Actors are participants in each figured world who, despite individuality, are all placed in the same environment. Mariel Butler: Former receptionist of two and a half years at Fusions. Fairly well-liked at the salon, but had to leave to the salon due to going away to college. Some of the girls jokingly resent her for this, yet the owners were caused stress by this absence due to the obligation to hire a new receptionist. While she was the youngest staff member until Tiffany was hired, she was always respected as an equal, which was important to her. Heather Zaharapolous: Senior stylist at Fusions salon with 5 years prior experience along with 12 years of receptionist experience. She is a recently separated mother of two with a positive outlook on life. Very lighthearted and is the largest sense of comic relief in the salon environment. Due to this lighthearted nature of hers, she is always a source of comfort and confidentiality in the salon. Many of the girls use her as the person they vent out their struggles with and trust that she will keep all of their secrets. She is the most informed member of the Fusions staff and uses her knowledge for good, not evil. Tiffany Aycock: The main part-time receptionist. Only been employed at Fusions for about 3 months, but a fast learner and quickly becoming popular with the clientele. She is a freshman in community college, so she commutes to school and juggles her work schedule with her school schedule. Being a new member of the staff allows her to deal with the girls without a bias, seeing as she is still constantly learning the many personalities involved in the salon.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

Jenna Stiles: Senior stylist at the salon who has worked there for approximately four years. Has one of the largest clienteles out of the staff and is normally double-booked, open to close. Former Homecoming Queen, southern belle, and all around nice person who is, ironically enough, not happy with working where she is. Despite her lack of interest in her profession, she brings a fun atmosphere to the salon by constantly laughing and telling jokes to help the ten-hour shifts go by quickly. Mark Crooke: New stylist at the salon who just finished up training with the senior stylists. He is building his clientele and normally helps out around the salon when he’s not busy by cleaning off the product shelves or sweeping the floors. He is a fairly emotional guy prone to overreacting, which can cause unnecessary tension between the staff at times. Kayla Steele: New stylist at the salon with a small clientele that was brought over from her previous work location. The twenty two year old is considered the oddball of the group, constantly making loud, obnoxious animal noises and obsessively fawning over Justin Bieber. Terry Leonard: The one and only esthetician at the salon. She has a fairly busy schedule and is constantly doing something at the salon, whether it be assisting a client, or cleaning up around the salon. She is the most abrasive and hyperactive actor included in the salon. Despite her being fifty five years old, she is the most energetic staff member in the salon, constantly preoccupying herself with other people’s tasks and causing disorder thanks to her inability to sit still. Much of the staff gets easily aggravated with her, blaming her for some salon tension. Nicole Hammond: Senior stylist at the salon who has been with Fusions for 10+ years. Her mother is one of the owners. Recently moved to Charleston, SC, but comes back to Charlotte every five weeks for one week to work at Fusions. She was considered the busiest stylist until she moved. She proves herself to be the most genuine staff member at Fusions with her remarkable memory of small, insignificant events that happen in all of the other staff’s lives. The fact that she remembers to ask “how things worked out with that thing three months ago” to all of the staff when she is on a five week rotation from Charleston to Charlotte is incredible. She is very well loved at the salon and everyone misses her whenever she’s not in Charlotte. Kristi Lippard: One of the medium leveled stylists who have been with Fusions for roughly two years. She is slowly but surely building up a steady and consistent clientele. She is very friendly and talkative, allowing for her to build a solid relationship with each client she meets. Caitlyn McTyre: One of the medium leveled stylists. She has been with Fusions for a little over six months. Her aunt is one of the owners. She is funny and tends to indulge herself in pranking the other stylists/receptionists, typically Terry, by hiding necessary tools, scaring people and using rubber snakes. Tricia Griffin: One of the owners of the salon. She has been a cosmetologist for 15+ years and is very proud of her salon. Tina Downing: The other owner of the salon. She is not a licensed cosmetologist, but she handles the booking/paying of the girls. She loves the salon and the girls, despite her imminent retirement.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

Artifacts: Artifacts are normally either physical objects or emotions/metaphors, etc that pertain to the actors, whether individually or generally. They normally describe one or more of the actors and give clues to their individual behaviors. Shears: Many of the stylist’s own shears that they use to cut hair. While these are physical tools that are used throughout all salons, shears are an artifact for all the girls because they are the literal tools to their living. Smocks: The girls wear smocks to prevent getting color or any other material/liquid that could damage their clothing. Another meaning for them, however, could be that once the smocks are put on, the girls become not only a stylist to their client, but also a friend and confidant. Chair: Something about the stylist’s chair can make any quiet, shy client turn into a loud, gossiping fiend. There is a natural ambiguity that comes along with the chair, and many clients end up revealing incredibly personal experiences and struggles that they encounter in their life. Whiteout: Terry is used to hastily taking her paper schedule and marking it up with pen, then getting so overwhelmed by all the pen markings that she covers up half the sheet in whiteout. This shows her hasty behavior with dealing with busy scheduling and tension between coworkers. Discourse Communities: These are groups that follow similar social patterns/habits inside the larger figured world. Authoritative Figures: Tricia, Tina, Nicole, and Jenna. All of these listed actors are normally the ones who enforce rules/report any wrongdoings or misbehaviors. Smokers: Caitlyn, Jenna, Kristi, Mark. All of these listed actors are a community because they spend a majority of their time outside at the smoking table. Non-smokers: Tiffany, Terry, Heather, Kayla, Tricia, and Tina. These actors are a community in the fact that while the smokers are outside, they spend more time alone with each other. Observation One Thursday, September 5th, 2013 Time: 4:50PM-5:30PM Note: This observation took place around a lull in the majority of the staff’s schedules for approximately 40 minutes. A majority of my observation time was spent in the break room of the salon. Some of the staff is grabbing dinner while others are working on clients. Observation #1: 4:53PM- The staff is sitting in break room, and it is obvious that it is a lull in their schedules. The conversation is dull and brief. Most of them are catching up on magazines and checking social media. It is common for there to be lulls in conversation in the break room due to the excessive social aspect of their professions. Jenna begins to prepare for her next client by pulling and tearing foils, used for highlighting services.

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

4:59PM-Kristi joined the table from her station, as her client is processing under the heat lamps. All the staff is on their phone now, texting loved ones or scrolling through Facebook. 5:02PM- Kristi starts up the conversation about her weekend plans. She is going to a club, and the girls begin to ridicule her, saying she’s “too old” to be clubbing. The conversation shortly moves to the club scene in Charlotte and people begin telling experiences that they’ve had at clubs. Most of the stories involve close encounters with perverts and their efforts to escape from the clutches of creeps. 5:10PM- Terry brings up how one of the owners, Tricia, is at the beach for the week. This creates tension in the room, the girls obviously resenting her slightly for her vacation time and their lack thereof. 5:12PM- Terry begins to prepare for a waxing service and talks about the most recent receptionist, Dawn, who left the salon to move to Georgia about a month ago. The salon, Terry especially, feels more solemn since she has left, and Dawn’s absence is felt heavily throughout. 5:22PM-The conversation lulls a little bit and many of the girls are waiting in the break room for their clients to show up. A few of the girls have late clients, so they are slightly irritated. The receptionist talks about the John Mayer concert that she went to the night before. 5:27PM-Nicole, a stylist who is on a five-week rotation from Charleston to Charlotte, joins the break room and sits down. This is her first break of the day, so she catches up with the girls and they all hear about her newest adventures with her budding family. 5:31PM-Heather, who was monopolizing a big part of the conversation with Nicole, is told that her client is here. She leaves the break room. 5:33PM- Observation ends with the girls talking about one of the former stylists of Fusions, who recently left to start her own business. Apparently, she has been contacting clients of Fusions to see if they’d rather visit her salon, which upsets the girls at the salon. They feel betrayed and angry. Observation #2: September 10th, 2013 5:30PM-6:00PM 5:30PM- The observation starts out with the girls talking about the recent developments in the salon. The salon was recently sold to Tricia’s sister. This is causing a huge shift in salon policies and is making a lot of the stylists uneasy with their future at the salon. Most of the salon talk is revolving around the recent sale. 5:42PM-Tina (one of the now former owners) walks into the break room and the conversation ceases. She is not happy with the sale of the salon but she prefers it to go into the hands of someone else than not be well-taken care of due to her nearing retirement. 5:43PM-Tina and Terry begin to mess around about a problem client earlier on. Kristi and Mark are sitting at the table talking about their weekend plans, and how they are planning on getting together to

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

go to a bar. Kristi’s mom is sitting in the break room as well, with her hair color processing while she talks with the other stylist’s. They begin to inquire about pitching in to order in some dinner. 5:47PM- Tina walks back up to assist Tiffany at the front while Terry prepares for her next waxing client. Kristi, her mother, and Mark stay in the break room folding towels while the rest of the girls assist clients. 5:52PM-Tiffany comes back into the break room asking Mark about a concerned client who is on the phone. He goes up to the desk to work this client into his schedule. 5:55PM-The girls decide on ordering Jett’s Pizza, a pizza place close to the salon. They all split the tab and collect their tip money to pay for it. 5:58PM-Kristi calls in the order for the pizza. Observation #3: Note: This observation was remembered from a night in July, due to my inability to travel back to Matthews for the observation. This was the last night of my employment before I left the salon for the summer. July, 2013 5:00PM-6:30PM 5:00PM- One of my coworkers, Jenna, is having difficulty with a trouble client who is not happy with her hair color. After rinsing and blow-drying her hair, she is asking for a different tone to her hair color. This causes a slight bit of panic for Jenna, as her schedule is booked back to back. 5:12PM- Another one of the stylists helps out Jenna by assisting her instead of enjoying her break between clients. They begin to mix a new formula of color for her hair. 5:21PM- The client comes up to the desk before Jenna puts the color on and demands a refund. This puts myself, the front-desk, in a predicament as my bosses have left for today. I go back to the room to consult Jenna and see what she thinks about the discount. 5:27PM- Jenna agrees to discount the service twenty percent in order to console the upset client. She then begins to put the color on her hair. Interview: The following interview was conducted with three different employees of my location. 1) Tell me about the community of the staff here at this business. Tiffany: “They’re crazy but fun. A fun, crazy hard-working group of people that I love to work with.” Heather: “I feel that we are like sister in a way where we can get along, and fight and have bitchy moments.” Kristi: “Psychotic. Laughs just kidding. Spontaneous. What else are we? I would say we’re

Observation Assignment Site Location: Fusions Salon

Mariel Butler

like a family. We get along and we hate each other but we all work together.” 2) What is your main motivation to better this business? Tiffany: “To work hard to make the clients visit better. To be friendly and perky, and meet all of their needs and wants (unfortunately)” laughs, “just kidding.” Heather: “I want the world to be a more beautiful face, and to make this salon one of the most popular salons in the CLT area.” Kristi: “Money. To be successful and have pride in my work.” 3) If you were a client here, what would you expect to get out of this business? Tiffany: “I would expect to leave with my hair just the way I wanted it, and have a good impression of the people who work here.” Heather: “I would expect a highly qualified staff, friendly faces, professionalism.” Kristi: “Great hairstyle, fun atmosphere, and friendly hospitality.” 4) If you could pick one symbol to represent your position at this business, what would it be and why? Tiffany: “A smile because it makes everyone’s day better when you are greeted with a smile. As a receptionist, this is important.” Heather: “Light-heartedness. To be able to provide a comic relief for stressed out coworkers.” Kristi: “Glue. To hold the salon together.” 5) If you could describe the atmosphere of the salon without any bias, what would you say about it? (From the perspective of a first time client) Tiffany: “A homey feel, with a fun atmosphere.” Heather: “The atmosphere is very family oriented. Warm, family style of a business.” Kristi: “Homey with the homies. Laughs. It’s very homey.”

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