Three Weeks Can Make a Difference and Save Lives

Donate, Volunteer Or Work in Cambodia to End Human Trafficking!

By Stephanie Keltner & Heather Haemker

Published online and in On Paper

You feel safe where you live, for the most part. But what if you were in danger of being kidnapped, sold—even by your own family—beaten, and raped? Within the U.S., 293,000 children are in danger of being sexually exploited each year. In Cambodia, human trafficking is a very real, “acceptable” way of life, with a world-wide estimated 12.3 million people being trafficked every day—80 percent are women and 60 percent are children. For these women and children, their everyday reality is one of terror and torture, facing horrors that many people in America cannot even imagine—but you can help put a stop to it.

Fighting Back
Thankfully, there are those, like Matthew Fairfax and his team, who came together to restore these women and children from a life of sexual slavery. But simply removing these women from a bad situation is not enough. They need to be taught a trade in order to survive and thrive in their country to fully escape slavery. It was out of this need to learn a trade that the Justice and Soul Foundation was born. “This is a world-wide issue—it effects every one of us, and it can impact so many young, innocent lives,” says Matthew. “We have to send the message around the world that this is NOT okay, and we have to make sure these precious lives who have been rescued from this abuse have hope and restoration.” Matthew had made frequent visits back and forth to Cambodia before, and ultimately decided to leave his family and team. He moved to the country so that he could set up his non-profit foundation and fully dedicate himself to the cause. A salon owner himself, Matthew determined that if these women could learn a trade, such as hairdressing, they would not only be able to sustain themselves, but would also learn how to be confident, self-sufficient and financially independent individuals and business owners.  

Matthew and his team intend to teach, inspire and build esteem in those who have been enslaved in trafficking. They volunteer their time and talents in hair and beauty by passing the trade along to these women. Additionally, through generous donations and fundraising, Matthew and his team hope to raise $45,000—enough money to build a western-style salon in Cambodia to set up their cosmetology school/functioning salon. “This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done—from raising money, meeting with young students, hearing all the horrible stories, the poverty, along with being separated from my home,” says Matthew, “but I know in the end, each student will be changed by the skills we teach and the love we share.”

The Plan
Justice and Soul plans to establish a school to teach the fundamentals of cosmetology (hair, skin, nails, and makeup) to these courageous women. They will hire qualified therapists to address the trauma experienced by the victims and will be providing the life skills necessary for independence and a full transition.  

The cosmetology curriculum, donated by Pivot Point, will have special consideration given to the education levels expected in Cambodia. The Foundation plans to partner with Cambodian educators to translate the curriculum into Khmer, the native language.

Students attending the school will not pay tuition, but will instead be awarded scholarships. The program will also include a compensation plan for the students so that they can begin experiencing financial independence while learning this valuable trade.

Partnerships with established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Cambodian government are essential to providing the next level of education and care for these young women. To that end, a high-end salon will be established and staffed by trained, English speaking stylists primarily from the United States and other developed countries. The pricing model will be set to attract wealthy Cambodian women and expatriates, sympathetic tourists and NGO workers. Any profit from the salon will go toward supporting the school. Ultimately, the students will move into stylist roles and ideally become the instructors.

Building a Future
The Foundation also plans to initiate partnerships with local cosmetology programs and schools in the United States. These partnerships will provide on-going opportunities for aspiring stylists to gain entry into the beauty industry. They will also partner with local shelters and rescue programs to provide support and inspiration for the young women in transition.

How You Can Help
Are you ready to change lives? The Justice and Soul Foundation needs your help. They are looking for dedicated stylists ready to volunteer for either one month, or a duration of three months or longer, if possible, to help educate and build confidence in the students and provide services to Cambodian clients. If you are able to come for three months or more, a stipend will be paid to help offset the cost of living. Your skills and enthusiasm will be put to good use with our students. Don’t have an instructor’s license? No worries, Cambodia has very little regulation when it comes to licensure. “Not everyone can come to Cambodia, but we all can tell our clients, get involved on a local level, fundraise for the cause, and make a difference one life at a time,” notes Matthew. “Foundations are only as good as the tribe that supports them!”

What the Foundation Needs
The Foundation is in need of a full-time Education Coordinator to help establish and run the training program. This is a paid position and requires a minimum one-year commitment to living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The group also needs stylists, with at least two to three years of experience, who can head to Cambodia starting in early July/August.

Volunteer FAQs
1. Time. Be willing to commit to at least three weeks in Cambodia (one week for the transition).
2. Transportation. Airfare ranges from $800-$1700. Flight time is between 17 and 24 hours, depending on the airline and possible layovers.
3. Accommodations. Rooms are available for just $30 per night and breakfast is included. Some volunteers have found great deals with AirB&B (, and the Justice and Soul Team are willing to help volunteers find a suitable place to stay.
4. Food. Breakfast is typically included with most guest houses or hotels and the the average cost for lunch/dinner is between $5 to $7.
5. Weather. From the month of April to November, the conditions are typically rainy and humid, but the salon and living quarters have air conditioning.

“Now when I look into the eyes of a young girl hoping to get one of the spots on our team, I see that dream of a “normal” life, and I know that I get to play a role in it,” concludes Matthew.

For more information about Justice and Soul and their efforts in Cambodia visit,

Originally posted here.

Leaving So Soon? Are Stylists in Your Salon Checking Out Early?

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It’s a Saturday afternoon and your chair has been empty since 2 p.m.; you’re on the schedule until 5 p.m. As a stylist, do you stay and hope for last minute business? Use your downtime to catch up on cleaning or prep work you haven’t gotten to yet? Or is it better to cut your losses and take off early? Our BTC Facebook community chimed in with their opinions after BTC Member Linda Cruz posed this question: “I have a 12 stylist salon: all are on commission, not hourly pay. What are your feelings about staff members leaving early?  When stylists are finished with their last client, instead of staying for walk-ins/building their book etc., they leave. Thoughts?”

Stay ‘Till the End
For many stylists and owners, staying until the end of a shift is a not only a no-brainer—it’s a requirement. Some argue that staying at a salon despite a lack of clients is a reflection of dedication, drive and a good professional work ethic. As the old adage goes, “there’s always something to do…”

Amy Lynne DeFriece
 said, “I work in the same type of salon [as Linda]. We are hired under the understanding that ‘this is your schedule, these are your responsibilities. Do not comply, and you may lose your privilege to work here. At the end of the day, that salon has to have people in it to take care of business. That is how you keep the doors open.”  Jen Hastings agrees:  “They are still your employees—not self-employed—and should respect their schedules and the rules of the salon. Most of my stylists are on commission and they all ask permission to leave.” Kim Cole-Simpson has the same perspective: “Legally, a commissioned employee has to be paid hourly if commission does not meet minimum wage. Therefore, if they are an employee, not booth renters, then they need to stay for the whole shift. I was employed for years at a commission salon and have run several salons. I always stayed and so did my employees. If they are leaving early, this is indicative of their work ethic and I would re-evaluate their place on your team.”

Likewise, Alli Nicole adds:  “You can’t fake passion. I wouldn’t let anyone touch my hair who says they would leave [before their shift is over]. People who stay are the people who challenge themselves as artists and truly fine-tune their craft–those are the people I let do my hair, because I trust their skill level completely. Staunch supporterRose Newman Kaiser says there is no ‘gray area’ when it comes to the issue of staying or leaving, passionate or not. She believes stylists are on the schedule for a reason: “I am an owner and have been for 26 years. [Issues like this] are part of the reason why our Industry is taking such a beating and being bought out by big corporations. Look, you work there, you stay there, you clean there. Period. How is it the owner’s responsibility to clean the salon? She opened her doors to you, assumes all financial responsibility, insurers the place and stocks it, advertises, and somehow it is her job to also clean it? All for the ‘blessing’ of receiving 50-percent of your pay? Taking into account the other bills that need to be paid like lights, water, gas, etc., it’s almost never a clean 50-percent anyways. Wake up, smell the perm solution and take responsibility for YOUR salon.”

Head For the Door
As with many other hotly debated salon issues, Tammy Moore, like many others on the “pro-stylist” side of things, has a lot to say in response: “Renting a chair in an establishment, commission or otherwise, does not mean the stylist is responsible for your BUSINESS responsibilities, outside of providing courteous services, with integrity of cleanliness for the space they are sharing with you and other staff. If it is yourbusiness, then you are responsible for details, not your commissioned staff.” Ashley Farrell heartily agrees: “We are PEOPLE, not robots! Hair does not have to be on my mind 24/7 [for me to be a “good” stylist]. I have a life outside of my career.  Just because I want to leave early after a full and successful day, I have no passion? That’s not true at all. I have worked 14 hour days, I have worked 11 days in a row, I have forgotten to eat for an entire day, I have traveled hours just to attend hair shows… I have put ten years’ worth of blood, sweat, tears and hundreds of destroyed white shirts into this career and no one is going to make me feel bad for leaving an hour early!”

Ashley Ann Henry said, “The stylists that have sat in a salon countless hours just hoping someone would walk in to get a haircut appreciate the feeling of a full schedule, but come on… be realistic—let the stylist(s) go home. If they miss a new client, then that’s their loss. Be honest—any chance I ever get to leave earlier on a Saturday is a treat for me, and every last one of you that are real, full-time, behind the chair stylists have felt the same way.” Tina Lombardi has some sound advice for those struggling with this issue at their own salons: “I’ve been doing hair for 28 years, and was on commission until I became an owner 10 years ago. No lunches, dinner or breaks—Ibusted my butt to build a clientele, all to be able to leave that hour or two early once the salon was stabilized so I could actually have a life. If you are an owner and you want staff to stay, it’s simple… pay them a base. I never worked for free and my employees shouldn’t either.”

“As a stylist for 16 years and a salon owner for two, I have seen it all and when I opened my doors, I swore I would never treat a stylist working in my salon how I was treated, or make them go through what I had to endure.  I have five girls working by commission and although they are my employees, when their last client on the book is done, they are free to leave after cleaning their area/mess. If they choose to stay for the hope of walk-ins, great! If not, I always smile and tell them I am jealous with a grin and to have a FABULOUS night! Ladies, we ALL work hard enough in this business.  I know as an owner that if I have a light shift, I am the first one to call it a day and head home to my family!” said Nancy Campobasso.

Meet Me In the Middle
Though it appears to be a rare occurrence, there are times where stylists and owners can come to a compromise that works for both parties on those not-so-busy days.

Karen Smith explains that at her spa, “We have a stand-by system. The first person to go on stand-by can leave up to one hour early, the next person 45 minutes, then 30 minutes early. We just recently implemented the rule to have at least one person from each department be on the property for walk-ins. Everyone has a list of side work, inventory and a client list so they can send cards, make phone calls, etc. We have this in our new hire paperwork as well.”

Indeed, outlining the expectations of both the owners and the stylists right from the get-go can help to avoid tense situations, problems or misunderstandings down the road. And if you are unsure what your salon will or will not allow with your schedule—just ask!

Originally published here.

Scissors and…Snacking?

Scissors and…Snacking?
How to Deal With Food In Your Salon

Walking into your salon, you hear the familiar chorus of snipping scissors and blow-dryers blasting. The water is running in the sinks and brushes are swirling in color bowls—but what is that other sound? Is that…slurping? Sure enough, you turn around to see someone’s client snacking lazily mid-appointment and no amount of foiling, brushing, or hairspray seems to deter the hungry woman you see before you. But is this…okay? Or should you find a way to politely ask her to wait to finish her food? An anonymous BTC Community member was in a similar situation and is desperately looking for input: “It seems like because everyone’s so busy, running around crazed, that more and more of my clients are bringing food with them and then proceed to eat it during their appointment! The thought of me saying something is SO uncomfortable! Aside from the fact that it’s so unsanitary, do I buck up and say something anyways? Hang a sign? Has anyone else encountered this?”

Crunch On
For many of our BTC Facebook Fans, clients fitting in lunch between foils is essentially a non-issue. After all, as Jennifer Page says, “The clients write our paychecks!” As a salon owner, Yvonne Rosales encounters this situation frequently. To address it, she says of her and her staff: “We accommodate our guests, plain and simple! If they bring food, we help them to set up so they can eat comfortably and with respect. If they are hungry and didn’t bring food, we offer to order it in for them. Don’t stress about the little things.”

“As stylists who are equally busy in our work environment, often inhaling our food on a regular basis, I don’t see the problem with clients eating lunch. Keep some hand sanitizer at your station and provide some pretty napkins and a cup of tea! It’s not a big deal. The point is that this is “their” time, which the client is paying good money for! Let it go,” advises Cathy FentonJesika Jensen Pearce suggests that, “If it’s a cut, then let them eat during the blow dry; if it’s a color, then let them eat during processing. I can’t believe people are saying no food AND no drink. Why can’t they have a drink? It’s not a big deal and all the best salons offer drinks at the very least. If you treat your guests well, you will have them forever. If a mess is the problem, then as they are heading out, politely say, ‘Do you mind taking this too?’ I’m sure they will pick it up. Besides that, you have to clean up the station between guests anyway, so it won’t mean you have to work any harder.”

Billie Jean Mitchell
 raises a valid point: “Did you ever consider the idea that maybe their few hours in your chair is the only down time they have to eat?” It seems that letting a client have a snack is the least you can do for a fellow busy-bee, caught up in their busy daily lives. After all, stylists are known for eating on-the-fly; wherever and whenever they have a spare second.
Kara Arendsen has to agree: “I say you are paying me, so you can do whatever you want in my chair as long as it does not disturb others in my salon. You can order a pizza and crack a beer in my chair-as long as you are respectable.” After all, “Cleaning up a few wrappers is totally worth the extra tips I receive by not being a jerk [about eating during the appointment],” says Kara Arendsen.

Robin Velasquez suggests changing your way of thinking if munching in the salon is an issue: “If this is your biggest problem, then you’re WAY ahead of the game. Who cares? I’d rather my clients ate in my chair than in some other stylist’s chair.” After all, a noisy or messy client is surely better than none at all!

Say Something
Alli Eberly says that eating isn’t an issue at all—it’s black and white: “It is posted already on the state board sheet. No food or drinks in service area.” “While I personally don’t mind a client eating in the salon, I would suggest you check your local health codes about food in your salon. All of it is a moot point if you risk being fined $500 for someone eating in the chair,” says Christine Knoche-Becker. Besides the violation of state rules, Alysia Merriman adds, “I have a huge problem with [eating in the salon] as well. I don’t mind people bringing a drink, but when they spread their whole meal out on my station, it makes the salon seem unprofessional.”

David J. Ortiz
 tells of similar instances: “Where I used to work, people would come in with lunch and eat and drink, then have their appointment. When they would leave, they would also leave empty containers and cups behind everywhere—including my station. We would hang signs and they would eat next to the sign as if it wasn’t there. I say buck up and tell them no food in the salon. It is unsanitary and looks bad for them to be eating. No one wants to clean up after someone else unnecessarily.” Speaking of sanitation, Jenny Lassetter says, “It is very unsanitary to have food stuffs around your work station. I personally think that it wouldn’t be totally unprofessional to ask your clients to respect your work area and not bring in food. Either post a sign or politely ask that your clients eat elsewhere. If they still want to bring food in with them, tell them you will get to them when they are done eating in their car. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s just good business practice to keep everything neat and sanitary.”

Rules and cleanliness aside, many stylists see the chewing and slurping as disrespectful and just plain rude in many cases. Angela Dennison says, “I hate it when clients bring food. Hairs are flying everywhere and most people chomp away with their mouths open— gross! I don’t even chew gum when a client is in my chair; please don’t eat food while I’m doing your hair!” Indeed, doing hair should be the focus of the appointment, as Christine Mckinnon points out: “Clients that eat during an appointment are on the same level as people who eat when they shop. Since when did it become okay to eat in public places other than restaurants? When you buy a piece of jewelry at Tiffany’s, do you encounter your salesperson drinking a latte? There should be the same expectations for stylists. Book a break if you want to eat or drink [during an appointment].”

Cut Some Slack—For Both of You
Eating in the salon is a slippery slope; while you want your clients to feel comfortable and at ease in your chair, potential health code violates and plain old manners can both be called into question. When deciding how to handle a similar situation in your own salon, perhaps the best advice is to tread lightly.

Adam Razoux Ferreira
 says: “I have to say that I have often encountered uncomfortable situations when a client brings in a “full meal” and proceed to unwrap plastic ware, dress salads, look for a place for trash, drinks etc.—not to mention the potential risks due to allergies. Plus, all the prep involved takes up valuable time that your stylist could spend working with you, as opposed to entertaining you as a dining room server. I say skip the large, full meal and pack light: a bag of almonds, protein bar, or fruit (all of which I stock at my salon for clients).  I don’t think asking your client to wait until they are sitting idle while processing to enjoy their lunch is rude at all- just say it with a smile.”

Amy Appel
 comments: “Many salons offer beverages to clients and some even offer snacks. I don’t mind if clients eat, as long as it’s strictly during down time (processing) and not during the application or cut/blow-dry. If you see that someone brings in something to eat, it’s not unreasonable to kindly tell them that they are welcome to enjoy their meal as long as it doesn’t interfere with the service. I’ve been a stylist for 20 years and find that very rarely do I have to say anything. Most clients know that its common sense not to eat while getting their hair cut. For those that don’t realize this, a kind comment made with a little humor usually does the trick. All salons/stylists are different so do what works within the rules and comfort of you and the salon you work in.”

Just as one hair style or color certainly does NOT fit all, neither do solutions for salon issues. Depending on the client herself, the rules of the salon you work in, and other factors, it is important to consider all aspects of the situation before deciding on an answer to the age old question: to snack or not to snack?

Originally posted on