By Sean Minton
The simplest way to ruin a morning is when hair fails to cooperate; it can frustrate some to the point of ruining the rest of their day. No need to fret though, for the Pensacola State College (PSC) Cosmetology Department hosts a salon for students, teachers and the community to help fix their hair day tragedies.
The PSC Cosmetic Arts Salon not only provides its customers hairstyling and barber services, but also massages, facials, waxes, manicures and pedicures. What makes this salon different from others is that it helps the customers as well as workers. Everything is at an affordable price which benefits the customer. However, the cosmetology students give these services in exchange for experience that will help them advance their careers.
Many may be skeptical about getting their hair done by people who are still in the process of learning, however they should not worry, for the students working in the salon have trained prior to working on clients, and they are supervised by an instructor.
Cosmetologist, Rachel Stultz, has been working at the salon for months improving her performance. “It helps me [get] mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for the real world,” said Stultz. “The girls here are awesome. They are all prepared and ready to do this profession, and it makes me feel like I’m more professional. It makes me feel like I’m more ready to do this.”
Exposure to a positive work environment full of others who are passionate about their career in cosmetology furthers Stultz’ enthusiasm to keep going. While her classmates are supportive, Stultz would not be there without the help of her teacher, Kim Markwick. “My teacher is amazing,” said Stultz. “She gives the best advice on what to do with your hair.”
Markwick helps run the salon and guides her students to success. “It’s what gets me up in the morning,” said Markwick. “I’m making sure that when they are nervous and scared to do something that I’m standing right there to help them, but I’m not doing it for them. I will assist, and then I will step back and watch them do it.
“I would tell future students don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, to start the journey. Continuing education in this industry is forever because it’s always changing. There is always something new. Reach for it, you can grab it and run with it. It will take you anywhere.”
From start to finish, Markwick watches her students blossom into artists. She observes the whole process from teaching her students and then seeing them apply that knowledge in the salon. Markwick also helps her students find work after they leave PSC.
“My job doesn’t end when they graduate and walk across that stage, and that’s what I like about it,” said Markwick. “I don’t have to just move on to a new group. I get to keep up with everybody and see them grow.“ The connections between Markwick and her students show how passionate she is at creating a career for her students by providing a welcoming work space and helping them find jobs.
Positivity means a lot to Markwick, which is why she makes that a priority in customer service. “We have great conversations,” said Stultz. “We talk to our clients and make sure they feel comfortable.” Clients have been so impressed with the services at the salon that some have been returning customers for 30 to 40 years.
While clients are positive about their experiences, in return they bring joy to the students. “Us being able to work on their hair and do fun things for them keeps me around,” said Stultz. “Them loving their look like ‘oh my gosh I look pretty. I feel so good about myself,’ is great.” With affordable pricing, great customer service and a positive work space, the Cosmetic Arts Salon is great for getting any touch ups.
Do not suffer more days having a cowlick like Alfalfa from “The Little Rascals;” these students will handle it.
Visit Building 12 to schedule an appointment, or call the salon at 850-484-256.