Couple combines quiet and riot in unique hair care/nails business
Al Lesar, Shopper News
A barbershop equipped with video games, loud music and an area where patrons can store their favorite beverage wouldn’t normally be combined with a peaceful, calm manicure area.
But, for some reason, it seems to work at The Handcraft Collective (3635 Western Ave.).
The husband and wife team (married since 2014) of Dustin and Sarah-Marie Hawn launched this venture at the end of February, and each has found a successful niche.
“I’m in charge of the business end, and Dustin does all the social media,” Sarah-Marie said. “We like being around each other. We’re best friends. We still have our own interests, but we enjoy each other.”
Sarah-Marie said it was more than a year ago when they came to the conclusion they wanted to go out on their own. After eight years at Food City, Sarah-Marie studied the art of nails and worked at De Spa and Salon in Powell for more than two years. Dustin had worked at Avenue Barbershop.
“We wanted to be our own boss,” Sarah-Marie said. “We both wanted a chill place.”
A fine line doing nails
Sarah-Marie said there are times she’s tempted to join in the fun in the barbershop area, but there’s something about relaxation she likes.
“They’re like a bunch of big kids out there,” she said. “When they get the loud music going, they’re having a good ol’ time.
“I have my own little room. I like it where there’s just me (and a client) in the room.”
Years ago, the Loudon County native never would have dreamed she would have a life that focused around working with nails. However, now she finds the daily challenge a very positive thing.
“It tests my creativity,” she said. “There are tons of different things you can do with nails. You don’t want them lumpy or bumpy.
“(Just right is) a fine line. If there’s too much product, it will go everywhere. If it’s too thin, it won’t cover. I like nails because if the client’s not happy, I can just take it off and start over.”
Sarah-Marie said a mentor told her to take a picture of her job. If she can see straight lines in the reflection, it’s a job well done.
Determination pays off
Owning a business has been an eye-opening experience for the Hawns.
“I’ve had to put my big-girl britches on,” Sarah-Marie said. “It has taught me to be responsible. Normally, I’m very quiet. I keep to myself. This has forced me to step out of the box and speak up when I have to. That’s usually not me.
“Determination was a big part of getting the business going. We spent hours finding the right place. When we did, we had to take down a wall; put up a wall; then do plumbing, electric and painting. We learned a lot along the way. We heard ‘no’ a lot, but we kept at it.”
The end result of that persistence has been the culmination of a vision.
“If you have a dream, do it,” Sarah-Marie said. “You can’t give up. There’s a lot of hours and a lot of hard work. But, right now, it’s worth it.”
Ready for my new life to begin
Leslie Snow, Shopper News
It was late in the afternoon when I decided I hate my furniture. I looked up from the lettuce I was chopping and saw the plain brown sofa and the 15-year-old lamps in my living room and knew I needed a change.
I put down my knife, grabbed my phone, and Googled “striped textured pillows.” I figured new pillows were a good place to start my much-needed makeover.
But after scrolling through hundreds of pillows with all kinds of stripes, I decided what I really needed was a new haircut.
So I typed “updated bob” into the search engine and tried to picture myself with one of those trendy angular cuts like the models wore. Or a soft curly shag. Or a pixie. Or maybe I’d never cut my hair again and just let it flow down my back. I couldn’t decide.
I went back to my salad, but my mind was still racing. I wanted to take a cooking class and learn how to make homemade pasta. I wanted to bake the perfect chocolate cake and learn to decorate it like a pro.
By the time my husband got home with a couple of steaks to go with my salad, I was picturing myself in culinary school and contemplating opening a restaurant.
Over the next few days my brain stayed busy. I imagined myself volunteering at the zoo or helping stray dogs at the Humane Society.
I thought about becoming an attorney or studying psychology. “I’ve always been interested in the nature of evil and group-think,” I said to my husband while we were pulling weeds in our garden the following weekend.
“Maybe I’ll be one of those people who go back to school and start a new career late in life. I could be a psychologist,” I said, sounding defensive even to myself.
My husband listened to me rattle while he wrestled with a stubborn dandelion root, but I don’t think he took much stock in my words. He’d heard too many of my big ideas during the week to believe I had finally settled on one.
And he was right. Just the day before I had decided to build my own chicken coop or become a Great Dane breeder. Before that I wanted to restore old furniture, take up photography, and write a book.
It wasn’t until I was talking to Ethan about his new job that I finally realized what I was searching for.
“I know you’re stressed about starting a new career in a new field,” I told him, “But it’s such an exciting time in your life. You’re going to feel your brain expand,” I said.
“Do you know that feeling? Like when you’re in school and you learn something new, and it just blows you away. I miss that feeling. I haven’t felt it in so long.”
And that’s when I understood why I hate my furniture. And my hair. Why I need new throw pillows and a new hobby. Why I want to go back to school and become a psychologist.
I miss learning. I miss taking on new challenges and feeling my mind grow. I want to try new things and think new thoughts. I want to live this life but become something totally different.
I need a change. I need a new challenge and an opportunity to grow.
But then I think about my busy life and all the people who need me. And I wonder if there is enough room in my old life for my new life to begin.
Leslie Snow may be reached at snow [email protected].