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Haircut Economics Point To Healthy Local Economy

Karen Richards


If trends in haircuts are any indicator, the Eugene-area economy is doing just fine. Here, several barbers and stylists speak about their businesses, the impact of students, and ... hair tattoos. 



My name's Debbie McConkey, and I'm a barber. I work at The Barbershop on 13th and Oak. In 2008, I was here and I was working and what happened was, let's just say they came in every four weeks, then they would wait, stretch it out six to eight weeks. And that's something that my dad, who was also a barber, told me was, you will never get rich in this business but you will always have money in your pocket."



Credit Karen Richards
Debbie McConkey owns The Barbershop.

[trimmer ambi]


McConkey: “Trends ... Well this is Eugene, so pretty much anything goes. Hair tattoos, we do quite a few of those. I just did kind of a geometric thing that was pretty striking. You just take straight lines and follow kind of the contours of the head and then add a few more lines. It turned out really nice.”


[spray ambi]


I'm Sara Stalcup and I'm the owner at I Run with Scissors, the salon.

People don't bring in pictures out of magazines any more. People are bringing in their cell phones with pictures from Pinterest or something that they found on Google or Facebook. People can pull something that was just out the day before. Especially with men's styles too you're seeing a lot more haircuts that maybe are coming out of Spain or Korea that men are kind of gravitating towards.”



Credit Karen Richards
Sara Stalcup has owned I Run With Scissors for more than 10 years.

[blow dryer ambi]


Stalcup: “We've had people that have come in and they're heading somewhere, like they're maybe going to India for a while, and have shaved their heads. We also have a lot of students who've maybe had dreadlocks, while they went to school, and now they've graduated and can't have dreadlocks anymore, so they'll take them all short.”


[water ambi]


My name's Rebecca McKenzie with Anderson's Barber Shop, and I'm the owner. It was a lot slower in 2008 and 2009. And I think because they would budget for the haircuts they were more particular, and it was really important that service went just the way that they expected it to go when they were spending money. And I was just starting out in those days so I had a second job.”



Credit Karen Richards
Owner Rebecca McKenzie says Anderson's downtown Eugene location has been a barbershop since 1972.

[phone ambi]


McKenzie: “Beards are huge right now. Definitely in Oregon everybody's growing beards. So we've had to bring in some products for beards. Ten years ago when I started working here we didn't do any of what we call the Prohibition haircuts. So you leave all this hair on top and then it's all short on the sides. Some of these Prohibition TV shows came out and movies, and everybody went for the look.”


[brush ambi]


McKenzie: “If you worked in a huge salon with 20 people it wouldn't be such a big deal, but when you have a really small group of people you need to make sure that you're all friendly with one another. I'd say for barbership owners that's probably the biggest challenge is your staff. And I personally have an awesome one.”


[Overhead hair dryer ambi]


Credit Karen Richards
Allie Ruch says the Mothership Salon has been growing in leaps and bounds.

My name is Allie Ruch and I own the Mothership Salon. We've been downtown Springfield for six years. We have a lot of people who come up from California to go to school here and the hair prices are actually cheaper here. We see right before they leave to go home for the summers, they want to come get their summer do. And then when they're coming back in, we see them right when they get here so that they can start out their new year.”


[clipping ambi]


Ruch: “It was very popular to have your very hair ashy over the last few years, and not a lot of warmth in the hair. We're actually seeing a trend more to warmth, copper tones, reds are making a comeback.”


[vacuum ambi]


Ruch: “Seventy-five percent of the job is seeing someone's demeanor change when you give them a style that they're absolutely in love with. We've had people break down and cry 'cause they were so happy. So, that's super rewarding."


Special thanks to Valerie at Perfect Look for help with the transition sounds. 

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.
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