Everyday people: Rother knows what to 'doThe average person gets a haircut 10 to 12 times a year. So most adults see their stylists more than they see their mother. And after all, who minds getting their hair washed?
By: Stacy Bengs, The Republican Eagle
The average person gets a haircut 10 to 12 times a year. So most adults see their stylists more than they see their mother. And after all, who minds getting their hair washed?
Stylist Lori Rother has been cutting, curling, highlighting, trimming, pinning, washing, drying and dying hair for almost 30 years.
Born and raised in Red Wing, she always knew what she wanted to do. “I started working on my Barbies when I was a kid,” Rother said with a laugh. “I gave them all bobs.”
Straight out of high school, she attended a beauty school in Rochester and came back to Red Wing.
“It is just something I always wanted to do,” Rother said of being a hair stylist. “It’s a cool job.”
A major highlight of her work — and not the kind she puts in hair — has been the evolving styles. “It’s been fun going from the big and curly look in the 1980s to mullets to more classic bobs and to long hair,” Rother said of the hairstyles over the decades.
After 27 years of working in a large salon, Rother decided to branch out on her own and now works from her rented booth in Cut-N-Edge salon located on Old West Main Street in Red Wing.
“I can be my own boss and have a flexible schedule,” she said.
Rother has been at Cut-N-Edge for two years where she shares the salon space with three other independent hairstylists.
Her lengthy career has given her many loyal heads of hair.
“For a lot of clients I started doing their hair on a booster chair,” she said, “and then for proms, weddings and now even their children’s hair or grandchildren’s hair.”
Rother said her two children, now grown, like her profession — depending on the day. “My daughter looks back at her pictures and doesn’t appreciate all the big bows on top of her head,” she added.
Big bows aside, few instances of disappointments cross Rother’s mind when thinking of a botched ‘do.
One of the most memorable cuts – or lack thereof – happened years ago when Rother gave one of her elementary school-aged regulars a Mohawk.
“He wanted to do something fun for homecoming,” she recalled.
Rother buzzed most of his head and left a centered stripe for styling, not expecting a problem. The next day she received a frantic call from his mother, explaining he was just was too embarrassed to even go into class with freshly dyed purple-tipped spiked stripe on his head.
“He was just mortified,” Rother said giggling. “We had to do an emergency head shave … it was funny.”
Despite that dilemma — which all involved laugh about today — her daily routine rarely produces a dull moment.
“You get to make people happy,” Rother explained, “boost their self-confidence and build friendships and relationships with clients.”
On average, she gives 30-40 haircuts per week. Most days average between 14 or 15 clients.
“It really is fun,” Rother said, adding that she enjoyed the connections she makes with clients, “You learn a lot of things about a lot of areas you never would know about — from careers to making contacts.”
When Rother’s hands are free, she trades her shears for a shovel. “I love gardening,” she said, “I usually do a flower garden and a veggie garden.”
Walking, reading and quality time with family and friends are also favorite pastimes of the hairdresser.
Rother has never considered another profession: “I think it’s the best job there is.”
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