Two weeks ago, unexpected circumstances prompted Annette Haines and Michelle Hier to leave the McLean salon where they had both worked for 19 years. The two friends teamed up to form the partnership of Hier and Haines, and did not waste a moment in looking for a new home. Ashley Graling, a 2003 graduate of McLean High School, also worked at the same McLean salon as Haines and Hier, and chose to leave when they did to join them in their new business endeavor.
Driving down Old Dominion Road in McLean, they spotted a sign that said "Booths For Rent" in the window of Lisalon in the Chesterbrook area, and decided to investigate. Lisalon was opened in 1993 by a hairdresser named Lisa, and was purchased in October of 2005 by Chinese immigrant couple Lucy and Barry Cui. The salon serves a large number of clients from Vinson Hall and subsequently has clients that come from several generations of families.
"They have welcomed our family to theirs, and we call it our blend of old and new," said Haines.
Hier, Haines and Graling are working independently of Lucy and Barry Cui, and the two hairdressers who work for them, but all of them are sharing the same space in totally harmony. The three women said that they have been overwhelmed by the community's support of their sudden move.
"It's been amazing," said Haines. "Our community has helped us, our families have helped us, other businesses have helped us."
Michelle Hier's ex-husband owns a salon in Oakton, and upon hearing about her change in circumstances, promptly offered to let her come by and take whatever she needed from his supplies. Even their clients offered to help out, volunteering to shampoo hair and answer phones.
"It's just been unbelieveable," said Hier.
The three women are bringing the latest hairdressing and coloring skills to Lisalon, and Michelle Hier specializes in Great Lengths hair extensions and Thermal Reconditioning.
"We want to bring back that small town beauty shop feel, with a new innovated salon twist," said Haines. "Lucy said that the one thing she cared about is that everybody here is happy, and she did not want that to change, and it really is like that. It's just been so nice to be happy all the time... I feel like I've come home."
Number of years in the community. I was born and raised in Arlington and McLean.
Family. I'm married to the love of my life, my high school sweetheart Jim. My only child is my poodle Ellie.
Current job/primary occupation. I began my career from the bottom up. At the age of 13 I started out as a shampoo girl in 1974 at Morgan's Hair Design in Arlington. I went through the apprenticeship program and got my license in 1978. I graduated from Yorktown High School the same year. Things were different then, and I learned the true art of hair design and movement under the close supervision of Mary Morgan –– who at 82 was a master hair designer of her time. Many of these techniques are a lost art today. In 1982 I started working in Paul Mitchell shows, and by 1985, I became a platform artist and got to work with Paul Mitchell himself until 1988 –– something few can say, especially after Paul passed away. I have had other advanced education with Wayne Grund, Toni & Guy, Goldwell Color USA, Brocato Int., Vidal Sasson, and many others.
Achievements. My specialties are fine hair, coloring to the cut, creating a believable look.
Mentors. My mom Betty, my 10th grade teacher from Yorktown High School Betty Hargraves, and Mary Morgan who taught me GREAT hair.
Favorite restaurant. McLean Family Restaurant and J. Gilberts.
What are your community concerns? My concern for the community is to help with positive growth, but at the same time, respect the history of the old.
What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? The hidden treasure of our community is the small town simple feel that most of the businesses have.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" I started out as a shampoo girl at 13 and am now 46 –– I know no other career and am on my fourth generation of clients.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to still be walking the earth and being as creative as I am now.
Personal goals? Stay positive, keep and open mind and stay on top of the beauty industry.