Pat Davis

Let me tell you a story about myself... Picture a scabby-kneed schoolgirl whirling through her playtime in hometown San Bernardino -- from tetherball to jump rope, from hopscotch to baseball with her brothers. After school. In the summer. That was me. And somewhere in between all that, this child was disappearing for curious little stretches, often to be found by her sisters in front of a mirror rearranging her hair, several times a day. I'd switch from one ponytail to two, then back to one atop my head. I'd put in a part, or take it out. I'd brush in some bangs, and then maybe sweep my hair across my forehead and back over an ear. Hey, it was style then! And it's back now!

My brothers didn't notice, but my older sisters would tease: "There she goes again! How many times a day are you going to change your hair?" My mother didn't tease, for she was highly pleased when I learned to press and curl my own hair at age 12. One less job for her, one wonderful joy for me.

Since then, hairstyling has continued being a lifelong joy. I went right from high school in San Jose, Ca., into a cosmetology program, finished that and was soon at one of the most prominent African-American salons in my new home, Oakland, Ca. It was a struggle at first, getting a career off the ground, working strictly on commission.

One of the main things I learned was the value of consistency - showing up for work every morning at 10, and staying all the way through for at least eight hours, whether I had any appointments or not. I figured that my job - my career - was something to take seriously, so I committed myself to a strong work ethic. I built my clientele one walk-in customer at a time, and five years after obtaining my license, I opened my own shop in downtown Oakland.

I have thrived ever since, embracing the challenge of keeping ahead of an ever-changing profession, expanding my repertoire with new techniques in color, braiding, extensions, chemical processes, and more. There are always new classes to take, new products to learn about. For me, hairstyling never gets old.

 
 

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