In the competitive business of hair salons, you need to do your best each time you serve a client. This includes creating a bond between hairstylist and client. There are times when building such a relationship can create a challenge. It is a challenge Tracy Stryker of Salon Allegra accepts without complaint. Tracy finds forming and building relationships with her clients comes easy to her. Her personality and experience come from years of working in hair salons, and from parents who encouraged her to discover a variety of jobs. After a family tragedy, Tracy travelled earlier in her life, to Toronto, then eventually to Europe, the Deep South and out west. This was a time of travel and education, as she learned about herself, and other people. Punctuality, appropriate dress, and ongoing education were instilled in Tracy, as she developed skills in the understanding people’s needs. Her time as an educational assistant and raising a family also gave her insight to understand those with special needs. “The most important thing to remember while building a relationship is to listen to each client’s specific needs,” she says. “It’s their time while in the salon, so I give them my undivided attention.” When clients book an appointment at Salon Allegra, a confidential contact information card is filled out. Tracy makes sure she knows if there are any special concerns or conditions. Likes and dislikes about services are discussed. She says there are no “regular” clients. Tracy says, “Everyone has specific needs.” Non-verbal clients use their electronic devices to communicate with Tracy, just like they would with others every day. If a child is more hyper than usual, Tracy engages the child in the hair cut in a calm, relaxed manner. This is because of safety, as she is working with sharp shears (scissors.) Often clippers can be used on boys’ hair as a safe option for a good haircut. When clients have issues with their backs and necks, Tracy automatically adjusts the shampoo basin. Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients often require two people to accompany the client. For those who don’t like, or want, to chat, Tracy will work in silence. She changes the music in the salon to go with each client’s tastes or moods (or if they want music at all.) Sometimes a client will have a terminal illness, and will ask to not talk about it. Tracy will agree to that so the client will have an enjoyable experience. Tracy makes eye contact with clients during each consultation, and even if the client has been coming for several years, Tracy will still ask questions to ensure the best service possible is given. Since most appointments are spaced out and one-on-one, there are usually no other people around to distract or disrupt. Even when families arrive, they can read and relax in the comfy waiting area while each member gets the attention they deserve. This gives Tracy and her clients’ time to build that special, solid relationship. “People like to be treated with dignity,” says Tracy, and at Salon Allegra you can expect nothing less.