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About Barbara Kimmell...

Up do I grew up in St. Helens, OR, a small mill town north of Portland. We moved there when I was 2 years old.

When I was 5 years old I would stand behind my Mother on the couch and brush her hair and experiment with rollers and clips. At the age of 11 I would spend hours in the bathroom styling my hair sometimes adding hairpieces. Mom said she never new what I was going to look like. All I wanted for my 14th birthday was this short dark wig from the drugstore. I even wore my wig and hairpieces to Junior High School. Imagine that!

Thirteen years of age was when I knew I was going to become a hairdresser. I was determined. In High School I took painting lessons from a family friend. She tried to talk me out of Beauty School. She felt I should do something else with my artistic ability and was afraid I’d get stuck in a small town beauty shop.

When I was a senior in high school my Mother and I Looked at Beauty Schools in and around Portland. We were at the University Beauty School in St. Johns and the owner told us to check out the ‘Trimmers’ at the Lloyd Center Meier and Frank. She said it was the direction salons were headed –quick service salons they were called. It was really hip and I knew immediately that’s where I wanted to work.

My boyfriend of 2 ½ years asked me to marry him after high school. My Dad was concerned about me having a career to fall back on. I assured him I was going to Beauty School. I got married, moved to Corvallis. In January 1975 I started school at Phagan’s Beauty School and graduated 14 mos. later one of their prize students. I landed my first job at the oldest most established salon in town. Marjorie Hart had been in the Beauty Business forty years and owned the Benton Beauty Salon located in The Benton Hotel. When I left for Portland 9 mos. later she paid me the best compliment. She said she’d never seen anyone build a clientele as fast as I did and if I was ever looking for work in Corvallis again she’d be happy to have me.

My first interview for a job in Portland was with the District Manager of all the Meier and Frank salons. Edna Smith was a larger than life Texan sitting at a hairdryer and had just gotten her nails done. That is where my interview took place. After 20 min. she said, ”You look like ‘Trimmer’ material, when do you want to start?” I started my first job in Portland 2 weeks later on February 14, 1977 at the downtown Meier and Frank ‘Trimmers’.

A large company out of New York called Seligman and Latz owned the salons at Meier and Frank. I worked 2 years at Meier and Frank and then they transferred me to Charles F, Berg to manage the ‘Trimmers’ there. I was there for 2 more years. During that time I traveled to London to the International Hair Show. What an eye opener for a small town girl!

In January 1981 I was hired at a full service salon called ‘Cydne the Salon. I was there 14 mos., the shortest time on any job.

I organized the Hair Salon inventory and ordered supplies because there wasn’t any organization. Eventually I was asked to be Styles Director. I left there in the spring of 1982 to lease a chair at ‘Me Hair Design’. I was there for 12 ½ years and worked with a great bunch of hairdressers. In the summer of 1994 it was time to move on and I started leasing a chair at Yamhill Hair. I was there for about 9 ½ years. In 2003 the owner was closing the salon. It was time for something new.

Every place I’ve worked has added something to my life. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the best in Portland.

I have attended Trade Shows and Continuing Education classes to keep up with Current Trends and Techniques throughout my career. Beauty school just gives you the basics, getting out there is where you really learn how to do hair, just as we learn how to live life. back to top