Courtesy Photo
Paula Reed is retiring after more than 38 years in the beauty business.

Paula Reed is more than a cosmetologist. She’s a friend, she’s a therapist, and she’s a keeper of secrets.

Paula, who is hanging up her scissors after 38 years in the beauty business has heard it all in her career. Joyful announcements, divorces, small-town scandals and just the laughter of people who sit in her chair.

“I have always admired Paula’s sense of privacy and loyalty to her clients. She is a confidant, friend, motivator, cheerleader, mentor, therapist and biggest supporter. Whenever the school or community has needed something, she’s never hesitated to back them by donating and rallying behind any/every cause. Retirement is well-deserved. Enjoy it, embrace it and do what you want because you can,” Tricia Schumann congratulated her hairdresser.

She isn’t the only one. Under her direction, Reed has led and learned from many cosmetologists and manicurists within the last 30-plus years. “Patty Del Porto, Sandy Oberhansli, Merry Gonzales, Starla Bisiaux, Nikki Bailey, Chris, Kellie Zuniga, Holly Pellett (who referred to Paula as “The Oprah of Hawthorne”), Kori Polstein, Jana Stingerie, Corinna Scott, Lori Collins, Joey Montoya Taylor, Jamie Montoya, Donna Guinn, Tabitha Pellett, Arlene Johnson, Paula Garner, Diana Reeves, Tracy Adams, Tammy Adams, Mandee White, Jessica Hughes, Jillian Hughes, Amanda Baldry, Amber Rose, Teresa Bruner, Tonja Lyle Hughes, Cindy Kellison, Carmen Head, Ricky Blackman, Robert (Bob), Joshua Little, Susie Morrow, C.C. Montoya, Christina Janis, Erica Noble, Megan Gallup and Telayna Reed all left many moments I cherish,” Paula fondly recalls.

“I want to say thank you to Paula for teaching me so many things I did not know about the beauty industry for the last seven years. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am at today. I am grateful for her. I want to make her proud and continue to service anyone who sits in my chair and help make them feel beautiful and handsome like she did. (I know I have many more years to catch up.) I think we all can say P&P Hair Designs will just not be the same with not seeing her there every day, but she has earned it. I wish her well on her new adventure called retirement,” stated Janis who still works with Paula.

As for clients, Paula has taken care of her clients in and out of the salon, home bound friends, weddings out of town, helping those in the nursing home and the hardest; she explained is to work with her clients after they have passed away, in honor of the friendship that was made in her chair. She feels that it is an honor to help those customers to resemble their old selves at their funerals.

The job of a cosmetologist is more than doing hair and nails. Many cosmetologists take a client who comes in feeling bad about themselves, fix her up both physically and mentally, maybe cry a little and the client walks out the door holding her head higher and feeling better about herself.

Paula explained to the Independent-News, after being asked why it’s important for a woman to come into P&P Hair Designs and get pampered? “You only get one chance to take care of yourself. When you look good, you feel better! Man or woman.”

Carol Munger, retired school teacher and longtime client of Paula’s wrote to her, “No more hours and hours of blow drying – yeah! It’s been 1,240 plus hours you’ve spent on my hair to get it dry. You are so appreciated. You will be missed so much.”

Paula is a Hawthorne native who knew she wanted to become a hairdresser when as a little girl; she would give all her dolls and Barbie’s haircuts.

“I can still remember the shag I gave one of my dolls. It was time for Beauty College,” Paula fondly remembered.

Following the advice of her friend, Paula was told that she only needed a tenth grade education to enter beauty school. She said good-bye to Mineral County High School and hello to Beauty College.

“I then went back to high school and finished what I started,” she explained.

In her 38 years of changing styles and colors, Paula recalls some of the biggest changes she has seen in the business.

“Shampoo sets are becoming a lost art. Change comes with different generations. When I started doing hair years ago, it seemed people needed to get their hair fixed because they couldn’t fix it themselves. Now, most people get their hair done because they want to. Just as I’m going out – mullets are coming back in,” Paula laughs.

“Paula is one of the most caring and hardworking people I have had the pleasure of working for. When I decided to go to school for nails, I wanted to work for her, this is the best job I have ever had and am sad to see her go,” currently employee Megan Gallup told the Independent-News.

When asked why she chose March 6 to retire, she explained that it is because P&P Hair Designs was opened on March 6, 1990. She tells a story that while going through paperwork pertaining to Joe’s Tavern, the bar her father Joe owned for years, she was taken back when she found out that it too, had opened their doors on March 6.

P&P Hair Designs will be left in good hands. Paula’s daughter Telayna will be heading the ship with co-worker Christina by her side. Both girls know that Paula will be right there to help handle any crisis but Paula knows that she is leaving the business in great hands.

Telayna fondly speaks of her mother, “To the woman who has taught me all I know in life and behind the chair – your passion and drive to be the best you can, has taught me to always do my best. Your love for people has taught me to find the good in everyone. Your hard working personality has taught me I can do anything I set my mind to. I just want to say thank you for molding me into the woman I am today. I hope to one day be just as successful as you. Love you Mom. You deserve this.”

Paula won’t be leaving Mineral County – instead she wants to take time and write a book. An avid golfer, she wants to improve her game, clean out her home, enjoy her many grandchildren and just do whatever comes her way.

On Friday, March 6, P&P Hair Designs held an open house from 4-6 p.m. in Paula’s honor as she celebrates her last day behind the chair.