Everyone wants to feel gorgeous. Our differences make us special and we love to celebrate these differences in our salon community every day. However, sometimes life can throw us curve balls that shake our foundations. Cancer is one of those. Hello Gorgeous! of HOPE, Inc. works to change that, even for just a day.
That was the mission for Hello Gorgeous! CEO and founder, Kim Becker. As a 20-year seasoned stylist looking to take that next step, Kim and her husband, Mike, decided it was time for them to open their own salon.
“When we started the salon, my husband said to me he had the perfect name and that name was Hello Gorgeous,” Kim shared. “I told him, ‘that’s the stupidest name I’ve ever heard, we’re not naming it Hello Gorgeous.’ So, we named the salon Cheveux which means hair in French.”
Through the success that their salon brought them, Kim says that she always knew they were destined for something else. Ten years after opening their salon, Kim had the idea to create a beautiful, elegant mobile day spa that catered to women battling cancer like a queen for a day, to make them feel special at no cost to them.
“This was supposed to be called Hello Gorgeous. The salon was never meant to be called Hello Gorgeous. This was, because that’s how these women deserve to feel every day.”
From there, the Hello Gorgeous! program grew, and with it, the need to affiliate with salons from around the country to provide women from all over with a day of pampering they deserve.
Salons by JC is honored to partner with Hello Gorgeous! to bring women in our communities who are battling cancer a chance to regain control of what makes them feel gorgeous. Earlier this week, Kim Becker and Hello Gorgeous! Executive Salon Affiliate Coach Julene Franz made a stop to San Antonio to train and certify more than 40 salon suite owners to safely perform spa services on individuals undergoing treatment, complete with sanitation information, wig styling and care tips, and the importance of creating a memorable experience.
“There are a lot of precautions that have to be in place when you are doing spa services for a woman with a compromised immune system,” explained Salon Affiliate Coach Julene. “We want to make sure that not only are the makeovers consistent, but that it’s done safely so that we don’t interfere with her treatment or cause any infections.”
After the three-hour training session and certification process, Salons by JC officially became a part of the Hello Gorgeous Salon Affiliate program. As a part of the program, Salons by JC will be providing twelve Hello Gorgeous transformations throughout the year, as well as two fundraising events to provide future Gorgeous women with a life changing experience – an opportunity to regain the femininity cancer too often compromises.
The following day, Salons by JC was able to participate in bringing one of those life-changing days to survivor, fighter and gorgeous woman, Sonia di Leo. Sonia is a bright and funny woman currently battling Lymphoma. Between her treatments and weeks in the hospital, Sonia was nominated to receive the Hello Gorgeous! make over by her family.
“A woman battling cancer is eligible from the day she is diagnosed to six months post treatment,” Kim explained. “Recipients have to be nominated by family member or friend so that it’s a surprise. We stick very strongly to that because we have found that women are selfless. If I say, ‘let us give you a manicure’ the first thing we often hear is, ‘no, take my mom, because my mom has had to watch me go through this’ or ‘take my daughter because she takes me to every treatment.’ They would never accept the services for themselves, so we have to keep it a surprise.”
The day began at 9:30 in the morning, when an unsuspecting Sonia walked into Salons by JC at Huebner Commons. She was greeted by flowers, chocolate, a red carpet, and a big “HELLO GORGEOUS!” from the salon suite owners and Salons by JC team that would be pampering her throughout the morning. Her reaction said it all. From the family hugs and tears, to her wide smile and triumphant walk to her first spa service, Sonia was blown away with all the pampering she was about to receive. The salon suite owners began to guide her through her day, starting with a relaxing facial.
“The makeover includes a facial, manicure and pedicure, if she needs a wig we provide one, if she’s ready for cut and color we provide that,” said Kim, explaining the Hello Gorgeous experience. “Then we do her makeup and everything that is used during her visit, she gets to keep. All the makeup, all the skin care, all nail polish, she gets to take home with her.”
Sonia was treated to a deep and gentle facial, then continued to the proceeding phases of her Hello Gorgeous day. By this time into the Hello Gorgeous experience, Sonia’s smile was something permanent. Laughs were abundant and infectious and for a moment, the whole room forgot of Sonia’s struggles and allowed her to simply be Sonia.
After receiving all the spa services, the next step in Sonia’s Hello Gorgeous day was to pick out a new outfit. Hello Gorgeous partnered with Maurice’s women’s clothing boutique at Alamo Ranch to provide Sonia with several clothing options and accessories to go along with her new look. After a short deliberation, Sonia had picked a clear winner- a black and white striped t-shirt with a dark grey army jacket, white sneakers and distressed jeans rolled up at the bottom. She completed her look with a long feather necklace, some funky silver bracelets and a long navy-blue scarf and hat.
As her spa morning drew to a close, Sonia’s family and friends secretly gathered at Ajuua Mexican Grill to surprise her at the big reveal. Sonia had a mini-photo shoot with the team from Salons by JC and made her way to “grab some lunch.” Greeted by her family and friends that nominated her for the Hello Gorgeous experience, emotions flooded the room and in that moment, everyone was thankful for the simple gift of happiness and togetherness. Sonia made her rounds across the room, thanking everyone that had touched her heart and made her day one that she will not forget.
Both Kim and Julene agreed that it’s this moment that brings Hello Gorgeous it’s true meaning. If you ask Kim, she will tell you this was her calling all along.
“I feel this is something God asked me to do. There’s no way I would’ve ever come up with something of this scale. These women come back to us two and three years later saying their Hello Gorgeous day was one of the most memorable days of their lives.”
Julene responded in kind by saying, “It’s a heart thing. When you see a woman come in through your doors, sometimes bent over in pain, sometimes carrying a nausea bucket, and a mere three hours later they are walking and strutting their stuff like they’re doing fashion week in New York City on the catwalk… there are no words to explain that.”
Salons by JC is excited to continue bringing these kinds of life-changing experiences to our salon community and women affected by cancer. We cannot wait to bring this program to more Salons by JC locations and touch the lives of more deserving women in our communities.
If you would like to find out more information about Hello Gorgeous or would like to donate, you can check out their site at www.hellogorgeous.org .
About Salons by JC: In 1997, Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller began their journey to transform the beauty industry one salon suite at a time. Like most young entrepreneurs, they started out with a big idea, but had to learn how to start and run a business from scratch. After much perseverance and hard work, one year later, they opened Salons by JC in Dallas, TX in 1998, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists who were ready to break free from the traditional salon model. The company has since moved its headquarters from Dallas to San Antonio, where it continues to grow through franchising. Today, Salons by JC has over 87 locations in 24 states and Canada. For more information, visit salonsbyjc.com or salonsbyjc.com/franchise