© 2019 by Alicia at Maxwell Salon 

#AYearofReal “My castle crumbled overnight, I brought a knife to a gun fight”....

Updated: Jan 8

Anyone who’s been following my blog or social media can probably guess that I’ve been going through some tough shit. I’m the first to admit that last year, I weathered the storm by sticking my head in the sand, and not coming out until I was ready. Well I’m ready now, and I have a lot to say, and a lot to accomplish this year, so buckle up, and stay tuned.

My whole world fell down and it forced me to put up or shut up. I’m still here. I’m still killing it. Call it a comeback if you want, because in a lot of ways I was lost for a while. How this project came to be: One day in November I was walking June, (I get a lot of my best idea’s while walking the dog) and I got thinking...I wanted to end 2018 on a healing note, and I wanted to give myself and my team a beautiful gift that they could look at and know, though times get hard, we get through it, and we’re all going to be ok. I’ve always been a lover of photography so this photo shoot seemed like a natural fit. We would have an opportunity to create, through hair and makeup, and portray what this year has felt like for us. After that, it all happened very quickly. I contacted Robbi Perez (photographer)-https://www.facebook.com/anxstlife who was excited to take on this very personal project for us. We did some storyboarding, had some conversations, and boom! We had ourselves a photoshoot scheduled.

Photoshoot day: My heart was SO happy on the day of the shoot. We decided to use my apartment, and in a way, that felt really cathartic for me. I recently made the decision to move in with a roommate for a while to save money for a home, and I was really struggling with giving up my space. Using my little corner of the world as the backdrop for this beautiful project was the perfect send off for my perfect little bachelorette pad. More than that though, seeing my team bringing their visions to life was... I’m having trouble finding the words, because it was everything I ever wanted for my career.

Maxwell Salon history lesson: A lot of people don’t know this, but when I made the decision to open Maxwell Salon, it was not because I dreamed of being a salon owner, or even because I felt I was ready. It was out of necessity. Let me explain. I wanted to work in an unpretentious environment where like-minded people could work together, be creative together, and support each other fiercely, and at that time, it didn’t exist in Kitsap County.

When we first opened, it felt that way, for a little while. We had some really good years. It took about 5 years, but eventually I realized, that who I thought was my biggest ally turned out to be a very sick person, and one of my own team members, who I had invested so much in, tried to destroy me from within my own business. This kind of thing happens all the time. I was just naive enough in the beginning to think that if I treated my employees well, and paid them fairly, we could all have a great time doing what we love in a beautiful environment, and ride off into the sunset like the badass, rich hairdressers we would be. It wasn’t real. I found out eventually, that people would use my salon for their own personal gain, and then leave me “holding the bag” and the bills. It hurt. I was angry for a long time. I wanted to quit, because I couldn’t foresee a time when this wouldn’t be the case.

Fast forward to now, (because I’m trying not to dwell on the past) for the first time in Maxwell Salon history, I have no doubts about if someone on my team is trying to hurt me. I don’t have to guess who the instigator is, because there are none. These people have seen me at my lowest points in the past 2 years, and they didn’t run away. They had faith in me to pull through, and because of them, I will. For the first time in our history as a salon, they lifted me up instead of trying to tear me down. And for that, I am forever grateful. What do my photos mean to me? I created a hard, shiny, pretty shell around myself to protect from all the ways life was hurting me, but those stones that are thrown, they still hurt. When people speak hateful, untrue things about me, it hurts me. Underneath the shell, I’m actually an extreme empath. I literally feel other people’s pain sometimes. That’s why I had to put up the force field, but the problem with that is, the hard outer shell, can mess with my bullshit-o-meter sometimes. While I was busy trying to pretend I felt nothing, people were actively grabbing chunks of my business and calling it their own. Not in a way that made me proud, because they were taking ownership, in a way that made me scared, because they were trying to take it away from me. In our new salon space, you’ll see that I intentionally made sure that I put myself prominently back into the business. It feels amazing to have a team who supports me in those decisions and doesn’t try to make me feel bad for claiming what I’ve worked so hard for. In the past, I’ve been made to feel like I should hide the vulnerable parts of myself away, but in these past two years, my team has taught me that it’s ok to be who you are, and show your vulnerabilities sometimes, we are all only human. Even me.

Be kind to each other, there’s enough success out here for all of us, if we’re willing to do the work. There is no need to stomp on people, and lie, cheat and steal your way to success; and if you do choose the dishonest path for yourself, my guess is that any success you achieve will always feel hollow and undeserved, because it is.

Please check out our Instagram pages @MaxwellSalon and @StylistAlicia for more photos and a behind the scenes look at creating these gorgeous images. ❤️✌🏻 -Alicia