Letter From The Editor

By:  Merilyn E. Ulrich, Contributing Editor/Senior Staff Writer The Hair Society

During the past three months I have worked for The Hair Society as editor and staff writer. This was a challenge for me because although I have written for a living for the past ten years or so I have never been involved with the hair restoration industry. The closest I have ever come to this profession is purchasing a long blonde wig for a Halloween party in the 60’s!! I was both a television/film script writer and a pop culture blogger. I blogged about politics, celebrities, crime and other controversial subjects and many times my words were angry and biting. I never expected to have to use that tone of voice (word) in writing for a hair restoration industry site. As I shall explain…I was wrong.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that this industry is a complex one with many facets. It is a complicated industry made up of various professionals and non-professionals who all contribute something to helping people look and feel better. Because of this, I find it a noble profession with good intentions.

I have interviewed three people for the site which included a trichologist with a PhD, a very well known pioneer in the industry and a hair transplant surgeon. I began my journey with The Hair Society by getting to know Vicki Burchfield and Christina Garner and they gave me a whole new prospective on what it means to go into a hair salon. They were and are both extremely positive and knowledgeable individuals.

My past experience was just like many other women who have their hair styled on occasion and most of the time it was a good experience. But, not all of the time. I have been treated like a Queen and treated like a peasant. Some stylists were interested in what I wanted and what I had to say and others completely ignored me and did what they wanted. Since I am the most aware person that I know regarding my own hair and features, the ones who failed to listen were usually not successful in pleasing me. I often went home to wash out their work and started from scratch. The successful ones are evidenced in any photos that I have ever posted anywhere or shown to anyone.

My interviews were a whole other matter…first, Dr. David Kingsley; a gentleman and a true teacher who made me want to know about something called Tricology. At first, I thought that was some kind of disease but he enlightened me quickly and made me a believer. What a lovely man and so interesting.

Then there was Sy Sperling. Would it be unprofessional of me to use words like adorable and sweet when referring to Sy? Well, he was all of the above as well as informative and fascinating. I really didn’t want the conversation to end and could have gone on listening for hours. Sy was a wealth of information and fun stories and I can’t wait to talk to him again.

My most current interview was with Dr. Alan Bauman, an MD and a hair transplant surgeon. Wow….this was a little scary since he is a doctor and I was trained to defer to doctors. A long time ago I was a nurse and the old school way was to stand whenever a doctor approached the nurse’s station….they always came first in the hierarchy of the medical staff and I knew my place. Dr. Bauman busted that myth for me as he also is determined to bust the myth of old school hair restoration (bad plugs, hair pieces and all of the other scary facets of old school ideas about hair loss and hair restoration). He was kind, willing to educate and his patients are lucky to have found him.

So what about the downside of the hair restoration industry that I have discovered in my short time working amongst you all? Yes, there is a downside and I have seen it. To paraphrase a very famous quote when the first men landed on the moon, ‘The ego has landed’.

I was taught from an early age that competition is a healthy thing and should be encouraged and used as a tool to learn from. Competition stimulates people to do better and to improve their services. Not so fast, Ms. Editor…not everyone shares your views!!

There are those who not only fear competition but who do everything in their power to destroy their competition. Instead of working together to better an entire industry, educate a very under educated public and make their industry more professional and highly thought of, they undercut at every opportunity and bad-mouth their competition. What does this accomplish? It makes the public (people like me), leery and weary of the whole profession and makes them hesitate to seek out services that are sorely needed. Who can they trust if one salon owner talks badly about another? If one person tells them that the services offered by a competitor are inferior who should they believe?

No one….that’s who. Why not work together to better the industry and welcome clients? Why not congratulate the successes and learn from them; commiserate over the mistakes and help to fix them…together?

Just my thoughts, ladies and gentlemen…..just the thoughts of a possible future client who recently noticed some thinning hair and might want to do something about it.

I am working for this web site because it offers all points of view and brings information and education to the masses and to the industry itself. It is not afraid to speak the truth and that counts for a lot in my book. It welcomes all members of the profession and encourages healthy dialogue.

Sure beats bad mouthing other sites or taking jabs at the competition. If I want to read about gossip and innuendo I’ll go to Radar on Line and I’ll be aware that what I am reading is mostly untrue and definitely unsubstantiated.

If I want a full and comprehensive view of the hair restoration industry I will continue coming to the Hair Society because I can absolutely verify the information published here because I fact checked a lot of it myself. I am a stickler for the facts and for sourcing so what I write may not be perfect or worthy of a Pulitzer prize…but it will be accurate.

As I continue my journey down the yellow brick road of hair restoration I will be anxious to see the brand new treatments and research that are being written about and tested, come to life. I will also be anxious to watch as the members of this profession who have so much to offer one another come together and make an already powerful and important industry even stronger through cooperation and commitment to excellence.

Thus far, all of the interviews that I have conducted have one thing in common…every interviewee has wanted to share their knowledge with all who come here. They have all been generous with their time and desirous of reaching out to others in their industry. Let them lead by example….it can’t hurt.