The custom stained triangle

I love telling stories of how things came to be, especially about Cannon Beach Salon and The Union Knot. I like to share how our space transformed and the details of how each piece came into play. I think the reason I like to share is that everything in our shops is very all has purpose and/or meaning. And if something is a little off, it has reason. If something doesn’t seem just quite right, or a little out of place, it has a story. I’m going to share a little story about one such thing. It’s probably going to be long but stay with me, it’s a good one. Here we go...



Just this week we had a day. A day that we couldn't do anything about. Some days you can try to salvage and others you just have to laugh and make the best of it. This was definitely a “laugh and make the best of it” kind of day.

It all started with Brigitte and her client (who, btw, is a rock star and was the absolute best during this whole disastrous, yet seriously awesome, day in history at CBS!). The last time this particular client was in, she got a beautiful soft strawberry blonde kind of red that was absolutely stunning. She, of course, wanted to do the same thing this appointment. Brigitte was 95% sure of the formula she used last appointment, but wants to double check the client color card before she just jumps right in. Problem is...this clients color card is nowhere to be found. Now, before we go any further I must tell you that we have two FULL boxes of color cards!! Like, eight hundred million index cards filled with formulas of our clients. We have a computer scheduling system (which is still fairly new to us) that DOES have the capacity to hold those notes, HOWEVER, it’s all the hours and the days and the weeks and the months of inputting all that information into the system that we haven’t quite tackled yet. We will eventually get there...but as of this moment in time, we’re not there yet. So, after not being able to find the card, Brigitte goes with what she is pretty darn positive was the color she used last appointment. But of course, as luck would have it on this particular day (and only on this day because that’s just how this day had to go down) we are out of that color. Brigitte checks everywhere: the drawer, the cupboard, the overflow storage container, the overflow cabinet and even the extra storage cabinet in the bathroom. She checked EVERYWHERE!! It’s gone. We have none. Zip, zero, zilch. We be out.


In the meantime, Stephanie is STILL searching for the client card (because let’s face it, at this point it’s just baffling and we are now on a mission. After all, it couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air, right?!) and I am with my own client. Now, I have a situation unfolding of my own while this is happening. I have a client who is naturally very dark and she is greying. She is very adventurous and we have done numerous cuts and colors throughout our last several years together. She currently has a very short haircut and is all over platinum blonde. We use an “on the scalp bleach” to lighten her roots every 3 weeks. (And for all you professionals out there, don’t get your Judgey McJudgerson pants on! Yes it’s bleach. Yes we have tried other products. Yes I use a bond builder. Yes, yes and yes. We know what we are doing. We have tried everything under the sun, this client and I, and we are good. We got this.) The particular product I normally use has been out of the developer I need that for at least 2 months. I tried another developer of thiers the last time and it just didn’t give us the results we were looking for. The product line was recently bought out by a large company in order to mass produce their products and get them in that hands of more stylists nationwide (“worldwide” really) which is great BUT, tiny little places like our small coastal town in the PNW just can’t get our hands on the products. So, the long and short of it is, I’m explaining to my client that we are going to be using a different product today. Same procedure, same results, just different product line. I explain to her that it says right on the packaging “on the scalp”. I absolutely love this product for foiling, and use it quite often, but I have never applied it directly to the scalp. Im telling her this so that she lets me know if it starts burning or if we wash it out and it’s not quite right, we know that it’s because we used something different and we adjust accordingly. Consultation is key and extremely important and I, personally, believe it's what makes the service.

Brigitte has since got out the color swatch book and the two of us (I’m now done with my consultation and on my way to mix her formula) have come up with a concoction of our own that would be the same as the MIA color that was “hopefully” the last color used on Brigittes client.

(((I’ll pause a minute while you catch your breath)))

* Also, side note, this is exactly why we take Chemistry classes in beauty school.


So, we gather everything up, write down the formula, and Brigitte gets to mixing. She’s got her color bottles out, the developer ready, the bowl has met the scale and she starts mixing. Im behind her grabbing my own supplies: a color bowl, a whisk, a brush and so on. Stephanie is in front of Brigitte (this is all happening at the front desk/check out counter/ mixing station) on the computer and possibly the phone (it’s all a blur really...and if truth be told, Stephanie is STILL graciously looking for that darned card!) and my 14 year old daughter is, bless her heart, taking coffee orders (we have a God sent coffee shop directly behind the shop). It’s a lot right? I know. But if I’m honest here, that’s the way we function every day. It’s kinda just the life of a salon. And’s quite fun. It’s a good energy and it usually flows pretty efficiently.


But on this day, this particular day, it was different.


In slow motion, as these things usually go, the bowl of color that Brigitte has made basically just spills itself.


Our custom made, on point, absolutely perfect color spills all over the counter. (((gasp!! I know, right?!?!)))


Brigitte has this look of shock on her face that says both “OMG, what just happened?!” and “Seriously?! Seriously?! Like, what the what?!”


I think we all just stared at it for half a second like maybe it would rewind in slow motion, just as it did in forward motion, and put itself right back into the bowl. It did not. It did not put itself back in the bowl. Matter of fact, it kept moving. It ran down under the glass that holds our price sheets and it soaked into the fabric that we have as decoration under the glass. Best part is this:


During our latest upgrade to the salon, we did some construction. One small detail, that made a huge difference, was to this particular counter at the front of the shop. You see, when I first opened this shop, my dad custom made me my front counter. I gave him ideas of what I wanted and measurements of thing I needed the counter to hold (mini fridge, microwave, my bags, my purse, some filing drawers and so on)  as well as how tall/wide I wanted it. I wanted glass over the top to put my price sheets/notifications under as to not take up room on the top (where it would likely display those documents in picture frames and such). In order to achieve what I was after, without it being too bulky and heavy, my dad made it in 2 pieces.


The way the shop is laid out, those 2 pieces sat at a funny angle for a very long time. The wall and the back counter that hold the sink are not in symmetry. They weren’t equally parallel. That was fine when it was just me in the shop but as it grew and more stylists were added, it became an issue of trying to SQUEEZE more than one person behind the counter. So to fix this, Brigitte’s husband (being the amazingly talented guy that he is) came up with a solution. He made a custom fit triangle that popped that second counter piece out just enough that we can easily fit more than one person at a time back there. The top piece is flush with the top of the counter and along the inside, facing us,  it has shelves for us to use as we see fit. It was only matter of inches but it changed the game entirely. I tell you this because when he put it in, he didn’t paint it or stain it or anything. It’ just raw. Raw, open, untreated, unstained, unpainted wood.


Until now.  (((insert sideways Katie grin here)))



That color could have spilled anywhere but it didn’t. It could have been directly on top of and, therefore contained to only to, the glass but it wasn’t. Heck, it could have been mixed at the sink and just easily wiped up off the rockin piece of laminate that decorates the sink but nope. It wasn’t and it didn’t. It spilled right onto that perfect triangle of the only raw service anywhere remotely close to that bowl.

So you know what I did?

I grabbed the towel and I rubbed it in.

I rubbed it all over the whole triangle.


That triangle was built with love to be the smallest solution to the biggest problem and it’s now been stained accidentally on purpose with a lovely shade of custom mixed color to resemble a 7KG. And you know what? I kinda sorta hope it stays that way because I kinda love it. What I love most is that, as I was rubbing it in, we were all laughing. We laughed so hard I almost cried. I kept saying it was fine and it was great the whole time Brigitte is trying to clean up and REMIX a new batch of color, the whole time shaking her head in disbelief. And I kid you not, Brigitte got her color mixed up lickety split and just I started to mix mine for my “on the scalp bleach” client, the bleach jumps out of the container and onto my apron. It looked like when you’re baking and the mixer turns on too fast and your whole front is covered in flour. Only my whole front was not flour, it was blue bleach powder. And guess what...we laughed some more. Actually, we were still laughing from the color spill so technically, we just laughed harder I guess.

My “advice” that  I’m going to tell you next is not about being careful or about being cautious and watching what you are doing. I’m going to tell you the REAL lesson in this fiasco:



Surround yourself with good people. Build your tribe with people who lift you up, people who embrace your imperfections and your mistakes and celebrate who you are. Surround yourself with people who can laugh WITH you not AT you and people who make you feel like you are the best version of yourself. It’s not good to be with people who criticize you and bring you down or people who act like you are a burden. Nobody wants to be surrounded by people who make you feel like you are annoying or can’t do anything right. Create a positive circle. Laugh. Smile. Shake it off. Life is imperfect. Embrace it. It’s what gives us character...just like the triangle.




Summer in full swing

 It’s July...

The doors to The Union Knot are open and full of brides, as well as their families and friends. We couldn’t be happier. We love this! We love the space we have created, we love the energy, we love the people, we love the love. Weddings can be a nightmare to deal with, yes, but they can also be a magical time. It’s all about how you embrace that situation. We have met some really incredible people and have been allowed to share in what some would call the “best day” of their lives. That’s a pretty spectacular honor and we consider ourselves lucky.


In the midst of the hustle upstairs, the Cannon Beach Salon has been bustling downstairs. As owners of both The Union Knot and the Cannon Beach Salon, Brigitte and I have had our hands full. In the last month and a half we have opened our doors to The Union Knot where we hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony/open house, we have gone to Las Vegas for the International Hair and Beauty Show, we have gathered ourselves and our people and and showed our love for our town as we walked beside our hand decorated vehicle full of kids throwing candy in our small town parade, and we attended a cutting class in Portland where we received one on one time with an incredibly humble and talented educator in our field. I can’t speak for Brigitte, or even the rest of our crew, but I will say this on behalf of myself: I am tired. I am wore out. I am all sorts of scatterbrained. I am a little nervous and, if truth be told, a bit scared of the present. But I will say this as well: I feel fueled. I feel inspired. I have an amazing business partner and I trust 100% that she has my back. I am not alone. I may be nervous and I may be scared but I am also excited for what I already see on the horizon.


We have a summer full of weddings ahead of us, as well as our everyday cut/color/waxing/lash clients of downstairs and we couldn’t be happier about that. Our calendar keeps expanding as we receive phone calls and emails of events for next year and that makes us excited. We may be tired but we live for this! So...when conducting your search, whether that be for your upcoming event such as a wedding or family reunion, or simply finding the right stylist for your cut and color, remember these things:

Be patient with us, we are doing the very best that we can. And also: we really do love what we do.




Union Knot

Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting 


Vegas 2018

International Hair and Beauty Show 

4th of July Parade ~ 2018