Robin Carlisle of Holiday Hair Studio

Best of 2011's Creative People, Living Green


How do people live green in their everyday life? What motivates and inspires them? In Re-Nest's new column, Creative People, Living Green, I interview interesting people I meet to find out their habits, thoughts, creative pursuits, business ventures, and green living wisdom.

Robin styles hair out of a powder pink vintage trailer she gutted, fixed up and transformed into the sweetest salon. Her goal was to create a slightly French, feminine, soft space to make her clients feel beautiful and cared for. The vibes here are as good as the chocolates she serves with each cut! See more photos below:

Holiday Hair Studio started as a dream several years ago. Then the food cart explosion happened in Portland, and Robin's idea could not be contained any longer. She located a 1964 Kenskill Rambler off Craigslist and transformed the disheveled trailer into a sparkling pink pumpkin of a salon. Her husband also helped build a beautiful deck leading up to the salon which they plan on hosting string bands at for the summer season.

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The inside of the space is cozy and warm. With pink curtains, a vintage vanity, old records and a few paintings (Robin is also a very talented painter), you feel as if you're walking into a whimsical lady palace. Men and children are welcome here as well, but it really appealed to my inner girly girl. Robin is truly an artist, who managed to make a beautiful, unique experience out of something very humble and ordinary.

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Green Profile

Name/Occupation: Robin Carlisle, Owner/Stylist, Holiday Hair Studio 

What does a typical day look like?
Usually I wake up to my husband abusing the snooze button, and a stowaway furnace of a 4 year-old in our bed with his heel in my spine. At this point (usually around 6:30 am) I am happy to escape the "comfort" and warmth" of my bed. I sneak out and tiptoe-run down stairs for a precious few moments of silence and the first of many cups of coffee. These moments quickly dissolve into quick kisses from the Mr. and a rotating artillery of getting dressed games with the wee one. From there it is breaky, brush and go. Drop off at co-op preschool and then I am off to the the Hair Studio—which I am pretty sure I created as a sort of an enchanted oasis, of beauty and calm!— It is quite likely that I may have been the one in need of a holiday when I dreamed up this little cart. Don't get me wrong; my days with my son are absolutely filled with beauty! But rarely are they calm. 

Once aboard Holiday I plug in twinkly lights, iPod and a tiny space heater (which takes about 3 minutes to heat the whole place). I put on a pot of tea and prepare for my first client. Once she (or he) has arrived I offer them a special treat, a sweet morsel form which ever-local artisan chocolateer, baker or confectionery I am featuring in the shop for the week. We discuss the client's needs/likes/wants and equally as important what they don't want. After the consultation we begin the service, which ranges from hair-cutting and color services to styling lessons and Quinoa Keratin treatments. During the service we chat and tell stories, get to know each other a bit and somehow (gratefully) often end up laughing. Each of us finishes the service with BIG smiles!

Seriously, most of the time, no matter how reserved the client, when they are done and I give them that final twirl in the chair they feel really good about themselves and are smiling ear to ear. And I feel really good too, for them and about the work I've done. It is pretty amazing the job that I have, and the way I can help share someone's beauty with them. When they go bouncing back into the world, I get to do it all again! Showing people just how pretty they are, that is what I do, and I LOVE IT! Surprisingly, after a long day of work I often feel refreshed and I get to go home and share even more beauty with my family.

At home it's dinner and playing, bathing and jammies then bedtime stories and singing songs our parents sang to us. I feel really fortunate to have this be my typical day. And then there are those not so typical days of bill paying, lost keys, dead cellphones and irritants such as these... But even those are good enough.

The term "green living" can be so generic. What does it mean to you?
Doing your personal best. Being aware of your impact. Knowing that you effect the world. No matter how small an effort, what you do does matter. And because of that knowledge and in conjunction with the tiny efforts sprinkled around the world a bigger difference can be made.

What inspires you?
People, nature, beauty, emotions.

The one thing you can't live without:
LOVE.

Favorite quote or personal mantra you live by?
"All you need is love, love, love. Love is all you need"  - The Beatles

Thanks Robin for showing us your hair studio and talking to us about your work (and also thanks to Kate, the adorable gal getting her hair cut in the photos)!

Visit Holiday Hair Studio: Holiday Hair Studio

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross. Originally published 2011-07-19)

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