Frankfort Patch MVPs: We have been selecting professions around the village and asking readers to tell us their favorite people in those roles, so we can spotlight them.
Lindsey Sturm has a Chinese symbol tattooed on her inner left wrist that serves as a reminder of how she ended up in her career as a hairstylist.
"It symbolizes inner strength and love," said Sturm, a 2005 grad. "I think it's a good thing to remind yourself that we all have strengths. I had to decide if I wanted to continue college or go do what I loved. I took a lot of strength because you never know what's going to happen when you make a decision like that."
Pursuing what she loved meant putting college at Illinois State University aside and going to in New Lenox to become a stylist. It's a decision she doesn't regret. After graduating, Sturm began working at , the only salon she's styled hair in during her brief career.
Originally from Frankfort, Sturm moved to Chicago's South Loop in October with her boyfriend of two years, "for a change of scenery." But that doesn't mean she's bored with her hometown.
"I'm a suburbs girl, too," she said. "I love to come out to work here. I love Frankfort. I love going to the ( for lunch."
We talked with Sturm recently at Salon Vis a Vis, where she answered questions, took care of customers, joked with co-workers and demonstrated her mastery of one of the most cherished skills a stylist can have: the ability to multitask.
Why did you want to get into hairstyling?
STURM: When I was younger, I always liked doing hair and makeup. I was always doing hair for my neighbors. Their parents didn't like me very much (because) I was cutting their hair and putting makeup on their kids. I also did that to my dolls a lot and also to my sisters. It was just a calling at a young age.
What do you like about working at Salon Vis a Vis?
STURM: I love the atmosphere. I think we have one of the most comfortable salons I've ever been to in my life. There's not a lot of drama. We're all just more like family. We all know our clients very well. It's just like a very happy, comfortable atmosphere. ... I like the fact that (the salon) feels like home. It doesn't feel cold or sterile or corporate. I think the clients like that, too. I haven't had one client come in here and not comment on the atmosphere and the place and the decorations. Everyone just feels it.
What's the secret to being a good stylist?
STURM: I think it's huge to listen to your clients. I think you have to connect with them and make them feel comfortable with you. I mean, they're trusting you with their hair. Honestly, you have to be a good multitasker. I have to listen, and at the same time, I have to cut your hair, style your hair. ... There's a lot going on. We constantly have to keep moving with things. ... There are always things we have to learn and keep up on. It's not a boring job.
Do you have a signature cut or hairdo?
STURM: No, because I don't think hair is doing the same thing on every person. None of us cut the same way. We don't have one type of cutting or coloring. You're artists. Hairstylists are artists. ... You're not coming in getting a haircut that just came off the factory line.
What was your best experience as a stylist?
STURM: I have to say the one moment that sticks out, I had a woman that came in with a picture and said, "I really want this haircut, and my other stylist said I can't have it, and it can't be this color." I remember turning her around (after I was finished) and she started crying, and my heart dropped, because I was like "Oh my gosh, she hates this! This is horrible." She looked at me, and she said "I did not think I could ever look (this good)." And that was my best moment as a hairstylist.
What's the best part of the job?
STURM: I get to work with my best friends, and honestly, you become so attached to your clients you can't wait to see them. You find out what's going on in their lives. ... It's just coming to work and having a lot of fun. It's very rewarding. As long as I've been doing hair, I've never had a day where I've thought I don't want to work here. Even if it's a long day, we get each other through it and help each other out.
What do you like doing in your off time?
STURM: Like any hairdresser, I like shopping. I like being outside with my dogs any moment I can. I like to be outside with them.
What has been the most outrageous hairstyle you've had?
STURM: I have to say the most was having red hair. I really never cut my hair that crazy.
What's been the craziest hairstyle you've been asked to do?
STURM: There's this new thing called chalking where the ends of your hair are all these different rainbow colors. That was definitely kinda different. It turned out pretty cool. ... You get a lot of people asking you to make them look like celebrities.
What's the best story you've heard from a customer that you can tell?
STURM: What's said in Salon Vis a Vis, stays in Salon Vis a Vis.
What Customers and Co-workers Have to Say
"She treats me like a friend, not just like any old client. So it's nice to come here and have good conversations."
--Jennifer Gorga, who has been coming to Sturm for two years. Gorga has asked Sturm do the hair for her wedding in February 2013.
"What separates Lindsey (from other stylists) is her flexibility, so customer service is always first. She'll do everything she can to meet your needs and your time. Even if it's her day off, she'll come in. She's quick, but she doesn't make you feel rushed. ... She still makes it like a pampering experience."
--Priscilla DuBois, who has been Sturm's customer since 2008. When members of DuBois's family from Canada come to visit, they get their hair done by Sturm.
"I've been doing hair for 17 years, and Lindsey came here and taught me a lot. Just because you've been doing hair forever doesn't mean you don't learn a lot from each other."
--Alice Heitman, a fellow stylist whose sister, Sue Conlon, owns Salon Vis a Vis. The salon has been in Frankfort for eight years after moving from Palos, where it had been in operation for 12 years.
How to Get Your Hair Done By Lindsey Sturm
Sturm works at Salon Vis a Vis Tuesday through Saturday, but depending on her schedule, customers can make special appointments. Wednesdays are her late night when the salon offers Wine Wednesday, a chance for customers to sip a bit of vino while they get their hair styled ("We don't drink while we work," Sturm said).
Call 815-630-7940 or e-mail Lindzeks@yahoo.com to make an appointment with Sturm.