Bonnie Findlay has been surrounded by hair clippings since before she could walk.
Now at the age of 19 it might seem almost natural that she would stand alongside her mother Barbara Findlay, as the newest stylist at Heads Above the Rest.
Mother Barbara shared the joy it brings her to see her daughter picking up the trade, which she personally has enjoyed for the past 30 years.
“I wanted to work outdoors,” Barbara said of her early aspirations. “So I had a lawn mowing service in my twenties… and I worked for Ferrarese’s like everybody else in town.”
The long time stylist shared that the extreme heat and weather conditions of the Central Valley prompted her to look for other opportunities.
“What else could I do that I could be my own boss,” Barbara shared. “And ... I thought let’s give this a try. So I went to California Beauty College.”
Close to 15 years ago the elder stylist partnered with Cris Bartholomew as co-owner of Heads Above the Rest at its 417 E. F St., Oakdale location.
“It’s got us through so much, even the bad times,” the shop owner said of her daughter’s choice in the trade. “You can always depend on this job because there are girls that may not get their nails done, but they’ll get their hair done. They may not color, but they’ll always pay to get it styled or they may push their six week appointment out to seven or eight.”
“I didn’t think I would want to work here, up until my senior year,” Bonnie said.
The Oakdale High School Class of 2014 alum shared that it was an ROP (Regional Occupational Program) announcement at school which sparked her interest.
“When I heard the announcement I thought it would be cool to work with my mom,” she added. “I grew up here and around salons. I’ve grown up with all the people that work here. I’d come here when I was sick from school because there was no one at home. It’s like home. They’re family.”
While many spent their senior year kicking back, waiting for acceptance letters or pondering their post-graduation plans, Bonnie was hard at work preparing for her future. She attended Adrian’s Beauty College in Modesto, getting the training as part of the school program.
“I didn’t want to go to a four year college,” Bonnie said, “and I didn’t want to have to pay.
“I didn’t know if I would last through the whole program. It’s 14 months and it was 2:30 pm. to 8 p.m. every day, plus my school work. It was challenging.”
“Her grades were an important factor to qualify,” Barbara stated of the ROP program.
“She can tackle anything she wants,” Barbara added of her daughter. “I’ve never had to worry about her. Everything has worked out so well for me. I knew it was going to work out for her too.”
As both mom and business owner, the senior stylist shared keeping her distance and not hovering over the ‘new girl’ was a bit challenging early on.
“You want to make sure everybody is happy,” Barbara said. “Good news travels quickly and bad news travels just as fast.”
“It wasn’t too long before she backed off,” Bonnie chuckled.
“I figured if she needed me for something, she could call me in the back,” mom agreed.
“The clients … you know they’re happy because they are coming back,” Barbara continued about her daughter’s clientele. “She’s building her clientele three times as fast as I did.”
Now, almost a year into her post, situated between the two owners, Bonnie shared she’s confident and pleased with her career choice.
“I’m only 19 and I’m at a place where I want to be,” she said. “A lot of people my age are still figuring it out.”
Stylist Bonnie Findlay continues to accept new clients at Heads Above the Rest. To schedule an appointment, call 848-1109.
“I like to talk to people,” Bonnie summarized. “I like making them feel better about themselves