Vidal Sassoon

May 8, 2016 • Posted in careers/jobs for people who are blind, memoir writing, Uncategorized by
Bob Eisenberg, author of today's guest post.

Bob Eisenberg, author of today’s guest post.

In my previous post I mentioned that one writer chose Vidal Sassoon’s death as one that had made him particularly sad. A Blog follower left a comment saying she’d love to read that essay, and writer Bob Eisenberg graciously gave us permission to publish it here.

Bob Eisenberg is still styling hair after 60 years in the business, but he takes an afternoon off every week to join our Monday Lincoln Park Village memoir class. Here’s his essay.

by Bob Eisenberg

Sitting next to my favorite celebrity at a Beverly Hills hotel bar was one of the most exciting experiences in my life. I was in California for a workshop, and when I saw him there sitting alone I walked up to him and said how much I appreciated his talents. “I’ve followed your teaching for years,” I said.

He asked me to have a seat at the bar and have a drink. I was overwhelmed. This man was the best-known celebrity in the hair styling industry: Vidal Sassoon.

We talked for the longest time about the salon industry, our exciting salon businesses, and then went on to talk about philosophy and spirituality. I told him he was my mentor and that I’d been following his teachings for many years.

My hair styling story started years before when I was 20 and just got out of the army. I took my girlfriend to fabulous Vicks beauty salon, and while I was attentively watching the stylist cut her hair, a flash went through me. “I could do that,” I said to myself.

I had been drawing faces of classmates all my life and got disciplined in high school for doodling instead of paying attention to the teacher. It would be exciting to style hair around a face. The next day I enrolled in a neighborhood beauty school.

As I was getting close to graduating, my neighborhood friend Lenny Messeli came up to me and asked, “Bob, what are you going to do after we graduate?”

”Just look for a job,” I said with a shrug.

Lenny said his uncle had a beauty salon called The Magic Touch in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood. “He wants to sell it for $1500,” Lenny said. “We could buy it for $750 a piece and be partners.”

”I’m just out of school!” I told Lenny. “I don’t even know how to do hair yet.”

Lenny had an answer. “My uncle say’s you don’t have to know how to do hair at his salon,” he said. “All you need is a good joke, and they’ll keep coming back.”

So Lenny and I became partners. After two years of joke telling and $3.50 hair cuts, I became burnt out. I saw an ad in The Hairdressers Journal that advertised a Vidal Sassoon workshop. It said I could learn a method of hair styling that doesn’t require any ruffing, teasing, hair spray or heavy gels. I attended the workshop and found my place in the salon industry. After a number of work shops I discovered a new approach to styling hair. I attended Vidal Sassoon workshops all over the country. Soon I put a sign up in the window of our salon:

Bob’s hair cut and style $25.00 including personal consultation.

I was on my way to becoming a real high end stylist, someone who could design a hair style according to someone’s life style, bone structure and face shape. A hair style that requires very low maintenance.

Vidal Sassoon has been a powerful influence for the entire hairstyling industry, but especially for me. I will always be grateful for the direction he has guided me.

Charlene S. On May 8, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I loved Vidal’s products until he sold it years ago! The product changed sent and products so I stopped using it. It disappeared of shelves so I had to change brands. I’m in my sixties and stop miss the shampoo in the brown bottle that smelled like cherries! Great article and memories. Thank you!

bethfinke On May 8, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Oh, that’s the one I remember: in a brown bottle and smelled like Cherries. Or kind of smelled like Jergen’s lotion. Had no idea they ever changed it….

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taraisarockstar On May 17, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Sassoon sold the product name to procter and gamble and they decided to discontinue those products everywhere except in Asia. Back when I worked there, we constantly had clients asking for those products!

taraisarockstar On May 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

Can’t thank you enough for posting this! This inspires me to look for a story I wrote about my encounter with Vidal while hair modeling. I never posted it but when Sassoon passed, I was sad and felt the need to write something too. Thanks again for the post!

R. Janie Friedman Isackson On May 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm

As we left class last Monday classmate Michael suggested I look on ebay for Sassoon shampoo. There is such a bottle listed, but it is a red one. However, there is a brown bottle listed of the old shampoo: The kicker is that it is the old brown bottle though empty. I wonder who would buy an empty bottle except a collector of empty bottles?…..Janie

bethfinke On May 22, 2016 at 10:47 am

Guess we’ll all have to travel to Asia to buy a bottle of Vidal Sassoon shampoo. A bottle with shampoo in it, I mean. _____

bethfinke On June 15, 2016 at 5:33 pm

That, or someone oughta start up a business to re-import it back here….!

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how vidal sassoon changed my life | taraisarockstar's blog On June 14, 2016 at 10:24 pm

[…] the post here.) One of her students wrote about Vidal Sassoon. At my request, she posted his essay here. His passing was very sad for me too. I’m not a hairstylist, but his technique became a major part […]

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