An Off-The-Beaten-Path, One-Of-A-Kind, Kind Of Wander
By STORY BY Ashley Green
Feb. 22, 2011 at 8:35 a.m.
Nestled on North Polk Street in Jefferson, sits a business that's truly one-of-a-kind. Inside the shell of an old service station, now resides the only beauty salon bookstore in the world! From the hardwood floors marked with oil barrel rings, to the funky tin ceiling, to the wooden and pink walls – every element exudes character.
Inside, it's a festival for the eyes – the jewelry, the vintage typewriters and accessories, the walls adorned with pictures and framed news articles, shelves of books, and a wall filled with signatures of authors and filmmakers who've graced the doors, and stylist chairs, of Beauty and the Book.
And the owner? 'The Queen' herself, Kathy L. Patrick, is a personality to be reckoned with. She's an author, a business owner, a wife, a mom, a hairstylist, and most importantly, an avid reader.
Among those who've graced the little red building, and Patrick's stylist chairs, include the likes of Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls), Joan Rivers, Kate Pierson (The B-52s), Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (Designing Women), Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Texas Monthly writer Jan Reed.
"I've met all kinds of interesting people," Patrick said. "I never know who's going to walk through the door. One day all the guys from Riders in the Sky came in. One was an author, and had heard about me, while playing at Music City Texas.
"I do the waitress at the local cafe's hair, to the vice president of the bank. Everyone comes in here. It's kind of like Floyd's Barbershop in Mayberry, except I'm a girl, and I don't stutter. It's a hangout."
<strong>Guerilla Marketing or a Fluke?</strong>
Shortly after its grand opening, Beauty and the Book was featured in the Longview News-Journal, the Houston Chronicle, American Oxford magazine (owned by John Grisham), and Patrick was not only a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, but did a live kick-off of Good Morning America, from the store.
"Everyone was fascinated with how I opened the business, and within a very short time frame it received all of the media attention," Patrick said. "That's the main reason I wrote my first book, The Pulpwood Queen's Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life, because everyone wanted 'the story.'"
"People were calling me a marketing genius, but this was a fluke. I had lost my job as a book publisher's rep, when the big-box store chains started coming into my territory."
"I had put myself through college doing hair, as a means to an end. God has this weird thing about me doing hair, because every time something happens, I always go back to that. So I knew how to do hair, and how to talk books, and I just combined what I love. It wasn't a marketing plan, it was a survival tactic. In 2000, I opened Beauty and the Book, with hopes of offering author makeovers."
<strong>In the Salon</strong>
These days, Patrick has a full schedule of media events, speaking engagements, and writing, but she still makes time for the salon.
"I do hair every day, Tuesday through Saturday, and I tell my clients if I'm going to be out of town, so they can schedule around that," Patrick said.
"No matter how famous, or how busy I get, I'll never stop doing hair. As long as I can stand and snip away – I figure I've got another 20 years, maybe 30."
<strong>Beauty's Books, Like Needles in a Haystack</strong>
If you book shop at box chains, you could spend hours trying to find that perfect read, but when you browse at Beauty and the Book, great local reads, and rare finds, are right at your fingertips.
"When I first opened, I tried to carry everything, but I was competing against some major chains," Patrick said. "Now I carry local and regional authors, and my Book Club selections. I'm really focused. That's the only way a little bookstore like me can keep valuable."
"Reading has empowered me to realize that true beauty is inner. There are so many expectations of what women are supposed to look like. But it's more important that we're kind, loving, and listen... and read."
<strong>If You Go</strong>
Beauty and the Book
608 N. Polk St., Jefferson
<em>What You'll Find:</em>
A full-service hair and nail salon with handmade jewelry, books, occasionally vintage clothing/hats, and organic Pulpwood Queen products: lip balm, bath salt, T-shirts, lotion, candles, and more
<strong>The Woman behind the Beauty Salon Bookstore</strong>
Kathy Patrick does things like dyes her hair neon orange, for selling 1,000 copies of a book she wanted to promote, in one week.
Authors overnight her copies of their book, with hopes of it making The Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection list. Some even show up at the store, and stay for awhile.
She's been dubbed 'Hairdresser to the Authors.' She's a big personality, with an even bigger heart.
Originally from Eureka, Kansas, Patrick lived and worked in California as a makeup artist for a 'moment', but decided that wasn't for her.
"When I turned 30, everyone asked me what I was going to do now that I was old," Patrick said. "Old, I thought. I feel like I'm just getting started. So, I came to Jefferson to visit my sister, and everyone asked when 'this young pup' was going to move to town, and I moved here on a whim. That was 25 years ago, and I'm still a young pup according to Jefferson, and I'm 54!"
"Age is only a state of mind anyway."
"I'm most passionate about reading. It's pure joy for me. I'm a very hyper person, and it's hard for me to sit for very long, but when I'm reading I forget who I am. I escape from this mind that's going 90 mph."
"Everyone should be taught that reading is entertaining. As a kid, our teachers would read, not because it was an assignment, but for enjoyment. They'd read Little House on the Prairie or Old Yeller, and I'd cry with my classmates, as the teacher passed around Kleenex, and we'd beg her to read another chapter. It instilled a love of reading. Nowadays, kids read books for points and tests. I think the old fashioned way, increases your attention span and imagination. Just listening to a story puts us all on the same level."
"Find something you're absolutely passionate about, and then educate yourself as best as you can on that subject. And whatever you do in life, do something that's helping others."
"Love what you do. I think that's more important than how much money you make. You have to do what makes you happy, not what makes you look better."
"That's how I approach my salon. I don't try to make people look like Jennifer Aniston, or whoever the flavor of the day is, I try to make them feel good about themselves. If you're a blow-dry girl, you get a blow-dry cut. You're not going to get an unrealistic Taylor Swift 'do. We have to stop trying to reach unrealistic, unattainable goals."
<strong>Become a Pulpwood Queen</strong>
<em>"All you have to do is crown yourself!"</em>
For $25 you become a book club member for life, and receive: Patrick's book, a certificate, a membership card, and early bird specials for Girlfriends Weekend events.
"You can also wear tiaras wherever you go, ride in parades and say you're the Pulpwood Queens of East Texas. You just empower yourself to do all those things you never did before!"
Join in on the fun. Become a Pulpwood Queen, and attend a Girlfriends Weekend. The next event will be held May 13-15. For more info, visit <span style= "text-decoration: underline;">www.BeautyandtheBook.com.</span>