Tropical Hair Gallery at the island center is now officially registered with the Locks of Love program, and the salon is offering free hair cuts for a donation of 10 inches or more of hair for the charity.
"This is a program I have always been passionate about," said owner and stylist Susan Carpenter. "There are so many people on this island who are dedicated to worthy causes and as a resident myself, I felt that this would be my way of giving something back to my community as well."
According to Carpenter, when her shop hosted a Locks of Love event in 2007, she raises $980 in donations and 230 inches of hair. So far, since becoming a registered Locks of Love salon, she has collect four donations of 10 inches of hair and she looks forward to increasing that number.
Joining owner Susan Carpenter at Tropical Hair Gallery are stylists David Martin and Sabrina Anderson. The salon is now officially registered with the Locks of Love program and is offering a special incentive for participants.
Locks of Love is a non-profit organization based in West Palm Beach, Fla., which provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada suffering from long-term hair loss for any reason.
"You can just see the looks of joy on the faces of the children who receive the wigs. I am sure it gives them a great boost to their self esteem while they are going through a difficult time," Carpenter said. "We are in the business of making people feel good about themselves so this program was a natural fit for us."
According to information provided by Locks of Love, nearly anyone with 10 inches of hair or more can make a donation. The following are the guidelines for donations:
n Hair that is colored or permed is acceptable.
n Hair cut years ago is usable if it has been stored in a ponytail or braid.
n Hair that has been bleached (usually this refers to highlighted hair) is not usable.
n Hair that is swept off the floor is not usable because it is not bundled in a ponytail or braid.
n Hair that is shaved off and not in a ponytail or braid is not usable.
n No dreadlocks are accepted as they are unusable for use in children's hairpieces.
n Also unacceptable are wigs, falls, hair extensions or synthetic hair.
n Layered hair is acceptable if the longest layer is 10 inches.
n Layered hair may be divided into multiple ponytails.
n Curly hair may be pulled straight to measure the minimum 10 inches.
n 10 inches measured tip to tip is the minimum length needed for a hairpiece.
In addition, gray hair can be donated as it will be sold to offset the manufacturing cost of the production of wigs for children.
Two new stylists
In addition to participating in the Locks of Love program, Carpenter also recently welcomed two new stylists to her Pine Island shop.
David Martin brings with him 29 years of experience and first worked at J.C. Penny in Cape Coral and in Fort Myers. He then worked at CMB Salon on Del Prado Boulevard in Cape Coral. Recently, however, he and his wife relocated to St. James City and he began working at Tropical Hair Gallery.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, Martin attended Kent State University and after graduation began a career as an art teacher.
"When I first moved to Cape Coral, I was looking for a new career. My sister suggested I pursue hair styling and after giving it some thought it made sense," said Martin. "Both art and styling involved creativity and it was a good transition."
Martin is available for appointments on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. To make an appointment, call 281-9050.
Also joining the team of stylists a Tropical Hair is Sabrina Anderson. Educated in Minneapolis, Anderson studied under Horst Recgekbacger, a highly respected name in beauty care products and has been a stylist and cosmetologist for 24 years. After moving to Southwest Florida, Anderson worked at Carringtons' at the Edison Mall then decided to take a break and go back to school.
"I attended college and got a bachelor degree in criminal justice, unfortunately, the position I was seeking was not readily available, so I went back to hair styling," said Anderson. "I really enjoy working here on the island and on my off days, I go to area nursing homes in Lee and Collier county. Obviously these clients cannot come to us, so I enjoy going to them."
Anderson has been living in the area for five years but is by no means a stranger as her parents, Owen and Selena Steward, are residents of Pine Island. Her father, also is a clam farmer and commercial fisherman on the island. In addition to hair styling, Anderson also provides manicures and pedicures for her clients at Tropical Hair Gallery.
"Something else we do a the salon that most don't do any more are shampoos and sets," said Carpenter. "We try to create an environment that is comfortable, roomy and bright. It is our goal that when our customers leave here, there is a spring in their step and they feel good about themselves."
Carpenter has lived in Florida since the '60s and her father, Tom Carpenter, is a well established Realtor on the island.
Tropical Hair Gallery is located at the island center in the Subway Plaza and is open for appointments and walk-in customers Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Carpenter also said that she and her team also will accept appointments for after hour customers as well.
For more information, call Tropical Hair Gallery at 283-1211.