NEJC Faces: Windy Gifford, owner and stylist at Village Hairstyling

By Tommy Sherk

Windy Gifford, owner and stylist at Village Hairstyling

Windy_Village-Hair

Windy Gifford: I was a musician, married and traveling the road, playing music. It was the way I was making my living. When I had my first child, my dad said “Come off the road and pick a profession you want to go into.” That’s what I did. I always wanted to be a barber or a hairstylist. Me and my wife drove around and we checked the houses that the barbers lived in, because we figured if they lived in a fairly nice house then they aren’t doing too bad. They were okay, so I went ahead and went to school, passed my state test. That’s how I got started and I’ve been doing that ever since.

Why do you enjoy hairstyling?

WG: When you work with music, almost any instrument you play, you use your hands. You know, it’s all in the dexterity in the hands. Same way for cutting hair, it’s your hands. It’s the angle that you hold the hair up, the certain way you hold it when you cut it. I was doing the same deal cutting hair as I was when I was playing music.

I enjoy what I do, and I always have enjoyed it. I got some of the greatest customers there is. My favorite part is just cutting the hair and talking to people. As far as the business end of it, being a business owner, that’s not such a big deal to me.

Watching kids grow up… man. I’ve got kids who I’ve given them their first haircut and have watched them grow up and go to college. Being here in the same place all the time, watching these kids grow up.. you know, that’s great stuff. We’ve got good kids around here.

Twelve to 15 years ago I started [putting pictures of kids on the wall], and everybody loved it. I did it until I had to stop because I ran out of space on the wall. I’ve got some kids up there that were babies getting their first haircut who are in college now or who have left college. They still come in and see if they can find their picture up on the wall. Usually when I’d put a new frame up, everybody would want to come in and check and see if there’s anybody in there they know. Around the Village, most people know everybody.

When you were a kid, did you ever think you were going to become a hairstylist?

WG: Yep. I grew up kind of on a farm, 91st and Antioch. Antioch was a gravel road at that time. One of the hired hands my dad had working on the farm wanted me to give him a haircut, and I used a pair of those great big horse clippers. I was going to give him a flat top, but I had no idea what I was doing. It turned out horrible. I just ran the clippers all over his head because that was the only way I could get it straight.

I’m past retirement age, but I haven’t thought about retiring yet. What’s keeping me is that I enjoy what I do and I’ve spent a lot of time building that business up.