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Tonya Morgan opens salon in Hillsboro

Hillsboro hairstylist’s journey to having her own shop

Staff writer

After 20 years of cutting and styling hair, Tonya Morgan still gets excited to spin customers around in a salon chair and show them how good they look in the mirror.

“It’s a happy reward,” Morgan said.

That was Morgan’s experience yesterday, only she got to spin a client around in her own chair, during her first official day at her residential salon, The Hair and Body Boutique, at 406 S. Washington Street in Hillsboro.

A lot has changed in the world of hair in 20 years. When Morgan started in 1991, mullets were fashionable and every young boy received a bowl cut.

“I could do a bowl cut blindfolded balancing on one foot,” she said.

She started in a shop in northern Wichita, her hometown, where she gained experience with ethnic hairstyles. She moved on to south Wichita where the predominant male style was the high and tight looked preferred by military men.

Five years ago, Morgan moved to Hillsboro. Not knowing the area, she abandoned her previous profession as a hairstylist and went to work at Container Services Incorporated, hair was never completely out of her mind. She cut the hair of as many as three people a week in her off hours. She gained customers by offering her coworkers hair suggestions; soon their wives were requesting Morgan for haircuts.

Even now, when standing in a long line, she will imagine cuts for the people waiting in front of her.

Morgan eventually joined the staff of the Spritz Salon in Hillsboro. One of the differences between a city like Wichita and Hillsboro is how a salon collects customers. Morgan said in Wichita it was about maintaining a strategically sound location. In Hillsboro, it is about spreading your talent by word of mouth.

Work ethic forged in Wichita began to pay dividends in Hillsboro. In a salon with nine other stylists in Wichita, she would take on the difficult assignments — for instance a girl with long thick hair flowing to the middle of her back.

“In all reality, I wanted to make that money,” Morgan said.

Morgan said her favorite clients are those who tend toward the picky side. After their hair is done right, they have a tendency to rave about a stylist.

“It’s like dominoes,” she said.

All together, Morgan has over 100 loyal clients to bring to her own shop — a combination of genders, races, sexes, and ages, which is unique to the area.

“With the college you get a little more diversity,” she said.

Morgan’s other favorite clients are those who hold their complete trust in their stylists abilities. They go in without a style in mind, letting Morgan creatively cut their hair using their facial structure as a guide.

“I love creating,” she said. “I want to do what looks good.”

Even with this success, Morgan is not complacent; she cannot afford to be in order to accomplish her goal of moving into a larger shop in a year. Although she has perfected some styles — she took classes on Jennifer Aniston’s signature locks during the peak of “Friends” — she continues to study new styles and stay up with trends.

Recently, vivid coloring has been a frequent request. Morgan showcased one recent job on a young female client using three different colors: blond, red and black.

She is also looking to expand her reach in the beauty world. Morgan plans to provide pedicures at her shop, when she obtains more tools for the task. She is also in conversation to have a colleague do nails at her shop.

Makeovers would be the next step. Morgan wants to have an open atmosphere where women can experiment with a variety of make-ups themselves.

Before she can move on to a larger location, Morgan will expand her portfolio — it already contains a blazing blue Mohawk — doing what she loves.

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day,” Morgan said.

Last modified March 1, 2012

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