THE ONE TO WATCH...
I'll cut to the chase. Recently, I was in a bit of a bind. Truth be told, I NEEDED to have my hair cut and colored. I mean, when you're kind of known for your hair these things are slight emergencies! In addition, as a Wardrobe Consultant I take great pride in how I look. Honestly, my career aids in assisting women in the realm of fashion, which stretches far beyond the city of Milwaukee. In the end, these women rely on my expertise and ultimately feel more confident in how they dress. Face it, we simply feel good when we look good. When we look and feel good, there's an added spring in our step, we stand a little taller and somehow we KNOW that we can conquer the world.
Yet there I was...the holidays nearly upon me, sporting some major outgrowth and a questionable shade of mousy blonde. With a busy schedule and very little time to pamper myself lately, sadly I fell behind the fashion 8-ball.
Enter Julie Khotpanya (AKA: Julie Khoture.) Oddly enough, I met Julie about two years ago. She treated me to my first gel manicure, some relaxtion upon my relocation to Milwaukee, and equally as important, she treated me to stellar conversation. I recall sharing a little about my own journey which lead me to Milwaukee. Julie did the same. It's always refreshing to share mindful conversation about "life" and "experiences" which shape who we are. The lessons learned. Our goals and dreams. It was a beautiful conversation and one that compelled me to want to keep up with Ms. Khotpanya. That said, after my appointment, I decided to follow Julie's own journey by way of Instagram.
Now just to give you and idea of how dedicated Julie is to her profession, clients/customers and the beauty industry, she chose to see me (remember, I have not seen her in two years) and take care of business the SUNDAY before Christmas! Yes, she came in on a Sunday to meet with the seriously sad looking mousy blonde Wardrobe Consultant and bring her back to her platinum blonde pixie state of mind! Excited to have Julie work on my hair, I also was fascinated by our previous conversation and was eager to learn more about this woman. I just felt in my gut that she was a hidden little gem...and boy was I spot on!
Walk into Julie's parlor and you'll first notice a VERY strong connection to her Lao heritage, culture and family! She is the eldest of 5 girls (4 in the beauty industry, while 1 is a restaurateur.) Julie's father came to the United States after the Vietnam War. Never once has he shared details of his time back home or his relocation. Instead, he chose to come to America with the mindset: 1. Work hard (holding 3 jobs) 2. Build a better life for his family 3. Move forward...leaving the past behind. As a child, Julie shared with me how she and her siblings would fight. The type of fighting that brought out the fists. You know...that all out drag out "rolling on the floor" type of fight.
Kids will be kids, right? Well, not so much. Julie's father (clearly a clever man) would par-ooze garage sales, purchasing and bringing home with him any type of used beauty tool and makeup he could find. Julie and her siblings found this to be odd, lol. I mean, can you imagine being a child and having your father collect random beauty items? They really didn't know what to think. Anyhow, something very interesting happened. The fighting...stopped. Instead, Julie and her sisters would play with the tools and new toys, experimenting on each other! I found this story to be fascinating. Julie's father was ultimately laying the groundwork for his family's future. And as mentioned above, today most of Julie's siblings hold careers in the beauty industry! That said, as much as her father wanted the best for his children, they too have done the same for their father. Now retired, each help fund small trips for their father, allowing him to experience life after retirement with his children.
The next thing I noticed as Julie was meticulously cutting my hair with precision? Elephants. Everywhere. Noticing the elephants, I was curious.
What I did learn was that in Laos an elephant is the symbol of prosperity, while representing strength of a nation. A white elephant?...royalty! FYI: Julie has about 3-4 elephant sculptures proudly on display. That said, we also spoke about a Sihn (pronounced: sin.) Julie had a few of these in baskets in her salon. Worn by Lao and Thai women it can identify the woman who wears it in a variety of ways. Julie happens to use a Sihn when applying her own makeup in the morning or when applying makeup on clients.
Next, lets just talk briefly about Julie's ambition to create her own skincare line! Julie has a daughter who is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Given her daughters major and Julies interest in the beauty industry, it's no surprise that these two have teamed up to create a serum for those who want a little "Botox in a bottle." WHAT? Yeah, you heard me. Side note: I was given a sample after my appointment and have
been using it religiously since. It's been about two weeks. The verdict?...it is the ONLY product I've used that has reduced the puffiness under my eyes and significantly has tightened my skin on the neck and above my brow. Crazy, I know. Nonetheless, I know it works on me (IMHO.) Needless to say, I'm excited to see what these two come up with next! Because if it's anything like the serum, this 49 year-old is on board 100%!
Okay, I could talk all day about this little hidden gem called Julie Khoture. For example how she knows 4 languages and how her family exposed her to various religions as a child (talk about enlightenment.) And there's more. However, this really WAS about the mousy blonde becoming a platinum pixie again! And guess what? SHE. IS. And she looks beautiful!!!
My time with Julie was seriously priceless! Not only is this woman talented and hardworking...she is motivated. She is a goal-setter with a vision for her future. In addition, she sees how her talents will benefit others and truly takes the time to make others look and feel their best self! I'm thankful our paths crossed two years ago and I was able to experience Julie Khoture the stylist, visionary (and dare I even say therapist, lol!)
In closing, I'll leave you with 3 words: GO. SEE. JULIE. (You'll be happy you did.) I'm already receiving a plethora of compliments and positive feedback. The Platinum Pixie is back...yay, me!...
...and YAY, Julie.