By Starrla Cray
MAYER, MN After 47 years in the cosmetology industry, Charlotte Hahn of Mayer knows that styles come and go, but true beauty never fades.
“I had a good business for the years I was here,” said Hahn, who recently retired from her salon in Mayer, Charlotte’s Web “hair care for all.”
Clients at Charlotte’s Web were always greeted with a smile, and Hahn did her best to treat people as she would want to be treated.
“I enjoyed everyone,” Hahn said. “It’s important to listen to people, thank them, and do things the way they want them done. Also, be as cheerful as you can every day.”
Hahn recalls doing first haircuts for very young children, and fancy up-dos for proms and weddings.
Clients nearing the end of their lives often trusted Hahn exclusively with their hair, and requested that she be the hairdresser at their funeral.
“It was an honor,” Hahn said, a way of saying a last goodbye.
Hahn’s husband, Les, and daughter, Leslie, have been an instrumental part of Hahn’s career, helping with everything from mechanical repair to folding towels.
“The Lord has blessed me with my family’s support,” Hahn said.
Having her own salon has been a “dream come true” for Hahn, but she hadn’t always known she’d be in the cosmetology industry.
“What I really wanted to do was be a nurse,” she said. “At the last minute, I decided, ‘I’m going to try beauty school.’”
She began taking classes at Pearl Lowman Beauty School in downtown Minneapolis, paying her way with a babysitting job in Deephaven.
“It turned out that I liked it,” she said. “Something about the beauty industry is always fascinating.”
After graduation, Hahn was hired at Dolly’s Beauty Salon in New Ulm. Dolly’s clients were all women, but her husband had a barber shop for men in the same building.
At that time, it was standard to shampoo clients’ hair and massage their shoulders.
“We kind of pampered, because that was (Dolly’s) way of doing business,” Hahn said. “She was really a sweetheart for a boss.”
In the early 1960s, Hahn worked with French twists and glamorous hairdos.
“It was definitely popular to have it high-styled,” she said. “It was a lot more work compared to now.”
After spending two years in New Ulm, Hahn took a job at La Belle Famme in Wayzata.
“It was very good experience much more fast-paced,” Hahn said. Her boss allowed his stylists to develop their own touch, and Hahn quickly learned how to best serve her clients.
“Through the years, you learn to communicate better,” she said. “What one person calls short might be really short, or it might be shoulder length.”
In 1973, Hahn opened Charlotte’s Web “beauty salon” in Mayer. A few years later, men started coming to the salon as well, and it became known as Charlotte’s Web “hair care for all.”
“When I started out with the men, some of them didn’t want to be seen in the salon with the women,” Hahn said.
As time went on, however, most men grew accustomed to the family atmosphere. Hahn remembers men asking for everything from clipper cuts to perms.
About five years ago, Hahn semi-retired due to allergies from the perm solutions and other hair chemicals. She kept her existing customers, but decided not to take any new ones.
Recently, she decided it was time to retire altogether, and is giving away her salon equipment to other establishments.
“I think I’ll just take it easy,” Hahn said. She’s enjoyed doing volunteer work in the past, and also loves making crafts and going fishing.
Hahn said she is thankful for all of the clients who have contributed to the success of Charlotte’s Web.
“Everybody was good to me,” she said. “I had a good clientele.”