"A Cut Above" by Erik Pearson

"A Cut Above" by Erik Pearson

A Cut Above

By Erik Pearson Owner of Soda Salon and Children’s Volunteer 

I grew up thinking I’d be a doctor. A lot of my family is in medicine, and I thought I’d take that path, too. But I also loved fashion and design. I’m part of the ‘80s MTV generations where it seemed like everybody was a supermodel. Hair styling was a way into that world. I eventually found myself completing a cosmetology apprenticeship, working fashion weeks, magazine shoots and on film sets. 

For Erik Pearson, starting bedside haircuts at Chidlren’s was a way to give back to the organization that saved his sister’s life years ago when she contracted bacterial meningitis.

For Erik Pearson, starting bedside haircuts at Chidlren’s was a way to give back to the organization that saved his sister’s life years ago when she contracted bacterial meningitis.

My wife and I opened Soda Salon as a home base for our production work. From the start, it was important to me that the business have a philanthropic aspect. We began working with local schools, women’s shelters and the Shepherd Center, bringing our caring and giving arts to those who needed them the most. 

Volunteering at Children’s was more personal: It’s where my sister survived bacterial meningitis. I’d been with her the night before she got sick, babysitting while I was home from college. I’ll never forget my dad’s call the next day saying she was at Children’s and in a coma. We spent a lot of time there, and even in that dark period, I felt drawn to the place. 

My first visit as a volunteer was eight years ago. My wife, a couple of other stylists and I did bedside visits —cutting hair, setting curls, offering a dab of lip gloss. 

After weeks or months in the hospital, kids are of course going to need a haircut. But we knew there would also be special circumstances. Chemo. Spinal injuries. Cranial surgeries. The doctors work so hard to save lives, but when a kid wakes up with staples and half of her head shaved, it can be traumatic. Our goal is to always emphasize why these kids are amazing and special—and help them remember feeling that way, too. 

Ever since that first visit, I wanted a salon at the hospital, not just a bedside service. You can give a great cut just about anywhere, but if you have a shampoo bowl and some space, it takes things to a different level. Today, our salon at Scottish Rite is a complete escape, and something that employees tell me helps motivate the patients. 

My stylists always say volunteering brings so much perspective to their work. Sometimes it’s hard. I’ll come in on-call to work with kids who have a lot of complications. I’ve given kids the last haircuts of their lives. 

But it’s also life changing. A mother wrote me to say that she saw her daughter smile for the first time in three months after getting her hair done. I get goose bumps when I think of that. These kids, who deal with so much, have such incredible dreams. Having that perfect cut and style helps them remember who they are inside. 

30 Under 30: The Next Generation of Colorists You Need To Know About

30 Under 30: The Next Generation of Colorists You Need To Know About

The Colorist magazine’s 4th annual 30 Under 30 highlights the next generation of promising colorists — all under age 30 — who are poised to take their careers to the next level. Recognized by salon owners, manufacturers and clients for their talent and drive, these are the 30 colorists you need to know about now.

Soda Salon's own Ashley Eryn Acklin was chosen as 30 under 30 highlighting the next generation of colorists. Originally Article Published here.

Ashley Eryn Acklin

Age: 24
Salon/company name; location: Soda Salon, Roswell, GA
Title: Level 3 Stylist
Color line/s used: Eufora
Instagram: @f_ash_ion
 
What inspired you to become a colorist?
“Life imitates art, and art imitates life" — a statement I have paralleled with having the opportunity to travel many parts of the world. At a young age, I was immersed in different cultures and lifestyles, and found through these experiences the exposure and my passion for the fashion hair industry.

Soda Gives Back to the Community | Ashley Eryn

Soda Gives Back to the Community | Ashley Eryn

Going back to school is so exciting and yet can be so stressful for kids and their families. Especially stressful for the families who are unable to provide their kids with all the tools they may need. What’s the outcome of mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors, nurses, and (last but not least) hairstylists, all coming together to help the community? The annual Tools 4 School charity event organized by the Act Together Ministries! Prior to school starting up, I had the privilege to volunteer at the Tools 4 School charity event where elementary school students could get all their back-to-school supplies for the new year. Kids could pick out backpacks, binders and other class room materials, get their physical check up’s, and have some snacks during the event- but wait, it gets better! They could also get new awesome haircuts!  I was so excited to put some smiles on these kids faces as they got a new style to show off confidently as they walk down the halls back at school.

10421245_692088634174303_1499403811295805461_n-200x300.jpg
choa_004.png

My first client was a rad little dude with beautiful thick curly hair who wanted a mohawk. Yes, his mother gave him permission and yes, he was 110%sure he wanted 3/4 of his head shaved. Right on.  At the grand age of 9 this kid had the right confidence to match such a cool style. After giving him the mirror to take a look he casually replied, “One more inch off each side please.” Two inches shaved later and he was gripping the mirror reflecting an ear to ear grin as he ran off with his fresh cut and school ready backpack. The rest of the kids I met throughout the afternoon were just as great and had a blast getting their hair cut. I was so glad to be able to help families out and give their kids confidence when heading back to school. I was completely gratified to have the opportunity to share the in-salon experience we provide our clients here at Soda everyday with the children at the Tools 4 School event.