It’s rush hour at Science Hair, High Tech Campus in-house hairsalon. All four available seats have been taken. Ani Todorova (35) takes a step back to evaluate her latest creation. With one last stroke she changes the direction of the customers hair. “My work is done.”
Todorova, Science Hair’s owner, bought the business from the Summa College, which first settled on campus 8 years ago. Back then, she started as an intern. Now, she’s in charge for at least five more years, schooling over twenty interns her self.
“They are like walking, talking billboards”, she says. “Everytime they take a stroll through campus during breaks, they come up with a new customer.” Todorova’s students are mostly 17,18,19 year old females. Almost all of the clients are men, working on campus. On average, Todorova gains one or two new clients per day, adding to a clientele that is mostly made up of returning clients.
I have to school my clients sometimes.
Hairdresser, mom, therapist
Todorova is a hairdresser, “and a bit of mom and a therapist”, she adds. “I’m a hairdresser to my clients, mom to
my interns and a therapist for both.” After finishing up work on a client she befriended over the years, they step outside to talk for a while. “Small talk”, she says upon returning to the shop.
About eighty percent of the clients coming to Science Hair is Dutch. The others represent the international character of the campus. According to Dominique de Groot (19), a graduating student of the Summa College, that is exactly what makes the shop a good learning school. De Groot will be the first student of Todorova to receive a contract with the shop after graduating.
Cultural differences on campus can get interesting from time to time. “Clients from India tend to be either too late or sometimes don’t even show up at all”, Todorova says. “I have to school them sometimes. I tell them: ‘If you show up late again, you’re banned from the shop.’ Often that scares them enough to not do it anymore, and promptly show up to apoligize. I just can’t stay mad at them.”
Todorova, in her role as campus mom, therapist and hairdresser, doesn’t discriminate between the professions of the guests in her chairs. “In my shop, I’m the boss. I don’t care if you’re a janitor or a rocket scientist, I get the final decision on the way your hair will look. I’m the one that knows hair. And no one that visits my shop will walk out and look bad, I refuse to let that happen.”