Eclectic Salon in Los Angeles was a high-end, forward-thinking, top-earning, multicultural salon when it opened. Currently it’s high-end circus… which is why owner Jacqui has called in reality television’s toughest ringmaster. In episode 3 of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, Ms. Coffey is in LA to pull Jacqui and Eclectic Salon from the brink of collapse.
Eleven years ago Jacqui sold her house to invest in Eclectic Salon, but now the salon and it’s staff have become a terrible liability.
She even tried painting on “stern eyebrows” – it didn’t help.
Tabatha greets Jacqui and they head off to check out the surveillance footage of her staff in “Salon Undercover.” Jacqui seems like a nice enough boss, but I would say the combination of the “stern eyebrows” and the leash necklace are sending a mixed message to her staff — A message they’ve interpreted to be, “Jacqui’s schizophrenic and we can run this place like arts and crafts time at Bellvue.”
Jacqui tells Tabatha the story of Eclectic Salon. Jac opened the salon as a co-op, so that her friends and fellow stylist will feel more invested in the salon. Each stylist pays her rent each week for their chair. However at some point in the last few years, Jac’s focus has slipped and she’s stopped leading her staff. And since Jacqui has lost her focus, her staff has started to make and live by their own rules. Problem is…
1. They’re bums
2. They’re obnoxious bums
3. They’re obnoxious bums turning her salon into a circus
Tabatha rolls the surveillance footage and the first target caught on film is receptionist/assistant/assistant manager Lauren.
Assistant to the Salon Manager???
Despite having very little experience in an administrative role, or any interest in beauty or in being employed, Lauren was hired as a receptionist. She’s doesn’t attend to clients and she doesn’t assist the stylists. She pretty much does nothing but suck out any ambiance or serenity from the waiting area.
Lauren looks like Frodo and Little Orphan Annie had a second child and starved her of affection. She’s lazy, she spends her time texting and not working and obviously the staff feels that a singing Big Mouth Billy Bass is a more elegant addition to the salon than Lauren.
And he’ll accept AA batteries as payment.
Not that the stylists on the floor are doing a better job, or that they have a more advanced work ethic, but at least they have a marketable skill. When we are introduced to the team of stylists in the surveillance footage, we find one of her male stylists joking about weed and a female stylist telling fart jokes. Loudly. Very Loudly. So basically it’s a Farrelly Brothers movie in the salon at all times.
“Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?”
And then Tabatha turns on Jacqui. Jacqui has set up her station in the little balcony above the cutting floor. She’s separated herself from her staff and stopped coming into the salon during the week because she cannot take the atmosphere. She can’t stand to be in the salon and it’s obvious. It seems like she’s given up.
View doesn’t change much from one floor up. Try the roof…. across the street.
Time to address the staff. As the staff gathers for Tabatha’s first LA address, salon elder Andre is concerned that Tabatha’s experience and expertise may not be applicable in a predominantly African-American salon, but as soon as TC opens her mouth we know she’s not about to be shy.
The same rules apply.
Tabatha stares down the 9 person staff and begins to address their weaknesses. Stefon, the singing stylist, is up first. Tabatha informs him that he’s loud and sloppy and unprofessional.
He’s ready to get loud with Tabatha.
Lauren is next on the hit list. She didn’t do anything all day. She didn’t help a client, or assist a stylist. She didn’t run a comb through her hair either.
Lauren counters Tabatha’s accusation in the interview by saying that she WAS running around most of the day and that most people don’t understand the “emotional pullback” you have to have to be in her position. What? Seriously, what? Does she understand what that means, or has she been spending her work hours engrossed in Oprah’s pod casts? And we’re still not sure what her role is, exactly. To deliver the ring? Is that’s what the little hobbit is talking about? Or is this in reference to her receptionist duties? Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean Commissioner Gordon at the other end. Relax. Try “pulling back” on your self-important ramblings and you may still save your job, doll.
Time for Tabatha to inspect the salon. In the waiting area Tabatha finds huge balls of hair, and the product section is a mess. They’re obviously selling old products too. Tabatha attempts to dig into a tub of product and is met with more resistance that Lauren to logic…
Hey! That tub of cream is more useless that a receptionist with a underdeveloped sense of “emotional pullback.”
She inspects the floor and the stations and she finds Stefon’s station is gross. His fellow stylists sell him out in the interviews and say he’s gross and that he steals their products. Tabatha also discovers he’s an emotional eater when she opens his drawer to see he’s hoarding cookies.
But he’s not above sharing his snacks with the client’s scalp.
Headmistress Coffey stops her inspection to ask one of the stylists if he’s chewing gum. Stylist Jazz admits Tabatha scared her into swallowing her gum. She was obviously so nervous she also lost some hair. I can’t imagine any other reason for the self imposed cowlick she’s sporting.
A high-concept take on Dennis the Menace? Or another result of getting caught with chewing gum?
Tabatha heads upstairs to see Jacqui’s station. And is Jac in the clear? Hell, no! Shock. The balcony station is overrun with dirt and junk and Jacqui’s name is added to Tabatha’s shit list.
And her shit stinks…
The next day is the staff meeting and Tabatha sit down with the staff, without Jacqui, to hear the stylists’ perspective.
…and tries to scare them into submission by dressing like death’s flamboyant lawyer?
The staff tells Tabatha a tale of the Eclectic Salon long gone. They used to be a team, they used to be passionate and driven. Somewhere along the line Jacqui stopped enforcing rules or setting the bar (or some other clichÃ©s) and they all regressed into being teenagers.
Tabatha wants to know how much Jacqui has shared with the staff and begins asking more questions about the business. She soon discovers that they are all oblivious to Jacqui’s financial situation. Everything seems to be fine. The salon has power and phone service, so nothing is wrong. They never have staff meetings, so nothing is wrong. They’re facing down a notorious hard-ass with her own television show about being a notorious hard-ass, so nothing is wrong? Wow.
One of the male stylists says that they never have staff meetings, but they did have one a couple weeks ago, centered around their token white chick, Lauren.
If looks could kill the frizz…
Stefon says this topic is “the meat of the dinner of the steak…” (btw, Lauren looks like a turnip to me, maybe a decorative gourd…) meaning she’s the biggest problem in the salon. Jacqui doesn’t manage the salon. She’s basically opted for bankruptcy over interaction with her staff and in her place she sent a hobbit.
Lauren tells Tabatha that Jac entrusted her to run the salon. The rest of the staff were led to believe she was just a receptionist who overstepped her boundaries. And basically, whatever combinations of skills or responsibilities are actually in her job description, she sucks at them.
During “The Assessment” Tabatha brings in another stylist to help assess and instruct. Kim Kimble has worked on Mary J. Blidge and Beyonce and there is probably still hope for this group, because they look a little ashamed when they see Kim enter.
TC and Kim make the rounds and speak to all the stylists. Jacqui sets the pace — a slow pace, but a pace. Her client wants an over haul, she wants her hair to be wavier, lighter and longer. Jacqui shrugs and says she’ll lighten her base color and add a few highlights. No big. Tabatha and Kim interject and say they want to see more decisive lead from Jac, she needs to really show her expertise and tell the client what she should and will be getting. At this salon? A headache.
Stefon seems completely bored with his client and the task at hand. His client even comments that he makes her nervous. I don’t think it’s the “he’s so gorgeous” nervousness either… it’s more like the carnie inspired “are they really going to let him operate this thing” nervousness. Too bad for the client, she’s already strapped in and Tabatha and Kim waving good bye are little comfort to her.
Don’t look down.
Well, it turns out Stefon’s client was right to be scared. Tabatha and Kim leave Stefon to check in with Old Dog Andre and when they return Stefon has gotten the Urkelian-genius idea to pull his client’s hair back in a pony tail and lop it off. Either to degrade her and break her will, or for the reason he gives… he wanted to save product. Tabatha tells him he’s lazy and he responds by sighing and staring at his client like I once stared at my science high school science projects, like it could be torched and it wouldn’t make any difference.
Don’t look in the mirror either.
Tabatha is off to drag Lauren out from the back where she’s folding towels and doing shtick. Once TC has Lauren back in the front of the salon, she stops by to see Stefon half ass-ing a color application. He’s given up and is suffering from “MMS–men’s premenstrual syndrome.” Or a pretty standard hissy fit.
With the side effect of complete stupidity.
Because they have a high tolerance for pain, Kim and Tabatha attempt to interview Lauren. Lauren responds to their questions by saying she knows nothing about beauty and obviously doesn’t care to. Ugh, leave the jokes to me please.
Stefon finishes up with his client. Tabatha isn’t too hard on his technique, but she isn’t happy with the way he communicated with his client.
Something has managed to upset his client too.
Jacqui’s work is good. Salon Yoda, Andre is passable, but taking forever with his client. Kim comments that his technique is outdated.
Tabatha sends the staff home so she can talk to Jacqui. TCoif says financially, this is the worst mess she’s seen. The stylists have no idea how bad it is and they need a reality check. She thinks Jacqui should tell her staff about her personal bankruptcy to get them in line.
When the stylists return the next day, Tabatha as faked foreclosure. They arrive at the door to see the salon still gated and Jacqui in tears. When she finally tells her staff that she’s may have to close the salon, it brings them to tears.
All the stylists seem to have a story about their connection to Jacqui and why they are upset for her. Jazz says that Jacqui was always supportive of her and held her chair when she was going through a tough time. Now Tabatha wants all those favors repaid to Jac because she had to file personal bankruptcy.
Which is so sad. However I’m distracted from the sadness… Is her head too small for her neck, or is her neck too large for her head? Anyone else think she looks pissed off the same witchdoctor as Beetlejuice?
Jacqui is inspired by the outpouring of emotion and tells them that they are all diamonds in the rough and they need to polish each other. Hold on, that just made me dizzy. I need a minute…
But it makes sense to the staff and they’re all back on board with Team Eclectic.
Tabatha has them charged up and it’s time for the next phase of her plan. Free publicity.
She takes the staff to a marketing event for a local radio station, and a Foot Locker apparently, and sets them up to promote the salon. While at the event TC wants them to mingle with potential customers, offer consultations and try to get the clients to fill out contact forms. This is a situation where Lauren could actually contribute. Guess if she does…
Pulled back as far as she can be…
Nope. Sits on her ass and stares into oblivion. Tabatha and Jacqui agree that Lauren is fucking clueless and didn’t contribute.
The energy is great and they even let Stefon in on Tabatha’s radio interview to become that ever repugnant radio ham, dripping with cheese right through the radio waves.
Subtly is a virtue.
Tabatha is ready to take all the stylists back to the salon. TC congratulates everyone on a great promotion and wants to jumpstart the renovations of Eclectic Salon by taking apart the retail section. They’re going to dispose of all the products older than Andre and start anew.
Three days later everyone is back for the re-opening. Except one small awkward little ginger girl. Surprisingly there are no tears for the announcement that Lauren will not be joining them.
The reception area has seen the most change. The desk has been replaced with a new desk and beverage station. All the shelves have been moved to the opposite wall and stocked with a new (new to the salon and new from the factory) professional product line.
Before and After
On the cutting floor the stations have been updated with new chairs.
Before and After
Tabatha also renovated Jacqui’s private station in hopes of keeping her motivated, complete with a new waiting area.
Clients will be returning for the grand opening, but first Tabatha has a few words for the staff. She request that Stefon concentrate, she wants him to really show her some great color today.
I’m sure if he’s pressed he could come up with some colorful phrases for Tabatha.
Tabatha wants Andre to set the bar high for the other stylists. She also asks them all to come together to fill in at the reception desk.
All the stylists seem more motivated today and Tabatha is happy to find Andre and Jac discussing the possibility of attending some classing and requiring all the stylist to continue their beauty education.
Tabatha finds Stefon putting on a extra-special careful relaxer application and even giving clear headed responses to her questions. While not chewing gum. Gold star.
Tabatha wants to discuss a couple issues with Jac, so she pulls her aside. They decide to call Lauren and ask her to come in. She doesn’t answer the phone so they decide to wait. Jac also shows Tabs the bounced checks, that the staff doesn’t acknowledge. Tabatha encourages Jacqui to address Dontay and Andre about the bounced checks. On the sound legal ground of a pink promise, they both swear to bring in a new checks for Jacqui.
Pinky promise, no take backs.
Jacqui has found her footing and is grateful to see her team pull together. Dontay tells TC he’ll miss her, and that she should stay, because they need a receptionist. Ballsy dude. Tabatha looks like she could do more damage than Stefon in the bakery aisle, but laughs it off…
They give her an impromptu braiding lesson and tell her she’s earned her stripes as far as they’re concerned.
Time to fire Lauren… I mean final recommendations. The hobbit has to go. She’s useless. Jac calls her and leaves her a very gentle message — delivered slowly, in a soothing voice. Jac just says she won’t be needing her services anymore. It’s like she was trying to hypnotize Lauren out of wanting her job. Not a terrible approach.
Tabatha and Jacqui discuss other changes in the salon, now that the problem with Lauren is resolved. Jac also plans to have everyone sign new rental agreements with penalties for bouncing checks. Good head on her, maybe disproportionately large shoulders? Is that it?
Tabatha spreads congratulations all around. The staff is so grateful they give Tab flowers and hooker pants.
One week anniversary is flowers and pleather. Duh.
Six weeks later Tabatha is back to find everyone reinvigorated. They have plans to begin classes and begin a new staff meeting schedule. Of course a new receptionist has been hired.
That’s it from LA. What did you think of Tabatha’s changes in Eclectic Salon? Do you think Jacqui will be able to keep control of her staff? When will we see Tabatha sporting those hooker pants?
I apologize for the late recap this week. Episode 4 will be completed soon. From the looks of the previews, I’ll guess we may be visiting NJ. Ugh. God save my home state. Hey, do you think Tabatha would be interested in a stint as governor?