Wilma Mullis was featured in The Messenger in 1969

Published 8:29 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

In 1969, the Troy Messenger features a series of articles on “careers for women.”  Here is one on Wilma Mullis and her career with her beauty salon.     

Occasionally a profession chooses a person rather than the person choosing the profession.  In Mrs. Wilma Mullis case, the profession which chose her has provided a successful career.

“I was a DO student in high school when I began working in a beauty shop.  After I graduated, I needed to work.  This type of work was the only professional training offered in Troy at the time.”

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Mrs. Mullis now owns and manages her own beauty salon.  She said that the shop was the culmination of 15 years of dreaming and working.

“There isn’t much difference in working for yourself rather than someone else,” she remarked.  She went on to point out that in most shops, beauty operators work on a commission basis as do the ten girls working with her.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Mrs. Mullis pointed out that there is a lot of work involved in becoming a licensed beautician.  “About 1800 hours is spent in a classroom or 2000 hours as an apprentice.  Then one must pass state board examinations to get a license.  After working for two years, you can apply for your master’s license.”

State law requires that a physical examination be taken by each beauty operator once each year.  Shop premises are inspected annually.

Learning continues throughout the time the person is working.  “The biggest changes since I started have been in permanent waving, styling and cutting  techniques.”  Keeping up with changes brought about by fashion dictates or new products is done through attending style shows sponsored by producers and through the numerous trade publications.

Mrs. Mullis is especially interested in coloring and styling to suit the individual.  “One of the hardest things in this work is to see the patron as she sees herself.

“What I or one of the girls may think would be becoming may not be what the patron wants.  The wishes of the patron come first.”

Mrs. Mullis classified her occupation as hard work.  “When I decided it was time to build a shop of my own, we had a family conference.  We discussed the amount of work and the number of hours I would be away from home.  My husband and children have been very helpful.”

Mrs. Mullis and her husband, James, have two children, Penny and Jim.  “They have always had a working mother.”

With all the work, training and experience that a professional cosmetologist has, mistakes do sometime happen.  One which occurred with Mrs. Mullis and a patron was tragic at the time.

“I had bleached and applied toner to the person’s hair.  I was preparing to style it and had applied wave set.  As I rolled the hair, it seemed to be getting blue.”

“I thought it was eye strain at first.  As I went on it kept getting bluer.  I asked the person if she thought it looked bluer.  She said she had but thought it was her imagination.  By the time she left, her hair was purple.”

“The next day we started over and brought the hair back to the color it was supposed to be.  A chemical reaction had changed the color.

“Today about the only thing we do that can’t be undone is a haircut.  There are products that we can use to rectify mistakes.  We can work with confidence because of this.”

All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.