For any of you who think there is no woman in my life, Dolly has lived with me for 38+years, and, still today, is a source of income, pleasure, inspiration, calm, and frustration. Dolly and I met in the 70’s in Chicago, and have been constant companions ever since, she moves with me everywhere and is a central part of my life. Dolly is my mannequin.

Everywhere I go, I preach the wonders of Dolly to aspiring and seasoned salon professionals by pointing out that everyone whose work I admire, lives with a Dolly, too. I will go out on a limb and say that the fabulous Ann Bray, whose rose hairstyle is featured in the latest Hunger Games movie, has several Dollies. So does Martin Parsons, Luis Alvarez, Dwight Miller, Eric Fisher, Max Eli, Ian Gavet, Leonardo Rocco, and on and on.

A Dolly for the Holi-Day

 My Dolly is permanently situated in an area between the dining and living room. Unsuspecting guests who round the corner bump into her and often let out a yell, and children always want to play with her and take her home.

I mess with Dolly at least a couple of times a week, and if I am preparing for a show or event, a few hours daily. Dolly has her own suitcase, combs, brushes, pins, ornaments, and has traveled worldwide.

 Might be odd, but working on Dolly is relaxing. Sometimes our business gets so hectic, and working on Dolly always brings me back to why it is I got into the hair business, because it’s fun and I like it. I have worked out many of life’s issue while trying to figure out how to best place a four-strand braid. Yes, Dolly and I have been through many things together and she knows she can blackmail me for all I am worth. Instead, the constant practice rewards me with an ability to “put something up” in a jiffy.

A Dolly for the Holi-Day

 Here’s an idea, get a Dolly for Christmas. Once you have her, don’t put her away; instead, place her where you can see her daily. Then, pick up a brush routinely and brush her hair. No purpose or plan required, just move the hair and the inspiration will come. I promise you will be a way better stylist in no time.

 Dolly and I are planning on filming a DVD together with the New Year. I will let you know where you can see it soon.

Carlos Valenzuela is a beauty industry consultant, speaker, stylist, instructor, and author of i-Fabulous Life Skills, a success guide for salon professionals.