Candy Shaw Codner: Spread the Health

There’s something about turning 50 that feels like a wake-up call for reviewing your lifestyle. 


“When I turned 50, I realized that I was closer to the end than the beginning,” says famed Atlanta stylist Candy Shaw Codner, owner of Jamison Shaw Hairdressers and Jamison Shaw Academy. “I wasn’t overweight; I wore a size 10. But I wanted to be flexible and in better shape. In addition to having my salon, I’m raising three kids, and I’m on the road all the time at hair shows with very early model calls. It’s hard to stay fit!!”


Knowing from experience that standard diets were not successful long-term for her, Codner wanted to figure out a more customized strategy. When she began journaling to take a hard look at what she was eating, one word screamed out at her: snacks!


“I was eating out of boredom,” she says. “My hand would just go to my mouth! When people would bring snacks into the salon, I would just eat them.” Cutting out most of her snacking and working with a trainer gradually changed her lifestyle. She added yoga and began mixing up her food regimen with “carb cycling”—eating carbs for two days and then taking a day off from carbs—which she says helped her to drop body fat and tone muscles. Over two years Codner lost 25 pounds. Her salon team took notice.


“My better habits have trickled down to my entire salon,” Codner says. “Many of my team members have hired my trainer, and we’re all eating healthier. It’s been heartwarming to me that leading by example has improved other people’s lives.”


To further encourage her team, Codner holds “boot camp” on Fridays at about 5:30 pm, when she brings in a trainer for an exercise session. “We literally close the door, put our yoga mats on the floor and do a class,” she says. “The workout makes a much better Saturday in the salon, which is our killer day. Plus I’ve never slept better or felt better!” At the December holidays and other very busy times, they take a sabbatical from the Friday class, but most of the year it’s on ongoing opportunity for staff—optional, not mandatory. Codner introduced it as a free perk, but now stylists pay $10 per session.


The highlight of the team’s year is “Farm Day” in the summertime. “I take everybody out to a beautiful bed-and-breakfast outside of Atlanta, and we have a total health day,” Codner explains. In addition to offering a no-alcohol menu of great organic food, the full day includes a speaker discussing something related to body/mind/spirit, hanging out with farm animals and fun retro activities such as a hayride, sack races and bobbing for apples. When Codner first proposed Farm Day, the team resisted—Codner says the first question was, “Will there be a keg?”—but they trusted their leader and now it’s everyone’s favorite day.


“We laugh a lot!” Codner says. “It’s the best money I spend for my staff—better than an awards ceremony or holiday party.”


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