Born and raised in Ashland, Oregon, Tera Shea is a professional hair designer and colorist working at Studio Danielle in the Ashland Railroad district. With more than eleven years of experience Tera specializes in connecting with others by helping them feel good about their hair. Tera values connecting and developing long lasting relationships with her clients. Tera offers a wide variety of services that anyone in the family can enjoy. In today’s interview I speak with Tera to learn more about her life, and career in our community.
Hi Tera, thanks for speaking with us today.
Thank you, I am excited and happy to be here. I am looking forward to introducing myself and connecting with the community.
Great. To begin with, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to become a hair stylist.
Growing up as a child I spent many days in my grandmother’s salon. Often after school, I would hang out in the salon waiting for my parents to get off work. At the time, my grandmother was working in a little salon upstairs in what is now known as the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites. I saw the many rewarding relationships that my grandmother made with her clients. She taught me to invest in my clients, beyond making them feel good about their hair. I have always admired her skill and she continues to impact so many. I spent countless days thumbing through hairstyle books and magazines, studying the many styles throughout the years and taking note of what I wanted to try next. I remember a day in the 5th grade when I had decided to cut my own hair in the girl’s bathroom at school. Ironically, it also happened to be the day of an important assembly where I would be speaking. I remember feeling nervous as I walked onto the stage accompanied by classmates, knowing my parents were in the audience watching. I was more worried about my parent’s reaction, than I was about the quality of the cut. I was born with a confidence to style.
Your grandmother, Linda Molloy, is still practicing today at her salon, Strands. Are there any specific skills or techniques that you can directly attribute to having learned from her?
Well, I mentioned the importance of building relationships, but she has also been a model for punctuality and attention to detail within her shop as well. I can also attribute some of my short haircutting techniques to her mentoring. To this day, my grandmother is one of the most selfless people I know. She listens to her clients with an open heart no matter what she has weighing on her. I want to always give the same to my clients. As a hair stylist, you are there to listen not only to the client’s hair care needs, but also to any heaviness they are feeling emotionally. I am often the only person they feel comfortable and free to talk with. I take the responsibility of listening quite serious. I like to look at my clients directly during a consultation and not just though the mirror standing behind their chair. To me it’s crucial to make that connection and let them feel heard.
Tera, you went to school in Seattle. Please tell us more.
Yes, when I was a junior in high school my mother and step-father moved from Ashland to Washington. I stayed in Ashland and finished high school. Soon after, I made the decision to enroll in Cosmetology school. I loved the idea of learning the skills from a more reputable school than was offered in the valley at the time. I did some research and found a school near by my parents’ house in Washington, and soon made a trip to tour The Gene Juarez Academy. I was blown away by the professionalism they taught to the students. Everything was very organized; the students wore all black and did so stylishly. The instructors were young, and hip to the trends of fashion and hair, and after visiting the school, I enrolled the following month. The thought of being in a bigger city and learning these skills was thrilling and scary at the same time. In the beginning, it was clear they took pride in having expert instructors to ensure the highest quality of educational experience possible.
When I enrolled in The GJA, I was also 5 months pregnant which made studying that much more difficult. I recall one time in Back Class, asking my instructor if I could sit down as I rolled perm rods into my mannequin’s hair because my back and feet hurt. (Back Class is where you spend most of your time in the first 3 months of cosmetology school. You are in the back of the school learning in a classroom setting, out of sight of the clients.) She insisted that I stand, and now I am grateful for that. She helped instill a discipline that isn’t a prerequisite in this industry. The skillset the graduates have from the Gene Juarez Academy are diverse and well rounded, and I am proud to have been trained there.
Yes, shortly after graduating from the GJA, and with my son in tow, I moved back to Ashland where I started my career with The Phoenix Day Spa. With a handful of new experiences under my belt, my return to Ashland was accompanied by a new perspective of my hometown. The overwhelming feeling for most high-school graduates is the need to leave their hometown and spread their wings. I’ve come to understand that I never really appreciated this beautiful town until I had moved away. Despite the small, interwoven community of Ashland, I have found a fantastic partner with whom I can share my life. He too is an Ashland native, and we both love the slow pace, and the ability to be deeply connected with nature. We have 4 children, 3 boys and 1 girl, ranging from ages 2-11 years, and they keep us on our toes as we encourage them to explore life and become involved in the community.
You have a very active family and often enjoy outdoor activities.
Yes, how could you not with four kids? When we aren’t rushing around town transporting our kids from one sport to another, we enjoy family bike rides through town, playing in Ashland’s many parks, and camping with our friends and family. The freedom that comes from camping, and being without screens or devices, is something that my husband and I try to offer the children as much as we can manage. We have made it a yearly tradition to raft the Rogue River on the 4th of July and it stands as one of my favorite summer activities. My husband and I are also huge Reggae fans and love to catch a concert at the Britt Festival at least once a year. Additionally, we have been spotted on family walks with the kids around our neighborhood.
Tera, can you please give us an overview of the services you are currently providing?
All over color
Yes, it’s very common for a mom to come in for a color or cut and ask to bring in their little ones for a cut as well. I also have clients that are now in high school that have been coming to see me since they were in elementary school. It’s so fun to work with the whole family and watch everyone grow and evolve. I’m always blow away at how fast these kids are growing up.
I can imagine that having four kids in your family has given you quite a bit of experience.
Oh yes, I’ve learned a lot over the years from my children. Something I know they value is my ability to be on their level, both in the sense of understanding them, as well as physically reducing the amount of distance between us by kneeling when we speak. Since I have my own children, I’m pretty good at sparking up a relatable conversation. I like to take the time to explain the whole process of the cut as we go along, so they know what to expect, and if they want to take a break to look at all the hair on the floor or look at all the fun tools I have, I make that time available as well. I love sending moms and little ones away together, smiling with admiration of each other’s new looks. I can’t think of a single child that left feeling like the hair cut was a traumatic experience. I’m sure I will meet my match one day, but for now, even the most nervous kids leave with a smile and new sense of trust when coming to our salon.
You also offer scalp massages as an add-on service to your list.
Oh yes, this is a favorite for my clients. I use a few essential oils made by DoTerra and blend them with coconut oil to massage onto the scalp and neck. My clients love the natural aromas in the salon as I also use DoTerra oils in a diffuser at my station. I can add this luxurious scalp massage to any service upon request, before we start. First, I start by letting the client smell a few oils. After they choose a favorite, I use a couple drops on my hands and have them close their eyes as I wave the pleasant scent around their head and face. I ask them to breathe deeply as I add the oil of choice to the scalp and begin a soft brushing before beginning the massage. This is an incredibly relaxing and enjoyable add-on that my current clients never forget to request. I learned this technique years ago when I was just getting started, but it has enhanced the experience for my customers greatly.
Tera is there a specific product line that you enjoy working with or like recommending to your clients?
Yes. I just switched to Vivitone, an amazing color line that my clients are really loving. Vivitone is highly pigmented, which means more grey coverage and true to tone results. What I really enjoy about the line, aside from its predictability and consistency, are the ingredients. Vivitone contains an eco-friendly, sustainable oil, similar Jojoba, that nourishes the strand and locks in moisture. For hair care, I’m currently using two product lines. The first, Moroccan Oil products, are made with 100% pure Argon oil, and my clients love the diversity of the product line. The other, Loma is another lovely line that I have great feedback from. Clients always comment on the fantastic aromas of the products. They are scented with essential oils. All the products I’m using are free of phosphates, parabens, sulfate, sodium chloride and glutens.
Tera, having had a long-term view of Ashland, what do you see changing the most in our community?
I’m seeing Ashland move in a more bike friendly direction. Driving less has always been a popular idea in Ashland, but with the installation of bike rental kiosks around town, I see people really making the extra effort to make it more than a discussion. I also appreciate that our little town has embraced a healthier food scene. Besides finding vegan and gluten-free options on nearly every menu in town, I’m particularly fond of Raw, Pangea, and Sauce.
In the last few years I’ve also seen many of the lower income housing areas be consolidated. These vacated properties are being built upon, and the homes are big and beautiful. However, I’m afraid that this dynamic is making it harder for the younger families to get started here. On the bright side, the existing young family community is strong and supportive of each other. I know that I benefit from ride sharing to and from practices, and from the occasional break when the little ones have a sleepover. I see the changes in my community as moving in a direction that will keep me appreciating Ashland for a long time.
What do you appreciate most in getting to spend the time with your customers?
I absolutely love creating a fun and new style for my clients while talking about life experiences. I enjoy getting caught up on what’s going on in my clients lives while making them look fantastic! Being a stylist doesn’t feel like work to me because I truly enjoy creating happiness through hair. Many of my clients choose to book extra time because we enjoy visiting so much. It’s like a two for one; therapy for your hair and a little something for the mind as well. It’s been incredibly rewarding to have these opportunities reaching so many through my work. I feel equally as grateful to be a part of their lives.
If you could put your finger on one or two of the key reasons why customers choose to work with you what would you say?
I love fashion! You need to be a special kind of person to keep up with the ever-changing trends of the hair world, and I enjoy every minute of it. From celebrity cuts, to the comeback cuts of the season, I feel like one of my best qualities is my passion for getting it right. With different hair types, thicknesses, and textures, cutting hair isn’t an exact science. However, I’m committed the working diligently with each client to get them the exact style that they’re seeking. I also pride myself in my ability to listen to what my client’s concerns are regarding their hair, and turn them into a great look, which will always deliver a boost of confidence. What is the experience if you don’t get to leave the salon looking and feeling amazing?
Can you share some recent testimonials with us?
“Tera is a gifted stylist who makes it a point to personally connect with her clients, always listening carefully to their desires and concerns. I have been seeing Tera for several months and have been impressed by her skill, talent, and expertise.”
“My kiddos and I have been seeing Tera for haircuts since we moved here four years ago. My kids adore Tera as much as I do. She is such a natural with kids. People stop me all the time to ask who cuts and colors my hair. I have rarely met someone who works so hard and who is as dedicated to their craft.”
“I am so happy that I found Tera; she is an extremely talented hair stylist! She has cut and colored my hair for 9 years. She listens to me and masterfully cuts my challenging hair. Thank you, Tera!”
“Tera is an excellent hair stylist. She is very professional, trustworthy, and reliable. She always gives you the result you want. Tera has great ideas and inspiration for new trendy haircuts and color. She now styles all the women in our family!”
What are the next steps for any of our readers who might be interested in working with you?
I am available by appointment only and I suggest that clients try to book about 2 weeks in advance. I can be reached directly via call or text to request an appointment, or you can always stop in and schedule an appointment in person. We love visitors!
Are there any last thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
I appreciate the opportunity to be featured in the LocalsGuide. It has been an adventure recounting and sharing my experiences throughout my life in Ashland. I am truly grateful for each of my clients and look forward to adding a special kind of light and happiness to my future clients.
Tera Shea Hair Design
687 A St Ashland, Oregon