The crown of Lincoln County, its highest point, is rumored to be in North Nobleboro, which is where local hairdresser at Blush Boutique for Hair and Beauty, dahlia specialist, and North Nobleboro Community Association member Holly Harlow grew up.
Harlow said growing up she thought she would move away from the area, but when she got older, she found she had more and more pull to stay in Lincoln County.
“You realize how great it is here,” Harlow said.
Harlow got her start in cutting hair in high school while she was in a class called Jobs for Maine Graduates, where she would go work a few hours a week at a hair salon called First Impressions, located in Damariscotta, as a receptionist.
Harlow said when it came time to start college applications the teacher of the class pointed out Harlow’s love for being in the industry.
“She sat me down and said ‘You should do this’ and I already had a feeling that I wanted to do something different than college, so I did,” Harlow said.
From there she attended the Capilo Institute in Augusta, now the Avenda Institute, after graduating from Lincoln Academy in 2005 to train to be a hairdresser, and started cutting hair in Damariscotta in 2007.
Feeling a part of the community, and having a small, close family may inform her close relationships with her clients, which, to Harlow, a hairdresser in Lincoln County for 17 years, are like family.
“I try to treat everyone like we’ve known each other for a long time,” Harlow said.
Harlow worked at Mia’s Shear Perfection in Damariscotta for five years followed by 10 years at Serenity Hair Salon in Damariscotta. For the past two years she has worked at Blush Boutique for Hair and Beauty in Damariscotta.
The hairdresser industry is a hard one, Harlow said, and in order to be successful, she’s had to put her heart and soul into it. There are times where it’s difficult – standing for so many hours can be hard on the body – but she loves her job, the people she works with, and her clients.
“I joke that people come to me because they think I’m funny, and I happen to give them good hair,” Harlow said, laughing. “I just try to be positive and keep the humor going and I think that helps bring it out in others too.”
Harlow said it’s remarkable how close she feels with her clients, even if she sees some every six weeks, other less, but the time they do get to spend together isn’t just about the hair, it’s an opportunity to share stories about what’s going on in each other’s life.
While not all the stories are happy, it’s life, and to Harlow, she wouldn’t have that relationship any other way.
“I think with me and my clientele, we have this pull to enjoy every minute of our time together,” Harlow said. “I’m just forever grateful for being able to have those relationships and I wouldn’t be who I am today without their support.”
When she’s not bringing out the best in her clients hair, Harlow is a self-admitted busy bee, and keeps herself occupied, buzzing between a variety of projects and panels, one of her dearest being her dahlia garden.
Dahlias, a tuberous perennial plant known for its flower’s firework-like bursts of color, are not native to Maine and are not frost hardy, requiring a bit of work to maintain, according to Harlow, who plants, and replants, a garden of nearly 100 every spring.
“I thought they were beautiful and so I started growing a few,” Harlow said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s super gratifying.”
Harlow said originally the plan was to start a business selling the flowers, but she’s mostly given the flowers away to friends and brought in fresh cuts every week during the summer to decorate the hair salon.
Harlow said her dahlia beds are something she’s been tending to over the last three years, which, not long after starting, she became more involved in the community by joining the Parent Teacher Organization at Nobleboro Central School, where she attended, the North Nobleboro Community Association, and the AppleFest Committee.
To Harlow, she sees her involvement in both organizations as being involved with the kid’s community in the area, and while she doesn’t have kids of her own, her niece and nephew are in the school and she feels the pull to help create the magic she remembers experiencing when she was a child in the same community.
“I absolutely love my niece and nephew,” Harlow said. “And I do anything I possibly can to make their day and lives better.”
Harlow said she loves being involved in putting together activities for kids during Nobleboro events like AppleFest, and when North Nobleboro Day comes along the second week of August she does all she can to help run fun and engaging events, whether that’s painting faces or running games.
“If there’s anything I can do to help, I want to,” Harlow said.
When Harlow isn’t cutting hair, growing flowers, or creating fun for the kids of Nobleboro, she’s at home in Nobleboro with her fiance, Jason Batchelder, and their 10-year-old Boston terrier, Buster Lou, the Lou being short for Luigi.
In the winter, Harlow and Batchelder like to head up north to go snowmobiling around Moosehead Lake to enjoy the view and help ease the winter blues.
“Being in Maine you have to have something to get you through the winter,” Harlow said. “A book by the fire is great, but the winter is beautiful, and having a hobby where you get to get out and enjoy that is awesome.”
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