Kimberly Schaefer Of Salon Blu: Hair Imagery At Its Finest

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Kimberly Schaefer grew up in Oregon, not far from Portland, and started helping her grandmother with her hair at the tender age of four. Mind you, this was the era when women would roll their hair using hard brush rollers and picks, and then sleep on them! We laughed as we strolled down memory lane and considered how times have changed when it comes to the pursuit of beauty.

I first met Kimberly when we did a front cover article for Staton House, a women’s boutique that is right next door to Salon Blu on Jefferson Street in Athens, and both places are owned by Kristen Beucher. I learned something that is still hard for me to grasp, and it is that Kimberly and her husband Neil actually finally decided to make Athens their new home because they picked up a copy of Athens Now after having toured the town. They knew they were planning on leaving Oregon, and checked out several cities and towns: Florence, Cullman, and Huntsville. As Kimberly said, “We loved the paper, and loved the town.” That was in May of 2022, and by October of the same year, they had become Athenians. They took a copy of the paper home to their Oregon family who certainly understood why our town had captured Neil’s and Kimberly’s hearts. Then they sold most of their stuff, and arrived in Alabama via travel trailer. They lived in their trailer while they looked for a house, and settled on a small farm in West Limestone. They now have goats; even one that actually faints! Neil has kin in Franklin, and Kimberly describes their decision to move here in this way: “We wanted to live near our kind of people and to be within a few hours of Neil’s brother, sister-in-law, kids, and grandkids.” Neil does Customer Service and Logistics for OCI in Decatur and is greatly enjoying being a “goat parent.”

Moving on from Kimberly at the age of four; one of the first things she taught herself was how to braid. She bought a book that showed her how, and seeing as this was the era when French braids first became the rage, she got lots of practice and became very good at it. Kimberly not only did her own hair, she was good enough to do highlights for her mom at the age of 13. As time went on, Kimberly did both the hair and make up for her friends when they got ready for special occasions such as proms. After getting her education and her license, she went straight to what she will never consider work: hairdressing in a salon. “It was the best decision I ever made, and I have never looked back. They say that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life, and I believe that,” she said.

Kimberly went on to tell me some of the things that she enjoys and at which she excels. “My favorite thing to do is create something new,” she said. She went on to explain that much of being a great hairdresser is not only knowing the art and science of the craft, but to really listen to your client so that you can draw out of them the thing they want to create. “It’s about relationship building, and most often if things go wrong, the problem is due to communication,” she said. Kimberly also added that she is confident that she can achieve what is wanted if there is a good consultation conversation ahead of time. If things don’t go exactly as expected, almost anything can be repaired or remedied, and Kimberly makes sure that her clients leave the shop highly satisfied with the results. Her approach is clearly working; Kimberly has been at it for over 17 years and has owned her own salon. She also is in such demand here in Athens that occasionally she finds herself working some long hours just to meet the needs of her clients.

Kimberly especially enjoys being a color specialist, and mentioned that she considers herself to be a life-long learner that has done a ton of continuing education. “I am fascinated with it, and want to stay on top of things,” she said. She taught me about “balayage,” which is pronounced “bah-lee-ahge,” and is described in trade terms as follows:

It involves hand painting color onto the hair using a sweeping motion. The colorist strategically selects sections of the hair that would naturally catch the light, focusing on areas around the face, ends, and other desired placements. Traditional balayage creates soft transitions and delivers a sun-kissed effect.

Even though Kimberly’s own hair is straight, she especially enjoys working with very curly hair, and has several curly-headed clients who come and “cut her loose” to make their tresses look terrific.

If you are looking for a hairdresser who listens, asks great questions, and then applies her artistry to create just the look you want, look no further than Salon Blu’s Kimberly Schaefer, an expert in “hair imagery.”

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner