How does a person say good-bye to someone who makes them feel good? Well, for Nichole Widhalm’s customers, good-bye accompanies one last visit for a head massage and hairstyle.
Nichole has been in the hair business for 26 years. She opened her shop in Valier nine years ago after working at Studio Montage in Great Falls for several years. Unfortunately for her clients in Valier, she will be hanging up her scissors and unplugging her hair dryer and curling irons on March 31.
When asked what the favorite aspect of her job has been Nichole replied, “My favorite part of my job is knowing I can make someone feel and look beautiful. Is there anything better than that?”
Who doesn’t want to look beautiful? There have been some murmurings around town, “Perhaps if we all got real mad,” joked one client who will go unnamed, “maybe she would stay.”
“When you’re a hairdresser and you’re seeing someone every 4-6 weeks,” Nichole explained, “it becomes more than being about just their hair. It’s a relationship. I get to be a small part of their story.”
She continued, “With my clients, we have been through marriages and divorces, having babies, losing loved ones, cancer diagnosis, new careers, and retirements. And even turning 100. I feel like I get to be someone who supports them through life’s biggest victories and challenges. It’s a huge blessing to be a part of someone’s life like that. I’m very thankful for the connections and friendships I have made.
Nichole wouldn’t divulge how many clients she had. After all, isn’t it part of a hairdresser’s job to keep confidences? “The majority of my clients were cuts and colors. I only have one weekly style which is Mrs. Dorothy Curry, our town’s famous 100 year-old.”
When asked about the challenges associated with her job, it wasn’t standing up all day or being able to please all her clients that came to mind.
“The hardest part of my job is the schedule. It’s not like most jobs where you can call in sick and not have to make up the day. Those clients still need to see you. I prided myself in never calling in sick. I only canceled when we were having medical emergency in our family, and when the state shut down for COVID.”
What is next in store for Nichole? “I’m looking forward to the slow down and spending time at home. I’m excited I’ll be around more to help my husband more around the farm and ranch. I’m sure I’ll become a professional gate opener in no time,”
Nichole added, “I’m a big believer that when God closes one door, he’ll open up another. My passion is creating. I have always loved to play around with designs and house remodeling. I would love to see if something comes out of that.”
And for her clients? They are hoping that second door opens up in a hurry, at least in terms of finding the right hairdresser because hair never stops growing. Nichole is doing her best to direct her clients where they can receive hairdressing services similar to those she has been able to offer.
Best wishes, Nichole, on your next adventure!