November 16, 2019

Jane Maurer: 40 years of bringing out beauty in others - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Jane Maurer: 40 years of bringing out beauty in others

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Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 3:59 pm

Marcia Wenk sat in her stylist's chair on Friday morning with her eyes closed, contented as a cat.

Jane Maurer drew a brush through Wenk's hair while blow drying it, and then used a curling iron to finish a few strands. Her hands were sure, her motions efficient.

For both women, this has been a twice-weekly routine for 40 years -- since Maurer moved to Madison after her husband Tom accepted a position as placement director at Dakota State University.

"We've been through a lot together. She's seen me with all kinds of hairstyles and with no hair," said Wenk, who lost her hair while receiving chemotherapy.

When Wenk was battling breast cancer, Maurer would style her wigs for her. After the chemo, when Wenk's hair began to return, Maurer helped her through that as well.

"When it started growing out, we put a little color in it," Maurer recalled.

As they reminisced on Friday morning, they were careful to avoid one subject. Maurer was doing Wenk's hair for the last time; on Oct. 31, she is officially retiring.

"We're not going to talk about it. It's too hard," Wenk said.

Maurer had been managing a salon, Hair by Stewarts, in Yankton prior to moving to Madison. When she discovered a salon on S. Egan Ave. was for sale, she suggested her former employers purchase it and open a Hair by Stewarts in Madison as well.

That is how Maurer and Wenk met. Wenk had been one of the previous owner's clients and just stayed with the salon. At the time, Maurer hadn't even started her family. Now her two children, Kyle and Allison, are grown and she has four grandsons with another expected in December.

Wenk -- and other clients -- have shared the story that has been Maurer's life during the intervening years, and she has shared theirs. Births, deaths, health challenges and travel adventures have all been shared as Maurer's hands have worked their magic.

"They have been just like family to me," Maurer said.

When Hair by Stewarts closed nearly 20 years ago, she opened Hair 109 with another stylist, Sandy Jongeward, and established relationships continued in that new location.

"Through stories, pictures, laughter and even tears, it has been wonderful to share our lives and families with each other," Maurer said, noting how much she will cherish those memories.

While relationship has been at the heart of her business, helping her clients feel good about themselves has been her goal. For Maurer, this begins with taking care of herself.

"It's always been an important part of my life as a hair stylist to look and feel good about myself when I come to work," she said.

Her reason for approaching her goal in this way was simple.

"We're here to sell beauty," Maurer said, explaining that she could not ask her clients to place their trust in her ability if she didn't pay attention to the way she presented herself.

However, that was just one way she worked to achieve her goal. Another was by staying abreast of trends through continuing education seminars where she learned about up-to-date cuts and colors which enabled her to use her creativity in serving her clients.

"When my clients leave, I want them to feel good about themselves," she explained.

As she prepares to retire, she sees several indications that she succeeded in doing this. She has long-term clients, like Wenk. Most of her clients have had regular bookings for years, if not decades.

Even her long days testify to the success of her business. Maurer said some days have begun at 8 a.m. and ended at 7 p.m. When her children were growing up, she would pay them to massage her aching feet at the end of the day -- until they pooled their resources to buy her a foot massager for Christmas one year.

"My legs and my feet will like retirement," she noted in passing.

One of the most touching affirmations is one she will take with her, a small box sign that was a gift from one of her clients. It reads, "Blessed are the hairstylists for they bring out the beauty in others."

As she winds down her business, she has been working to transition her clients to other stylists. Some, like Wenk, will stay at Hair 109 with Jongeward. Others will move to other salons.

Maurer has gone the extra mile to provide continuity during this transition. She has given her clients information their new stylists will need, including her cell phone number for consultations. She has also met with other stylists in Madison to ensure they have the information they need.

Having done what she can for those who have been such an important part of her life for so long, she's looking forward to retirement -- to having more unscheduled time, to enjoying coffee in the all-season room she and her husband have put on their house, to attending her grandsons' activities, to volunteering, traveling and spending more time with her sisters who are already retired.

"As a woman, there are so many things to do," Maurer said.

She admits that giving her key to the salon to building owners Greg and Winnie Giles after all these years will be a life-changing experience for her. But she has no regrets as she stands at a crossroads looking both forward and back.

"It has been a rewarding profession for me," she said. She has found her clients' trust in her and the bond she has shared with them to be amazing.

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