After a failed five-year search for a stylist in the Seattle-Tacoma area who would or who could work with my fine, curly hair instead of cutting it like it was straight, I met Susan Pack at Embellish Salon in December of 2011.
As she calmly acceded to my request to chop my waist-Long hair into a chin-length asymmetrical cut, her skill and familiarity with all kinds of curls became clear. I quickly became a hopelessly devoted client, proselytizing her skills to anyone who would listen, so let me introduce her to you, too. (T-Town locals, be sure to check out Susan’s favorite spots around town.)
Susan, owner of Indigo (celebrating its one year anniversary today, congratulations!!), traveling Davines educator and member of Roller Derby National Champions The Oly Rollers, has a calm, powerful presence that belies a fierce ambition. With a personal motto of “Homo faber fortunae suae”, that is no surprise. According to Susan, it is Latin-ish for “Each man is the master of his own destiny.”
However, for nine-year-old Susan living in Spanaway, WA with dreams of being a famous singer, becoming a hair stylist was not exactly part of the plan. Following a path similar to her mother, after finishing school she went into counseling, working with young people. But then as she was contemplating going back to school, she had an epiphany. “At the time, I was doing a lot of hair for the kids I worked for…The only idea that sounded and felt right was cosmetology school.”
After school, Susan landed a spot at Tacoma’s Embellish Salon. Drawing inspiration from music, architecture, geometric shapes and the energy her clients bring to the experience, Susan’s cuts and styles became easily recognized on the street and it was soon time to strike out on her own. “I got to the point in my career when I needed more freedom with my time and needed the ability to have full control of my schedule. Coming to this decision was scary to come to but it has always felt right.” She fell in love with the Harmon Building on Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma, realized that obtaining a space there was a logistically sound decision and took the leap. Featuring local artists on Indigo’s walls, Susan is very focused on community and promoting and partnering with other creatives even as she builds her own clientele.
Tell me about your family, where you grew up and what it was like for you.
I have one brother, one sister, three nieces, one nephew. My parents still live in the house we grew up at in Spanaway. We all still live local and get together often although I would like to see the kids more than my schedule allows.
What is your favorite book?
What is your favorite flower?
Calla Lilies and Sun Flowers.
Who or what influences your personal style?
Designers with a simple but imaginative style. What fits!!!
Do you have a favorite look or hairstyle that you like to do?
My favorite hair cuts are the ones that require creativity, the ones that venture outside of the norm.
How did you get involved in roller derby?
A friend “made” me go and I fell in Love. I wanted to get involved in an activity that would keep me active and in shape that was also fun.
What projects would you like to take on in the future?
I hope to build an extensive internship/apprenticeship program that teaches individuals the true ins and outs of the business of being a hair stylist. I would also like to partner with Oasis & The Rainbow Center to help transitioning men & women.
What are your favorite spots around T-Town?
Indigo Salon | 1944 Pacific Ave, Suite 101, Tacoma, WA 98409
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Photos by Eric Lyons Photography