A Cut Above

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By Mike Bisceglia

Seacoast Scene, August 21, 2013

[The following article is courtesy of the Seacoast Scene]

Michelle Schevis
Michelle, and three siblings, are the children of a WWII Marine who
fought in the battle of Iwo Jima. "We grew up with discipline."

 HAMPTON - "I was just about ready to toss in the towel and take any other job," sighed Michelle Schevis, the owner and operator of Studio 471.  "I had been laid off from my former position as an instructor of cosmetology for over nineteen years and had been searching to find a way back into the business again.  I had nearly given up in my search for finding just the perfect business opportunity.  In fact, I was stopped at the traffic light in downtown Hampton and was about to turn left for a job interview in Exeter.  At that moment, a man was hanging a "FOR RENT" sign on the door of an available shop.  I parked and went inside.  I had found a home."

"The place needed a total redo.  After all, it had been a cafĂ© and now needed to be transformed into a state-of-the-art boutique salon.  That's where my husband, David, came in.  He is an engineer, but he has amazing skills in refurbishing.  In fact, he gave the place its name - Studio 471."

Michelle, and three siblings, are the children of a WWII Marine who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima.  "We grew up with discipline.  It had always been my dream to be a hair stylist, but dad had other aspirations for me.  I think he would have liked for me to pursue a dental career.  That wasn't for me.  I know he saw me cutting and shaping the hair on my Barbie Dolls.  I would work on one, put it aside, and begin a new coif on the next doll.  He gave up trying to convince me."

"After high school in East Millinocket, Maine, I immediately enrolled in the Mansfield Beauty Academy in Lewiston.  I had 1,500 hours of everything from hair coloring to ear piercing, and from physiology to chemistry.  In the process, I cut loads of hair.  Did I ever draw blood?  Well, no, not a customer's.  It was usually mine."

"I did have one humorous incident.  I had a male customer, and no one tipped me off that the fellow was attempting to cover a severe bald spot.  He had fixed his hair much like Donald Trump does his.  So, when I washed his hair in the sink, I gasped when I found over a foot of hair hanging from the top of his head.  In the end, he was happy with his new do."

"Being young, I thought I might like living out west.  I tried California, but realized that my real home was here along the seacoast.  I came back to Old Orchard Beach and was lucky enough to be trained by a team of Vidal Sassoon educators.  I learned everything there is to know about chemicals and cosmetology.  I was so excited by what I was learning that I took over 900 hours in courses related to business management.  In the process, I learned to become an instructor for future stylists.  I became an educational director for some 64 students in Portsmouth.  I am pleased to say each has gone on to become a true professional in the field."

"Because of the harsh economic climate, many jobs were lost.  This included mine.  I did other things to keep busy, and this included some modeling.  My heart, however, was always in hair styling.  When I told my husband about the place I had found in Hampton, he told me to go for it.  He wanted me to achieve my dream, and backed me 100%"

"Studio 471 has become a reality, and I'm delighted.  My husband and I love coastal New England.  We truly love the people, the parades, the holidays, and the community.  We love being involved . . . we're here to stay."

"I heard about the place while golfing," said Wayne Farmer, a Franklin resident.  "I was told that I just had to come here.  I did, and I'm very satisfied."

"We want our customers to be proud of their hair," said Schevis.  "We want them to have a great experience with any one of our professionals.  If they do, and I know they will, I know they will tell others about us.  They're doing just that, and we're delighted."

Michelle Schevis, Wayne Farmer and Brittney Chen
Always the teacher, Michelle Schevis oversees stylist
Brittney Chen as she makes the final snips on the
head of Wayne Farmer.

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