Take Charge

Five Questions With: Brian Hawkins, Magnolia's Salon Supervisor

July 12, 2017


Magnolia's Salon has welcomed a new supervisor, Brian Hawkins, and we got to know a little more about him and his plans for the salon. Brian has been in the salon industry for more than 10 years and works as a stylist, educator, brand ambassador and makeup artist. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he recently moved to the Tampa area.

Magnolia's Salon, located at the ground level of the Magnolia campus, is here to help customers look good and feel better. The salon serves patients, family and friends of patients as well as Moffitt team members and staff. Extended hours of operation will start in early August.

1. Why did you choose to work at Moffitt? What landed you here?

This job is something that appeals to me on a personal level as well as a professional one. Anyone who is at Moffitt is connected in terms of the purpose that we serve here. Whether it is in our own family or friends, we know someone that has been affected by cancer. It is something that I feel connected with and it is in the industry that I love. I’ve been in the industry for over 10 years and have a broad background, the way it fast-tracked told me it was meant to be.

2. What aspect of working at Moffitt excites you the most compared to the other salons you have worked in?

The patients. Every patient experience is different, but at the end of the day I feel fulfilled. Everyone that is working at Moffitt whether it is a staff member, volunteer or intern is here for the same reason. There is this energy that is very positive and empowering. Everyone here has the same purpose which makes it more wonderful.

3. What changes do you plan to make to the Magnolia Salon to make it more your own?

Aside from just aesthetically changing things, the new focus is emphasizing every service the salon provides from hair services as well as wig services for the patients. I plan to make it feel more modern, making the branding more visual to the customers when they walk in the door whether they see it on the sign or see it in print. It has been here for 27 years, which is fantastic, but it is time to bring it more up-to-date.

4. What would you tell a cancer patient who has lost their hair due to their cancer treatment? How do you think the salon can help them get through that process?

The biggest part is just listening to what the patients have to say. I learned this a couple years back that being in the salon industry, it's about 20 percent technical and the rest is about listening and paying attention to who is in your chair. There is that trust and compassion factor that goes along with it. For patients that are sitting in the chair, I try to encourage and remind them that this situation is temporary. I try to empower them to look at it this way, your hair is going to come back better than it was before. In the interim I say, here are your options, have some fun with it. If we go into the option of wigs I ask them if they want curly hair this time, or longer hair versus short hair, and that helps them relax a little more. For some patients, if they haven’t started treatment, I encourage them to shorten their hair so they can mentally and emotionally prepare. I want to help them find the option that is going to help them feel comfortable during that process. It’s always about understanding the patients’ needs.

5. What hairpiece options are available in the Magnolia Salon for patients?

We have synthetic wigs and human-hair wigs. The difference between the two is the price point and quality of hair; a synthetic wig starts at around $135+, has a lower quality of synthetic hair that has a shorter wear life and is hot-tools resistant while a human-hair wig is about $1,000+, higher quality, longer wear life and is hot-tools friendly. We tell patients to contact their insurance to see if the cost of the wig will be covered. We have different styles, textures, lengths and hair color. It’s just a matter of them coming in and pointing out which style they want and accommodating to what their needs are. If they don’t want a wig, we have hats, scarves, headbands, pretty much every color and style. When they see that, they are reminded that they can have more fun with it. We aren’t gender-specific; we cater to any patient that walks in the door.

 For more information and current hours of the salon, visit Magnolia's Salon webpage.

 Five Questions With is an occasional series featuring Moffitt team members, patients and volunteers.