Margo McCrae said she was attracted to working with hair from a young age.
Whether styling every doll she could find or cutting her friends’ hair, McCrae said she always had an interest in it. That led her into her 37-year career as a hairstylist in the County of Haliburton. Thousands of clients and tens of thousands of haircuts later, McCrae is ready to call it quits. She is due to retire April 18.
“It’s sort of bittersweet for me because I’m still healthy and I still really like my job,” the 58-year-old said. “I’m going to miss people terribly.”
McCrae started her career with Haliburton Hairdressing in the 1980s. After taking three years to study hairstyling in Toronto, she said she quickly gained notoriety in town and had 300 regular clients in her heyday. She said she loves just about every part of hairstyling, particularly making people feel better.
“You’re a little bit of a psychologist too when you’re a hairstylist. Everybody tells you all their problems,” McCrae said. “They release, and when you’re shampooing somebody’s hair, you can just feel their body relaxing.”
Marion Teatro, McCrae’s boss during her time at Haliburton Hairdressing, said her love of the job helped her succeed.
“She loved every minute of it. When you have a career that is that long, you have to love it and she does. She was excellent at it,” Teatro said. “Her fame spread far and wide. She had a lot of people that wanted her to cut their hair.”
But McCrae eventually got an offer from Lynn Roberge to join the Hair Emporium. McCrae has worked there for the past 13 years.
“I knew she had a really good reputation,” Roberge said. “I thought about every other person in the county seems to know Margo.”
“Margo’s been a real asset, not only to the community, but to this salon,” Roberge added. “She’s kind of like a little angel floating around with her scissors in her hand. She’s got a very kind heart and she likes working with people that aren’t capable of fending for themselves.”
McCrae said she spent a lot of time giving cuts to people who could not make it to the salon, whether they were stuck at home or in a hospital.
“You’re able to help them out that way. That’s what I’m going to miss about hairdressing too, is the caregiving role,” McCrae said.
The retirement comes six years after the retirement of her husband. McCrae said the two want to spend more time travelling. After her two battles with cancer, she said it was the right time to retire.
“If somebody could have told me I could have 20 more good years left health wise, I probably would have stayed longer,” McCrae said.
McCrae said she was thankful for all the support she has received from her family over the years. With tears in her eyes, she said she hoped her clients could find other hairstylists.
“I’ve been very spoiled. My clients are really, really good to me,” she said. “I hope they find someone that they’re happy with. That maybe change is a good thing … I’ll miss them and maybe hope that we can stay in touch.”