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The interior of Jean Paul Salon

How a Would-Be Priest Turned to Hair

By Mindbody

May 23, 2022

Jean-Claude was raised in the French Alps as the ninth child among eleven siblings. Each with their own calling, Jean-Claude grew up attending boarding school to become a priest. When asked if he was religious, Jean-Claude told us, “It was something my mother wanted me to do, so I thought I would.” Little did they know boarding school would send Jean-Claude down a very different path.

It began with his first job at boarding school, where each boy was assigned a duty. Jean-Claude was tasked with cutting everyone’s hair, despite having no previous experience. He told us, “No one taught me. They simply gave me a pair of scissors, clippers and a comb. As it turned out, I was pretty good at it.”

While on winter break, Jean-Claude started working as a repairman for the local ski resort. As one would expect, he encountered people from all over the world. However, there was a group of men that stood out among the rest. This was largely due to the generous following of attractive women surrounding them; Jean-Paul was a young man after all.

Dumbfounded by how these strangers could have possibly captivated the attention of so many beautiful companions, Jean-Claude decided he had to question them and find out. He learned that the gentlemen were hairstylists working for Elizabeth Arden. The surrounding women with exquisite golden locks suddenly made sense, but what was to come was even more astounding.

“The stylists offered me an apprenticeship!” Jean-Claude said. “They told me that if I came to Paris, I could work as his pupil and learn the trade.” Faced with the choice of staying home to become a priest or going off to Paris—where he would shape his future and be surrounded by gorgeous women—didn’t prove to be too difficult of a decision.

Jean-Claude ended up staying in Paris for a time but later moved to New York to work in one of Elizabeth Arden’s salons. Not too long after, Jean-Claude was ready for a change of pace and decided it was time to do his own thing. The year was 1972 when he and his brother Paul jointly opened their first salon in Albany, New York: Jean Paul Salon.

Their new business was an exciting new adventure, but the years to come were bittersweet. Not long after opening their salon, Jean-Claude’s brother passed away leaving him to run things on his own. Fortunately, he wasn’t alone for long, as he soon met and married the love of his life: Anne-Marie.

Now, roughly 40 years since opening his first location, Jean-Claude and Anne-Marie own three salons with 140 employees and staff combined.

And Jean-Claude’s story continues with Mindbody salon software. Signing up opened up new opportunities and helped him deliver an even better experience to clients.

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Staff Writer

Mindbody is powering the world's fitness and wellness businesses, connecting them with more consumers, more effectively, than anyone else.


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