By John Turner
When Kim Baker slaps her alarm off at 7 each morning, she wakes up to tackle a day that is anything but ordinary.
The village resident is a single mother of two sons and owner and operator of Bijou Salon, located at 6 Jordan St. in downtown Skaneateles.
And when she crawls out of bed each day, Kim goes about her daily routine with a remarkable zest for life and everything the day can bring.
Last weekend Kim talked about living life as a divorced mother, and how her boys make owning a business a treat.
“I think I’m lucky. Life would be a lot tougher if I didn’t have kids who were so good,” Kim said laughing. “They’re really understanding. … They always want to help, and they’re proud of my business.”
Dylan, who is 16, and Chase, 10, realize that they’re all living their lives as a team, she explained.
“Since the beginning I think they’ve known that whatever happens with me will affect their future too,” Kim said.
Each morning her boys get themselves out of bed, eat breakfast and get ready for school.
“Dylan does it all. In the last year or so, I’ve sort of gotten Chase to pretty much do things himself too. … He used to be dependent on me, but he’s gotten to an age where he’s learning that he can handle his own things,” Kim explained.
After her sons get on the bus to go to school, Kim goes to the salon, which recently expanded after acquiring the storefront space formerly occupied by Bella Blue Boutique.
“I think having the storefront has helped tremendously. When I first opened (Bijou) two years ago, it was just me and one other girl, and now I have 12 people on my staff,” she said.
Kim has worked in most of the numerous salons in the village, she said, and she took ideas from each shop that she has utilized at Bijou.
“At each place I worked I’d learn what people liked and didn’t like, so when I opened my own place I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted it to be.”
Kim said she’s built a great clientele in the 15-odd years she has been a hairdresser in the village, and those clients have stayed loyal since she opened her own salon.
“I’m lucky to have a good memory for details. … It’s important to me what people want, and I think that’s really helped (Bijou) be successful.”
In addition to serving about a half-dozen clients each day, Kim has also become active in community affairs, for totally unselfish reasons.
“I just want to help other people. Owning Bijou has given me a vehicle to be able to help people in need, because there have been times where I’ve been in their position. … What’s better than giving back?” she said.
Kim said the salon regularly donates its services to Locks of Love, a nationwide initiative that provides hair to cancer sufferers, and each October Bijou donates 10 percent of its earnings to research in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Earlier this year, Kim worked with local author Tim Green on a raffle, in which the winner had a character named after him in Green’s next book, to raise funds for village resident Sue Major, who was herself recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
“The raffle with Tim turned out great. Doing things like that just makes you glad you can help,” she said.
When Kim gets home from work each evening, Dylan and Chase do their homework – “usually unsupervised,” she said with a laugh – then are in bed by 9 or 10.
She uses the quiet time once the boys are asleep to work on her salon’s marketing and maintain its website, www.bijousalon.net.
And when she goes to bed at about midnight, Kim sleeps fantastically.
“I’m lucky to live the life I do. My life is not perfect – I mean, whose is? – but the boys and I are so grateful for everything we have.”
To learn more about Kim Baker and Bijou Salon, visit the Bijou Salon page on Skaneateles Talk here.