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Marion salon accepts books as payment for haircuts

By Brady Smith, KCRG-TV9 / The Gazette |August 22, 2015 |

MARION — Bellezza Salon & Spa was busy getting kids ready for school with free haircuts on Saturday. The salon’s owner, Jill Woodring, got the idea from a Dubuque barber who started accepting young clients’ reading aloud as payment. But Woodring put her own unique twist on it.

Young clients were encouraged to tell their stylists about the books they’re reading, but reading wasn’t the required payment, just a donated book.

“Not all kids learn at the same pace,” Woodring told us. “When a kid’s in third grade, they should be reading, but not all kids are. I don’t want to put anybody on the spot. So I figured by at least donating a book, they won’t have to be put on the spot.”

Woodring said after she posted the plan to her Facebook page, the response was overwhelming. She had her friend Amber Nelson, owner of Collione’s Custom Cake, bake up homemade cupcakes for the special event.

“We just decided to do this last Wednesday, so it kind of spread really fast,” Woodring said.

By about midday on Saturday, Woodring’s salon had already styled about 25 heads of hair, and collected several donated books. Those will go to the non-profit Families Helping Families, dedicated to helping kids in foster care.

Woodring said this event has the added benefit of cutting costs for families as they get kids ready for the new school year.

“It’s so expensive, you know, for families to get to school. We didn’t grow up with a lot, so it’s nice when you have somebody that can help,” Woodring explained.

Books weren’t the only things being donated. In the spirit of giving, 5 year-old Alexa gave up her locks to be made into wigs for cancer patients.

Woodring plans to make this an annual event. She says next year, she may accept school supplies instead of books.

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