After 30 years of cutting, perming and blow drying hair, Nick Petrelli still enjoys his chosen trade as barber and hair stylist at Fusion. Petrelli and his partners, Cori Elwell and Callie Cain, dye hair brilliant shades of red and blue, pluck eyebrows, and provide basic hair cuts at 80 W. Arroyo St.
What do you like about cutting hair?
The profession is always changing, and I’m always doing new and different things. I’m also around a lot of people, both young and old, and that keeps me young.
Over the past 30 years you’ve seen a lot of changes in hair styles. What was your favorite?
I kind of like what’s going on right now, actually. There’s a lot of modern barbering going on, and I really like all of the vibrant hair colors that are being used now—they are really fun.
What’s modern barbering?
It’s taking classic barbering techniques, like how we use straight-edge razors, clippers and scissors, and updating them.
Are people still getting permanents?
No! I rarely do perms anymore. Straight hair is in fashion now. But perms will come back sometime.
You say that styles always come back—why is that?
We kind of rename styles and then tweak the look a little, but really, everything comes back into style and then back out. Hair and fashion always come full-circle.
Are people still blowdrying?
Yes, or they are using a flat iron for straight hair.
Do you still sell a lot of products to your clients?
I do sell some. I keep a small inventory on hand because there is always a few people who like the products I use. They either like how they work or they just like how they smell, but I do sell some product.
What are your favorite colors to experiment with?
You know, I’m a little more of a traditional barber in that I mostly cut and style hair. My partners do most of it, and I watch from my station. But I must say that I really like the looks.
How is your business doing with the tough economy these days?
We have definitely felt the problems from the economy, just like everyone else. But we all have a strong client base because we have been doing this for so long, so we have managed to do OK. We are fine right now.
Have you seen changes in how often clients come to see you?
Yes. People are stretching the time between appointments a bit longer. Where you would usually see someone for a cut every four weeks, now we’ll see them every five to six weeks.
What are the average costs for a hair cut?
A basic hair cut for men is around $25, and for women, it’s between $30-$40.
Do you do wedding parties?
Personally, I don’t, but my partners do an awesome job with wedding parties.
Do you see yourself retiring anytime soon?
Oh no! I have a daughter-in-law in school right now, so I won’t be retiring any time soon. Besides, I really do enjoy what I do. Even after 30 years of doing what seems to be the same thing, I’m learning about and doing different things. I don’t ever get bored. The other thing that keeps me working is that I have awesome clients. I enjoy seeing them, hearing about their families and jobs—there’s never a dull moment.