There was this guy. He just looked like a hair dresser. No, not a crazy hair colored, pierced or tattooed type of hairstylist you can peg a mile away but a real classic hair dresser. He was tall and thin and could wear about anything and look good but his style was more conservatively casual than you would guess but tastefully fashion forward. His hair was usually a sandy blonde and cut with texture but not crazy or outlandish. He was nice and more quiet than most the stylists whirling around him. After all, this was The Factory. For the uninitiated, The Factory was the first and maybe last salon of it’s kind in Omaha, Ne. It was a big,…no, huge high end salon filled with the most flamboyant to the most serious business minded stylists in town at the time. That time was the 70s through the 90s. It was an Omaha hair fashion institution. People went there to see and be seen. Sex, drugs, crime, transexuals, hard working, hustling, ass kicking, high drama, great hair…. The Factory had it all. It was Reality TV before Reality TV existed and that’s half the reason people went there. The other half was some pretty amazing hair stylists. But I digress. My reflections of The Factory will have to wait for it’s own story. But this story is about this guy named Rick Jones. By the time I started at The Factory, Rick had already been there a long time and was embedded into it’s lore. Like I said, he was quiet and calm yet always seemed up for anything and was always part of the action. His clients loved him. Ya, I know everyone’s clients love their hair stylists but no, really… Rick’s clients LOVED him. He styled a lot of the wealthier mature clients of the time. Names you would recognize, but the name that they all knew was Rick’s. He was their son, their confidant, their …. he was their gay hair stylist and everything that should mean. I looked up to him not only because he was so welcoming even to this straight new stylist at The Factory, but because he had everyone else’s respect and because he could dress some beautiful hair. My Dad taught me early to watch other good hairstylists and I watched Rick. He was the go-to stylist for brides. Out of this whole big salon, he was the one you sent your daughter to for her wedding style. I conceded the bridal business to Rick (what choice did I have?) but made my mind up to learn everything I could from him and apply it to prom and homecoming updo styling. I did just that and before I left to go out on my own I had built a decent reputation for prom and homecoming styles. Today, I have the honor of styling upwards of 100 brides a year. I can honestly say I took that cue by watching Rick Jones to build that niche. I sadly admit I’m not sure if I ever told him that directly. If I had, he would have modestly shook it. At the end of the day, Rick’s day, the thing that rings out the loudest about this man is not the great hair he did, or the crazy scene he played a part in, it’s his kindness. He will be remembered by all who knew him for his sweet, sweet kindness. Thanks Ricky.
Rick Jones passed away Feb 22nd from complications with a long running illness.