June Hilgers of Waconia has worked as a hair stylist for almost 50 years. She has owned and operated Cutting Edge Concept Salon in Waconia since the late 1980s. As the 70-year-old grandmother recently sold Cutting Edge to daughter-in-law Krissy Hilgers and Natalie Fasching, one might assume that Hilgers is retiring.
Don’t count on it. Hilgers doesn’t plan on slowing down much. In fact, she isn’t even hanging up the shears.
“If I wasn’t 70, I would stay with it,” said Hilgers, who will continue to work part-time at Cutting Edge. “My beauty business, it’s like a hobby to me. I can’t quit it.”
All the same, Hilgers wished new owners Krissy and Natalie good luck in the future and she thanked the community for all of its support over the past 48 years. When asked to speculate how many clients she has served over the years, Hilgers could only muster an estimate of thousands of clients.
“I think I’ve done everybody in Waconia at one time or another,” joked Hilgers, whose career started in 1965 after she graduated from Model Beauty School in Minneapolis. In those early years, Hilgers worked and gained experience all over the world, including Chicago, New York, California and even Paris.
Her first position was at the Model Salon in Minneapolis. One year later, Hilgers opened her own salon, called Country Salon, which was located in Schmittville outside of Waconia.
“I operated that in a room over the garage,” she recalled.
Hilgers later opened Garden of Beauty in Waconia and eventually established three Hair Affair locations, one in Waconia, another in Jonathan, and one in Excelsior. After selling those businesses, Hilgers worked at Horst at Ridgedale (an Aveda salon) for one year before opening Cutting Edge Concept Salon in Waconia. She liked the Aveda products so much that she featured them in her shop for the rest of her career.
“One philosophy I’ve held over the years is that I would never ask my operators to do anything I wouldn’t do,” she said. “Whether it was scrubbing floors or washing windows, I would do it with them or by myself. That’s important to a business owner.”
During her earlier years, Hilgers was also a member of the Minnesota Hair Fashion Committee, which would send her throughout the state of Minnesota several times a year to teach other stylists the latest techniques in cutting, color and styling. Hilgers spent 25 years with the Minnesota Hair Fashion Committee.
Now that she’s semi-retired, Hilgers is looking forward to spending some time with her family. She and her husband, Jim, have five children — Joel, Judie, Jill, Jason and Justin — and nine grandchildren. Hilgers also stays quite busy as a member of the Carver County Mounted Posse.
“I ride horse with the Carver County Mounted Posse and I’m really busy with that,” she said, admitting that she prefers to stay busy. “I’m not a relaxer. I can’t sit still.”
Outside of the posse, Hilgers is glad that she will still be working with hair part-time.
“I really enjoy working with the girls at the salon,” she said. “Ever so often, my husband would come over and tell jokes. As he recovers from some health issues, the girls are looking forward to hearing more of those jokes. We have a lot of laughs, a lot of fun, at the salon.”
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]