Thursday, 26 November 2009

Second Class SL Citizen???

I'm sure she didn't mean it that way and I'm probably being overly sensitive or hormonal or what have you, but my SL consultant said something to me this week that made me feel like a second class SL citizen... and it got me thinking... is this the way it is everywhere?

I had my SLs installed in Barbados. I have no regrets about that decision because I had the time and the money to do it then and it was a pleasant experience. Lisa had even referred me to a couple of her clients with similar hair texture who gave me the lowdown on what to expect (re: slippage and time to lock) - so I knew she wasn't just trying to sell 'it' to me. Gold star there.

While I was in Barbados (and before I had my SLs installed), I tried calling a few UK Consultants, most didn't bother calling me back despite me leaving my UK cell number for them. No one answered my emails. Ok - well one person answered 2 months after I sent it which was no good really.  This was probably one of the main reasons I had my hair done in Barbados - every one of the 10 SL consultants and trainees I called gave me the time of day; if they weren't home when I called they called me back; they even gave me provisional installation dates and were very upfront about their pricing. I respected that - and came away thinking that these Sisterlocks people were very professional. At least the Bajan ones... :P

So after my initial frustrations with the UK lot; and while I was still in Barbados (I was there for a couple of months - told you I had a fantastic maternity leave! hahah) I joined the Facebook group - Sisterlocked and Lovin it. Perchance, I happened across a poster called Michelle who has made a comment about her SLs and living in London. I figured this sister would not put me wrong - so I messaged her and asked who her consultant was. Lo and behold - turned out Michelle was a Trainee (3 yrs in) and would happily do my retights etc once I got back to London. After receiving somewhat frosty receptions from other UK Consultants who stated that they preferred to maintain hair that they had installed themselves, Michelle was a breath of fresh air!

I have never regretted my decision to see Michelle; not once; never. Not even when my hair was falling out and I was losing locks. Michelle is just good people. Unlike a lotta consultants (UK/US), Michelle also quotes a fixed price for retightening sessions (as opposed to an hourly one), so you know what to budget for. I know - you're probably wondering now why I left Michelle. Well, I had an issue with my health that meant that I couldn't travel and with Michelle living on the other side of the river (I'm South East London, She's North East), I just couldn't get to her.  With her blessing, I searched for a closer Consultant, and with luck I found one, fully certified, very professional with over 9 years experience.

This Consultant has worked wonders on my hairline, babying the fragile hair at the temples and restoring my grid. All my stubbies were created by her hand (even though they wash out every time I wash my hair lol). So for the most part, I d-i-y with my trusty yarn needle (he's called Yarnie) and then every 8 weeks I head over to her's to have my hairline tended to (plus any additional retightening of course).

During my last session, I asked whether she had any SL tools because, with the increased unravelling at my ends, and the softness of my hair, it was becoming harder and harder to thread my ends through Yarnie. Also, it's virtually impossible to D-I-Y any of the stubbies because they're about as long as Yarnie (lol) and they just slip right out of the eye before I can get them near to the base. I explained that I wanted something that would clip on to the lock... something like the SL tool. I also explained that I was quite willing to pay for her retightening class so I could have both the 'official training' and the 'official tool'.  She seemed quite open to the idea and suggested that there was no need to pay for the full training since I was already D-I-Ying and doing alright; instead she could just sell me the SL tool as she was expecting a shipment in shortly.

Well, obviously, I thought that was fantastic. A few weeks passed and I sent her a message asking whether the tools had come in yet. No response. I waited a lil while and then asked again, thinking surely they must have come by now.  It was that response that made me feel like a pile of pooh.

She had indeed received some tools but they were for 'longstanding clients' who she'd be teaching how to retighten their own hair; and they were on her 'priority list'. She then went on to explain that there were lots of interlocking tools on the market so I should try one of those as a replacement to my Yarnie - since I was in a hurry.

I felt so confused. Why tell me about your shipment if you didn't really wanna sell any of them to me or if you had already preallocated them all? As I said right at the beginning, I'm probably just being uber sensitive or hormonal but I really felt gutted reading that response. I had been looking forward to having the tool and being taught how to use it. I thought it would give me a new lease on life as far as retightening was concerned. Now, I couldn't have a tool because I wasn't a 'longstanding client' I felt so crushed...

I'll never be anyone's longstanding client. I've only had my SLs since April and I've already had 3 consultants simply because of my circumstances. All 3 of my Consultants have been absolutely fantastic and professional women. I love them, but I also want to do my hair. I want to learn the right techniques (or be told I have the right technique down already) and I want the right tools. Yarnie is good for my locs that are sealed (by this I mean no or very minimal unravelling at the end), but he's not the best when it comes to the wild bunch.

There was a SL Consultant Training course (& retightening session) in the UK last week - unfortunately I was too late to register and couldn't have gone even if I was in time (just returned to work so cant take several days off like that!) and I would never have made it back to my side of London in time to collect my son from nursery. To date, there are no UK sessions scheduled for 2010.

So... my options are:

  1. Call the SL Home Office and complain until they sell me one directly (which is not gonna happen cos they just don't do that).
  2. Moan about it on Dr Cornwell's SL Facebook group (not sure what good that'll do either)
  3. Wait an eternity to see whether and when SL training will come back to London.
  4. Spend a fortune and go to Trinidad in Feb to attend THAT SL training session (heheheh can you say CARNIVAL?)
  5. Wait a demi-eternity and hope that I eventually make it onto my Consultant's priority list.
  6. Forget about ever owning an SL tool and plait all my ends so they can fit through old faithful Yarnie.

Those of you who know me already know which option(s) I'll choose. Lol.

Rant Over (although I'm still pretty upset).


Dawn-Chere said...

When Lisa taught me how to tighten mine last summer it didn't take very long at all. She gave me the pattern for my SL and I tried it out on a few. Afterward, she told me that I could order another clip tool just in case I had misplaced mine. (Don't quote me on that but I was of the impression that the tools aren't difficult to get)

Wouldn't it be possible for your consultant to order a kit for you and teach you how to do it on your own? I'm not sure if the protocols in the UK are the same as back at hom

Bajan Lily said...

Hey Dawn,

My consultant was meant to be ordering one for me... then said they were for her longstanding (existing) clients whom she would teach.

I already DIY, I just want the proper tool. How about you tell Lisa you lost yours, have her order YOU another one and then sell that one to me eh?

Dawn-Chere said...

ohhhh....I guess it's too expensive to jus order another kit separately? I take it is not possible to order one from the SL website independently either then?

Bajan Lily said...

I don't know if it's cost or red tape but everyone just makes a big hullabaloo out of it!

They're not available for sale on the SL website and if you call the Home Office, they tell you to register for the training class (which is where you'll get 2 tools).

I guess it's their way of ensuring that rogue traders don't get hold of the tools! But I swear , it's a right pain in the ....

Anonymous said...

why dont you try the nappyloc tool. works for me. i also braid the ones that slip and thread them through. that might not be official but my certified consultant opted to braid hair deemed too soft to loc in a reasonable amount of time.

UK consultants can afford to treat folks any sorta way, there is just not enough of them for the demand, so they can turn business away. i wasnt that impressed with them when i lived in london.

Bajan Lily said...

@anon - I thought about the NL tool way back, but every single time I've gone to buy it, the shipping costs from the US have been prohibitive (at one point they were the same as the tool itself!).

Plus, my yarn needle and the NL tool have the same basic shape - so I'm not confident that switching from one to the other would make any difference. I guess that my next bet would be a latch hook -but have you seen the size of those things? No thank you!

I do like your suggestion about plaiting the ends though, bcoz honestly, if my ends were firm and closed, we wouldn't be having this convo (cos Yarnie would be good enough!) So maybe that's what I'll do... plait all the ends and be happy... hmmmm

anthia-ofo said...

Girl I really sympathize. I've faced the same situation with new locs. I just got this flat loc tool (made by a USA consultant) I'm hoping will work on them. Otherwise, braid them. (MY TRICK: attaching a tiny piece of fake hair might assist you to retighten by giving you a bit of leverage, particularly if they're short thin and slippery.) If you want the SL tool you need to take the class, at least that's what I've been told. I'm suprised she suggested selling you a tool(without the class) b'cos they're VERY CLOSED when it comes to the SL TOOLS. I just couldn't see myself paying £200( or whatever it costs) for something I already know. My former consultant was very supportive on this point.
Regards the latchhook, I know of someone who removed the handle and put a small handle on it. If I'm able to find her blog again, I will give you the link.

Bajan Lily said...

Thanks Anthia - short, thin and slippery soft - that'd be a good description.

I have plait them and they stay plait (although my weekly wash on Friday will tell if they stay for good!)

I know what you mean re: paying for something you already know, but I was actually willing to pay it you know?

Oh well


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