Legendary Chicago hair salon owner who styled Michelle Obama retires after more than 40 years

Legendary Chicago hair salon owner who styled Michelle Obama retires after more than 40 years

CHICAGO (TOC) — A neighborhood hairstylist who’s retiring after 44 years within the enterprise is making Chicago proud.

Rahni Flowers, the proprietor of Van Cleef Hair Studio, is packing up his curling irons and hair spray and making ready for a brand new chapter of life.

He is styled hair for Grammy award winners, actresses, and for years, former First Girl Michelle Obama and her mom, Marian Robinson. His mission was to offer a secure haven for Black ladies to actually let their hair down. It is a present his shoppers stated they will always remember.

He is touched the lives of a whole lot of ladies within the Chicago space, blessing them with not solely his gifted fingers, however his phrases of knowledge, kindness and friendship. After greater than 4 a long time, Flowers mirrored on his illustrious profession as he stated goodbye to his shoppers and salon.

“The world and America haven’t handled Black ladies very favorably through the years. And so this for me, specifically, was an opportunity to make that occur in my very own little method. So, they will come right here and really feel secure, they will really feel liked, they will really feel pampered and cared for, and that was particular to me,” Flowers stated. “And these women began off of their youthful years and grew as much as be superb individuals like mind surgeons, medical doctors, attorneys, newscasters, all types of wonderful issues.”

One in all his most well-known shoppers was Obama, alongside along with her daughters and mom. Robinson stated she’s been Flowers’ shopper because the Eighties.

“My daughter was his shopper and I used to be, you already know, one of many homemakers who thought I’d deal with my very own hair. It will be cheaper. My daughter walked as much as me and stated, ‘Mother, your hair is inexperienced! Cease doing all your hair!’ And that is when she stated, ‘It is best to go to Rahni,'” Robinson stated.

Robinson went on to spend eight years residing on the White Home. However the second she moved again to Chicago, she went in search of Flowers.

“And the store was gone. And I do not know the way I discovered him as a result of he had simply moved the week earlier than. And I simply walked into his store and Rahni was so shocked as a result of I simply walked as much as him and stood there,” Robinson stated. “And I stated, ‘You have no idea how glad I’m to see you.'”

His dedication, humor and mild spirit are issues his shoppers stated they will miss essentially the most.

“In his magic chair, he performs the position of stylist and therapist. He is a good friend, he is all of these issues,” stated Connie Lindsey, a shopper. “Whether or not it is a birthday, one thing difficult happening in my life, he’ll write a word. He’ll ship a card. That is a part of the magic of Van Cleef and Rahni Flowers.”

Flowers’ companion, Daryl Wells, who’s retiring with him, was emotional concerning the farewell.

“You attain the age if you assume how lucky I used to be to satisfy him,” Wells stated. “You’ve gotten touched the lives of so many individuals alongside the best way and empowered them and enriched them and I’m amazingly happy with you.”

Robinson did not maintain again about her emotions about Flowers leaving.

“Effectively, my farewell to Rahni is, ‘dammit!’ However critically, I hope Rahni enjoys his retirement. I’ve so loved going to the wonder store not just for hair, however leisure and good firm – and he is very simple to like,” Robinson stated.

Flowers mirrored on his 44 years in enterprise.

“Mary J. Blidge. I am not going to cry,” Flowers stated. “I really feel like I can stroll off feeling like, it is good.”

And after 15 years of doing ABC7’s Samantha Chatman’s hair, she, too, will miss Flowers very a lot.

Flowers stated his legacy continues at Van Cleef. He has educated the brand new proprietor, Antonia Turner, and has full confidence that she is going to preserve the doorways open for one more 40 years.

As for what’s subsequent for Flowers, he and his companion are shifting to Costa Rica to benefit from the fruits of their labor. His final day within the salon is Saturday.

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