Cozy Friedman was disturbed when she heard a story about a friend's terrified nephew who was asked to leave a swanky uptown hair salon because he was crying.
"That was my 'lightening bolt' moment," Friedman recalls.
She began to do a little research and discovered there were few salons for kids.
She wanted to make the haircutting experience as much fun as going to Toys R Us or getting ice cream. She wanted to create a place where kids were considered a priority rather than a nuisance.
"I needed to create a place that kids would love to visit," Friedman says. "Equally important, the salon had to be staffed with the highest level of experienced stylists who enjoyed working with children, and whom parents would feel comfortable entrusting their children's hair to."
Two years later, she got her barber's license, and the first Cozy's Cuts for Kids opened on Madison Avenue in 1994. She now has three salons in the city, each with its own toy boutique as well. Her clientele includes the offspring of such celebrities as Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell.
CurlyKids.com is pleased to welcome curly-haired Friedman as a new columnist. Cozy's Corner for Kids debuts this month, and parents are encouraged to send her questions about their children's hair issues to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a mother of two children under eight, Friedman is familiar with the waterworks generated by the intimidating haircutting event.
Her salons go to great lengths to make the experience a positive one. Services provided at the salons includes a first haircut certificate, free toys from the goodie basket, balloons, lollipops and all the bubbles a kid can blow. Cozy's also offers glamour birthday parties.
Friedman also created the So Cozy line of hair products, a professional line created with vitamins and minerals that are gentle enough for kids. It includes shampoos, conditioners and styling products, and is available this month at CurlMart.
"I am constantly amazed and touched by the strength of the emotions that our little clients and their parents feel toward us," Friedman says. "So many children have had a hard time with haircuts, and it is wonderful to know that we have made a difference."