I recently attempted to schedule bridal make-up and hairstyling with Kim Larson. In the preliminary stages of contact she was wonderful. Kim quickly followed up with e-mails, she agreed to see me for a complimentary consultation with short notice, and she called me with directions, etc. to ensure our first meeting went off without a hitch. At the consultation she was warm, friendly, and truly listened to what I was looking for in my wedding hair and make-up. She also seemed to understand the difficulty in planning a wedding from far away and the limitations it creates. I walked out of her salon with a great feeling about Kim and the services she could provide.
Before leaving, Kim informed me that she would hold my date as long as possible without a deposit. She made it clear that if she received an inquiry about the same date that she would get into contact with me. At that point I would have a week to send in to Kim a deposit to secure my wedding date. This was all more than reasonable to me, and I returned content to Southern California.
With my fall wedding date approaching, I e-mailed Kim Larson about booking a trial run for hair and make-up during my next trip up to Northern California. In the same e-mail in which she confirmed the date and time of our trial, she let me know that another bride had inquired about my wedding date. I needed to send in a deposit to hold the date.
As we had met but she had not styled my hair, my request to Kim was that she provide me a reference of a bride she had worked with in the past with similar hair. It is a common practice to request references from any wedding vendor, and in the past I have always been happily provided with a list of people to call (from my caterer, photographer, to bridal attire salon).
When she first replied to my e-mail about the request for a reference she let me know that it "would take a while" since she worked with so many brides in the past. An hour later, she e-mailed again to tell me that she would no longer be willing to work with me, since a recent client was able to provide her the deposit right away.
I completely understand that in these hard economic times one has to move quickly in order to preserve a viable business model. In these difficult times, brides, with hefty price tags for every service, also must do their homework before committing to vendors. This is why I felt that I was misinformed about Kim Larson's "hold policy" and was treated unfairly once I requested a reference. It was my understanding that I would have 7 days to confirm the wedding date once Kim received another client inquiry. Kim e-mailed to say she could not work with me after 4 days. I believe it was a reasonable request to ask for a reference. Kim, as it appears from her e-mail, did not.
In no way can I evaluate her skill with hair and make-up. I only can evaluate her customer service and her attention to a potential client. While initially she was a dream, once I was unwilling to immediately produce a deposit (although I had 7 days) she had no desire to work with me. Brides, please keep this information in mind if you are looking into booking with Kim Larson.