Clips of Kindness®: A small gesture for those fighting cancer
Jane Evans receiving the Franchisee of the Year award in 2014. Left to right: Rhoda Olsen, Frank Evans, Jane Evans, Steve Hockett
"It feels good to help someone and hopefully make their day a little brighter when they're so upset and they're so uncertain."
When you’re battling cancer, when your body feels like it is no longer your own and the fight can feel too big to bear, sometimes the smallest gestures mean the most. This was the mindset of friends Jane and Rhoda. At the time, Rhoda Olsen was President of Great Clips and Jane Evans was a franchisee in Colorado.
Jane and Rhoda shared more than just a love for Great Clips, they also shared their battles with cancer. In 2004, Rhoda was diagnosed with uterine cancer and underwent seven months of therapy. Rhoda was later declared cancer-free and today has become a stronger woman and business professional, now serving as the vice chair of the board after spending seven years as the Great Clips fearless leader and CEO.
Bringing values to life
"It was at that moment that I realized we were doing the right thing and that the impact that we were going to have on people for doing this."
Rhoda’s fight encouraged her to do something big that would make a small difference for people fighting the huge fight against cancer. Together, she and Jane worked on an idea that would help Great Clips stylists serve cancer patients by using not just their skills as hair care specialists, but as compassionate communicators and members of the community.
It was 2010, and Clips of Kindness® began to take shape. The program would provide complimentary clipper cuts to customers facing hair loss due to cancer treatments.
Having gone through cancer herself, Rhoda knew that this had the potential to be so much more than a free service; she knew that the gesture was a way for cancer patients to feel empowered. This was so much more than just a haircut.
Shortly after the seed was planted, Jane was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer and found herself getting a clipper cut of her own. With that, Clips of Kindness® was launched. Stylists across the country humbly used their talents to connect with the cancer patients in their chairs and to give back to those in their communities.
Great Clips stylist Christine L. gave her first Clips of Kindness® clipper cut to a 16-year-old and her family at a nearby hospital.
“It was the first time I’d really been around something like that, and it was at that moment that I realized we were doing the right thing and that the impact that we were going to have on people for doing this is unbelievable,” Christine said.
The uncertainty facing patients and their families can be unnerving. But for stylist Amy M., the small act of making a personal connection while providing a compassionate clipper cut often helps ease that pain.
“It feels good to help someone and hopefully make their day a little brighter when they’re so upset and they’re so uncertain.”
Jane was able to see the program that was so close to her heart take flight and was proud to be part of a company that not only provided the clipper cut service, but provided it at no cost.
“I just think it’s the right thing to do. It’s a need, not a want and I think we can provide that to cancer patients in our community.”
Impacting communities, one clipper cut at a time
"Great Clips is community and doing a program like this for somebody who is in need of something they don't want, that they didn't choose, is who Great Clips is."
Mike M., a cancer patient battling leukemia, experienced firsthand the compassion of his local Great Clips stylist and her commitment to the Clips of Kindness® program. Mike sat in the chair and explained to his stylist that he would be starting treatment the following week and requested that she clipper all his hair off. At the end of the cut, she informed Mike that there was no charge for the cut – that it was his Clips of Kindness®. Mike was overcome with emotion and gratitude toward the stylist.
"I sat in my car afterwards and cried," he said. "You have no idea how big the little things are to a cancer patient."
Great Clips stylists have given tens of thousands of Clips of Kindness® clipper cuts since the program was founded. Today, franchisees and stylists continue their dedication to making sure that their services go beyond cutting hair; that they are active community members and taking to heart the Great Clips commitment to giving back.
“Our stylists can serve this special type of customer, provide this service with empathy, with understanding and caring and make that piece of the customer’s cancer journey just a little bit easier.” Jane said. On Jan. 14, 2015, Jane lost her battle with cancer. However, her legacy lives on through the Clips of Kindness® program and stylists continue to offer this service.
“The Clips of Kindness program reflects the Great Clips brand because Great Clips is family,” Christine said. “Great Clips is community and doing a program like this for somebody who is in need of something that they don’t want, that they didn’t choose, is who Great Clips is.”
Get the details
Know someone who may be interested in a Clips of Kindness® clipper cut? Use the Salon Locator and talk with a salon manager near you about details.
To hear the Clips of Kindness® stories from the people themselves, check out the video below.