Thank you for checking out my about page! We all have a story. Everyone could write a book!
Married my high school sweetheart Fritz at 19.
We built our first home at 22, had our first daughter at 23, the second girl at 25.
Fritz worked for the family machining business, Maurer Metal Craft and I was a hairdresser. At 29, we bought a hair salon.
We love Jesus Christ.
I was very good at doing bridal hairstyles and was discovered at a hair show.
I was asked to teach at an advanced academy, training stylists in how to do bridal and special occasion work. As part of a training team we traveled doing hair shows, did photo shoots, and videos. I had started to write a book on my own about salons specifically marketing to the bride and had a chance to present it to a publisher, Milady Publishing liked it, The Business of Bridal Beauty was published in 1996.
Two years later, I blew out my ACL playing a mean game of Church volleyball. I had surgery. While recovering, and facing the reality of not being able to stand for long hours, I thought; “How could I do hair once and sell it over and over?”
The Internet! I found a web master, laid out $6,000 and had weddinghair.com created. This was in 1998. I photographed all of my hair styles step by step, and sold them as “hair kits,’ all over the word. Thousands of them. Below, is a bride from India who bought one of my kits #1309 and sent me this photo of her hairstyle!
I made my own backdrop sets, floral bouquets, headpieces, and fake wedding gown “tops”.
I had the privilege of working with a lot of talented people and learned from them about professional make-up application, posing models, basic Photoshop and more. This was the days of coding websites.
I found models everywhere, Staples, the grocery store, church and talked them into letting me do their hair and photograph them. I wrote articles, did videos (VSH) produced CD’s, magazine shoots and in 2002 won “The Best Beauty Website” by Brides Magazine.
I expanded into making hair ornaments to sell and built an Etsy store.
In 2001 I left the salon world and went full time into freelance weddings on location. I belonged to professional networking organizations and eventually was doing weddings in NYC, CT, Boston, Newport RI. This is my second book The Morning of Your Wedding.
For three years I also volunteered haircuts at our local homeless shelter and did make-overs on some of these precious people, even a wedding!
Just as my freelance business was getting traction and more press; issues with our eldest daughter took all of us in another direction. My husband had decided to go back to school to become a licensed Mental Health Counselor. 7 years of full time school, full time work with a troubled teen and another daughter who got lost in the chaos proved to be too much to keep the bridal business going.
After years of dealing with severe ADHD issues, our eldest daughter entered a treatment program. The following fall we brought our younger daughter to college.
With an empty nest, Fritz just about done with his Masters degree & Bridal burnout…
We were burned out with life and brides and work. The program our eldest attended was in the mountains of NH. We saw they needed a professional counselor. This was a missionary position which means no salary. We were ready for an adventure!! God was strong on our hearts affirming this decision.
We sold our home in CT and moved to NH to live with the residents and got to work.
The trauma, pain, and broken lives we encountered is a sure cure for any complaining. Someone always has it worse.
One day after being there for a few months I got a phone call. It was a bridal television program asking if I wanted to be on a bridal reality show. Nope! We served there for almost 7 years and never looked back.
We bought a fixer-upper in NH and worked on that for two years with wonderful help from friends and mentors in the program.
More before and afters here:
We were going to stay in Ministry and rent out the house as a vacation home but both of us became terribly burned out. I was suffering from compassion fatigue and then depression for a while and needed medication for six months.
So we had to move into that home and figure life out. Fritz got a job at a private residential group home while we lived in NH for two years.
While somewhat settled in and still working on the house, we got a phone call. Another residential program was opening in CT and they were given Fritz’s name. This was a chance to get closer to home and family in CT plus think about starting a private practice in the state he was licensed in.
Truly, as I was listening to Fritz on the phone, God’s spirit leapt in my gut and I knew we were moving again. One year later, as we helped long distance at first & finalized the rehab, (the second bathroom needed finishing) we moved back to CT, but kept our NH home. We opened our NH home to a single mom and her son and then to another family of five needing respite from ministry burnout.
At the CT residential group home, we lived as house parents in a lovely one bedroom apartment attached to the resident’s house.
We got busy helping to create and run the new program, took in men and started our private practice in a local church. Our agreement with this new ministry was to work with them for 6 months to a year, 1 ½ years later we stepped full-time into our private practice.
After our NH house sold we were able to look for one in CT. I was open to a non-conventional home. Nothing in my life was ever conventional, so why start!
We were led to an amazing 1930’s Grange Hall to rehab into a work/home space. The rehab is still in the works. Even the local paper came and did a story on us…there is a good story in everyone! Before photos here:
Now our Mental Health Practice and Coaching business is growing, we are doing seminars, workshops and branching into webinars next. I am learning social media, website design, snapping, chatting, posting and pinning!! Love it!
Gretchen’s YouTube channel is here.
Blessings-Please reach out to see how we can be of service to you or your organization!