Missouri City resident has styled hair for 50 years
By Michael Sudhalter
When Kathy Coburn went to the tattoo parlor for her first ink, there was no doubt over her choice.
The Missouri City resident asked for a pair of scissors on her ankle, to symbolize 50 years of cutting and styling hair.
“I’ll always have a pair of scissors in my hand as long as I have eyes to see, hands that are steady and feet that I can stand on — I praise God for that,” Coburn said.
Coburn has lived in Missouri City since the late 1970s, but her story began in the small Northeast Texas town of Bailey, population 288.
At age 4, Coburn enjoyed cutting the hair on the dolls that her parents bought her.
The town didn’t have a hair salon, so when Coburn turned 14, she would visit the women throughout Bailey and do their hair.
She attended high school in nearby Bonham, while she simultaneously completed beauty school.
“I love to cut long hair, short hair, anything,” Coburn said. “I just love to be creative and artistic. All of us are given a gift. I’d like to be remembered as a faithful servant doing a good service for people.”
Coburn once owned Quail Valley Coiffures — a large salon in Missouri City with 17 employees.
She’s now an independent hairdresser who works at Tuscany Village Salons (4807 Hwy. 6 in Missouri City), but her schedule is busy as ever.
Coburn works four days per week, non-stop from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and serves an average of 22 customers per day — both women and men. They range in age from toddlers to 94, and some travel from as far away as Cuero — 138 miles to the south.
She’s styled the hair of generations of families.
“My clients and I have been through thick and thicker together — I’ve gone to weddings and funerals with them,” said Coburn, comparing the friendships to those of the classic film, “Steel Magnolias,” which centered around a Northern Louisiana hair salon.
Coburn’s three well-deserved days off allow her to spend time with family, including visits to Northeast Texas to see her 89-year-old father whom she credits with instilling her work ethic.
“Retirement for me looks like working three 10-hour days,” Coburn said. “How many people get to do what they love, be with people they love, make money at the same time and enjoy every minute of it?”
Towards the beginning of Coburn’s career, she worked during the era of “Big Hair” in Texas.
“They used to have a saying in Texas — ‘the higher the hair, the closer to heaven’,” Coburn said.
Coburn is respected throughout the Lone Star State for her expertise as a hairstylist. She served on a state-wide committee that’s responsible for certifying hairstylists, and she’s taught Cosmetology courses at Wharton County Junior College.
In 1992, she did all of the hair for the NBC News staff at the Republican National Convention at the Houston Astrodome.
Coburn and her husband have been married for 45 years. They have two children and six grandchildren.