Patrick Cleary grew up in his mother’s hair salon. Now here they are together in Barrington’s S&M Salon – as in Son & Mother -- on Maple Avenue.
“How often do you see a heterosexual male doing hair with his mother?” said Cleary’s mother, Paula Anderson.
And working side by side with her in a salon they have shared for almost five years.
“Dad’s only son does hair,” said Cleary with a chuckle. “It’s a polar opposite of working in his trucking company.”
Anderson has been in the business for more than 30 years, she said, including working as an “educator for a hair company.” But with her son working side by side with her, she said, “we’ve never had so much fun.”
“We like to say we sell happiness as a byproduct,” Anderson said.
“We sometimes leave at the end of the day and say, did we really work today?” said Cleary.
His mother says he should be a stand-up comedian with a barber chair.
“He really makes us laugh,” said Anderson, who describes some of the good-natured fund he brings to the salon as “shenanigans.”
Cleary’s skill-set with hair design, though, is his real strength, said Anderson.
“He’s so far ahead of me at his age (25),” she said.
“She’s the color guru,” Cleary said, matching her compliment.
They both share their clientele.
“We do the whole family, from small to tall,” Anderson said.
By the way, Anderson has no problem doing hair in early-morning hours – 5 am is no stretch for her. By appointment, of course.
Cleary is not really a morning person, though, she said. But he has no issue with doing someone’s hair in the evening.
They prefer to work by appointment. But they’ll always try to squeeze in walk-ins.
How exactly did Cleary and Anderson team up?
“I never wanted to work for anyone else,” he said, after graduating from the Paul Mitchell school for hair design in Cranston. http://school.paulmitchell.edu/cranston-ri They just seemed to get together.
His education there followed about a year and a half at Westfield State College in Massachusetts, where “I cut hair for my friends.”
That seemed like a natural progression from wanting to be a barber as a child while growing up in his mother’s salon.