By K. Woodzick, Editor
The Magician Beautician sits at 411 South Pelham Street in Rhinelander. Just like a magician’s hat, the outside is polished and appealing, but hides the depth of dazzle to be found within.
Callie Pisut and her mother, Sheila, refer to themselves as the Magician and her lovely assistant. Both are lifelong Rhinelander natives.
The energy as you walk into the salon is immediately welcoming (and sparkly!) A wall of fame featuring photographs with celebrities like Tabatha Coffey from “Tabitha Takes Over” (also known as “Tabitha’s Salon Takeover”) is displayed over a hospitality station where guests can sit, relax and refresh as they wait to be transformed by the magic of the salon.
From an early age, Callie displayed a passion and skill for hair and makeup. As early as eight years old, she would cut and color the hair of her friends and dolls, and she was the go-to gal for updos and makeovers for school dances. The snazzy name came to her on a whim when she was in middle school, and she printed her own business cards to distribute.
When she was 17, Callie was faced with a decision: either starting the Youth Options program with the Cosmetology program at Nicolet College in a week or waiting a year. She dove in headfirst.
“I had to juggle a part-time job, part-time high school, and full-time Nicolet beauty school at seventeen. I did it all.”
Starting her career at Fantastic Sam’s, Callie quickly harnessed her entrepreneurial spirit and was offered her own space at Riverview Hall by Dwight Webb in early 2017. She quickly outgrew the 8’ x 10’ room and relocated to the South Pelham Street location.
Every illusionist needs a reliable assistant and Callie knew she wanted her mom’s help.
“I had always thought about being a beautician and as I got older, I just felt like it was becoming less and less of a reality for me,” Sheila shared. “I was in a job for 17 years, so just leaving it was kind of scary. But when she said, ‘I have a bigger salon now and I can have more people, I think you need to go back to school,’ I actually just went out and enrolled…It was scary, but I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Sheila credits Nicolet with being a welcoming place for her: “Being an older student, I was very nervous going into it because I thought, ‘I’m going to work with all these young girls, they’re not going to like me’. That was not the case at all. I was like I was their mom. We just had so much fun every day,” she shared. “For people that are nervous to go back to school, don’t be afraid of that, because Nicolet is a great option for older students, and they are very supportive.”
Callie has come full circle and will be investing even more of her time and energy into the Northwoods community when she starts as a Cosmetology instructor at Nicolet next semester.
Sheila started calling herself “the lovely assistant” to her daughter’s magician even before going back to school. The pair has brought their blend of magic to the Rhinelander Fourth of July Parade, the Not So Scary Halloween Trail at the YMCA of the Northwoods and their own program, called the Drab to Fab makeover. This program focuses on giving free makeovers to members of the community who donate their time to worthy causes but perhaps don’t take as much time to pamper themselves. They accept nominations and give goodie bags with an original poem written by Sheila to the nominees who are not ultimately chosen to show their appreciation.
Princess Birthday Bash parties are a special offering where kids can bring in their birthday cake and have their nails and makeup done, complete with a tiara. Going onsite for weddings is one of their favorite experiences, and they’ll bring mimosa baskets and chocolate — all of the big day essentials for a bride and bridesmaids.
When asked about their loyal following, Sheila replied that, “We have excellent clientele. They are some of our best supporters — they advertise for us.”
New customers let them know that they have seen the salon recommended in multiple Facebook groups. Their supporters are quick to comment whenever a newcomer asks about a place to get their hair done locally.
Clients also comment on the vibrant décor, which features pops of purple and an abundance of glitter.
“This is basically a giant version of what my room used to look like,” Callie shared. “So many salons go for a minimalistic look. I think a lot of people come here to see what everything is about and to see us.”
She also described the shows that she and Sheila put on when working with clients. They often communicate without talking.
Sheila laughed and jumped in to say, “We’ll have times when we’re working and one of us finishes up a service and the other is still working and it’s blow dry time, and we say, ‘We’re giving you the glam treatment.’ We’ll move the chair in the middle we’ll both work on them so they feel like a movie star.”
They always want to be learning about the newest trends, and prioritize attending the Chicago Hair Show and the Behind the Chair Show in Nashville.
Callie shared that mullets are back in style, as well as shag cuts (which are sometimes referred to as a “wolf cut”.)
“You learn something everywhere you go,” she said. “With this type of industry, you have to stay current with the trends because they are changing so quickly.”
Clients will even make a point of coming in after the pair travel to a show and ask for the latest hip looks. They pride themselves on being supportive and collaborative with each other, investing in their community and offering a unique experience to each person who wants a bit of their magic glitter in their life.
“We want this to be a relaxing place. We’re always trying to think outside the box because that’s what we’re about — being different.”
K. Woodzick is a life-long theatre artist and has over a decade of experience as a non-profit marketing professional and writer. They live in Woodruff with their silver lab, River.