Owner of Van Cleef Hair Studio in Little Italy, Chicago retires after 40 years; styled Michelle Obama, ABC7’s Samantha Chatman

Gerard Ortiz
CHICAGO (WLS) — A nearby hairstylist who’s retiring right after 44 several years in the small business is generating Chicago proud.

Rahni Flowers, the operator of Van Cleef Hair Studio, is packing up his curling irons and hair spray and preparing for a new chapter of lifetime.

He’s styled hair for Grammy award winners, actresses, and for several years, previous 1st Lady Michelle Obama and her mom, Marian Robinson. His mission was to present a safe haven for Black women of all ages to definitely enable their hair down. It really is a reward his purchasers said they are going to hardly ever ignore.

He’s touched the life of hundreds of women in the Chicago location, blessing them with not only his gifted arms, but his terms of knowledge, kindness and friendship. After far more than 4 decades, Flowers reflected on his illustrious job as he stated goodbye to his customers and salon.

“The globe and The us have not dealt with Black women incredibly favorably around the many years. And so this for me, specifically, was a likelihood to make that occur in my possess small way. So, they can appear right here and truly feel harmless, they can come to feel liked, they can feel pampered and cared for, and that was particular to me,” Flowers explained. “And these females began off in their youthful yrs and grew up to be amazing persons like mind surgeons, health professionals, legal professionals, newscasters, all types of astounding matters.”

A person of his most well known consumers was Obama, alongside with her daughters and mother. Robinson reported she’s been Flowers’ client considering the fact that the 1980s.

“My daughter was his client and I was, you know, a person of the homemakers who assumed I would take treatment of my individual hair. It would be much less expensive. My daughter walked up to me and mentioned, ‘Mom, your hair is eco-friendly! Prevent performing your hair!’ And that’s when she explained, ‘You should really go to Rahni,'” Robinson reported.

Robinson went on to invest eight several years dwelling at the White Dwelling. But the minute she moved again to Chicago, she went hunting for Bouquets.

“And the shop was absent. And I you should not know how I observed him since he had just moved the 7 days before. And I just walked into his shop and Rahni was so stunned since I just walked up to him and stood there,” Robinson stated. “And I said, ‘You do not know how glad I am to see you.'”

His devotion, humor and mild spirit are items his consumers stated they’re going to miss the most.

“In his magic chair, he plays the job of stylist and therapist. He’s a close friend, he’s all of all those matters,” stated Connie Lindsey, a shopper. “Irrespective of whether it is a birthday, a little something demanding heading on in my lifetime, he will publish a notice. He’ll send out a card. That is portion of the magic of Van Cleef and Rahni Flowers.”

Flowers’ lover, Daryl Wells, who’s retiring with him, was emotional about the farewell.

“You access the age when you imagine how fortunate I was to fulfill him,” Wells reported. “You have touched the lives of so numerous individuals along the way and empowered them and enriched them and I am incredibly very pleased of you.”

Robinson did not maintain again about her inner thoughts about Flowers leaving.

“Well, my farewell to Rahni is, ‘dammit!’ But critically, I hope Rahni enjoys his retirement. I have so liked going to the attractiveness store not only for hair, but peace and great company – and he is pretty effortless to love,” Robinson mentioned.

Bouquets reflected on his 44 years in business.

“Mary J. Blidge. I am not going to cry,” Bouquets claimed. “I experience like I can walk off feeling like, it’s superior.”

And after 15 a long time of performing ABC7’s Samantha Chatman’s hair, she, way too, will overlook Flowers pretty a great deal.

Bouquets claimed his legacy carries on at Van Cleef. He has trained the new owner, Antonia Turner, and has full confidence that she will retain the doorways open for an additional 40 years.

As for what’s up coming for Flowers, he and his companion are going to Costa Rica to love the fruits of their labor. His past day in the salon is Saturday.

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