It’s been "all in the family" for Wurtsboro master barber and hair stylist Jill Crawford over the years.
“My father, Henry, was a barber his whole life,” she says. “Right out of the U.S. Navy he was a barber.”
It doesn’t end there.
“Both of his brothers were barbers and my grandfather was also a barber,” she says. “And my brother Henry is a barber in Otisville.”
Which explains the sign that hangs outside her shop reading The Barber’s Daughter.
Crawford, 58, was born across the river in Verplanck and moved with her family to Florida, N.Y., in 1972 and then to Goshen a short time later.
She learned the trade by watching her father.
“I remember sitting in my father’s shop as a young girl and watching customers come in looking tired and leaving looking happy and refreshed,” she says. “I decided that I wanted to do the same thing for people.”
“But it’s not an easy trade to get into,” she says. “Certainly not for a female.”
She got married, started a family, raised two boys and took a couple of jobs in retail management, primarily in the Middletown area.
“I really wasn’t happy with it, but I had to raise my family,” she says.
“However, in 1994 I decided to go to beauty school.”
At the time, there were no barber schools in Orange County – they were all in New York City - and she couldn’t afford to commute to the city or quit her day job.
“So I did hairstyling part-time from my home,” she says.
“When my father passed away in 2002, I decided to open my first shop,” she remembers.
Her Bloomingburg shop was also called The Barber’s Daughter. It was followed by the Express Yourself Family Salon in Pine Bush.
“In 2007, I decided to go to barber school because one had finally opened in Middletown,” Crawford says.
She graduated and began to weigh her options.
“At first I was thinking about moving to Delaware, but I kept driving past this location in Wurtsboro and looking at it from my car,” she says.
“My family was here and the grandchildren were here. So, after eight months I checked it out and finally said to myself, ‘That’s it, I’m staying here.’”
And on Oct. 14, 2018 her new shop in Wurtsboro opened.
“I’ve put all my savings into this place, and business is growing every week,” she says. “My passion is hair and always has been.”
John DeSanto is a freelance photojournalist. Find more of his 845LIFE stories, photos and videos at recordonline.com. Reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org