A Case of Sheer Determination

Kay's Interview with the North American Post

As the owner of a small business, Kay Hirai has dedicated her life to running an ethical business that helps her employees, customers, and the community. In her third book, “Sheer Determination,” she details her 40-year journey of self-discovery and perseverance to create a salon that is widely admired for its cutting-edge business philosophies. Recently, Kay took some time from her always busy schedule to discuss the book with staff of the North American Post. 

North American Post (NAP): You have written two other books, Keiko’s Journey and Yumi’s Life Lessons. What motivated you to write Sheer Determination?

 Keiko Kay Hirai (KKH): I had been thinking about writing a book about my business for a long time. My memoir, Keiko’s Journey, was written first because I felt that writing about my childhood would provide a strong foundation for Sheer Determination. Yumi’s Life Lessons was something I wrote on the spur of the moment after my beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Yumi passed on at the young age of four. I didn’t want to forget her sweetness and how she pushed me to live a happier life.

In Sheer Determination, I wanted to document my experiences because I knew that it would help me to feel more secure and complete as a person. I didn’t want to forget the ups and downs of going through the lifelong journey of building my business and the lessons I learned along the way. Additionally, I wanted the “real” news about small businesses to be heard. Most people believe in the “fake” news, i.e., starting one’s own entrepreneurial enterprise instantly leads to enormous wealth. Instead of focusing on “get rich” schemes, I want to help women and men who aspire to be in business, who are already operating their own businesses, or who are looking for a sense of purpose in their lives.  I want to help them uncover the core values that lay deep within each one of us, waiting to be stirred and awakened. The bottom line is Read more

My New Book is Interactive!

Technology is amazing, isn’t it? Alright, I’ll admit that sometimes it makes my head spin but mostly I’m just blown away by the number of ways we can communicate and share information these days.

Have you heard of QR Codes? The QR stands for Quick Response and it’s a small square barcode that you scan with your phone and it will immediately link you to content that I’ve created to go with specific sections of my book.

You’ll need an app on your smart phone in order for this to work. I recommend the QR Code Reader from Kaywa because it’s free of advertisements. Download it from the App Store so you’re ready to use it with my book…. it’s coming soon!

Rockets are Going Off in My Head!

I’m beyond excited today. Do you know why?

I just sent off the final manuscript of my new book, Sheer Determination, Swimming Upstream in a Downstream World, to Tamara Monosoff, Book Coach.

My Editors Randy Tada and his sister Wendy have been working feverishly to polish up every sentence in the manuscript to its highest level of quality. They did a teriffic job and I can’t thank them enough.

After taking a deep breath of relief, thinking I can relax a bit, I thought of you, my loyal supporters. I want you to be the first ones to receive this good news and the first ones to see my Introductory Video of Sheer Determination.

 

 

Watch My Video: Introduction below

The “official” launch date for Sheer Determination is set for MAY 11, 2017.

 

If You Can’t Speak English, You Can’t Cut My Hair!

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For this week’s post, I want to share a selection from my upcoming book, Sheer Determination

As I am finishing the last few chapters of this book, I look back and am amazed at some of the intolerant experiences I went through as a minority woman entrepreneur. I was committed to training and helping immigrant workers succeed at their chosen career, yet I encountered subtle and sometimes overt discrimination as I went about trying to establish my business. I want to share this excerpt with you at this post election time where everyone is feeling scared and uncertain. I want us to stand firm and commit that “WE WILL NOT GO BACK…WE WILL KEEP MOVING FORWARD.”

 Here is the selection from my new book:

 I hired Lan after she graduated from the cosmetology program at a local community college. She was a young, immigrant woman from Vietnam. On her first day of work, Lan came into the salon an hour before her scheduled time to learn English in the back room of the salon.

Read more

Why Can’t I Get a Good Shampoo?

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Every now and then, I reflect back on some of the experiences I had when I was growing up. Many of them have shaped how I perform the services in my salon today. One of the things that frequently comes to mind is the humdrum way that salons shampoo hair. I was only sixteen and this is my recollection of what happened and why it made such an impression on me…

The initial greeting with my stylist, Lydia went fine. After that, the she took me back to an area that was lined with shampoo bowls and chairs and sat me down in he closest chair. She guided my head down to rest nicely into the groove of the bowl. Thinking, “This is great,” I succumbed to her direction. Once the shampoo process started, I could feel the warm trickle of water on my head. The warmth of the water gave me a comforting feel. Before my hair was thoroughly saturated, the shampoo was poured on my head and the massaging and scrubbing began.

I sat there thinking, “Okay it’s beginning to feel good…just apply a little more pressure with your fingertips and keep going.”

Unfortunately, no matter how much I wished for a stronger and more stimulating massage, it never happened. Instead, Lydia continued to slide her fingers lightly on the surface of my scalp, back and forth, stimulating my scalp just enough, causing my head to itch. Read more

Bringing Keiko’s Journey to Life

Attending book readings has never seemed very interesting to me but when I published Keiko’s Journey, I started getting requests to come and do book readings. I wondered, how could I present my book in a way that was more engaging? Read more

My Upcoming Book


Following is an excerpt from my new book, which will be published this fall. The book focuses on the life-changing  journey that I took while building my Studio 904 Salon. I hope you enjoy this small peek inside.

Lending a Helping Hand

Here’s how it all began…

One day in 1982, Richard, a good client of the salon, had an unusual request for me. He was the director of the Northwest Cerebral Palsy Center in Seattle and an active volunteer in the community. As he looked at his finished haircut, pristine as usual, he said to me, “Kay, I was wondering if you could do me a big favor.”

“Sure,” I said, “Go ahead.”

“I was wondering if someone from Studio 904 would be willing to come to the center and give haircuts to the young men who reside there.”

“Don’t they have someone who already cuts their hair?” I asked.

“Well, we do have a few stylists who come and give haircuts, but you should see what they do to our residents. They just carelessly buzz up their hair, making them look more disabled than they already are. These are young men and they care about how they look. I have been trying to think of a way to give them a great-looking haircut just like the one I got today,” said Richard, as he smoothed his hands over his freshly groomed hair.

“Let me see what I can do,” I told him. Read more

This is a Popular Article!

Do You Have a Mentor- (1)

I received so many positive comments about this article (published in the North American Post a few weeks ago) that I want to share it with you. Do You Have a Mentor?, part II. If you don’t have a good Mentor like Joe, I suggest you get busy and start looking for one. I can guarantee that you will get a new outlook on life! Read more