Business Showcase: Cosmetologist Terri Collinsworth

Cosmetologist Terri Collinsworth has been satisfying customers looking for hair, skin and massage services for three decades.

“I’m real freehand,” she said. “I love texture. I love using all my tools — razor, texture, scissors, point cutting. I love to cut hair. I love doing makeovers. I love making someone come in feeling one way and they leave feeling like a whole new person.”

Specializing in cuts and color, her philosophy is to take full advantage of the tools available to her.

“When you use the right tools, the hair can grow out really nice,” she said.

Customer Bridget O’Rourke-Hornsberger checks out her finished hairstyle.

After 30 years in the business, Collinsworth has become not only a seasoned professional but also a mature woman who understands the needs and concerns of other mature women.

“Mature women feel like they don’t have choices but they do,” she said. “I find that mature women are wanting more change but they don’t know what they want or how to ask for it, and they kinda rely on somebody who’s also in their age group to help them with that.. They’re often stuck in a rut and it just takes a little different way of weighing the hair or trimming it.”

The final look for customer Bridget O’Rourke-Hornsberger. Hair design by Terri Collinsworth of jeffrey.benjamin.hair

Collinsworth also does eyebrow and lip waxing, but recently she’s seen an uptick in requests for dermaplaning services.

Dermaplaning is a process of exfoliating the skin by lightly scraping it with a razor to remove dead skin and the fine, small hairs commonly known as peach fuzz.

“The actual moisturizer will adhere to your skin and make your moisturizer work much better,” she said.

jeffrey.benjamin.hair is located in The Landing, a newly renovated historic neighborhood and commercial district in downtown Fort Wayne. It is located on West Columbia Street between Harrison and Calhoun streets.

In late May, Collinsworth moved her station to jeffrey.benjamin.hair, located inside The Landing, a historic neighborhood and commercial district in downtown Fort Wayne.

“I love the location at the Landing,” she said. “It’s very fun. It’s open. And I love Jeffrey’s thinking on running a salon. He’s very committed to letting each stylist be their own person. Everyone’s an artist. Everyone’s doing their own thing and I love that he really enforces that.”

The owner of the salon, Jeffrey Benjamin Ptak, is a 40-year-old New York native who first came to Fort Wayne at the age of 18 to attend IPFW. He played volleyball for the school and then went on to play professionally overseas for the next 15 years. When he was 37, he retired from professional sports and got his cosmetologist license.

“I’ve been doing hair since I was 12 years old,” he said. “I went into barber shops and salons when I was a kid and saw people get to create cool shit all day long and that’s what I wanted — to be able to have my own.”

When he was ready to open his own salon, he had the opportunity to grab a spot in The Landing, his old stomping ground from college.

“The Landing is rad,” he said. “I used to go to Columbia Street. I used to go to Benson’s next door. I used to go to Downtown and then it became Flashbacks. It was always a really cool part of Fort Wayne.”

Jeffrey Benjamin Hair sells Evo brand haircare and styling products.

Ptak has chosen the Evo line of products to use and sell at the salon. Based in Australia, Evo is vegan, all natural, gluten-free and non-soy. His salon is the only place in Fort Wayne that carries it.

“My mentor, my old instructor, his name is Chad Ellis, suggested Evo to me,” he said. “He said, ‘it’s you in a bottle. It’s funny. It’s smart-ass. It’s straight-up real.’ I tried all these different product lines out and went back to Evo and said, ‘Absolutely, this is what I’m using.’”

His vision for the salon “is to be a rad place to create cool hair,” he said. “I want an atmosphere where everyone has a good time. I want everyone to have fun. As long as you do your job well and you make your clients happy, I just want to be a cool atmosphere.”

One of the cool things Ptak has planned is hosting art shows.

“Every city I’ve played in overseas as a professional athlete, I would go to their art museums and their salons to get ideas,” Ptak said. “I always wanted a place that was like an urban industrial art museum that’s a salon too. It’s naturally a cool place to showcase local artists.”

Ptak plans to host artist receptions every three months, and he does not charge artists to display their work. The walls of the salon currently feature the abstract oil paintings of Thomas J. Leffers.

jeffrey.benjamin.hair is located at 116 W. Columbia Street, between Harrison and Calhoun streets in Fort Wayne, Indiana. For more information, visit www.jeffreybenjaminhair.com or find them on social media @jeffrey.benjamin.hair. Follow Terri Collinsworth on Instagram at @terricolli.

Stylist Terri Collinsworth works on men’s hair too.

Published by Gwen Clayton

Gwen Clayton is a freelance writer living in northeast Indiana. She is the former editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, and has written for numerous other publications since 1986. Her first book, the paranormal thriller "Fermata Cellars," was published in 2016, and her Bible-inspired short story, "Purr: A story of love, lions and a Hebrew named Daniel," was released in 2019. She recently finished writing, "Zinfandel’s Grimoire," which is the sequel to 'Fermata;' that book is in the editing and design phase of publication. Her current works in progress include the third book in the Rivervine Trilogy, tentatively titled, "The Comatis," and the nonfiction, "Dragon's Poker Table: A rocker chick's breast cancer journey." Her books are independently published under the imprint, Rivervine LLC. In addition to writing books, Clayton contracts as a copywriter for local, small businesses. She lives in southwest Fort Wayne with her husband Eddie, a retired military veteran and avid photographer. When not working on their various projects, the couple enjoy traveling through middle America searching for adventure, patronizing mom-and-pop businesses, and promoting the general welfare of current and former service men and women. Gwen serves as the marketing chair and board member of the Northeast Indiana Base Community Council. She holds a bachelor of science degree in public administration from Regis University.

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