The end of a teenage romance was the beginning of a career in hair for Eric Fisher.
At 17, Fisher and his girlfriend broke up, and he didn't have anyone to take to prom.
His sister's roommate, a "hot chick" and a hairdresser, volunteered to be his date.
He went to her salon, and the male salon manager suggested beauty school to him. Fisher's career — though not his salon — was born.
"Beautiful girls. I'll have fun. What could be better?" Fisher thought.
"It was a natural for me."
He joined a New York company to do hair for shows to promote a product line.
"I started at the bottom."
Then Fisher began working on photo shoots in places such as Hawaii and Greece.
He landed a job with Roger Thompson's salon at Barneys in New York.
"Back then I charged more money, by the way... than I do now for a haircut."
He stayed only a month because his new bride, Mary, didn't want to move there.
So the two opened Eric Fisher Salon in Wichita in 800 square feet at 306 N. Rock Road, not far from his current east-side salon.
"I never really wanted to have a salon," Fisher said.
He's continued to travel the world doing hair in places such as London, Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm. He's worked on projects such as music videos and magazine shoots.
What allows Fisher to travel and freelance is his highly trained staff, he said.
"It's taken a long time to have a great, magnificent bunch of stylists," he said. "Our system is slow. Very slow. But the quality is very good.
"We just have education constantly."
Today, he has three salons — two in Wichita and one in Derby — and the Eric Fisher Academy.
"It was just an organic process, an evolution," Fisher said.
He said cutting the hair of Wichita's business leaders has helped.
"They were just really inspirational," he said.
"Business is about profitability. Although you can be a superstar, you need to parlay that into something. You need to have a bunch more Eric Fishers out there."
Though it's not the most important thing, Fisher says, "Without a profit, you don't have a business."
Fisher said he's deliberately not grown his business any bigger.
"I know a lot of guys who just got so big so fast," he said.
The father of four said he likes to be with his family and do things such as make it home in time to play basketball with his son.
He gets a lot of fulfillment through work, though.
"It's spiritually fulfilling," Fisher said. "You're a day-maker.
"Really, it sounds so silly.... I fell into it by accident, but I can't imagine doing anything else."