My Story - the beginning

Everyone has a story...this is mine.

The beginning…

I didn't always want to be a hairdresser. Growing up I had dreams of being a back up dancer for Janet Jackson!  I was going to travel the world dazzling audiences with my rhythm nation. When I started college I had a professor of dance let me know that if I were to be able to make it in the arts I had to be able to dance and SING.  Well…that quickly ended my dream. I can totally get down on the dance floor but I’m fully aware that my singing ability is definitely nothing anyone should have to endure. So, my passion for art connecting with people would have to be used in another way.

I quickly decided that a backpacking trip through Europe would be exactly what I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I sold almost all my belongings and stored a few items I couldn’t live without into three storage bins at my friend's house.  I bought an open ended plane ticket and with some of my very best girlfriends headed off to the adventure of a lifetime with no intention of coming home anytime soon.

I learned more on that trip about life and culture than any college classroom could teach me. I also had a ton of time riding on trains to reflect about myself and what I wanted in life. I knew I wanted to connect with people and be creative. I just knew what I had done up until then wasn’t what I wanted to do. I learned best by being around people doing it better than me. I decided that when I got home I wanted to start cosmetology school. BUT...if I did, I would need to work in that industry so I would learn from the ground up.

So...I did just that!

I got home and applied as a reservationist at salons all over. I actually landed a job at a salon I had gone to before once before as client and once as a model - Not knowing ANYTHING about the industry. All I knew was A Robert Cromeans Salon in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, was electric!! All the stylists were stylish and wore all black. They all were cool and genuine and they looked you in the eye when they told you were beautiful. Not to mention, it was the first time someone cut and colored my hair the way I wanted and managed to tame my fro!! I was stoked that I would be working with these rad people!!

The day I got hired I asked the manager at the time what cosmetology school should I go to? (this guy is now my husband, but thats another story). He let me know that it didn’t matter the school. "We will teach you everything you need once you get out." They handed me a CD disc set (yup, that's how long ago it was) with the owner of the salon on it. I listened to it on my way home and OMG! Listening to this man's philosophy and concepts of business blew me away and he was going to be my BOSS! Woot woot!

I signed up at what you would consider a typical cosmetology school. Everything about it was kind of dodgy. The school was dodgy, the clients were dodgy. Well.. it probably was because I went to night school next to a beat up bowling alley/casino.. HA!! Even though it wasn't glamorous, it worked with my schedule. I would be able to take the assistant classes in the morning, work as a reservationist all day, then go to school at night. I was committed!! The first day of school I opened my cosmetology book and there on the back page was none other than my new boss!!  It's funny how life gives you life signs saying you're on the right track.

I spent the next two years going from what I called from the 1 to the 2. The only time I would talk to my family and friends was on my car ride from work or to school. I spent my only time off traveling and following my salon team to every hair show they would let me. Bless my step-mom for those Southwest flight benefits!! I told my salon owners that I would fly myself wherever the shows were and work to learn. I would sell t-shirts at the booth next to stage where they would present.  I was watching the leaders of our industry create magic almost every single weekend. I really can’t explain in words what an effect that had on me.  Still to this day Robert and Stephanie are my biggest mentors.

I was in awe of these people and despite my awkward efforts, I don’t think Robert even knew my name for like a whole year. Yet, once he did, he called me to opportunities that I knew I didn’t deserve. Not only did I get to work backstage at these shows, but on stage as well. I was a total wreck!! I remember Stephanie Kocielski asked me to round brush a model's hair that was down to her butt, with the smallest round brush of all time. After like an hour, I was sweating, the model was sweating, and the hair was so frizzed and wasn’t even close to dry!! Oh...the lessons I learned. He also took me to photo shoots with John Paul Dejoria the owner and founder of Paul Mitchell, After the shoot, JP asked us to take a shot of his reserve collection of Patron (I totally cannot drink tequila- long story). Robert took one look at me and said, “you better take that shot” Oh! And I did.

He allowed me to be a part of video shoots building content for the company. I was totally unqualified. Actually, every time he would talk to me I would just get hot and embarrassed and say the wrong thing. Through all of this, I was committed to the process and kept going.  I committed to following everything this man told me to do. I still do to this day.

Thank you to Margaret Cromeans for taking a chance on a young punk kid.

The lessons of running a business and understanding what it is to give 5 star service came from being behind that front desk.  I was allowed to mess up, and they taught me what it means to really take care of people. Most of all,
I learned what the power of wearing high heels and lipstick can do and what a bad ass I could be.

I knew what I was experiencing was not normal. I knew because I was going to a school that was what it was.  All the while, working for one of the most premier salons in the country. I am truly grateful. Because of all of this.

I knew I had a responsibility to give back..

Want to know more?? Stay tuned for the next chapter...