Co-owner and color specialist, J. Gordon Designs, Chicago
Board Member, Cosmetologists Chicago
Licensed: 1978, Ippolito School of Cosmetology; it was a Jhirmack school. Remember Jhirmack?
First job: While in beauty school I worked Sundays at Hair's Where It's At doing shampoos, rinsing perms and sweeping the floor.
Clients per week: 25
Price point: Single process: $80-$100; partial highlight: $120-140; full highlight: $140-$160
Why did you choose beauty? When I chose to become a hairdresser, I was a bit lost. I had ended a relationship and dropped out of college. I went to get my hair done at a salon, and I fell in love with everything; the aroma, the music, the way people dressed...you name it. I knew in an instant that this was what I wanted to do.
Milestones: Becoming an Intercoiffure member; rebuilding a successful team after a walk-out; falling in love with and marrying my mentor, Jerry Gordon
Big break: My mother and father for paying for beauty school after I dropped out of college, then Jerry Gordon for taking me under his wing, training me, and helping me finish growing up.
Career advice you’ve received: Rise above it.
Career advice you’ve given: Good opportunities are hard to come by. Don't throw them away.
Your mentors: Jerry Gordon, Horst Rechelbacher, Nick Arrojo
You mentor: Anyone who needs one. I am available to anyone who calls, has a question, or needs help. Even if someone comes for an interview and I do not hire them, I try to leave them with some new information or a direction to go in.
Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty industry? I do believe women still have try a little harder for recognition. But, contrary to popular belief, women in this industry are very supportive of each other. If you reach out, they will be there for you.
Are there challenges to being a woman in beauty? The biggest challenges involve life balance. It is hard to give of yourself to everyone all day, then go home and give more of yourself to your family and friends, and then find time to nurture yourself.
Sacrifice and lesson: Building and maintaining a successful business always involves sacrifice. What I have learned is, if you don't take care of yourself and your health suffers, your business will suffer as well.
Risk and reward: I stepped away from doing clients for five years during the 1980's while I hosted and produced a cable television program on makeovers. I learned how much I truly love working in a salon environment and how much I enjoy serving people.