I never imagined myself as a cosmetologist. I was 30 years old when I left my office career to begin something new. I knew I didn’t want to be behind a desk – so I enrolled in beauty school and began taking classes. I also assisted my first mentor, @sadiejcre8s, who taught me that there is more to this career than just being at the salon.
Booth renting left me alone most of the time, so in February 2020 I decided to sign a lease and have my own studio. I was killing it… and then two weeks later the first shutdown in California happened. I had just found this new space I could work from. I cried for two weeks.
I asked myself, “What can I do?” I went to my vision board and saw old pins of a mobile salon. This idea was something I wanted to pursue years before, but some family thought it would devalue my business and brand, so I had held off. I started browsing options, but nothing stuck.
We had reopened for services again when my daughter ended up in ICU. I was alone in ICU holding my daughter’s hand and I knew something had to change. I told god and the universe, “If you allow my daughter to leave here healthy, I promise to close my suite down.” At that moment I heard from another mom in the room: “My lash lady says they just did second shutdown.” I looked on the news and the second shutdown happened in California. I decided right then I would close my salon suite.
Making the Mobile Salon
I started with a budget of $10,000 and decided on the DIY route, going on Craigslist, and searching vintage campers. I reached out to a fellow small business owner to see if she would offer her decorating touches, and she ended up collaborating with me to make it a special space. Collaborating with another Latina on this project was amazing (and shoutout to Cristina at Floral Luxe), and having help from other local contractors was key to finishing the unit. It takes a team, and during moments of trial asking others to help is instrumental.
I made my clients part of the process too, and they were even more excited than me. I grew my business during the shutdown by offering virtual consultations and advertising my upcoming mobile salon.
Staying Flexible to Change
We opened and things were going great in my mobile business. But soon after, my hand started having issues and I was out of work for nearly three weeks. While I was out, I offered color kits and coaching opportunities to keep income coming. A week later I was exposed to COVID-19 and received a positive diagnosis. I was devastated, but instead of hiding it I went on social media and shared my story of how I contracted the virus, and I used my hard time in isolation to raise awareness in my community.
The support for clients and friends through this has been beyond words. This year has been the hardest year of my life, not just career-wise but personally. Resiliency to keep moving forward is what has me here today. I read the DMs and emails from my podcast of how others in the industry are struggling too. We are not alone; we are all in this together.
It breaks my heart to see salons closing and stylists leaving, but I think being adaptable and wiling to change is the magic sauce to more than simply surviving.
I am now moving away from hair and into BB Glow and noninvasive beauty treatments. The more you are willing to understand that is okay to change and be unapologetic, the more you will be tough enough to succeed.
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