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How did you get into this industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 33 years, but I started as a manicurist and had a small nail salon in downtown Walnut Creek. Shortly after starting the little one, now remember, this is in the late 70s early 80s, the better direction would be a one-stop-shop full-service salon. Eight years after having the little one, I had the nerve to go into a broader base, it was very well received, fortunately, and we were able to grow. It started as 1,000 square feet, and now we take the whole ground floor and it is at 10,000 square feet. We began focusing on spa in 1996, and we went in and added designated space dedicated to spa. We knew we wanted to be part of solution to help clients feel beautiful.
I was 17 when I started my salon. My business background has come from the school of hard knocks I’ve been in workshop-based training, but I have no college, other than a few classes.
When I was waitressing, there were older women who had been to college and were waitressing next to me, and I thought what I should do would be to get a trade to earn more money so I could go to college. I got loved working with clients. I’ve always been fascinated with business, listening, learning, applying, trying; I’ve always been very intrigued with. Building a team and making the connection that my growth had to do with the people that worked with me. We’re a staff of 70, we’ve built the infrastructure in one location, after the economy uprights itself, we are planning on taking the best of our model to smaller locations, probably in 2011.
Given the year I got into it, there really wasn’t anywhere near the allure with the spa industry. There really was no spa industry then other than when Noelle DiCaprio was in her early days developing her day spa and wellness community. She passed away seven years ago, but was somebody who as days went by I learned more about. I fell into the industry as a trade and grew to love it and what it represented. As a technician, you’re able to get an instant feeling of gratitude for what you’re doing. I think that’s why people get drawn into it on the technical level, but all of us who work in a spa know that it is business.