I became a small business owner on Thursday Nov 7 at 8:27 pm when I left my letter of resignation on my managers desk and told the team lead on staff that today was my last day. I smile every time I think about how that day went down. I was so anxious, nervous, sad and excited! I remember 2 different co-workers asked me what I did differently with my makeup. Little did they know, it was the natural glow of finally finding balance and pure joy (and getting the heck out of this joint). This day marks a new beginning and a fresh start.
I will start by saying my almost 11 years at the salon weren’t all bad. I was given amazing opportunities to grow as a stylist, learn from the best and build an amazing clientele. I met and collaborated with other amazing stylists within the company. The benefits were good and the opportunities were plentiful. I worked hard to consistently be on top. Year after year being in the top 5 with 300 other employees is a huge accomplishment. Working with strong women could lift you but quickly tear you down. This started to weigh so I decided to attend therapy, figure out what would make me happy and slowly understand more about myself. Some could call me weak and say I shouldn’t take things personally but being offended isn’t a bad thing. I would have such a hard time recharging during my breaks because of the constant banter, competition and drama. It was hard not to get sucked in. On the positive side, we always were there to support each other, had many laughs and great memories. The expectations started to pile up and I was no longer focusing on my business. I loved being a teacher, but its very draining when others chose not to educate themselves and don’t care about the integrity behind their business. I know I can’t control what they do, but their are part of the company I work for. We all are affiliated as a brand, a brand I didn’t want to represent anymore. Yup, life isn’t fair, but I couldn’t be asoociated with the mess.
About 2 years ago I was in a horrible place personally and professionally. I researched a lot about leaving. I remember I was traveling in CA with my husband, calling businesses and weighing my options. I decided against leaving because I saw it as running away, when in reality I was drinking the KOOL AID thinking this was the best I could get. I had only ever had one serious career job. I’m a LIFER! My therapist and I worked through some of my issues and tried to build my trust in the future of the company. But I only became more and more frustrated. So September of 2016 I told my husband I was quitting my job and opening my own studio in 8 weeks. He didn’t question my decision once. That’s a true partnership. No asking permission.
Insert the following emotions: EXCITEMENT, FEAR, DETERMINATION, DENILE!
Some stylists think that when you leave a salon you lose your integrity. That can be true, but I also saw it in the salon. I worked with some people who never cared, yet I was under that brand umbrella. Now I am my own brand and no one can take away its value. Others say studio stylists never take advanced education. This once again this is circumstantial. I paid for a lot of my outside education while employed by my salon but also received great free education. Funny they say this because I invited some of my fellow stylist friends, independent and employed, to LA for a color class and guess who is going? Yup independent stylists! This industry is ever changing and you should have a stylist who has the principle to give the the best.
There is always this back and forth between independent and employed stylists and we will never see eye to eye. I always thought they were embellishing on how great it was. No one would ever admit that they made a mistake leaving the best salon ever. The excuse was that person left because they weren’t successful at the salon and they are lazy. HA! The second I ran the numbers and took off my blinders, I was mad at myself for not believing in myself earlier. They are not elaborating on the freedom and flexibility. I don’t judge those who choose to stay (well maybe a little) but it takes a certain kind of person to do it. You need the clientele and confidence. That’s it. Yes having money saved it easier, but since I didn’t plan ahead, you get a business loan like everyone else. I won’t lie, I had doubted my decision for about 4 weeks and then that all went away. I’m slowly learning, growing and changing, Nothing is ever perfect, but I am in control now.
Now for the honest truth. During the 8 weeks of creating Angela’s Atelier, I had many moments of self doubt. I had the best supporter, Ryan. One day I would be high on life, excited for my new adventure and the next day in tears. He would always have me high five him and say “I’m a rockstar”. He was right, I am a rockstar, I can do this!!! It was very hard when some of my clients didn’t follow but I have an 87% retention rate from the salon, which was humbling. Over the years you develop a relationship with your client and its hard not to be upset when they don’t support you, but I understand convienience is key for some people. I was so shocked, yet humbled at all of my clients that did follow me my new space and contribute to support me. I’m so blessed (you know I hate that word) that they understand how much courage it took to make this move.
My new space is so much fun and brings me happiness every morning when I wake up, I don’t dread driving to work and seeing a specific car in the parking lot. I don’t dread the questions, expectations or drama. Yes, being a business owner requires a bit more work but I hardly notice it. I don’t mind doing laundry because at least its for me versus the girl who NEVER helps out, figuring out my accounts is rewarding because I see my growth, researching the best products for my clients is exciting and honestly my online booking system has made my life easier than having a receptionist. I’m the weirdo that loves organizing inventory and working on social media posts. I am able to change my hours whenever I want without feeling guilty. I take random days off and not have to worry about money. I finally can take my time on clients and focus on quality vs quantity.
I honestly never thought this day would come and I only hope this inspires ANY ONE to go into business for themselves. As a small business owner. I am trying to support that community even more.