The Mane Objective | by Marco Pelusi
Life is hard sometimes, especially for those of us who have a strong passion—a dream—for something.
It takes time; it’s a long road, no matter who you are, wherever you come from. Nonetheless, it can be a very exciting ride. The bumpiest roads are most interesting.
For me, I grew up in the industry in my family’s salons.
My dream started when I left a corporate hair care job to pursue my dream of owning a hair studio in Los Angeles—one of the most competitive style cities in the world. After more than two years of building a client base, networking to find the right staff and researching the right locale, I found the perfect space in the trendy section of West Hollywood, right in the midst of the Avenues of Art and Design, at the corner of hip Melrose Avenue and Robertson Boulevard.
As you could imagine, given the popularity of the location, I had to fight for the place against several others, including another hairdresser and a photographer. Thankfully, I won the battle. But the war wasn’t over, as I soon realized.
Once I found my new studio space, the proverbial “fun” began. I brought in an architect to help with city zoning, and a contractor who would work within our budget parameters. We fought the city for permits (the existing bathroom was too small) and to obtain our signage—yes, signage.
In fact, I opened my studio without signage. But I had relationships built with a lot of hairdressers and clients over the years. I personally reached out to clients, neighbors, family and friends to tell them about my new location, and they found us.
Everything, almost every single piece of business, is about relationships, in the end.
The important thing during the stressful times is to not be stressed. I still have to remind myself of this. Laughing helps. Don’t get discouraged.
Perhaps the greatest obstacle for me was when the hot water would shut down on a busy Saturday; this happened three times. I freaked out. The contractors came and replaced the breaker but that didn’t do it. In fact, we were just running out of hot water with clients sitting right there, waiting to be shampooed. In many instances, these were brand new clients, expecting top hair services and we were trying to impress them. But no matter how you present it, having a cold-water shampoo is not impressive. As we all know in the haircare world, a salon without hot water is like AOL without its computer server.
The lesson learned (one of them) is to rise above the rather mundane, somewhat petty issues—most of which are beyond all of our control. Eventually, we had no choice but to upgrade the electricity and the water, which triggered the need for more permits by both the city and the electric company. At one point, we were told that we might be responsible for upgrading the entire building!
Thankfully, that was not the case and despite all of the challenges and obstacles in our way, we persevered and opened to great fanfare and excitement. It was a total team effort and I’m pleased to say that all of the sweat and tears paid off. I love my studio, my staff and my job and wouldn’t have done anything differently—well, almost.
Now I have time for other struggles, many of which were in their infancy when I started, and I remember wishing I had time for the new desirable struggles, but I just couldn’t. I had too many base problems to deal with.
What do you want to do? Once you know what it is, persevere, persevere, persevere. I’ve accomplished some things I set out to do, but each day, I still have to get up and do more.
There is always a cost; but it’s all worth it if you want it and if you can think long term. There are no snap decisions, by any means. Every single issue requires careful, deliberate and thorough consideration. Bit by bit. Baby steps are best—deliberate baby steps—slow and steady over time.
The world needs to know you’ve been around a while and that you’re not a “flash in the pan.” So, keep on. Keep going. Get up and do it every day, even when you don’t feel like it, and when you are in the middle of your day, you’ll be soaring. Take yourself seriously but try to have a good time doing it.