No one is going to give you permission to live. So get going already. – Kris Carr
As with many of the people in our community that I love and adore, I first connected with Jessica aka @hairhunter via Instagram. Once again, this platform has allowed so many to connect, engage and build life long relationships. When I met Jessica, one of our courageous and selfless military Veterans, last year at the first Butterfly Circus, I fully felt her beautiful spirit and presence. This is her story…
N. What does passion look and feel like to you?
J. One wouldn’t know it by looking at me but I am permanently disabled. (I really despise that word.) I have permanent nerve damage in my hands and feet due to heavy chemotherapy treatments. 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with a late stage of Ovarian canSer. (I misspell it on purpose because it is some added disrespect to a disease that doesn’t respect anyone ever.) I died on a surgery table. It sounds crazy, but for me, passion is that numbness and pain in my hands and feet that I cope with on a daily basis. It drives me in a way that nothing else can. When I have days where I don’t want to get out of bed, I look at a photo taken by my Mom right after the surgeon told her I wasn’t going to wake up. I had a ventilator breathing for me. It reminds me that I’ve been given an opportunity to do something that so many people don’t get after that. The opportunity to live.
N. Why did you join A School?
J. I joined A School because I want more. David and Alexis at the Butterfly Loft gave some crazy kid with a wild Mohawk a chance at that and I have to do my part to keep at it. I’m not all that great at branding and marketing so I look for multiple resources that can give me ideas and push me forward without bringing others down. I felt that Nina and other A Schoolers would be positive additions to the wealth of knowledge I’ve received from my Butterfly Loft family.
N. What have you learned on your journey in A School?
J. In a short amount of time, I’ve learned to set healthy boundaries. I tend to be a bit soft and have a hard time being stern with people. I was in the military for 8 years and had to learn to control that mentality at the same time. I can’t speak to clients like they are soldiers but I also can’t allow someone to walk all over me either. I’m finally finding a healthy balance and more professional ways to deal with issues that may arise.
I’ve also found that I’m far from alone in having certain struggles as a business owner. It is fantastic to have a crew of fellow stylists that I can reach out to and get a plethora of ideas and options when I can’t come up with options myself.
N. Why did you become an owner?
J. I became an independent stylist for so many reasons, but there were two main driving factors. When I started at the Butterfly Loft, I was in a pretty abusive relationship. I needed a way out. I did not beat cancer so that another person could hold me down instead. I knew that I had to leave my comfort zone in order to succeed and to escape. I made a plan when I started at the Butterfly Loft. I told no one of the plan and busted my butt at work. I saved up and it all paid off. These days I am happy, healthy and have my dream job.
N. What is your biggest lesson so far being an owner?
J. My biggest lesson was learning to take risks and get out of my comfort zone. I firmly believe that if I hadn’t taken the leap to being an independent stylist, I would still be in a bad relationship and believing that I’m incapable of work due to a disease. Now I regularly get out of my comfort zone and most of the time, it is worth it. Either I learn that an option won’t work and I find another that does OR I succeed in a way I had not thought possible. I’m okay with both outcomes because I learn either way.
N. How do you handle difficult situations with clients or team members?
J. I often ask David, Alexis and a handful of other mentors for ideas on handling sensitive issues. All of these mentors have been in the industry for a long time and are successful here. By success, I mean that they are happy with what they do. Success is a subjective term and one has to figure out what it means as it is different for everyone. Sure, making money is important but I want input from people who are about more than that. I’ve always looked for lighthouses. Lighthouses guide a ship to safety and success. My lighthouses know who they are and their energy radiates through a building. Those are the ones I need when the waters get choppy.
N. What ONE tool would you say is the most effective in marketing your business and why?
J. INSTAGRAM!!! I have connected with so many clients and other professionals through this social media platform and it has been the best whirlwind. I had never put much thought into it until David and Don (Nothing but Pixies) gave me some valuable career building pointers. Once I started making the adjustments, I saw my career fly.
N. Where does your inspiration come from?
J. I’m a real nerdy, gothy kid at heart. While a lot of my motivation comes from past struggles, I pull inspiration from another part of me. I believe the two are a bit different. I pull ideas for vivid colors from comic books, Tim Burton movies, and Disney. Who am I kidding? ALL of my color ideas come from those things!
N. How do you practice self-care?
J. I firmly believe in working hard enough all year so that I can spend a week doing nothing and drinking crazy colored concoctions out of a coconut with a little umbrella in it. I also know how important it is to take care of my body. I have the joy of visiting my oncologist every 6 months and if I am not eating right or working out, he gets after me in a way that would make my mother envious. I hate going to a gym so I do barre fitness, Pole classes, aerial silks, yoga and I have been roller skating since I was about 4 years old. Basically, if you would see it at a circus, I probably enjoy doing it. I also surf when I can. I’ve been surfing for about 13 years now. I mean, I call it surfing but others might say I just fall off a big stick in the water but whatever. It’s my zen place outside of Disneyland.
N. Coffee Bean or Starbucks?
J. Coffee bean!! I LOVE their tea lattes!
N. Favorite quote?
J. I actually have two favorite quotes.. When I was sick, a friend of mine sent me one that has always remained “It’s not about how you weather the storm, it’s about how you dance in the rain”. The other is one I read in a book by Kris Carr.. “No one is going to give you permission to live. So get going already.”
A big shout out of love + gratitude to Jessica for sharing her story with us. You inspire me with your courage and bad assery. We are so grateful to be on this journey with you in A School. Thank you for your service!
Love + Awesomeness
If you are a creative small biz owner in the pro beauty world and looking for a ton of love, support and help with creating an awesome biz + life, A School may be a good fit for you.