Love Is in the Hair

The reason being, you have to work on Saturday mornings, which I would imagine is why we don’t see too many local youngsters working in shops, bars, restaurants or even hairdressing salons. Not so, for businesswoman and professional hairdresser Janice Cruz who, since her late teens, has run her own hairdressing business on the Rock. “I left school at 15 and didn’t want to work anywhere. I was always keen on hairdressing from my childhood days. I remember attempting to make French plaits when I was four or five years old, so as a young teenager I attended a hairdressing college for two and a half years,” Janice tells me, “I came away with my qualifications in theory and practice and when I was about 17 started to work straight away.”

Janice Cruz

As with most professions you become proficient `learning on the job’ as they say. You slowly become more competent as your confidence builds. “Yes, that’s what I lacked at first. I didn’t feel confident and that’s why I’d do clients’ hair in their homes and not charge them!” Evidently Janice’s confidence soon developed enough not to just apply for a job in an established hairdressing salon but to have the courage to set up her own business, and that’s what she did. “I set up my business in the Caleta Hotel in the Health and Beauty part of the hotel. There was some equipment there but I bought some and also had some stuff of my own. I had my mother to help me there and it was a slow start, but eventually did quite well and I built up the business specialising in brides.”

However, as a determined businesswoman there’s no doubt Janice wanted to aim higher by moving closer to town hoping for a bigger slice of the cake by making her hairdressing talents more accessible to a higher footfall in a busy marina, just a stone’s throw away from the town centre: “Yes I rented a standard unit in Ocean Village and later moved next door where I am at present, which is three times the size of the original one.”

Janice Hair and Beauty Salon at Ocean Village has been up and running for just under a decade, and is the longest running business on the Ocean Village walkway – and they’re still going strong. “Running a business can be very, very stressful,” Janice asserts, “you go home after a long day and the business is still on your mind. Like most people, I have a home to run and my 13 year old son Leon to look after. Your business is a 24/7 commitment which at times can become a struggle, and sometimes you wonder if you’d be better off and more relaxed working for someone else and not running your own thing. However, you soon get back to thinking, this is what you really want and you just have to continue working at it.”

Janice Hair and Beauty Salon at Ocean Village

Janice employs two other hairdressers at her salon – Jessica and Ivanova – “They are great girls and I’m very happy with them but I have been through the unpleasant business of having to deal with a number of other members of staff that just weren’t up to it and having to dismiss them. I don’t consider myself as being a bad or hard boss but you need to know where to draw the line and there are limits. I treat my staff with respect as I do my clients. Your employees need to be happy and these girls have a passion for the job, as I do.”

As with most businesses, I would imagine, you have to keep up with the latest trends and hardworking Janice wastes no time in attending courses, trade fairs and exhibitions all over Spain, Italy and the UK. London, Madrid, Barcelona and beyond is where it’s all happening so you have to keep in touch. “Creativity is important and you have to be aware of what’s happening out there, so you need to go to these places, especially these days that we have all these celebrities who come out to perform on the Rock. I’ve worked on Rita Ora, Sam Bailey, Ben Haenow and several other X Factor contestants that we’ve had performing here – thankfully, with no complaints! I also attended a hair extensions course some time back and was one of the first to start offering and working with them here.”

It’s `The Year of the Woman’ commemorating 100 years of women’s emancipation. Some argue there’s still some way to go, but with strong, determined, no nonsense ladies – just like Janice – nothing is insuperable, no matter how daunting and she, like others, is proof of that. For close on 20 years she’s been running her very own business, taking on the challenge with no business partner to lean on, starting as she was just about exiting her teens – an age when for most, fun, fun, fun is high on the agenda. It’s often assumed those who run a business must be rich. If they are, no doubt it’s been down to hard work. But that’s not always the case. “Let me tell you, we’re not all rich and at times it can be quite demanding. January and February are tough months but bills and wages still have to be paid. The thing is there are ups and downs in any business and the message,” Janice maintains, “is to keep going, persevere and never regret what you have a passion for!”