Happy Friday! This week on Colorful Creatives, I share with you an amazing and talented stylist, Bianca DeSantis, owner of B. Rose Studio! I’ve know Bianca for a couple of years now, and it’s been so inspiring to watch her business grow. From personal experience, I can say she gives the absolute BEST hair cuts! In this interview, Bianca shares her story of pursuing her passion, and living the life she always dreamed of. Her positive attitude is contagious, and just might inspire you to take a leap of faith and follow your own dreams. One of my favorite quotes from her, “Stop saying tomorrow, make changes to seize the opportunities for success today.” I hope you enjoy learning more about this girl boss and be sure to follow her on social media!
1. How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I’ve always had a passion for the beauty industry. From as young as I can remember, I was fascinated with hair and makeup and the work that went into creating looks. Anytime I could get my hands on anything, I would. I hustled girls in highschool for hair and makeup for proms and homecomings! I ended up attending the Aveda Institute of Chicago the fall after graduating high school in 2010.
2. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I always knew I wanted to be in the beauty industry, the entrepreneur side of that came later on in life. When your working hard and connecting with people and building your own business behind the chair, something lights a fire in you to say “ Hey! I can do this, all on my own!”
3. When did you know it was the right time to go full time on your business?
I began not loving my job, which was extremely sad because it's the only career I've ever had any interest in pursuing. An opportunity came up that I just couldn't pass up. Sola offered me the freedom of being my own boss, while creating a space that allowed me to be my most authentic self in every possible way, all while not having to deal with the traditional salon woes. The thought of not having to give someone half my money anymore definitely was a huge bonus as well!
4. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome with owning your own business?
Owning your own salon is HARD work! People often fail because they don't realize the work that goes into running a successful salon. When you open your own suite, as I did, you wear every single hat a business owner may encounter. Not only are you the talent, but you become receptionist, the manager, the accountant, the cleaning crew, the social media team, and that's just naming a few! It definitely was an adjustment to find a good work and life balance all while making sure every aspect of my salon was pristine and lived up the mission I started the salon on.
5. What is your favorite & least favorite “hat” to wear as a business owner?
I just love doing hair, it allows me to stay creative everyday and make people feel absolutely incredible about themselves. I do not like accounting! Never been a numbers girl, I’ve always been more of an artistic soul, so number counting and crunching has never appealed to me.
6. How did you reach your potential clients when first starting your business? Has anything changed in that process now? What have you learned?
Word of mouth will always reign king, but Instagram is definitely standing right next to that as queen. In this day and age, everyone, including myself, wants instant gratification. With Instagram your able to search a hashtag or browse someone's work right from the comfort of your own phone any day, anytime. Instagram and Facebook have been huge in building my clientele. The process has changed because I'm starting to build a larger clientele and the new clients are coming easy without having to do as much on my social platforms. I still keep my digital portfolio up to date so any new clients have my work at their hands. My biggest learning moment was always keeping yourself respectfully open. People ask me all the time what that means, that means being flexible with clients all while still respecting your own personal time. After all, we open our own salons and suites to make our lives easier, right?
7. Do you feel you need to educate people on what you or why you charge what you do? How do you handle that situation?
I’m super fortunate to be at a place in my career where clients are super respectful of my time and know my pricing reflects that. I make sure every client gets the same service and quality every time they walk in, whether its their first or fortieth appointment. I always educate my clients on what I am doing with their hair so they are able to be comfortable with proceeding in whatever service we may choose to do. If that time does come, I always ask people, what is your time worth? Would you rather pay more money to have an expert give you the exact look you are wanting or pay less and then have to invest more into getting the look you were originally looking to achieve.
8. How do you start your Monday?
Mondays are my days off! I always start with a workout with my trainer. I then come home for breakfast and walk my dog! The rest of the day is every changing. Some days I'll take clients, some classes, or just sometimes catching up with friends or getting groceries. It's my day to prepare myself and get ready for my busy week.
9. How do you stay motivated?
My clients, 100%. Seeing them come in and tell me about engagements, pregnancies, job promotions and so much more makes my day. I essentially also become a therapist. I get to share some of the most intimate moments with clients, even before they may share with friends or family. May those moments be good or bad, they always know I'll be there to listen. Knowing they count on me to nail it for them every single time is all i need to keep doing this forever.
10. Where is your favorite place to work?
Always in the suite with Ariana Grande Pandora on! Preferably on a super sunny day! Haha
11. Where do you look for inspiration?
Sola is an incredible concept. It's a bunch of small salons under one roof. I am so fortunate to have so many suite mates who keep me encouraged and inspired every single day. No one of us does the same exact thing and we bounce everything from formulations to placements off of each other. The energy you feel when you walk into our location is amazing. We run that place on good vibes only!
12. What are you working on right now?
I’m currently working on expanding my business in the near future and investing in some fun education that will take my skill to the next level. I love the ever changing beauty industry. It keeps my life very fun and exciting and I adore keeping up with the new techniques and trends.
13. What are some of your favorite textures/ materials?
I personally love mixing metals and fur. There is this edgy glamor too it that speaks to me on a different level. My favorite textures have to be velvet and leather. I love how raw each material can be depending on how it is and no two every are exactly the same.
14. What are some colors you are connecting with right now?
GOLDS ALWAYS! I love that the hair and beauty industry is shying away from dull dark hues and heading for more rich and luxurious colors. I think gold is so versatile in hair, makeup, jewelry and even in your home. Timeless and classic, just the way I like things!
15. As a busy business owner, how to do avoid burn out?
I plan very frequent trips to Florida, my second favorite place on earth besides Chicago. When I'm down there, I get to live the island life: No worries and no hurries. I get to spend tons of time with my fiance and disconnect from the business, which isn't something we get to do much of here. Oceanside with a cocktail is never a bad idea.
16. If you could travel anywhere in the world for inspiration, where would it be and why?
I love the trends in Italy and Spain. There is this old world elegance mixed with a modern, carefree mentality that keeps me forever intrigued. I think they are such fascinating people with impeccable style.
17. What is something you could not live without?
So hard! Haha My fiance, keeps me sane. My dog, keeps me calm. My phone, keeps me connected.
18. What’s your favorite season and why?
Nowhere in the world has anything on summertime in Chicago! Being close by water and feeling the sun is most definitely my happy place. I love that there's a street fest everywhere you turn and my friends are constantly out somewhere new trying a new brunch. It helps you to keep falling in love with the city. You never have to do the same thing twice.
19. What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago?
I live in Printers Row, so it's very easy for me to fall back into being a tourist in my own city. I grew up in Lincoln Park and loved every minute of it. Now I can walk my dog to Buckingham fountain for our nightly walk or just head over to Millennium Park in the summer for a concert. I sometimes have to take a breath, look around and pinch myself that I get to live in a city as beautiful as this one every single day.
20. What are you looking forward to in 2019?
I am so very excited to make huge moves with my business. I have big plans for expanding, not only my business, but certain aspects of my skill set to help me reach my full potential moving towards being the best stylist I can be. I also get to marry my best friend in April and we are so excited to see what the next chapter of life holds for us!
21. What is a piece of advice you would tell your past self on the first day you started your business?
Breathe! You GOT this and were born to do this!
22. Any inspirational books you recommend?
I have always been obsessed with Sophia Amoruso, the original #Girlboss herself! The book literally tells you the sky IS the limit! I would also recommend for everyone to read You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero as well. My client who left the finance industry to pursue a now extremely successful career in real estate gifted this book to me on the 3rd day of my salon being open. I finished it in 2 days! It was everything I needed to hear as a new entrepreneur and so much more.
23. Anything I missed that you want to share?
If you're reading this and debating what move you should make in life, look at your life right now. Whatever is happening, in your career, relationship or anything else, think about how you feel in this moment. Now imagine your life 6 weeks, 6 months and 6 years down the road. Will you stay in that mindset for all that time, or will you make your change towards greatness? Stop saying tomorrow, make changes to seize the opportunities for success today.