Up and coming is a sexy phrase to describe a neighborhood in transition. There have been some investments made but they are not necessarily up to their full potential. The Bayshore Arts District falls into this description.
There have been brave visionaries who have taken the risk and invested in this community: Rebecca Maddox, Adam Kelley, Alex McEwing, Diane Sullivan to name a few. These business owners have been instrumental in bringing change to Bayshore. NBBR has been here for years now but we find it funny when other realtors who don’t live here, were not there at the beginning of the struggle come into the community, snap a few pictures, and tell people to come and play here. We live, spend our money, and are invested in Bayshore. We encourage people to support. To be a part of the action. Denise, the owner of Hair 4 You, has done just that.
It was drizzling and uncharacteristically windy the day we caught up with Denise. A male client was leaving and another client was in her chair. She was busy but graciously discussed with us life and the start of her business. She has been in the hair business for 35 years. She is soft-spoken and kind. A mother and grandmother of two, Denise says part of her strength comes from the support of her loved ones.
NBBR: How long ago did you get into the business?
Denise: I got into doing hair will I was in high school. I went to a technical school and in my junior year, I started cosmetology class.
NBBR: What prompted you to get into hair?
Denise: My guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to do. I was never a “book-type” of person; I was always hands on so I thought about it. My father and I talked about it and he suggested I do something that I like. I liked doing hair so I got into cosmetology. When I got into the class, the first year was more book/technical [learning]. When it came to the hands-off stuff, that’s what really got me.
NBBR: I feel in this line of business, you have to have a passion for it. It kind of reminds me of real estate, where a lot of people use it for additional income or get into it for the money. With hair, you have to love it; you’re on your feet all day. Do you notice that?
Denise: You have to have a knack for it. A lot of people want to get into doing hair to profit but if you’re not good at it, you’re not going to create a clientele. If you’re not passionate about helping people look good and you’re only in it to see how much you can charge people for a service, you’re not going to make it.
NBBR: How long have you had your own business?
Denise: I just opened in October.
NBBR: What was the scariest part of opening up your own business?
Denise: People don’t like if you move a lot. I worked in one salon for 25 years but I still worried about my clients.
NBBR: What has been the best experience of working in this business for so long?
Denise: You know, I have grown. I have a lot of good customers. Some I’ve had for 20 years. It was good they all followed me. When I finally [left], they said, “you should have done this a long time ago” and that makes me feel good. They try to get me other customers, that makes me feel really good.
NBBR: Just like you have followed them through their different life stages, it must have felt amazing they followed you through this one.
Denise: A lot of my customers have been with me since my kids were little. My daughter got married three years ago, has two kids. It’s almost like a family thing now. They come in and ask me, “how are the grandbabies?” “How is your daughter?” You know, they know the struggles I have been through.
NBBR: What inspired you to open in Bayshore when certain people still consider this community a “business risk”?
Denise: What inspired me was when I met Diane [Sullivan] and she was telling me all the upcoming things, then I got excited. It was time for new things, new adventures.
NBBR: If you could give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would that advice be?
Denise: My son, when I was going through some difficulties, told me, “mommy, don’t be afraid. Life is about change. You have to step out on faith. When I was younger, I was timid. Always afraid to do something. When I look back, I would say that. “Don’t be afraid. Life is about changes.” If you fail, if you fall, get back up and start all over again. Life is a revolving door, an unending circle. Keep striving to do the best you can. That’s what I would tell my younger self.
NBBR: For anyone looking to start their own business, do you have any advice?
Denise: Because I have been in the hair industry, I knew the ins and outs of what I should and shouldn’t do, I would start with this great organization called SCORE Naples. It’s free advice from professionals who have retired. It’s really helpful and it’s all free. Always get advice and make sure you have everything you need to start your business.
NBBR: Thank you. For those looking to make an appointment, what kind of services do you offer?
Denise: I offer all hair services: hair coloring, highlights, relaxers, perms and I work on all types of hair.
We want to thank Denise for taking the time to speak with us. If you need any kind of hair services, we suggest you pay her a visit at The Gardenia House or call (239) 919-3139.
Salon Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 8:30 AM to 5:30 AM.