THE GREAT DEPARTURE!On a November evening in 1997, when we were both still living with our parents, I decided to go join my sister Chantale in her room. As we both sat on her bed, we started talking about our professional situation. We were both hair academy graduates, working in the same salon but knowing full well that we were missing something … the entrepreneurial flame. Although at the age of twenty-one and twenty-four, no one had really prepared us, the strength of our dreams was much greater than the fear we felt.
Our goal was to have a salon that looked: modern, stylish and yet familiar. That's why at that moment, I suggested that our business name could be "Salon Chanthalie" (“Chan” for Chantale and “thalie” for Nathalie) but Chantale quickly responded with: "It will be “Studio” because it will be more modern and Shanthaly will be written with an "S" at the beginning and a "Y" at the end. It will be more stylish!"
With sparkles in our eyes we knew this was the big start of a beautiful adventure. Shanthaly opened its doors 2 months later, on January 6th 1998.
REKINDLING THE FLAMETime went by at a lightning speed and we found ourselves ten years later with more challenges to face. All of our dreams had come true. We had our modern, stylish salon with a friendly, family atmosphere. Our clientele was so loyal and growing that we now had four full-time stylists and a part-time assistant. With more dreams to conquer, a void began to appear. The routine of everyday life set in and little by little the sparkle in our eyes began to fade.
On a beautiful spring day, Chantale greeted her next client and as usual and styled her hair while maintaining conversation. Knowing that her daughter was graduating from high school in a few months, Chantale asked her what her daughter was thinking of doing as a career. Without any malice or even realizing who she was talking to, the customer replied, "My daughter wants to be a hairdresser, but I told her she was too smart to do that. She has a high enough academic achievement to go to college. She can't just become a hairdresser!" Chantale did not show her frustration and continued her work. When the salon closed, she was quick to tell me everything. We went through a whole range of emotions: frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness and discouragement. Afterwards, we pulled ourselves together and came to the conclusion that what this client had dared to say out loud was the perception of many other people regarding our profession. Without knowing it, this client had done us a favor, because it was at this precise moment that the flame was rekindled in our eyes and we understood that only we could change things. Our new mission would be to change the negative perception of our profession in our community. We had to raise the bar by being more professional in our customer service, in our clothing, but most of all in our knowledge. Education was the key to success! We promised ourselves that night that education and professionalism would be at the heart of Shanthaly's values and that our profession would be respected by our community. Ten years later, we can say: "Mission accomplished!
For those who are worried, the flame in our eyes is not ready to be put out, because now Chantale and I are on a quest to change the perception of the beauty industry one student at a time.......To be continued.......
Nathalie et Chantale Deslauriers
Co-owner Studio Shanthaly