Salons by JC Superstar – Kaetlyn Gonzalez

It might surprise some to know that barbers can cut, color and even perm hair, but unlike those with a cosmetology license, they can also use a disposable straight razor for shaving services. This may be the reason there are a number of “stealth” female barbers, who put in as many hours learning as most cosmetologists (or more), but saved a little money on their education.

Just one of those lady barbers, Kaetlyn Gonzalez, says she not only went to barber school for 1,500 hours, but that she took dozens of cutting and hair coloring classes after graduation. That means that Kaetlyn not only knows how to work with head shapes and remove weight to create direction the way barbers do, she’s adapted and added to what she learned by mastering softer women’s cuts and applying the barber-inspired zone-cutting approach of cutting to her own natural-looking zonal coloring.

Says Kaetlyn, whose Salons by JC suite in Corpus Christi, TX, is named Crown of Beauty, “I wanted to learn men’s cuts because I really enjoy creating looks like the pompadour and the hard part, but I took a lot of other classes to be able to make women look beautiful, as well. When I went to barber school 17 years ago, half of the class was female.”

About 70-percent of her clients are female, too, which explains why her suite’s name, which is based on a scripture, works for her. As for guys who go to “Crown of Beauty,” Kaetlyn says the name doesn’t bother them a bit, and maybe, they just feel like kings in her ‘50s retro designed shop where they get the cut they want, along with a relaxing shoulder massage.

Like many barbers, Kaetlyn says it was simply time to leave a commission salon after working in one for over 16 years. She wanted flexible part-time hours so she could “be a mom first,” and when she saw that Salons by JC was opening in her area, she ran the numbers and “took a leap of faith.”  It’s her belief, she says, that no one wants to spend an entire career as a commissioned employee.

“When I toured Salons by JC, I knew it was time to move,” says Kaetlyn. “It was beautiful, up-to-date and clean, and with a private suite, I knew wouldn’t have to deal with the hearing the business of the person in a chair next to me, but that I could still enjoy a salon atmosphere.”

In addition to offering cuts and natural-looking (not fantasy!) color for men and women, Kaetlyn specializes in Brazilian Blowouts, which help control frizz while adding manageability and shine.

“For the holidays, I’ll be offering a free cut with a Brazilian Blowout or a chemical service,” she says. “I know that Salons by JC will also be having a great holiday event for clients.”

In addition to special holiday offers, anyone who experiences holiday stress will find a peaceful oasis at Crown of Beauty. “I always enjoy spending time with my clients and love making them feel special,” says Kaetlyn. “That’s why I made my suite a welcoming, peaceful place where clients can relax and get a great new look.”


Specialist Spotlight

Salons by JC Superstar –Courtney Sercey

Courtney Sercey first fell in love with doing makeup as an instructor for a Paul Mitchell beauty school in Dallas, TX. The New Mexico transplant even created her own curriculum, since the school had no makeup classes in the night school at the time. But she eventually tired of the 45-minute commute that got her home to Denton at 1 a.m., so she began renting a chair and managing a salon part-time.

Under her great new mentor, she learned how to run a business, create incredible updos and color hair to perfection. “She was so supportive of my ultimate dream of doing wedding hair and makeup full-time, and she still is,” says Courtney.

It’s inevitable that protégés set flight, and one day Courtney realized that a chair in a salon wasn’t the place to grow a wedding business—for one thing, there was no separate makeup area. So she moved to Salons by JC and named her new suite Courtney Sercey Hair and Makeup. It was the perfect-sized space and closer to her home, plus her best friend already had a suite there.

“At our location, there are many suite owners with different specialties,” says Courtney of Salons by JC in Denton, TX. “I refer perm or roller-set clients to other stylists, and those who don’t like to do brides refer them to me. We all run our own business but we meet up and talk about what is successful and what isn’t, and share the latest education and business tips. There’s a great team atmosphere and a culture of trust.”

Today, Courtney still does a lot of cut-and-color work—it’s any stylist’s bread and butter. But she’s also heavily involved local bridal shows and has done at least one wedding every month (often more). Now, 40-percent of her business is bridal, and she’s closing in on her dream.

“I usually do an entire bridal party up of to eight; it takes me 30 to 45 minutes for each person’s hair and makeup,” notes Courtney.

If that seems fast, remember that trial styles are done in advance and right now, the trend isn’t perfection. “Bridal looks today are more natural, for example, a low, messy bun positioned to the side to frame the face,” says Courtney. “Braids that are incorporated into a side style are also popular.

More natural bridal makeup is a trend, too, she adds. “No one should look like a stranger on her wedding day. Lashes are a must, and a foundation with a matt finish looks best with today’s HD photography. If a woman wants a dewy look, I use a touch of shimmer.”

Courtney is also a national makeup artist for Ultimate Face Cosmetics, a position that offers her many potential career options. For the immediate future, she is developing hair and makeup classes for consumers and eventually plans to offer them to other professionals. To keep up with bridal trends and Courtney’s future class announcements, follow her on Instagram @ courtneyserceyhmu or check out her Courtney Sercey Hair and Makeup page on Facebook.

Specialist Spotlight

Salons by JC Superstar – Debra Dakin

Having the perfect eyebrow shape is one of the easiest ways to look younger, as Debra Daken proves every day. Known as “The Eyebrow Diva” by clients and friends alike, the brow pro, make-up artist and esthetician has beautified thousands of faces at her In the Pink studio within Salons by JC in Valrico, FL. The secret to her brows-with-wow: don’t clean the house before the maid comes.

Explains Debra, “Let your brows grow-out first. This allows me to comb them and observe how they work with your face shape. Then, I start the inner edge of the brow directly above the crease at the side of the nose.”

Debra uses the iris to place the arc and creates the end by angling a brush from the nose to the end of the brow. “The biggest mistakes made with brows is making them too short on the outside and too far in from the eye at the other end,” she notes. “For dramatic brows, keep the length.”

While about half her business involves brows, the other half involves facials and make-up. As someone who holds a make-up diploma from the renowned Westmore Academy of Cosmetic Arts in Los Angeles, she has ample experience in everything from theatre, film and television make-up to beauty and special effects—the latter comes in handy for Halloween. (She even did lash and brow tinting on the movie set of “Seven,” where she met Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow.)

When she moved to Florida 12 years ago, Debra worked in a spa, rebuilding her business from scratch. For someone so experienced (she now has 20 years in the business), building a clientele was easy; working for someone else wasn’t.

“Being told what to do, the hours, the politics—it was like spending three years in prison,” recalls the long-time freelancer. “So I saved every contact number and busted out.”

When Salons by JC opened nearby, she rushed right in to secure a window suite. “I love that there are no children running round and no excessive noise,” she says. “It’s a high-end creative place where I can hone my craft and be around other creatives. If there are problems that need fixing, I tell the concierge, and it’s taken care of.”

The tagline Debra created for In the Pink is “True Beauty Can Never be Disguised,” and she says the best way to bring out beauty is with great skin, which requires deep-cleansing facials, “Many spas don’t take the time to clean the skin properly and perform extractions,” notes Debra. “I book out two hours for my signature brows and the facial; it’s my most popular service.”

Her next most popular facial treatments are microdermabrasion and the newer Dermaplane, which involves removing vellus hair, infusing the skin with nutrients and calming it with a mask that leaves it glowing.

“After any exfoliation, products work better and make-up goes on easier,” says Debra. “Today, everyone wants to wear more make-up to look like the Kardashians. Contouring and using darker colors is the best way to get great driver’s license photo, because the camera washes-out and flattens-out facial features. But when it comes to lashes, I prefer the grow-your-own approach, for which products like RevitaLash work well.”

Part of keeping up with the Kardashian’s make-up routines involves constantly learning and staying up-to date with what’s new. To that end, Debra takes classes as often as she can, and recently became a member of the Esthetic Association of Florida. “If you’re willing to work hard and stay current, then renting a suite lets you reap the all rewards of your own efforts,” she says.

To keep current with what Debra’s up to, visit her website or follow her on Instagram @Debradakin.