As a young girl in Nicaragua, I discovered a love for all things beauty — hair, makeup, nails, you name it. While I was fascinated by before-and-after beauty transformations, I realized beauty was more than just changing how people looked, it was about changing how they felt about themselves.

This childhood fascination became a lifelong mission that would take me on a journey from my modest home in Nicaragua to the vibrant community that is San Antonio. In the process, I was able to build a career not just as a hair stylist, but as an entrepreneur dedicated to building and serving my community.

Credit: Brenda Bazán / San Antonio Report

Moving from Nicaragua to the United States wasn’t just challenging, it forced me to reinvent myself from the ground up. The language was new, the culture was different and I was juggling life as a single mom. Despite the many hurdles I faced, I remained committed to my dream. Enrolling in a beauty school downtown, I laid the foundation for my future. I earned my hair stylist license and knew I wanted more than just a job — I wanted a salon of my own.

I poured my heart into creating Linda’s Beauty Salon, a place that would serve as more than just a beauty shop. Thirty years later, that salon remains in the same bustling Southside San Antonio neighborhood. It’s a testament to the bonds I’ve built with my clients and my community. Linda’s offers more than just beauty services, we offer an experience that helps bring out the best in people.

Credit: Brenda Bazán / San Antonio Report

Recently, Leo Gomez, the President & CEO at Brooks, came to me with the idea to open another salon in the Embassy Suites at Brooks. Brooks offered a sense of community just like the one that helped make my original location such a success. This wasn’t just another salon, it was an extension of my family that presented itself as I was healing from the tragic loss of my son. He was always a strong supporter of my dreams, and I knew taking this step would be a wonderful way to honor his memory.

Linda’s De Novo Hair Design opened at Brooks just before the onset of the pandemic, and I quickly learned the importance of resilience and adaptability. With the support of my family and my community, I was able to persevere through the difficulties many entrepreneurs and small business owners faced to keep both my locations open.

Running two salons is no easy task. It’s a whirlwind of long hours, ever-changing challenges and constant learning, but there is a deep sense of reward that keeps me going. My first salon holds decades of memories and has seen my three children grow up within its walls. My second salon at Brooks is a symbol of growth and new beginnings. It already feels like home, but still holds so many possibilities.

In order to keep my business thriving and growing, it’s been crucial to continue learning and paying attention to the changing needs of customers. For example, as the popularity of natural and organic beauty products grew, I noticed a surge in customers seeking these options. To meet their needs, I made sure to expand my product offerings and collaborate with brands that align with those preferences.

The rise of social media and online platforms has played a significant role in shaping beauty trends. People now have access to a vast array of beauty influencers, tutorials, and inspiration, which has led customers to ask for a more diverse range of looks and styles. It is crucial for me to stay up-to-date with these trends.

To keep up with the ever-changing beauty landscape, I prioritize continuous education and staying informed about the latest industry developments. Attending workshops, conferences and trade shows helps me stay ahead of the curve and ensures that I can offer my clients the most current and innovative techniques.

Credit: Brenda Bazán / San Antonio Report

One of the most rewarding aspects of my journey has been creating opportunities for the next generation of beauty professionals. I’m grateful to have helped young talents who share my passion for beauty go from eager beginners to confident stylists. Knowing that I played a part in their growth is as gratifying as any successful business milestone. It’s a beautiful cycle, helping others to reach their potential while confidentially redefining my own.

As I think about what my future holds, there are so many possibilities I want to explore. Maybe it’s a line of signature beauty projects that capture the essence of the transformations I aim for in my salons. Or maybe I follow my passion for jewelry design and start a new business. Whatever it is, I know there is still more to come.

To anyone dreaming of carving their own path and starting their own business, remember that success isn’t just measured in financial gains, it’s about the lives you touch and the difference you make. So if you’re just setting out on your entrepreneurial journey, keep pushing through the obstacles and cherish the relationships you build along the way. It’s not just about making a living, but about making a life that enriches you and the people around you.

Article originally published here: Where I Work: Linda’s Beauty Salon