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Conversations with the Inspiring Veronica Csiza

Today we’d like to introduce you to Veronica Csiza.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I moved to San Diego in 2001 after graduating from college with a business/finance degree with my best friend and two dogs. Neither of us had a job or a real plan except we wanted to live by the ocean. 18 years later, and now a business owner, things worked out just fine. I worked in finance for over 15 years. After about seven years in the industry, I realized it wasn’t my passion. So, I thought about what would make me happy and what I wanted to share with the world. I decided to go to cosmetology school because I have always wanted to be a hairstylist and have my own salon that welcomed everyone and makes you feel like you are home when you walk in. It took a lot of hard work, but that is exactly what I did. I went to school at Paul Mitchell from 9-5 Monday through Friday and worked in the mornings at my finance job from 5:30 am to 8:30 am. Once I graduated, I immediately rented a booth and started building my clientele. I went back and worked full time in finance and part-time as a stylist while I built up my business.

After several years, I was a full-time stylist and still worked part-time at my finance job. This helped me eventually buy out the salon I had been renting in and rename, remodel, and call it my own. As of last year, I was able to leave my finance job and focus full time on my passion finally of owning a salon, and have been opened as Shear Gratitude Salon for eight years now! I am very proud of my salon and use it to try to support the community I live in. I display rotating local artists’ work at the salon and host an art opening/happy hour every 4-6 months. We welcome the community to come by and meet the artist and hang out with us. I am now truly in love with what I do.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There will always be struggles but it is how you choose to handle them that matters. It was a long year while I was in cosmetology school. I basically worked, went to school and slept a small amount. But I chose the Paul Mitchell school so I could get as much hands-on practical studies as possible to be prepared to hit the ground cutting so to speak. I wanted to be confident and skilled enough to see my own clients instead of assist for another year or two after graduation. I believe the most important thing is to follow your dreams and passion. If you do, you will bring the most amount of happiness to those around you as well as yourself. You always have the right to change your mind or continue growing and learning no matter what your age. I was 29 when I went back to cosmetology school, more than 10 years older than most of the other students. When I get too stagnant, I tend to lose my passion and drive. Learning new skills/trades is never wasted. I use my finance background and experience every day in the salon. I even decided I wanted to teach yoga part-time a couple of years ago so I took a teacher training program. I have taught corporate lunchtime yoga, private event yoga, and baby goat yoga classes. It’s important to take the time to find what makes you happy and go for it, even if it is difficult. The end result will be well worth it!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Shear Gratitude Salon story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a full-time hairstylist and salon owner and part-time yoga teacher. We have an amazing team of very experienced and skilled stylists, estheticians, and makeup artists at Shear Gratitude. We all work together to make sure every client that comes in the door has a wonderful experience and leaves feeling better than when they walked in. I love building relationships and spending my days one on one with my clients. I love doing makeovers and specialize in curly hair, asymmetrical haircuts, all realms of color and smoothing treatments. The most important thing for my salon is our clients feeling welcomed and comfortable as they come into our intimate salon. I want everyone to leave feeling revived, relaxed and amazing about themselves no matter what service they have received. Our clients are part of our family.

Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
One of my biggest inspirations is traveling. I have broadened my knowledge, opened my heart, and learned so much through traveling and meeting new people from other cultures and walks of life. Many times it takes me out of my comfort zone but I end up growing so much from these experiences and take that into my professional life as well. Sometimes travel to me is camping 45 minutes from home, so it doesn’t have to be a long journey. I also keep grounded by being in the outdoors. When I am struggling or need a break, all I have to do is grab my two fur-babies and go for a long walk to sunset cliffs and all is right with the world. You may occasionally see my dogs make an appearance at the salon as well. I think some of my clients just come to see them! They are a great reminder to be accepting of everyone and not take life too seriously.

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