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Meet Catherine Nguyen of Creer Atelier

Today we’d like to introduce you to Catherine Nguyen.

Hi Catherine, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Having two older brothers, I grew up somewhat of a tomboy. Always tagging along or trying to play sports with them. So me ending up in the beauty industry was not what I expected when I was younger. I kind of just fell into it. But then again, for as long as I can remember, I use to play around with hair and makeup on my sister and two little cousins. And of course, growing up and watching my mother carefully apply her makeup and brush her hair so that no hair was ever out place every morning probably had the biggest impact on me. I remember my first salon experience and just being fascinated by watching stylists transform people. Whether it was cutting, color or up-styling, it was all kind of like artwork for me.

I worked a 9-5 job and then went straight to cosmetology school in the evenings, 5:30-10 pm. Once I dove into it, I was all in and surviving off of red bulls. I’m really here today not only because I’m passionate about what I do but because of all the support I’ve had. My family and friends who would let me practice on them, my husband (boyfriend then) who always believed in me, and working alongside a mentor and great team. They pushed and inspired me to want more and be better at my craft. Lastly, my clients, my canvas’ who trust and allow me to do what I love. So if it weren’t for all of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I wish I could say it’s always been a smooth road, but every business faces some struggles. No matter what business you find yourself in, you know that it has its competitive markets. Trends are constantly changing in the beauty/fashion industry, so you have to make sure you stay up to date with the latest fashions such; haircuts and color techniques. Sometimes what is happening on the runways can impact what will happen on the runways of the streets. So staying relevant can be a big struggle when you find yourself stuck in your own comfort level. A more relevant struggle that hit almost all or most service industries was covid-19. Covid hit everyone by storm, and that was one of my biggest struggles. First, having no control of when and if I could reopen my studio salon. Second, how can I afford to keep my business afloat during a pandemic and lockdown. And third, getting new clients and retaining old clients. All of this while being pregnant with baby #2 and a busy four-year-old.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Creer Atelier?
Opening my own business was always a goal of mine. A great opportunity came about, and Creer Atelier was born. Creer, French for create and Spanish for believe, has a modern feel. I wanted to create a positive and creative space focused on uniting and supporting all things beautiful. A hidden loft-like studio specializing in the latest trends of all things hair and color.

Creer is known for its chic and effortless lived-in balayage color, textured haircuts, and color corrections. A place that not only offers you a service but trying to create a relaxing experience for all of our clients. Starting with a one-on-one personalized consultation catering to your wants and needs, then offering a scalp neck and shoulder massage with your choice of essential oils. A minty refreshing hot towel scalp treatment, which helps stimulate blood flow for healthy hair growth and soothing dry and itchy scalp, are included in all of our hair/shampooing services. All other services that are offered are hair extensions, Brazilian blowouts, hair treatments, bridal up-styling, makeup and every so often a little thairapy.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
So many important lessons came out of the covid-19 crisis. The covid-19 pandemic had a significant effect on the beauty industry. We were forced to temporarily close our business multiple times. Dealing with the ups and downs of last year caused a lot of self-reflection. Entrepreneurship has many highs and lows, so protecting your mental health is key! There were so many emotions going on while trying to maintain professionalism and a clear head through such an unusual and difficult year. It was a stressful year of sales being down, lost and unsteady income. Everything in my business all felt very unstable.

But even with all of that, I think the one and most important lesson anyone can take out covid-19 is prioritizing what is most important to you, along with personal health and family. As much as I strive to run a successful small business, I quickly learned that I needed to make changes. Being healthy, organized, living in the moment, staying connected and communicating with clients, friends, and family. Covid taught me humility! These were all the people who helped and supported me along my journey. Of course, trying to stay one step ahead of the game is important too. But maintaining relationships and staying true to my core values and brand mission of positivity has been the key to moving forward. And while we all need financial stability, being rich and one’s success can all be defined differently. I found that true richness does not always require it. It is all the little things in life that truly matter. All we really want is more time, and there’s only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it with.

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