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Meet Joanne Fortune

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanne Fortune. 

Hi Joanne, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
I was always fascinated with hair. Growing up, I would often use my younger sister as a practice model, despite how much she hated it. I was even the first in my family to go to the salon and get my hair done. Going through that process of change, being pampered, being amazed at the work they’ve done with my hair—I wanted to be able to do the same thing. 

Right after high school, I attended Bellus Academy for cosmetology and makeup where afterward, I worked at a salon for a few years. With all those years of education and experience under my belt, I realized that I didn’t want to do everything in the salon. It was hair. Hair was everything that I had wanted to do. The even cuts, the styling—that was my passion all along. 

When I found out that my younger sister was interested in makeup, I suggested that she follow her passion. Maybe makeup was what hair was to me. Since her graduation, we partnered up; her focusing on makeup and me on hair. Though there were a couple of setbacks, we couldn’t be happier serving in the beauty industry and fulfilling our dreams together after all these years. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As I mentioned, it hasn’t been completely smooth. My mom was my biggest cheerleader going down this path, but there were others who didn’t agree. 

But using social media to advertise my business was the biggest challenge for me, to be honest. It was so hard to separate my online persona from my real one. Even before my business existed, I had rarely ever posted. Growing up, I was reserved and shy, and to suddenly realize what I had to do to help my business flourish pushed me to socialize in ways I wasn’t used to. It didn’t help that a number of people saw that as a negative trait, but I knew I couldn’t let that get in the way of me trying to be successful, so I worked hard to get out of that slump. 

That part of me is still there, however, but I feel like I’ve come a long way since then. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My prime specialty is hairstyling for any occasion—bridal, prom, photo shoots, and so forth! Providing on-location services for styling or hair cutting is more what I’m known for. 

What sets me apart is having that passion for serving others—to help them feel good about themselves as I did going to the salon at a young age. It was a happy accident when working in my profession, to see them smile as they look into the mirror for the first time after the work was done is the highlight of what I do. 

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Look beyond your customer base! Look to those that you work with! In the beauty and wedding industry that means the photographers, makeup artists, other hairstylists, etc. Often, I used to think that I had to compete with other hairstylists but by going the opposite route, to build rather than compete with those relationships, I wouldn’t have learned all the things I know now. I wouldn’t be where I am now. 

And for that, I could never be more grateful. 

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Joanne Fortune

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