A loan of $4,000 helped to buy hair color, products, stations, and a sign so that I can open my hair salon.

Elena's story

I grew up in the Montbello neighborhood of Denver, CO. My parents had my brother and I later in life and because they were older, my father struggled with health issues through much of my childhood. The same year that my brother was born, my father had a heart attack, which stopped him from being able to work. With only my mother working, my family struggled financially.

Our family had to move in with my aunt and uncle, and my mother would often work fourteen hours a day just to make ends meet. I have learning disability, so often struggled in school, especially with reading. At the age of 16, I was involved with a car accident that left me in a coma for a week. At the age of 17, I dropped out of high school and left home to become independent.

Since I was very young, I have always loved hair. I used to go with my father to the barber shop as a young child and was fascinated as I watched the barbers giving haircuts. My father’s health problems continued to deteriorate as he got older, and he eventually passed away in 2002. With his passing, I finally decided to pursue this passion of mine by finishing high school and attending cosmetology school to become a hair stylist. As a single mother with a two-year-old at the time, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I pushed myself and graduated from cosmetology school. For the past nine years, I have been working at various salons as a stylist and I love my work. When I’m doing hair, it doesn’t feel like I’m working. I feel so blessed to have found something that I truly love to do.

While I love working as a stylist, I did not always have positive experiences working for others in their salons. Unfortunately, I often dealt with unethical business practices and untrustworthy employers. After working at one salon for five years, I lost my job and all of my clientele when my employer lost her entire salon due to personal issues. I struggled after this happened, and had to file for unemployment. Numerous people told me that I should open my own salon, and even though I had no intention of doing so when I first became a stylist, I decided it was the best option to provide a living for my daughter and I.

When I first lost my job and decided to open a salon, I did not have the credit or funds necessary to open my own business. While I am still lacking the funds I need, I decided to continue pursuing the idea. I enrolled in the Business Success course at the Women’s Business Center at Mi Casa Resource Center and graduated two years ago with a solid business plan and foundation for opening my own salon. I continue to receive business counseling from Mi Casa as I research and implement my business plan.

Loan details

About iCandy Hair Studio

Industry: Retail
Years in operation: 1 year - 3 years

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Loan details