from Hairstylist to Salon Owner
from Compassionate Leader, to Self-Improvement Guru
Jennifer Clay started her career in hairstyling in 1990, opened her own salon in 1999, became a Chopra Center Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor in 2011 while still becoming more and more successful as a salon owner, continued on with two more certifications in Ayurveda and the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga and is now a Chopra Center Master Educator… and yes, still a happy, balanced and successful owner of J. Clay Salon.
here’s a bit of her story…
I learned to do great hair under the watchful and stern eye of my mentor and first boss in the hair industry, Tony Voorhees, who was Vidal Sassoon trained, and owner of an elite salon in Alpharetta where we catered to housewives, teachers and on to professional football and baseball players living in Country Club of The South. The environment was fast-paced, upscale, elite and often exhausting. It truly was amazing experience, where I built wonderful friendships, but suffered a lot of stress due to the tense, critical environment. I owe a good part of my success to Tony and I am forever grateful for his guidance in becoming a true master of the craft of hair-color and design. There was something deeper that I learned there too; I learned that you can not lead a group of people with harshness. You can not create a healthy working environment, that’s conducive for creativity, if you keep your employees under immense stress. Ultimately, it not only fails, but causes deep wounds to the mind, the physical body and to the spirit of those who desire to do a good job for you.
Life circumstance brought me to the West side of Atlanta, and truly not being comfortable any longer where I was in Alpharetta… I moved my career near Douglasville. I tried a few different salons in the area and with each experience I grew and learned, I listened and created and gave my guests my all. I hadn’t started my career in the Salon Industry to become a salon owner but it organically developed after I was never quite satisfied with the environments that other owners created or in fact didn’t create.
I envisioned a place where hairstylists could truly focus on their guests behind the chair, know they were supported with staff to help make their appointments, assist them with guests if they ever ran behind or needed help, and most of all that the owner would never, ever, forget what it takes to do your best day-in and day-out for hours on end. An owner who would recognize and remember that hairstylists are not just creating fabulous hair, they are also cultivating relationships with their guests that often last decades and lifetimes. They share their energy so freely, they listen with such compassion, and every 30minutes to 2hrs they are shifting to the next guest and doing the same all over again.
But how do you do that??
How do you work in a hectic fast-paced industry and keep calm, focused, centered, motivated and determined simultaneously?
It’s beautiful work, that at times can also be quite draining. Not only are we often known as “hair therapists” but we also have to be artists ready to create our art with your hair and hope our art is loved, appreciated and that the whole experience makes the clients desire to come back again and again. That kind of focus and attention requires a salon owner who can dedicate their time and energy to not just running a business but building people, caring for employees and clients, being compassionate, understanding and always putting the greater good of the staff first so in turn they can put the greater good of the clients first.
I had quite the desire to create that type of atmosphere but it took a few years for me to even feel really confident in doing hair and running a salon. Not only years, but many classes in marketing, salon business and business development. I think it’s exactly what Douglasville needed at the time and I was fortunate to meet and bring on board some of the greatest hairdressers I’ve ever worked with… that are still with me today! It was over 4 years ago though, when I became the sole-owner of J. Clay Salon, that our true success has been achieved and continues to soar. It was then that I was finally able to instill those dreams I described. The dreams and true vision that, to me, make a great salon owner, one that is centered, balanced, focused and puts employees and guests first.
Success, to me, is not just financial abundance, it actually means much more. Success is when you show up as the best version of yourself, when you can help others to become the best version of themselves, love the work you do everyday, have a peace about you and are able to cultivate loving, compassionate and rewarding relationships…. that is success and that is how I live everyday.
Just like many though, I have a personal story behind the scenes of our everyday working life. We all do… the stories of immense joy, of deep sadness, struggle, triumph, love, loss, grief, pain, frustration, obstacles, reward, bliss, good relationships, bad relationships, endings and beginnings and so much more. It’s called life, and we are all living out our own story.
Using the words good and bad are actually pretty difficult for me because being in the present moment means we accept life as it is. If it’s uncomfortable we learn and grow from it, just like we thrive when it feels amazing.
Part of my story often mirrored the stories I heard every day, behind the chair from my dear clients. They share their stories from babies being born, marriages entered and left, jobs created, taken or lost, children getting married, hobbies, classes taken, schools attended, they share laughter, tears, their heart-stories and more. All the while I just really wanted to help in any way I could. The same holds true for my staff and all we share with each other.
We are all living out beautiful stories and I love to help my clients feel as beautiful on the inside as we make them look on the outside. I’m honored by the stories my clients have shared with me, I’m honored to be a part of their lives that they hold so sacred. Indeed those shared times are incredibly sacred and have taught me a lot, as much or more as I have helped others.
It’s through my own personal journey, my experience with my clients and employees that has naturally evolved into my passion…. people building. My personal practices of meditation and yoga has offered me the balance I need to be the best version of myself, to show up everyday in an often chaotic world and be the calm in the storm.
The practice of meditation, which now Doctors and scientists alike are discovering gives the body an amazing capacity to heal itself, repair, relax and renew, has become a daily practice for me and truly keeps me balanced in mind body and spirit.
My continued journey with the Chopra Center and other retreats and events similar to theirs, has been a glorious one of healing, overcoming grief, finding balance, creating more and more success, experiencing greater and greater depths of joy and fulfillment in life and I now have a passion to share these teachings with others to help them find that same balance in life.
I have become more and more balanced in all of my relationships and most of all as a salon owner. One of the most satisfying experiences for me is my staff expressing to me how much they love to come to work everyday, how much they love the environment and support they get. That is a level of success and fulfillment I have been able to achieve through my personal practices.
Guests that have attended my meditation workshops are finding that balance as well, finding the ability to navigate a stressful society and be balanced, able to respond not react and most of all, their personal relationships are more rewarding, loving and fulfilling than ever before.
My role now….Being a mom to two amazing teenagers, I still own, manage and run all aspects of the salon, even though now I have GREAT managers in place to help, I teach wellness classes on Mindfulness, Meditation, releasing harmful emotions, Reiki, Women’s Circles, Self- Improvement, Healing Modalities, Perfect Health Ayurveda, and Yoga.
Having attended many courses, studied 100’s of books, attended dozens of retreats with such wonderful Spiritual development teachers like Davidji, Neal Donald Walsh, Michael Beckwith, Andrew Weil, Jean Houston, Denise Linn, Colette Baron-Reid, Celebrate Your Life, I Can Do it, Hay House, Louise hay, many many more and most of all attended, certified and graduated, met and greatly guided by one of the leaders in Mind/Body Science… Dr. Deepak Chopra. I have a lot to offer in the realm of Self Discovery and look forward to helping you become the best version of yourself… a balanced in mind, body and spirit version.
When I am teachings groups, often one of the greatest benefits is meeting so many other like- minded individuals and knowing we are not the only ones going through or experiencing
whatever it is at the time. To meet others and learn, share, teach and master. To realize… hey, I’m not alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read part of my story and I look forward to seeing you in the salon, continuing to support your stylists in the most balanced ways possible and to continue on sharing even more as I develop more and more courses you can take right here in your area! No need to travel the globe, go to California or pay 1000’s of dollars for retreats when I offer these teachings right here in our salon.
My hope is that these classes are a wonderful compliment to my continued main focus, being the best salon owner I can be, for you, our valued guest.
Classes offered and coming soon…
-Mastering Meditation 3 Day Workshop Discover Your Dosha, Ayurvedic Immersion
-Mindfulness In The Workplace, Goal setting and Stress Management (currently lecturing at West Ga. Tech — in salon soon)
-Teens and Technology, staying centered, balanced and productive in todays workplace With Guest Speaker: Clint Payne
-Reiki, Discover Your own, natural Healing Abilities Reiki Level I Certification February 19th 10-4pm Reiki Level II Certification coming soon
-Reiki Master Certification coming soon
*request a personal energy session here firstname.lastname@example.org
-Sacred Women’s Circle grow, nourish, bond and empower your self through connection with other amazing women, like you!
-Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success Workshop discover the path to personal and financial freedom through the timeless wisdom based on Deepak Chopra’s best selling book
-Chakras and The Subtle Body understanding the Self beyond the physical and mental and aid in relaxation, stress reduction, a personal healing
Learn more about The Chopra Center Teachings… www.chopra.com Spiritual guide, Author, Meditation Guru and friend… https://davidji.com/
Health benefits of meditation… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/meditation-health-benefits_n_3178731.html
More about Clint… http://www.clintpayne.net/