Today we’d like to introduce you to Anna Marie Disylvester.
Anna Marie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My fascination with the beauty industry probably started when I was five. Every night my mom would put my hair in rollars or pin curls and paint my nails for the following school day while our family would be watching a movie. I would show up to kindergarten with these super fashionable hairstyles and be all glammed up.
I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My dad owned an automobile wrecking yard and my mom owned a hair salon that she opened at eighteen.
Our high school offered beauty school during our junior and senior year. I decided to go so I could work at my mom’s salon during college. I saw how hard my mom worked and how many hours and I thought, wow I never want to do that for a career. However, through my four years of college, I worked full time and started building a clientele. I started studying academics at college of Dupage and upon graduating I was offered the presidential scholarship at Elmhurst college and a similar one at North Central.
After graduation, I started researching corporate jobs to shift my career towards my international business degree. During this time period my mom had an accident and was forced to sell her salon. We rented chairs at a salon near her old one.
Everything changed one day when our color and product distributor came in and asked if I would be interested in being a color educator. She knew my work and my personality and felt I should give it a try. It was a game changer, I was hired with Matrix, a global hair color company. It was a great opportunity. They flew us nationally and internationally to train with the best hairstylists of the industry. I worked local hair shows as an artistic designer doing stage work styling people’s hair and educating them on the newest trends and techniques. I also educated stylists in salon across the state. It was a fantastic experience. I am so grateful for this.
I came to a fork in the road. I was around 23-24 and I had to decide on a career choice. I had a great clientele at this point and my brothers soon to be wife, as well as my niece, were both getting into the industry. My sister too worked as our receptionist. I was offered a position in an international company doing what I studied in college and a permanent job with Matrix in New York City working with all the top designers to educate.
Randomly, I believe my career decision came to me as I was entering these different salons to teach. I felt I had something unique to offer the industry. I had a passion for my clients. I loved making them feel beautiful. There is no experience like it. I also wanted a place where my family could work and be happy and comfortable every day.
So I made my decision and never looked back. A client introduced me to an interior designer that designed on HGTV. He helped me create the first Exposed in 2005. Twelve years later, we decided to expand the salon tripling our size. The new location will have tons of surprises. Every day that goes by I never feel like I am “working.” I started the salon with my family and grew it tremendously with staff and all of my lovely clients. I am so grateful.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
In the beginning I had a lot of negative thoughts brought on by people close to me. They all said not to do it and I would fail. One was a boyfriend. Honestly this helped drive me forward. Oh, and I dumped him! Lol
Another thing was I hurt my back pretty bad from running. I was in unbelievable pain for two years while working and standing on my feet every day. I had gone to several doctors and physical therapists who were unable to help me. A very dear client put me in touch with a great physical therapist. I have been pain free ever since for around four years.
We also had a person drive through the side of our wall. This was just last year. No one was hurt thankfully! And it took our landlord months to fix it. This is a main reason for relocating.
Exposed Salon – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
One of the main things that set us apart is all the love for our clients. We put great care into every one of their haircuts and color. We treat them like family. We provide all hair services like hair cutting, hair coloring, perming hair straightening and waxing. The whole staff believes greatly in education. As I learned early on training is what sets you apart. Knowing all the latest trends and techniques is key. Another major component is we treat each other like family and help each other out. In any job, industry you need back up and people to look out for you.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Making my parents proud is the proudest moment of my career. Seeing them happy is one of my favorite things.
- Address: Exposed salon
108 s Main Street
Lombard, IL 60148
Moving to late summer….
310 s Main Street 106
Lombard, IL 60148
- Website: Exposed Salon
- Phone: 630 916 4555
- Email: exposedsalon.com