Hazleton Area Business Citizen Feb. 2014 | Page 8

Hazleton Area Business Citizen working, New York State required that I apprentice before I could achieve my license. And I had a wonderful advantage; I worked under Mr. John DeBartinas, for my apprenticeship. At the time he did hair styling for the national styling magazines. He was a very, very tough educator and teacher, but he was wonderful. Because of him, I became the professional I am today. So I wasn’t just a beauty school graduate. HABC: You mentioned your apprenticeship. This seems to be a level of education, or a type of education that may have lost some of its importance compared to years past. How do you feel about apprenticeships as a form of education? Donna Delehanty: Apprenticeships should be mandatory! People need to shadow somebody for many reasons. Talented novices think they know what they are doing but there is a lot of knowledge only experience can teach. People do have talent but that talent needs polish. Both verbally and physically I learned how to communicate with clients, especially difficult clients or clients that are…there’s always clients who are not easily pleased. And I learned how to present myself. I learned punctuality. It’s very important to be punctual—and when being an apprentice, one can’t help but learn that this is very important, and you fall back on that knowledge over the years. In the state of New York, I apprenticed in established salons and I learned very important basics—like ordering supplies correctly to maintain overhead and not needlessly tie up money, and how to properly answer the telephone—all basic but all very important! 6 HABC: You began your career in New York. Is that where you grew up and if so when did you move to Hazleton? Donna Delehanty: I grew up in upstate New York in Syracuse. I moved to Hazleton 36 years ago. HABC: What was the best piece of business advice you ever received and from whom? Donna Delehanty: Many years ago when I was at the Academy of Beauty, the Mistress of the school who had taught for a very long time and who was in charge of formal education told me two things: “Your haircut is only as good as what’s left on the head, not what’s on the floor and the client is the most important person in your life when you are behind the chair.” HABC: What is the biggest challenge facing you today as a business owner? Donna Delehanty: The biggest challenge now is my inventory. The costs have quadrupled and as in many service industries I can’t just raise the prices that I charge my clients. All the incidentals such as insurances, permits, etc. are all very challenging. I think the small business person today has a very full plate. HABC: You’re saying that your margins have been impacted? Donna Delehanty: Greatly. HABC: What is in store for your business in the future? Donna Delehanty: We’ll continue to grow. My employees and I learn something every day. We learn from our clients. We discuss and we’ll continue to discuss. We get involved in…we’re doing a fashion show. We’ve done photo shoots. We continue. We never stop. My clientele changes. People move away, people pass away, so you have to constantly rekindle your clients, rebuild, HABC February 1, 2014