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!
HABC: You began your career in
New York. Is that where you grew
up and if so when did you move
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,
February 1, 2014