No bones about it, Lorain County JVS Adult Cosmetology Program has the right makeup
Ashley Morris, Cosmetology - Adult Career Center, Class of: 2008
Ashley Morris loves her cosmetologist job at Belleza Salon & Spa in Lorain, but she is even more excited about becoming Belleza's new manager.
"That's the beauty of the cosmetology industry, you can be as successful as you want to be, go as far as you want," said Morris, 28, who graduated from the Lorain County JVS Adult Career Center's Cosmetology program in 2008.
It was not the career that Morris anticipated in 2006 as a senior at Clearview High School, when she participated in the Teacher Education Exploration Program at the JVS.
"I'm glad I did it, because I learned that becoming a teacher wasn't my cup of tea," Morris said. "But I also discovered their Cosmetology program, too - a much better option for me."
Morris did her due diligence, exploring other cosmetology schools - including Northern Institute of Cosmetology in Lorain - before choosing the JVS Adult Career Center's program.
"I did my homework. The costs were similar, but it came down to quality," Morris said. "It was evident to me that what the JVS had to offer was much better. They are constantly improving, evolving and updating their equipment at their salon, EDGEucated Cuts. Their layout, even the smell, was very fresh and inviting."
Morris said that she was attracted to Belleza during the program because it was a step up from the everyday cut and dry chain salons.
"Belleza was always on my radar," Morris said. "It was a new and upcoming salon, but I think that I was a little intimidated. I thought that maybe it was too prestigious a place for me to begin my career."
So Morris honed her skills at Lintegrity Salon & Spa in Strongsville for four years - as an apprentice- then was promoted to cosmetologist.
"I needed time and a place to build my credentials," she said. "I already had the skills, but as far as developing confidence in those skills-I needed to take the time to do that."
And new cosmetologists (unless they open their own salons) must adapt to the styles and techniques of their employers, Morris said.
"They want you to learn how they do things, which they believe is the right way, and under close supervision," said Morris. "It's very strict, initially. But there are also things that somebody else can't teach you, like being creative in the way you highlight and style someone's hair."
At Lintegrity, Morris was doing hairstyling and nail treatments, but wanted to improve upon the skills she learned in the Adult Cosmetology program.
"I loved doing facials in cosmetology school," she said. "We studied human anatomy, including the face, hands and feet. It's all about applying the proper pressure and movement, going with the contour of the face. It's essential if you're going to be working in an upscale spa."
Morris was hired at Belleza as a cosmetologist in April 2012 after taking a written test, demonstrating a haircut and shadowing a cosmetologist for a day.
"It's the best way to decide if you're a good fit for them and vice-versa," Morris said.
Morris also got her chance to perform facials, learning from her JVS instructor and co-worker at Belleza, Marge Daidone.
Belleza is a network Aveda Salon which excels in styling, skin care, makeup and essential oils.
Aveda representatives are in constant contact with Belleza providing training, reviewing procedures and introducing seasonal collections.
"They offer an established line of products," Morris said. "They are trendsetters in the industry and that helps us stay ahead of the curve."
Among the hot trends is balayage - a French word meaning to sweep or to paint.
"It's a freehand technique," Morris said. "No foil is used to create the highlights. It's customized to each guest."
As manager, Morris oversees the stylists and cosmetologists, a nail technician, a massage therapist and four receptionists. She is also responsible for inventory, ordering, setting and enforcing guidelines, payroll and interviewing.
"I'll keep my management duties separate from my floor hours because every person who walks through our door deserves my full attention," she said.
Morris said that extra effort sets Belleza ahead of the competition.
Said Morris: "Our atmosphere is very welcoming, very relaxing. The entire facility is of the highest quality. We do hand and arm massages at the shampoo bowl while a guest's hair is wrapped in a hot towel. We don't rush our customers. We make them feel like family. We don't call them clients. They are our guests."
Morris admitted that she could have saved time and money by enrolling in cosmetology classes her junior and senior years at Clearview.
"But I have no regrets," she said.
And Morris made certain that her younger brothers, Jeremy and Jacob Bates, were aware of JVS programs, too.
Jeremy graduated from the JVS Masonry Program in 2010 and Jacob graduated from the Culinary Arts Academy in 2012.