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Suzette Audia: “Take a vacation from work; it’s cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun.”

November 27, 2012 (

Suzette Audia.jpg

When Suzette Audia began her career as a hairstylist, she wanted nothing to do with running her own business. But it didn’t take long for Suzette, who felt that so many owners were getting it all wrong, to believe she could do it better. With that in mind, Suzette struck out on her own and opened her very own salon, The Hair Design Group, in 1992.

But Suzette’s passion for quality hairstyling and client experience didn’t stop at the salon. Acutely aware that many hair care products were all fluff and pretty packaging, she developed her own line that she could stand behind. Now, whether it’s in the salon or through her products in the home, Suzette takes pride in holistically serving her clients’ needs. And while we love Suzette’s strong work ethic and her dedication to her customers, we also love her “work hard and play just as hard” attitude. As Suzette asserts, “Embrace your youth; it goes faster than the speed of light.”

Suzette Audia
Occupation: Owner / The Hair Design Group

What responsibilities come with owning and managing your own hair care line?

The products have to be fabulous and they have to stand out from every other product on the market. I also have to know everything about each ingredient that I put into every product. These ingredients have to be top-notch and perform well. Additionally, my products are different from most because they promote healthy hair growth, not just “good looking hair” for a moment in time. The key ingredient is emu oil, which you won’t find in many shampoos or conditioners, because it’s quite expensive. My shampoo and conditioner — along with the rest of the line — are incredible products that are made to my exacting standards and work extremely well. Standing behind all that goes into my products makes me proud.

Keeping up with the packaging is also time-consuming: each bottle’s individually “blinged” so it adds a distinctive touch and makes it unique compared to other products in the market.

How did you decide that starting your own business was right for you?

Oh my God. I wanted nothing to do with running my own business; it was the furthest thing from my mind in the beginning. However, watching other owners run a business really got to me. I felt I could do it better. I wanted to give my clients the best possible experience; from when they stepped into the salon to when they left my chair.

So in 1992, I ventured out to run my own business. And 20 years later, I have a very successful operation where my clients and their experience is the top priority. Plus, I get to work with my friends all day long. It’s awesome.

What is your favorite part of the job?

When a client comes in unhappy and leaves on top of the world because of our service! I’ve often said that the saying, “Beauty is skin deep” is so mistaken. We’re all judged and measured by what we see on the outside. Like it or not, decisions are based on our appearance; jobs are won and lost and lives are changed. You have to get the outside right so you can feel good about the inside; when you look good, you feel good, right? And when I do that for a client — making the outside equal to the inside — it makes me feel amazing.

What challenges keep you awake at night?

None, really! I believe a hard day’s work is a challenge in itself. If you believe enough in your dream, then it will fall into place when the timing is right.

Is work/life balance ever a problem with you?

No. I work very hard, but my career is very social, so they mix well together. When not in the salon, I play just as hard. I love to stay active and I love to be around my friends.

Was there ever a moment in your career when you thought you’ve made it?

Yes. Two times. The first was in ’89, when the director of education for Matrix Hair Essentials asked me to join their color team. I felt as if I had just won an Academy Award. It changed my life and increased my knowledge of hair color 100%. I owe my expertise to that man and the company — thank you Van!

Second time was when I opened up my hair care line brochure and saw my work in print. Wow! It was an incredible feeling.

What are some of the rules you live by?

Believe in God every step of the way.
Never lose sight of who you are.
When you lay your head down at the end of the day, be absolutely sure God loves and appreciates everything you did.
Take a vacation from work; it’s cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun.
Pay it forward every day.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

My profession is the only profession licensed to touch. It makes most people feel uncomfortable at first. However, if you learn to communicate, touch people, empathize and most importantly pay attention, then you have accomplished 75% of my industry. The technical part is easy.

What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old?

Embrace your youth; it goes faster than a speed of light. Save your money. Also, be kind to your parents. They have a tough job!

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Speaking on a stage in front of hundreds, if not thousands, of women; empowering them to do even more with their lives and teaching them to give back.

© Copyright 2011 Burrowes Media, LLC (go to the original article)

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Ladies We Love: Suzette Audia, Beauty Coach & Esteemed Hair Stylist

By Amanda Ebokosia, November 6, 2012 (

A sought-after motivational speaker, beauty coach, and esteemed hair stylist, Suzette Audia is taking the beauty industry by storm. Over 30 years in the beauty industry, Audia has led a remarkable career as a hair stylist and educator. As a trained colorist, she has dedicated over 14 years as an educator for Matrix. Suzette Audia has since welcomed her luxury hair care line and her empowerment workshops for women, as a coach.

“Don’t count on anyone else to drive your car. You’re the driver and you can go as far as you want in life. As long as you keep focused, stay in the car, make sure your car is well tuned, and do not look back. Keep moving forward and anything in this life is possible.” - Suzette Audia, Hair Stylist and Beauty Coach

Amanda Ebokosia: When did you first fall in love with hair?

Suzette Audia:Back in the days of the hot comb, In the mid-seventies I fell in love with hair. It (hair) was so frizzy because the weather was so humid in New York. I would find ways to get out the frizziness from my hair by using the hot comb. Back then we didn’t even use blow dryers or brushes. No one really cared about their hair back in the seventies-- especially when you were a little girl.

I wanted to use my hands. I was right brain and creative-- and thought I’d be a hairdresser. So, I went to beauty school in 1979.”

Amanda Ebokosia: Was this in New York? What beauty school did you attend?

Suzette Audia: “Yes, Wilfred Academy in New York.”

Amanda Ebokosia: Great. How was that experience like for you and how long were you in training?

Suzette Audia: “Training took about 9 months and back then it was very inexpensive. I believe it was $3,000 dollars, now it’s $17,000 for the school. I went with one of my best girlfriends, which made it easier to get through. You know what, it was really tough. This is tough business when you’re dealing with people’s looks daily.”

Amanda Ebokosia: What made you to moved to Texas from New York?

Suzette Audia: “I left New York (January 25, 1984) because the drug scene was getting so big in my neighborhood. I had held out throughout my teens and didn’t want to do the drug of choice, which was cocaine back then. I said, "I got to get out of here." I drove my car out of 10 feet of snow to get here. I only came to Texas for what I thought would just be a couple of days. Now, I have been here for 25 years.”

Amanda Ebokosia: How did this industry compare with New York?

Suzette Audia: “You would think living in New York and Los Angeles, I lived in both places---Texas would be easier to break in. Texas is the toughest industry because New York and Los Angeles are very “niche market.” You have your Beverly Hills and then your Manhattan-- that is wear the beauty is found. In Dallas, it’s the WHOLE city. They're very much into beauty.”

Amanda Ebokosia: As a health and beauty coach, you’ve led numerous workshops to really empower women, create their own look, and fully embrace themselves. I find that interesting. Most people may not want to give up the “tools of the trade,” yet you have and still do-- why?

Suzette Audia: “You’re absolutely right. But guess what? That’s how you build a clientele. That’s how I built my clientele of 500 women (mostly), but I have a lot of men too. The industry is so big right now that you have to share your secrets. You can’t give someone a tool like the flat iron, which goes up to 400 degrees and say, “knock yourself out.” There is so much misinformation about the flat iron that you really need to be trained on how exactly the product works.”

Amanda Ebokosia: Being an educator for 14 years at Matrix -- while in Texas, you’ve taught many workshops dealing with hair and coloring. Has that helped you when launching your own workshop series?

Suzette Audia: “Absolutely. Yes. They drilled the chemicals and colors into my head, which is why I am such a good colorist. Matrix did not only show you how to mix A and B, but they told you why A and B worked on each hair type. I worked for them while working behind the chair -- seven days a week.”

Amanda Ebokosia: In the 30 years of your professional life within this industry, what were some key challenges you overcame?

Suzette Audia: “The biggest challenge I overcame was leaving the salon that I was working for to start my own business. With the handful of clients I had, it was the scariest thing that I’ve ever done.”

Amanda Ebokosia: What do you love about this industry now?

Suzette Audia: “We often ask ourselves what our purpose in life is. I asked myself, is my purpose to just be a hairdresser? Digging deeper than that, I found that I was touching the lives of at least 15 people a day. Some would just come in (to the salon) feeling bad about themselves -- the hour or two that I’d spend with them, they would walk out with the biggest smile on their face.”

Amanda Ebokosia: What do you want aspiring stylists to know?

Suzette Audia: “It’s so much harder to build a clientele in this industry today. There is so many of us out there and so many salons. If it is your passion, you really have to stick to it. It is no different than becoming a doctor and having to build your clientele in the medical industry. This is the beauty industry and it takes a very long time today to build your clientele and reputation. Between your reputation and your education, that’s the most important thing. You must also keep up with the trend and the tools of the trade-- not just going to school for 1500 hours-- and leaving and never ever taking another class again. That is the biggest mistake you can ever make.”

Amanda Ebokosia: You launched a luxury hair care line in 2009 called, Suzette Audia’s Luxury Hair Care Line. How important is it for you to embrace your entrepreneurial spirit?

Suzette Audia: “Very important. It was when I was turning 50 that I thought, “I have to do something that was going to make me money without me physically working. That was when I started to work on my hair care line. It took over a year to develop and it skyrocketed because of the ingredients that are in the line. Aging hair has taken over and people are calling me to get my products because I use emu oil, which is one of the known ingredients to help grow hair back. ”

Amanda Ebokosia: How was that whole process for you like in selecting ingredients?

Suzette Audia: “Because I didn’t have a business background, it was no different from researching online through the internet. I had fun doing it. I don’t know how I did it. I just ordered and worked with labs from Georgia, Canada, and to California-- I kept playing. All of a sudden -- there it was. It was God’s timing -- there it was, my product."

Amanda Ebokosia: Where do you see yourself in the future?

Suzette Audia: “I want to continue to blend my motivational speaking and teaching with what I do as a stylist-- just on a larger scale.”

Contact Suzette Audia and learn more about her workshops, luxury hair care line and more at:

Amanda A. Ebokosia is a freelance writer, speaker, and founder of The Gem Project, Inc. The Gem Project is a not-for-profit organization that is focused on building worldly leaders, through its enriching educational programs for youth and young adults. Ebokosia’s work has been acknowledged in a number media outlets, including the White House Blog (Young Americans). As a writer, she is most passionate about discussing leadership, feminism, social-issues and education. You may find her on twitter: @ebokosia or her personal site,

© 2012 (go to the original article)

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