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Beauty and brains

Anesta Henry

Beauty and brains

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Melissa Clemonds is a thriving beautician contributing to the development of the local and regional beauty markets.
When she is not making someone look beautiful, she is teaching aspiring individuals how to do it.
She is also the owner of a day care. Her days are hectic, but she has passion and drive, which encourage and motivate her.
The 35-year-old managing director of the College For Preschoolers as well as Mel’s Beauty Salon and School told the MIDWEEK NATION that while she enjoyed both worlds, her first passion was beauty.
From childhood, Clemonds was always passionate about beauty and was always making her dolls look pretty. The inspiration to make a career out of making people smile and look beautiful was born.
“The passion of bringing out the hidden spark that everyone has within is what attracted me. And as well as passing on the knowledge to other aspiring persons who would love to have the information or the practical on how to become a beautician or interested in some area of beauty,” she said.
She held a job as a hair stylist in her mother’s gallery, but was beginning to feel out of place there as she knew there was room for her capabilities to be groomed and expanded, but wanted to do it in her own space.
And at that time, the only way to owning her own salon was to find an avenue to finance her studies in beauty and allow her to open an establishment to provide jobs and training.
In 2002, Mel’s Beauty Salon and School started in the classroom of a primary school.
“I would leave work on afternoons and go to a primary school and teach from a classroom. And I continued to save and write down my vision. Vision was the blueprint to owning the salon.
“At that time I was teaching nails only. The students wanted more and then I had to find somewhere to expand and go way beyond teaching nails only.”
In the quest to answer her students’ call, and also the need for growth in her business, in 2004 the certified beautician secured her current location at Worthing, Christ Church.
But that process of settling into the new building was not an easy one. The first three years were quite challenging.
“In the school overheads were not a whole lot. But when the building came, it came with many more responsibilities.
“Everything had to be on par. You had rent to pay, staff to manage, stocktaking to put in place. [There was also] planning and marketing and having an organizational structure to put in place.
“You were making a profit but all was going into bills and landlord fees. I remember using my salary from insurance to assist with the rent. But you have to stick out that period. Thank God I had another income at that time,” said the Christian, noting that she constantly prays and reads in her Bible.
Currently working with organizations on developing a board for cosmetologists, Clemonds branched into the region, first flying into St Lucia and St Vincent and conducting beauty seminars.
“I went into the region and researched what the market in beauty was like. At the time they were up and coming. But they were not as advanced as we were in Barbados and Trinidad, leading by far in beauty techniques. Barbados and Trinidad had already caught up with the beauty trend from Miami and New York.”
When it comes to the children’s day care, it’s all about the development of young minds. The holder of a certificate in child day care said she was fond of watching children develop from baby stage until they were ready to enter primary school. She opened the preschool in 2007.
“When my daughter was born and I held her in my arms, the idea came and then I went off to [Samuel Jackman Prescod] Polytechnic to pursue studies in the area. I wasn’t even finished with my studies but I was putting systems in place to get involved with the operation of child day care.”
Clemonds believes that giving back to the community is a must. It was therefore no surprise that despite her hectic schedule, sharing her talent with the community was also on the agenda.
“I have developed a programme for young girls aged 11 to 16 called Summer Beauty Camp. I teach them the basic skills of beauty.
“This way I keep the beauty market continuously flowing. I also currently pick a student from a secondary school every year and I train him/her for free in the entire course of cosmetology.”