Lauren Cassidy, Chicago Chapter Member
“Over 40 Female of the Month” has been the highest level of recognition for one of our members to achieve, and every time I write about one of our women in this way, it makes me so proud of how far we have all come in the past few years since the inception of our close-knit networking community! Shannon Bednowicz, our Chicago Chapter Director and new Online Community Director has gone so far as having a yearly “Inspiration Awards” ceremony for her chapter and Lauren Cassidy won this honor in December, 2014 so therefore is our new Over 40 Female of the month for 2015.
“The women over 40 demographic should not be ignored…” the marketing geniuses say…“women over 40 are opening more businesses than ever!” the TV reporters brag… “women over 40 are more dependable to invest in…” business blogs state…and it is true – women over 40 are such a special demographic. We have all persevered, we are all transitioning, we are all trying to figure life out on another level and are finding that the way to achieve that goal is to do it TOGETHER.
So here is yet another impressive story of fortitude and triumph from Lauren Cassidy, a member of our Chicago Chapter. Our members’ stories never fail to inspire me to the point of tears and prideful emotion, and this one is no exception:
In Lauren’s words:
“Just be passionate about what you do and things will happen for you. That is my mantra.
However, it was not an easy road getting there. I started out in sales in the beauty industry 25 years ago. I was an outside sales rep for several beauty companies in the salon industry and I was very good at it but what I really wanted to do was be a hair dresser.
So, at 36 years old, I went to Pivot Point Beauty School at night for two years. I was married with two kids plus working full-time. Then, right after I finished beauty school my husband and I divorced and I lost my sales job. That’s when I started working in the beauty salons. I was working nights, weekends 40+ hours/week and had a 16-year old high school student babysit my children. After about a year and a half I could not be away from my children any longer so I quit my job and started my own company called “Visions for the Art of Hair.”
I opened up without a plan, no business cards and no mission statement. I just started cutting and coloring hair in a small room in my home. I only had 20 clients when I began and now my business is in its 11th year and growing more successful than ever! I even made the entire lower level of my home a salon. I call it a “boutique salon” because it is small yet unique. I specialize in cuts, colors, highlights, makeup and brow shaping and I have a multitude of haircare lines and specialty beauty and skincare products. I have made my product choices to be affordable yet still fill spa-like.
I built my business on my talent, drive, education and of course, other wonderful women in networking organizations. I would not be here today without fabulous clients and the women that I network with continually. Over 40 females is a vital part of my success – I have built wonderful relationships, collaborated with many of the women and have gained many new clients from the organization. My philosophy is simple…do what you love, be passionate about it and help others along the way and you WILL be successful!”