Gina Bianca, 2009, Southington, CT
What are you up to? I currently own a successful hair salon in Southington which I established in 2014. Gina Bianca Hair is one of the best hair salons in the state and I employ eight talented professionals who are dedicated to making people's day! We service clients from all walks of life and always enjoy the diversity that our location and brand gives us. Currently, I am in the process of expanding my location from 1600 square feet to 4,000 square feet and we have only been open 18 months. Outside of working in the salon, I am in the process of closing on my first home, which will double as an income property. In my free time, which is scarce, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, spoiling my dog and traveling when I can.
How'd you get here? When Junior year at WHS came along and I had to start thinking about college, I must have applied to 20 random schools for all different things. I wanted to be a plastic surgeon, a marine biologist, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a social worker - I had no idea. I had never performed well in school, so I ended up finishing high school and planned on working until I figured it out. Right before graduation, Mrs. Zimmerman assigned us a project where we had to create a business plan and a business for our final project. For no specific reason, I created a hair salon that doubles as a tattoo shop. I was so excited about it and put more time and passion into that assignment than any homework I had ever had. It got me thinking about hair school. I ended up signing up on a whim at the Paul Mitchell School in North Haven and it changed my life forever.
Flash forward a few years and I was doing hair, stuck in auto pilot and not truly fulfilled. I was partying every night, not giving work much effort and pretty much lost passion for what I loved. If you really want to know the secret of how I became successful so quickly, it was that I gave up drugs and alcohol for a solid 3 years and became solely focused on my goals. I knew I wanted to open a business and the one thing holding me back was myself. I spent all my money at the bar, didn't have motivation and surely wasn't looking professional; so I completely stopped! My sobriety opened my eyes to a new world. It hadn't dawned on me that I was never truly myself all of these years, I was living a lifestyle that was destructive and not pushing me towards my goals. I stopped drinking 9/13/12 and remained sober until January of 2016. After all of my hard work and accomplishments I decided that I was allowed to have a little fun again! The discipline, focus and control I had when I was completely sober and focused is how I got where I am today. Now I have no issue partying and having fun in moderation but I am so grateful for the time I spent focused on my career goals!
What are your goals? My goal is to follow through with our expansion and help my team achieve all of their personal and professional goals. I hope to have a staff of 20 inspiring people and grow GBH into a million dollar salon by 2018. We are projected to hit our goals if we keep going the way we have been. I also would like to build my dream house by 2020 and invest in a few more rental properties!
Advice for WHS Students?
1. Always be true to yourself and never think your dreams and goals are too big. Have goals and dreams that are so big you feel uncomfortable telling small minded people. You will be surprised how much support you receive from strangers over friends and family. The people you think will be there for you sometimes won't and that's okay - some journeys are meant to be traveled alone.
2. You have no control over how people act or what happens to you. The only control you have is how you react to what life throws at you. Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react. Also know that if your dreams and goals aren't happening then chances are the problem is you. If you are strong enough to make sacrifices and adjust your behavior you can literally achieve anything in this world that you want - and if anyone tells you otherwise cut them out of your life because chances are they will never be happy for you anyway.
3. If you're the smartest person in the room you're in the wrong room.
4. Make your Mom proud.
What is the last movie you saw in the theatre? I can't even remember the last time I was at the movies but I'm obsessed with Netflix and am currently watching The Office for the 10th time!!!! Something therapeutic about it for me :)