We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristina, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I come from a very hard working family so “working hard” has alway been front and center in my business and in my life. The hustle culture used to be so glamorized on social and it was almost toxic because #Teamnodaysoff was a thing. While I still believe that hard work is essential to success, I also believe that taking time off to enjoy life, your kids and all your hard work is just as important.
To be honest, this is something I’m constantly working on. It is a struggle to balance things because as a business owner, you’re never truly off. The pandemic has brought a level of uncertainty to business owners that we had never experienced before.
As a mom of 3, salon owner and beauty educator, balance doesn’t really exist over here. We focus on what needs to be done per day, week, month and what needs to be done today. I have an incredible team that helps to keep things going when I’m not around. I do make it a priority doing something for myself or something that brings me joy everyday. And that feels pretty balanced to me!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Being a CEO and business owner has been the biggest and most expensive lesson in my life! I started out just doing makeup with no goals, no respect for the industry, no directions and no dreams.
12 years ago the industry was so different that I wonder how I’m still here. My passion and desire to do makeup was greater than my understanding of what it took to own a business. I knew how to work hard and I knew that I didn’t have a plan b.
At 23 years old, I was a single mom, newly divorced, I had dropped out of college twice and barely graduated high school. I didn’t know much but I knew failure was not an option. I used every tool I found to put myself out there. I was unapologetic about it. In a world where social media was not yet for business , I talked about my business and shared as much as I could to let my followers know that I did makeup, I talked about my doing makeup everywhere I went. I was as successful in my own way. That was the start of my bridal business!
6 years in, I was busy, broke bitter and burnt out of the hustle, working hard but not growing. I decided to do hair out of necessity, because I wasn’t making enough as a starving artist.
When I decided to pivot and to do hair, I went to beauty school and my business changed. My mindset changed. The biggest impact I have seen in my business was utilizing social media, not to grow my following but to improve the quality of my photos. This is how I grew my salon clientele.
I’m now the CEO of my company, I run and teach at my very own academy, run a bridal business with a team of artists and own 2 salons. But the thing I’m most proud of, is teaching starving artists how to become confident 6 figure artists. I have an online course and many tools to help beauty entrepreneurs with all the things I struggled with in the early days.
To say that it was easy would be an understatement, every season in my business has brought challenges. The challenges and struggles I have today as a beauty entrepreneur, I could only dream of 10 years ago. And that feels pretty good!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would highly recommend the Huntington library. I went there as a senior in high school and only went because it was extra credit.
The place has made a lasting impression. I like to take everyone there! It’s such a beautiful place, so relaxing and full of breathtaking gardens. The rose garden, Lilly pond and the Japanese garden are my favorites!
It is a must see if you’re visiting or if you live here and never been. The kids would love it too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to nominate my brothers, Omar and Sal Gómez, owners of Gentlemen’s Hair Lounge in Riverside.
Along with being a family of entrepreneurs, my brothers have taught me that it is healthy to set boundaries and to not apologize for saying no. Having a schedule but showing up to give your 100% to your clients in the shop and 100% to their families when they are home.
They have taught me to grow at your own pace and not be pressured to grow if you’re not ready. Also, they constantly remind me to have a healthy relationship with money and be financially savvy. They’re support really helped me through the pandemic and salon closures.
I’m so grateful to have them in my life and seek advice from such amazing barbers. I’m beyond proud of them for their hard work and dedication even when times are tough.