We had the good fortune of connecting with Mai Khanh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mai, what do you want people to remember about you?
My peace of mind is deeply rooted in the desire to preserve this inclusive beauty haven where everyone comes knowing that they are completely understood and taken care of, where they turn to whether they simply feel like getting a touch-up or are prepared for a radical change. Plaza Hair Salon is a family-friendly environment that allows people to be themselves while exploring creative new ways to enhance their perception of their own appearance. Because beauty is also a state of mind – when it is unveiled and truly recognized on an individual level, then it is also projected for the world to see.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Starting a business on your own requires plenty of resources and sacrifices. The amount of time and effort put into your activities often doesn’t leave room for anything else in your life. Suffice it to say that all difficulties pale in comparison to the satisfaction of seeing it was all worthwhile.
Furthermore, this lengthy process of creating a name and reputation is backed by years of studies, professional training, and licenses in preparation for the numerous beauty techniques, treatments, and procedures out there, such as hair styling, hair color, makeup, skin. In this flourishing industry, one needs to stay up-to-date with the ever-changing trends.
Risk is an essential factor, somewhat inherent to the nature of a business; plain and simple, you cannot enter any type of business without taking some degree of risk. This bitter-sweet element of distraction should not deter you from your primary goal, but it should motivate you instead. It all depends on perspective – a pessimistic outlook can prepare the ground for failure, while a positive attitude can set you up for success.
When I opened my hair salon, I did not have any employees; I was entirely on my own, taking care of customers while fulfilling administrative duties. It was exhausting, and it felt overwhelming at times, but I knew what I was up against from the very beginning, and it didn’t scare me; it actually kept me focused and more driven than ever to make it in the industry and build a trusted brand that would stand the test of time. And it’s been almost two decades since.
Success is about following your heart and focusing on that one thing that gives meaning to your life and turns it from passion to profession. It’s about not giving up when the going gets tough and overcoming risks and adversities with a productive mindset.
I’ve learned over the years that focusing on the clients rather than the competition can get you very far. Of course, staying on top and constantly learning the new ways of this competitive industry is highly beneficial, but only if you channel all your energy into your own work and your results.
I am currently extremely proud of the customized experiences that Plaza Hair Salon offers each client, tending to their needs and tailoring the services according to their features, skin, and personality. The smile on their faces and the genuine reactions they display as they look into the mirror are proof of a job well done and of deep trust, as they always come back to us for more. Delivering quality services to the utmost satisfaction of our customers is part of our success.
When you start a business, all decisions you have to make down the line seem difficult at first. However, they become a habit after a while, and what once seemed a struggle gradually begins to fade. You get to where you are as a result of all your decisions. I would have to say that the most difficult one was taking a leap and quitting my secure job at the time in order to become self-employed and the owner of my salon.
Knowing if you are going to make it on your own is stressful and can feed your insecurities. But after many sleepless nights, I stopped worrying and reassured myself that taking chances was something that was part of my life and trusting my judgment can never steer me wrong.
Back when I opened Plaza Hair Salon, I was so deeply immersed in my work that I had lost the notion of time. I was so focused on my goal of creating an environment where people would get the best results that they possibly could that I did not prioritize anything else in my life.
As soon as I realized that passing on my knowledge and collaborating with other specialists willing to develop their skills could be mutually beneficial, things began to change for the better. So I gradually managed to find a balance between business and personal life, and now I get to do everything I enjoy doing with immense comfort, both professionally and personally.
I’ve consistently aspired to inspire people to be more confident. Highlighting their features in the most unexpected ways gives me great pleasure, especially when I see that the result of my work is absolutely breathtaking and the customer is speechless. But finding a way to make women, children, and men feel better about themselves is my greatest reward, reassuring me that I am on the right path in life.
Passion goes hand in hand with hard work, but also intuition – having a sixth sense when it comes to finding the right hairstyle choice for your clients is truly a blessing. Of course, I always consult with them about their wishes, and they never leave the salon without further advice on how to maintain their glow and spectacular appearance.
They say confidence comes from within – I say it’s never a bad idea to give it a push and allow yourself to indulge in a pampering session every once in a while. You’ll be surprised at how a cosmetologist can boost your self-confidence.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Moving to the United States when I was just a child has instilled in me a sense of responsibility from a very early age. I remember us struggling to seize any opportunity that presented itself so that we could have a better life than the one we had in Vietnam. That’s how I learned to appreciate the effort that my parents put into the well-being of our family and their struggle to provide a brighter future for us. My mother has been my most significant influence and support through the path that I chose since she is the one who inspired me to follow this fantastic line of work. I used to observe her create intricate hairstyles for our neighbors and carefully carry out the hair care process just like a ritual that always fascinated me. So it didn’t come as a surprise that when I was old enough to pursue a career, I realized this didn’t represent just a hobby for me but what would soon become a cherished profession. There wasn’t exactly much thought put into it; everything came naturally since I unlocked my creativity in ways I did not think possible. It made me feel extra motivated and ready to embark on a journey filled with challenges and achievements.
Aside from the reputable beauty schools and complex courses that I attended over the years and constantly pushing my boundaries, the consistent period of working as a hairstylist before opening my salon was immensely helpful. I have really come to understand the customers’ needs and know exactly how to make them look great and feel amazing.
Nevertheless, continuity is difficult to achieve, especially on your own. Understanding that you can never maintain success by yourself is an integral part of managing a business. Having a reliable and highly trained team of professionals by your side increases productivity and converts the place of work into a second home, and for that, I am deeply grateful.