Being a true artist at heart, Jesi Mendez hopped from one career to another before becoming a hairdresser. He cites being a fashion designer and comic illustrator as two of his old career paths. The road that led him to hair was overall an odd one, but it's the reason why his salon is where it is today.
IMAGE Courtesy of Jesi Mendez
"When I was working as a fashion designer in the mid-'70s, our dress shop was located on the second floor of a building. On the ground floor was a salon. I remember being enticed by what they were doing there, and I also noticed how the workers in the salon were getting a lot of tips. So I wondered, 'Why not me?'" Jesi ends the short throwback with a big laugh. "Basically I had a very small reason that got me started with hairdressing. But, when I got into it I realized that it's really what I want [to do]. The craft excites me."
Jesi attended countless seminars and gained experience to learn more about the field, until he eventually established his very own salon. And now, Jesi Mendez Salon has 17 branches nationwide.
In fact, his eponymous salon is the Mendez family business. His wife and kids are fully supportive and running the business has been a true team effort. "My wife handles half of our branches while I manage the other half. Our youngest daughter Nica is in charge of the administrative work," he shares. His eldest daughter Viana works in beauty as well, and has started her own career as a makeup artist.
And despite what the majority thinks, hairdressers who happen to be straight men is common in the industry. To Jesi, being straight and having a family is not an issue. "Unlike before, majority of the good hairdressers nowadays are straight men. 90% of the hairdressers in our salon are actually married men." Because from the salon owner's perspective, working in the field doesn't depend on gender.
"As far as I'm concered, discipline and willpower are the most important things when reaching your goals. There are a lot of good hairdressers out there but the thing is some don't have enough focus. To excel, it's your mindset and attitude that are vital."