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Life and Work with Alexandria Jankowski

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandria Jankowski.

Alexandria, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. It’s a lakeside city between Milwaukee and Chicago.

I was gifted my first set of clippers in middle school and was the group hair stylist for dances. I had my first child in my senior year of high school and decided to go right into beauty school after graduating in 2010. I figured I could make some money on the side doing nails and hair while I was in school.

The plan was to finish in a year and hit the ground running. Well, I was a mom and full-time beauty school is like going back to high school except you get dropped if you miss hours. So, I left and worked a couple random until I found my way into the apprenticeship program through the tech school in the area. It was God sent. I was able to work full time in a salon and go to school one day a week. So, I was getting paid for learning essentially. My first salon was a full-service spa. I left not long after to finish my apprenticeship through cost cutters. I also worked part-time at an old school barbershop. In 2014, I had my second child and left cost cutters. So, before moving to Phoenix, I was working at Captain’s Chair Barbershop (established in 1968) three days a week for almost seven years.

Between starting beauty school and now, I’ve done hair and makeup on models from all over the country, but mostly the Midwest. I’ve backstage hair and makeup at more fashion shows than I can count. I’ve been published in quite a few magazines, I’ve worked on politicians, Hollywood personalities, pageant winners, hand in hand with designers and business owners. I’ve run my own business and have expanded my services and service areas. I’ve been busy.

Now, I’m continuing my journey in a new city. I start at the Colour Style Bar on Mill Ave in Tempe March 1st. It will be the first time in years that I’ll be working with people my own age! I will also continue to grow my bridal business and plan to work on @arizonaelopements (my elopement package services) and @coffeebreakcollection (my photography) as well. I am extremely excited to see what the future brings!

Has it been a smooth road?
Oh man, is there such thing as a smooth road? I’m a believer that nothing worth having is easy to get.

Let’s see. I was a teen mom. At 17, I was out of my mom’s house and bounced around a lot. I had some amazing friends that put a roof over my head quite a few times. My first place in 2011 had a slanted floor, holes in the walls, and a whole mess of problems. I had a blow-up bed, a t.v. tray, and a red cooler. It took a while before I had a fridge or a stove. I did get a microwave at one point before my stove and learned you can cook spaghetti noodles in it using just a cup of water! Life Hack. Gosh, I even had a corded phone and landline because I couldn’t afford a cell service at the time.

I moved a lot since then. I’ve had the electricity turned off multiple times. I’ve had little to no food in the house. I didn’t always have a car and when I did have one, it wasn’t always super reliable. I even had a life scare in 2014 when the doctors found a blood clot in my lung.

All of this while starting a business, traveling all over the Midwest for jobs and building my brand without ever letting on that I was struggling outside if my inner personal circle.

I think that’s why this move isn’t bothering me. Failing doesn’t scare me away. I don’t mind starting from nothing. Once you’ve hit bottom, the only way to go is up. It’s okay to take some time to feel sorry for yourself but then get back to work. Training your mind is just like going to the gym. You have to train yourself to see the good in things and to get past the things that have no silver lining. I’m all about the laws of attraction. If you put love out to the world, the world will send you love in return even if, at the time, it doesn’t feel like it.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with your story – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I specialize in runway and editorial work, as well as cuts, colors and bridal work. I am extremely grateful to have multiple service skills in my tool box. I even became an ordained minister, so now, I can help the bride look her best on her big day and then officiate the wedding!

This past year, I have really been focusing on my color game. I love that they’re are so many amazing new techniques to create gorgeous results.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
My advice for networking is to just get out there. Go meet people. Go to events, Join groups and offer your services. I gave years of free services in order to build my portfolio. Follow your favorite professionals and do what they do. Hang around people who also want to grow in the industry you’re in and refer each other to different jobs.

As for finding a mentor, speak up and keep your word. I can’t tell you how many times someone has offered to assist me in order to learn and then never made it to a single job! Just saying you want to learn isn’t good enough. You have to show up.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Courtney Kollman, Bee Garard, Audrey Simper, Willow Faygenholtz, Shelby Knudsen, Scott Ligman, Jenna Kienbaum, Scott Detweiler, Ottoz Kustomz, Erica MeTa, Harryl Harryl, Fanny Mueller, Scott Detweiler, Silversark, Jane Love

Getting in touch: VoyagePhoenix is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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