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Meet Yahasmin Soto Soehren of Milan Salon & Spa in Chandler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yahasmin Soto Soehren.

Yahasmin, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I never thought in a million years that I would be doing hair, let alone owning a hair salon with a Spa. I always wanted to be a medical doctor. I married young and had kids young so my life was put on hold to raise my children and be a wife. I was in a hard marriage which ended in a divorce after many years. I had already gotten my cosmetology license by then but had not been allowed to work and build a clientele. After the divorce, I found myself as a single mother with three kids on welfare working six days a week at a hair salon and doing hair at home on my days and time off to make ends meet. Times were hard. I wanted a better life for my kids and decided I would do whatever it took to get myself out of the hole I was in. With no help from my children’s father, I pushed through and kept my kids in mind. I decided to make a dream board keep my goals straight.

In three years I had made everything on my board happen. I needed to move forward to be an example for my kids so they would know that no matter how hard things get all you have to do is fight for what you want. I bounced around from salon to salon as a renter (independent contractor) after the salon I worked at closed two days before Christmas in 2010 with no notice. I was left to start all over since I was not able to contact all of my clientele. I was very stressed once again trying to make ends meet. I felt discontent with the way other salon owners ran their businesses. I wanted more professionalism. So after two years of renting and going to college at the same time to once again bettering myself. I decided to take the risk and open my own salon. I wanted it to be small as I only wanted to please my own customers, and in the meantime rent out to other hair professionals who found themselves in the same predicament as I did. I woke up my husband up and told him what I was going to do. At which point his response was “O.K. baby, that’s nice go back to sleep”. Three months later I had my own salon built from scratch by myself and my family since I was on a very tight budget or almost no budget.

My model was to make it a place where client satisfaction was the utmost important aspect of the salon and even more important than that would be to keep my employees and independent contractors happy. This way customers will feel happy and want to keep coming back. It’s been five years since then and my five-year lease was up. I decided at the beginning of this year to take a risk and keep moving forward once again. I moved my salon a month ago to a bigger suite. I went from 1,500sf to 3000sf! We are now a full-service salon with space for fourteen stylists instead of six. This once again built from scratch with the help of my family but most of all my wonderful husband and son. We did the math and the last week before the move we all worked a hundred hours each to make it happen. I couldn’t have done it without them or their support. Now on to a new beginning!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not been a smooth road. I was always on a very tight budget at the beginning. With only one part-time renter working at the salon for the first two years. I had to come out of pocket to cover overhead. For the new salon, I had a hard time with the city and getting permits to build it. It took four months to be able to start any sort of construction. My husband, my son and I worked a hundred hours each the week of the move to make sure we were functional the first day of business at the new location. We felt sick and wore out but kept going till we got to a good stopping point. When I gave up my husband pushed me, and when he gave up I pushed. My son went to school full time, worked close to full time and helped us every day till he felt he could step away safely.

Please tell us about Milan Salon & Spa.
Milan Salon & Spa is a full-service salon. We offer anything from facials, massage, pedicures, and manicures, and anything hair related. We are a five-star salon on Google, Yelp, and any other social media. Our salon is clean and spacious and modern. Our clients really like the way all the stylists get along at Milan. We are like a family and it comes through to the customer as we make them part of our family as well. We take really good care of our customers providing our services the best way that we can. We do the best job we can at any given job.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Part of my childhood I was in Fresno California. There the fall is incredible. I loved walking home from my elementary school and watching the leafs fall off the trees with all the oranges, reds and yellows. This particular street would be covered with leafs of all fall colors and if you looked up you could see the sky and the sun coming through the trees as they stood tall and covered the street like a tunnel. I felt that it was God. If there was a God that’s how he showed his beauty. I was always daydreaming as a kid. I still daydream as an adult.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rebecca Nguyen

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