June's Artist Spotlight is all about Master Cosmetologist, Leigh Raeder! I'm so excited for Leigh to share her story with you. I just adore her! :-)
Who is Leigh Raeder? This has been a very interesting time to reflect on where I have been and what I have accomplished thus far. You see, I always look ahead. I always strive to be better than I was yesterday. But I am finding that looking back at the last two decades of my career is very humbling. So, here I go!
When I think back, I always loved fashion and beauty. I can remember these cute little lipstick samples that my mom would get from her Mary Kay Rep or maybe it was Avon, anyhow, they were usually a horrible orange red color, but it didn’t matter to me what color they were. And there are a few memories of trips to the salon with her, I loved to go and watch. I also would spend hours drawing women wearing beautiful ballroom dresses. I would draw their hair, and design their makeup. Oh, and let’s not bring up Barbie & Lee Press on Nails! But, if you would’ve asked me what I wanted to be… I would have answered, “A veterinarian of course!" No, really!! I always had this deep connection with animals and ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a veterinarian. So what happened?
When I decide that I want something, I will do what I need to do to get it. I will push myself, and will not give up easily (stubborn?). I am a Capricorn, sensitive, shy and very humble, practical and prudent, ambitious and disciplined, patient and careful, humorous (although I have an unusual sense of humor) and reserved, I’m a climber. I always wanted a horse, so I saved all of my babysitting money and at age 12, I bought one. My parents agreed because I assured them that I would also pay for everything needed to care for the horse, including hay and grain, and they knew I would! It may take me awhile, I’m a slow, but steady climber, but I will get it eventually. Ok, back to business. I had decided that a veterinarian was probably not the best choice for me, for so many reasons, but thought nursing would be a great career. As graduation approached, one of my friends decided that she was going to go to cosmetology school. My thinking was, I could get done in less than 2 years and I could have that degree and work while I went to nursing school. I will never forget those who told me that I was wasting myself by going to school for cosmetology. I was told that I was "too smart for something like that" and I was not going to ever make any money and I should rethink my decision- by so many of my peers. But, I didn’t listen!
So, a week after I graduated high school, I started cosmetology school. I decided to do the accelerated course-long days, 6 days a week. I loved it, I thrived, and I felt as though I was doing what I was meant to do, it came to me naturally! I was the first to graduate in my class, as the top retailer and had the highest grade point average. And so my career began.
I started my career before flat irons, YouTube, and even the internet! I have been an employee, helped open a world renowned spa, started & owned my own salon, been given awards. I have been trained by some of the biggest brands, like Aveda, Bumble & Bumble, TIGI, Schwarzkopf, Sebastian, Trucco, Pivot Point, Pevonia Botanica, Phytoceane, Jane Iredale, Paul Mitchell & so many more! I am a colorist, nail technician, aesthetician, you name it, I can do it. I am a trained reflexologist, a certified hair extensionist, a National Trainer for Motives Cosmetics, and a nutraMetrix Nutraceuticals consultant and business developer. I love my industry and I have a passion for making people feel beautiful on the inside and outside, so I was always eager to learn what I could to provide them with the best products and services and I STILL continue to learn. I do not pass up education. Those that know me know that I am extremely shy, but for some reason, I feel comfortable behind the chair working 1 on 1 with clients. I honestly feel as though I have been gifted with the skills I have and love to share them with as many as I can. I thrive on making others feel amazing.
The industry has really shifted over the years, and my success as a salon owner has spurred my passion in helping others and giving back to the Beauty Industry as a whole. Understanding the needs of professionals and impacting the industry has led me to becoming an Educator and business consultant. I have a strong passion for helping other beauty professionals become successful beauty entrepreneurs. Helping them gain modern cutting edge exclusiveness, financial security and setting the next trends for our ever-changing industry. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like, and I have the knowledge, tools and resources to really make a difference. I have met some of the most inspiring people and get to work with the most amazing team of people. I am beyond blessed!
Enough about business now! I have to tell you that my favorite role is being a mother and wife. I always wanted to have a family, and I have the most amazing husband and two boys. My husband is one that steps up to coach and is truly one of those “hands on” dads. He is amazing and we make a great team. Our boys are very strong willed, which I think will be an amazing personality trait as they get older. My oldest is quite the entrepreneur and has been since an early age. He is so much like me, and my youngest is all about sports, just like my husband! I encourage them to continue to dream and follow their passions whatever they may be and I can’t wait to see what they become. One of the things we ALL love to do together, is travel. We have so much fun exploring together! We have many places we want to see and we keep chipping away at the list. It’s all about the adventure. Where will we go next?
This article just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that I LOVE music. I never did master playing an instrument or anything, although I dabbled with a few. I just have this appreciation for musicians and love listening to all genres. I have a deep love for U2 and listen to them daily. I admire Bono and his philanthropy. He truly inspires me on so many levels. Sigh…
Writing this article wasn’t easy for me. I’d rather focus on others, but I agreed to do it in the hopes that just maybe, it will inspire someone, somewhere in some way. The sky is the limit, and YOU are capable of being whatever YOU want to be. Don’t ever get discouraged and give up. Don’t ever let others convince you to NOT follow your dreams! I have so much more I want to accomplish, and so much more growing to do, places to see, people to help, and I will not stop!