What do Madonna, Steve Jobs, and Vicki Peters all have in common? They continue to be at the top of their field and the top of their game by constantly reinventing themselves. What could you have in common with these movers and shakers? More than you might think!
Diana Bonn: Nail Tech-Turned-State Board Member
When Diana Bonn got mad about the MMA issue she began a transformation that would lead her all the way to the Senate floor. “I realized through reading industry magazines I have something to offer others.” Diana did her homework and actually had the issue of MMA put in a House bill. This experience began another transformation for Diana when she decided being on the State Board of Cosmetology in Indiana was her next goal. Once again she did her homework, spending many hours and many of her own dollars doing the research necessary to win the trust of the board and garner her appointment. “I love being on the board,” she says. “It’s the most exciting and frustrating thing that I have ever done.” Diana isn’t quite sure what’s next, but if I had to guess, she’ll do her homework and achieve whatever she sets out to accomplish.
Did you have a long-term career plan when you began in the beauty industry?
DB: My career was in management. I had a college degree and I spent 23 years in restaurant management.
What was your first job in the beauty industry and what was your educational background up until then?
DB: I had the opportunity to purchase an existing nail and facial salon in my hometown. I had never had a manicure, never a facial, nothing. After the paperwork was signed, I started nail school so I could get a license.
How long did you work at that job in the same capacity?
DB: I had a great 10 years, with about eight techs that stayed with me for years. I had a low turnover rate of employees, which is a sign of a busy salon and a happy salon.
What was your next move?
DB: I remember as I read the industry magazines, I kept thinking I have something to offer to others in the industry. Then MMA was coming up everywhere and I started investigating the chemical. I asked questions like, “How do you get a law passed?” And, “How many other states have a law against MMA?” So I started calling all states to find out. I went to my House representative and state senator and had the issue of MMA put on a House bill. I gave testimony to the Senate hearings.
What made your transition into your next career move and what education did you take to get there?
DB: Nails Magazine found out about my fight and I was named one of the top 50 nail industry leaders. I was also asked to contribute to different magazines, judge nail competitions for Vicki Peters and educate with the Electric File Association. I became a continuing educator for my state through a major supplier, contributed to beautytech.com articles, participated in contests for Debbie Doerrlamm, and did events at the Orlando Premier Show.
What inspired the next transition and what was it?
DB: I had one more goal, to be on the Indiana State Board of Cosmetologists.
Again did you have to take any additional education for the career move?
DB: I spent hundreds of dollars and hours upon hours of gathering information for the board to get this trust.
Did you work with mentors or coaches?
DB: I have had many people help me through the years. But my two greatest mentors were and still are Debbie Doerrlmann and Vicki Peters, two icons in our industry who will step forward and help anyone at anytime. These two women have had more influence on this industry than any others.
What is your advice for newcomers in the industry?
DB: Start in a salon where they will train you. Learn your techniques, but don’t forget about the business of running a business. Learn the marketing, the advertising, employee/independent contractor relationships. Read management books. Work for a bad owner, learn from them of what not to do. Suck in the information. Join beautytech.com. Read articles. Go to Vicki Peters seminars. Go to trade shows. Get along with people. Be on time. Dress for success. Give away free things — think of it as advertisement versus a discount. Be different than others — send thank you notes. Sanitation sanitation sanitation. Never bad mouth another salon or tech. Know when to move on.