Roberta Hector is the voice of experience. An Aruban-native and owner of R & E Cosmetology School in Baytown, Texas, the 10-year beauty industry veteran has dabbled in a little bit of everything, from opening her own salon right after beauty school to becoming a student again while earning her instructors’ license to now owning and operating a cosmetology school with an open-to-the-public full-service salon.
On a recent Saturday morning when I arrived at the salon for a manicure, I heard her voice fluently sliding between English and Spanish as she chatted with her students. She revealed to me later that her bilingualism played a key role in her becoming a cosmetology instructor. “When I was in beauty school, I had some instructors who couldn’t speak Spanish. They’d come to me and say, ‘Please tell Anna to do this,’ or ‘Ask Victor to do that,’ and then they said, ‘You know, you should be an instructor,’” Hector remembers. “That comment stuck in my head.”
Her fluency in Spanish has helped her capture potential beauty students who possibly couldn’t enroll in other schools due to the language barrier and helped her create strong client relationships with a wider range of customers. I thought about how great it would be if more instructors and salon owners, especially in states (like Texas and NAILS’ home of California) where there are a lot of Spanish-speakers, would pick up a working knowledge of the language. It would be a great way to cultivate more diverse salon staffs and client bases.
I’m curious: do any of you speak more than one language (Spanish, Vietnamese, etc.)? How has it helped you in the salon? Let me know by leaving a comment in Feedback.
(To read more about R & E Cosmetology School, check out the December issue of NAILS Magazine.)