Team Tuesday: Meet Janelle

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Last year, I introduced our Hair + Makeup Team: Rachel, Sara, Lindsay, and Nicole (we've added one more since then: another post to come!) At the time, it felt really silly to "introduce" myself since I feel like I'm everywhere. In our video you hear and see my passion for the industry, it's my words on our website and all throughout the Styling Guide we send to each #jolbride , etc. etc. You guys already know me, right?

But, then I started thinking: I'm not just the owner of Janelle on Location. I'm the Senior Stylist, too. And, as a Stylist, I figure, I should probably introduce myself. So. Here goes!

Hi! I'm Janelle. I'll be 32 this month- the day before Valentines Day. I've been married for 6 years (by the end of February) and we have two adorable kiddos: a 2 year old girl, and a 3 month old boy (and their oldest sibling is in Heaven.) My little family moved to South Carolina last year, where I run Janelle on Location and am stoked about expanding to Charleston this year. Also. We travel a LOT. It's worth the work that travel is with kiddos to have our windows open with warm, fresh air starting in JANUARY. Not exaggerating. The weather here is GLORIOUS!

After watching my aunt do hair for my cousin's wedding, I did my first updo when I was 13. It was for a friend who had a piano recital. And then in typical 13-year-old-fashion, when you do one "updo" that gets compliments...you're dubbed as the friend who "does hair." Hey, I'm not complaining. That reputation spread fast, and I had so many guinea pig volunteers who were an incredible asset to gaining the unheard of hands on experience I had at such a young age. Some of this I alluded to in my recent post about "The Beginning" of JOL.

At 14, two girls in my Study Hall (who were two years older than me) asked if I'd do their hair for prom. PROM, you guys. I was so nervous. But I love a challenge...so I said yes! They went to prom, got lots of compliments, and their friends freaked out that they got their hair done...by a Freshman. The next year...and I'm not exaggerating...I was booked from like 8am to 6pm for updos in 30 minute appointment slots. I think I gave myself a lunch break- but it was 15-16 heads of hair in one day. AS A FIFTEEN YEAR OLD. I was EXHAUSTED. And loved every second.

My parents were really strict that I not charge anyone un-licensed. So. After losing money buying so much hair spray and so many bobby pins out of my hard-earned babysitting money, I asked for Homecoming that the girls bring their own supplies. Cue: my first lesson in learning the VAST differences good and bad hairsprays make! OH MY WORD!

I was booked for multiple school's dance-dates every Homecoming and Prom throughout High School. I also did my first wedding at 15, and had done ten weddings by the time I was 17. After that, I lost count!

Fast forward through getting my Cosmetology License before graduating High School, working a Disney World internship to learn about Customer Service, moving to Florida, and loving "formal" styling WAY more than ANY other service I offered working in a salon there...I moved to Wales for a mid-term Mission's Trip. Yes, the country. And no, it's not "in" England. And yes, the Welsh are offended by that question. ;) Wonderful experience. Hard year. Life-changing in amazing ways.

I came back to the States and make Janelle on Location official. With literally $18 in my bank account. Eighteen. One-eight. No zeros. I've worked extremely hard and sacrificed a ton over the years for Janelle on Location to be debt free- even since it's inception. Busting my butt doing haircuts and highlights throughout the week, I FINALLY started specializing in weddings, (then added Curly Hair as a specialty a month later). I wanted to focus so hard on what I was best at, and what my passion was.

Oh my goodness, I worked so so hard those years. Before sunrise to after dark. Getting up crazy early to do hours of admin, reach out to local vendors via email, schedule appointments, write out directions from one client's house to the next while I saved for a GPS because I had a dumb phone (and then friends surprised me with an iPad for Christmas!)...doing confirmation calls while in the car between appointments, and I took clients alllll day, to come home and do hours more of admin responding to those who emailed me back during the day. I was a one woman show! Maybe circus?! This went on for years (though, after the first year I had an iPad and a Scheduling Coordinator-- which were SO NEEDED to take the edge off of my many responsibilities so I could business plan better, providing a bit of momentum.)

Met the hubs (at a wedding, no less! He was truly the Best Man ;), got married, moved to PA, and ONLY focused on Hair + Makeup for weddings. Best decision. Why do other things when you can do what you LOVE?!

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And now, as my family actively grows, I personally take a small number of weddings and continue investing in the absolutely incredible Team God has blessed me with. You guys. I am not exaggerating when I say they are the best. They are THE.BEST. There is such affection in our friendships, and camaraderie in sharing our passions serving brides. And we manage to work with such incredible brides! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! We genuinely think they're the best in the world. True relationships that are long lasting are born from this journey of getting to know each of them, and helping them come up with the best Bridal Look for their day.

This adventure has had it's fair share of sleepless nights, and tears. But not even close the amount of excited squeals and enthusiasm it's given me. I simply wouldn't want to be doing anything else!!

Photos by our amazing and talented friendor, Alison Dunn Photography

How My Kids Make Me A Better Wedding Vendor

During my short Maternity Leave with our dear Wesley this Fall, I wondered what adjustments needed to be made to my new mundane and how I could better position myself for my Team and our Brides in the coming year...while not compromising on the extremely high-calling I believe motherhood is. Or the service, availability, guidance and friendship we offer our Brides.

I asked myself this crazy hard question:

In order to keep the standards at Janelle on Location as high as we have them, do I need to cut back significantly on the number of weddings we take so I can, with a clear conscience, invest in my kids in a way I believe is important, irreversible, and valuing these precious short years?

I'm not going to lie, there was a fear in my heart as I genuinely considered that question; seeking to evaluate honestly. I started picturing my life with less Janelle on Location, assessing if it would make me a better mom for my kids.

As I pondered, I realized that this job actually makes me a better mom. And. Being a mom...makes me a better Wedding Vendor and Team Leader. Hear me out.

My days and nights are full of mundane: keeping humans alive with food, sleep, and basic hygiene over and over again. Constantly doing what will just be undone, or need to be re-done again in moments. These days of postpartum cushion, sleep deprivation, yoga pants, over sized t-shirts and my two year old thinking that anytime mama wears makeup we must be going to church...

...these days need an outlet of "Fancy." Of beautiful. Of planning. 

Basically, weddings are the opposite of my life right now. They are thought out, planned, with all hands on deck from tons of professionals, details intricately designed, days, months and sometimes years of Pins saved and Wedding Vision brainstormed. The most spectacular once-in-a-lifetime dress. Emailing and texting close friends regularly about all of the plans. Fancy, delicious food, vacation around the corner, with almost every single moment of the most amazing, detail-oriented day of a couple's life being documented by the best photographer around. Images to be hung on the wall and given as gifts to last a lifetime.

My days are repetitive. Rotating the same 5 of my husband's t-shirts that currently fit while my body re-gains it's un-pregnant shape. With my hands overflowing with laundry, dishes, spit up, crumbs, making scrambled eggs and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...sometimes being too busy to eat them myself. The details of my day are entirely un-fascinating, and feel un-worthy of documentation. I'm out of touch with so many friends I deeply care about.

So getting to mull over clean, un-fingerprinted, bright images of wedding vision from our Brides, hearing their heart-warming love stories (which make me fall in love with my husband all over again!), seeing a Bride's sweet friendships on full display, and journeying with Brides and other vendors in the planning of THE DAY...is a beautiful, needed outlet for me. I look forward to my emails, and pinterest boards, and wedding days...caring for these women who've entrusted so much to us. It is a tremendous joy. And a refresher for my heart, mind, relationships, and pace. I.love.it. And I need it. And because I'm a believer in self-care as it allows us to care for OTHERS more effectively...

...my kids need Janelle on Location, too. 

Team Tuesday: The Beginning

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We all get our start somewhere.

There's always a beginning to every business, every career...each person has their own story.

While mine was born in my Aunt and Uncle's Salon in New Jersey on the day of my cousin's wedding, heading back home to Virginia is where my passion for the beauty industry really began to take root. In 7th grade, I had a very detailed plan of how I was going to get my Cosmetology License, specialize in Customer Service, and one day own my own salon. (Turns out I LOVE owning an on location business WAY MORE.) Believe it or not, my 7th grade plans weren't far from what my dreams materialized to be! More on that in another post. Full of others who influenced me, encouraged me, and LOTS of peers who were willing volunteers to be guinea pigs for Proms and Homecomings!

These two ladies pictured above, invested in me more than words can say. Jean (left) and Judy (right) were two of the Stylists who worked at the Salon I first Assisted at in Charlottesville, Virginia when I was 15. As I was sweeping floors, doing shampoos, making coffee, and cleaning, these ladies would pull me aside mid-updo they were working on, and show me a trick. Or explain how they knew their client was interested in something she wasn't even verbally communicating style-wise. They showed me how to hold hairspray when your hands are full, how to make hair pins be "fully committed", and how to appreciate the value of the work they (and I) did.

Their investment in me is one of the reasons I'm so passionate about investing in other Stylists, and the motivation behind the precise way our Team is structured here at Janelle on Location. Building into others both as professionals, and as people has become a tremendous passion, and I am unbelievably thankful for Jean, and Judy (among so so many others) who took time to encourage me, and teach me more than words can describe.

From a 15 year old Assistant, to the video below, my heart bursts. This is the fruit of so much love from others, many kind words, ridiculously supportive parents, lots and LOTS of mistakes, and almost two decades of unbelievably hard work. I am absolutely stoked about what this next year holds!!

Thanks for being a part of our story.