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?!
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