Although Future Hair Training Centre has a huge following and we have successfully trained many many students over the 20+ years, I still get asked about the “story behind The Centre”. Here it is:
I decided to start a small training centre to educate people in what I love doing and teaching (basically living as most Professional Stylists’ do). Like most young Entrepreneurs, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Firstly, finding the start up money was difficult at best as banks just had no idea the difference between a salon and a school of hairdressing????? I managed to get my hands on $20K and decided that would be sufficient. Found a lease, started on renovations, signed up my first batch of 8 students for September, very exciting!! New and beautiful Future Hair Training Centre was in full force. Eight months into the first ten-month class and we were on our way to becoming accredited with high hopes (what could stop me now???)
Working late, no biggie, smells like,…hummm…maybe a bbq?? Nope, full on fire!! The guys at the Cigar Co. next door run in to tell me we are on fire!! Can’t be!! What?? My Aesthetician was completing a service and I was in my office. We run out only to see that yes, indeed we are on fire!!
Days of torment and absolute drama over what to do was to come. According to the reports it was arson (it was clear that it was from the upstairs unit but not hard proof at this early stage). The landlord had a couple months to decide what to do, the insurance would be void should I get another lease before it was settled, basically this was a disaster. I was having an anxiety attack every minute on the hour FOR SURE!!
Meanwhile, many lovely people were offering their support and help as it was all over the news. One of which was the West End Community Centre downtown where I had done volunteer work in the past (See, it does help to help, it does help to be good and do good, I am living proof J ). I took them up on their offer to use their Youth Centre because if the student is out of the classroom for any reason they must be dismissed after two weeks. This was not/is not my rule, it is simply compliance with the rules of British Columbia and being Accredited! Remember that these students were two months from graduating and beginning their careers in this industry!!
Within the two-week period my friends, family, boyfriend at the time and lawyer said to pack it in and try another time…. go back to work as a Stylist. Not meant to be etc. etc. I had many job opportunities come my way but there was no way I was giving up on this dream. It just felt like I should be educating people how to do hair and I was not giving up even though I had no money, no location, and at this point no insurance either!! No problem, found a salon that had closed in a neighborhood that was on the quiet side but would do.
Let’s fast forward 24 (yes, 24) years. Future Hair Training Centre is still in the neighborhood I moved it to after the fire, except that it is now one of if not the busiest corridor in North America thanks to the Canada Line, the 2010 Olympics and Vancouver’s growing spurt that I am proud to have been a part of. It was not easy. Every day I worked and worked hard. The space I moved into had sinks and a lot of ruminants of a previous salon behind which I took great advantage of. Although my original $20K was spent on pretty things, I left this location on the “raw” side and prettied it up along the way. I have no idea why the landlord gave it to me without looking into my status at the time. I had the survivor instinct in me and was literally unstoppable. I convinced everyone around me that everything was just fine until it actually was.
I never gave up. I never could. Since then FHTC has moved a third time, as the building that I found refuge in after 10 years was demolished. We moved from Cambie on Broadway to Broadway at Cambie. It is lovely. Busy, modern and we are smack in the middle of it all. I never saw myself on the Broadway corridor, I also did not see the Olympics coming and giving us the Canada Line to our front door.
Since opening, FHTC has become Fully Registered, Fully Accredited and successful for almost 25 years. This year we added Microblading Classes which is a totally new venture as well. In fact, as I write this out, I am reminded of the importance to change your mindset, change your goals and aspire to always take what is given to you not as negative or a slap in the face but as a positive and a push in the right direction if it’s what you choose…………….it is only YOU who can choose. Do what I did and choose to fight tooth and nail for your dream, for your story, for your legacy and be stronger than your fear!
At this time the Centre employs a handful of instructors and support staff plus myself. I have managed over all these years to build a Beauty Culture Centre which is full of love and support of everyone who is here, whether it is student, client or staff. Every day we see the result in persevering and also we teach so much more than hair, we teach Life Skills, the importance of maintaining your integrity, and fulfilling your dreams knowing that they will change; uproot you and drive you a little mad at times JThat’s the fun part tee hee. We never know what’s coming down the line, the world is changing and so are we as humans, it’s the one thing we can count on CHANGE! It’s not something we can stop doing. I always remember an instructor I worked with telling me once that I was like a teabag. You would never know how strong I am until I am in hot water!! It’s true. This year will be full of change for myself and for Future Hair Training Centre……I hope the changes are met with positivity and acceptance by all but if it’s not, that’s ok. too. Stay tuned!!
Xox, Cynthia Skabar/ Future Hair Training Centre, Vancouver BC.