“..This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world, but it would be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl..” -James Brown
International Women’s Day has inspired us to continue highlighting some amazing women on The Y Life this week, who have taken the power to attain success into their own hands and created a new future for themselves, which empowers them to be the best version of themselves, they can be.
We sat down with Elena Linares the CEO and Founder of RazzleDazzle Barbershops, who sure is a sparkling and razzeling dazzle herself. With her infectious smile, Elena is reinventing the modern day barbershop, by reminiscing on what already was and making it ten times better! Voted best barbershops in Miami, men flock to this 1940s New York Bureau inspired barbershop joint, to find that old time charm that inscribed ‘Boardwalk Empire’ styled saloons and keeps thriving on the ideal that men have the same right to feel pampered, as do women with their ‘Man-Pers’ reminding men that some things never change.
Elena is an enterprising badass, if you will… her can do sense of survival by success, is the precise energy that omits her aura at every contagious giggle that escapes her vivacious personality and we just loved hanging out with her and hearing how she wanted to help inspire Millennials.
“I am very tunnel vision when it comes to business and I treat people really well, and I love to embrace my community and get them involved with helping me in any venture that I do.”
So we just had to know, what inspired Elena to create this Dazzling experience?
“I knew that in the beauty industry there was nothing for men that involved pampering, so I put the basic Barbershop concept, and incorporated pampering into it, and RazzleDazzle was born. But the pampering came from how my mother raised me, and how I saw her pampering my Dad and that is really the inspiration behind the kind of pampering that we do at the Babershop. It became very successful from the very beginning and I am very excited to be the ONLY female entrepreneur within a mens dominant industry.”
Featured and highlighted in The American Barber, Elena was humbled and honored to have been selected to be on this series, which recently led her to being featured on The ‘Rachel Ray’ show.
So how do you describe RazzleDazzle?
“RazzleDazzle is an oasis for men to escape and anyone that loves pampering would love to be there.”
Were you inspired by almost a 1940s New York, when you were creating this Razzling experience?
“Coming from New York and actually loving vintage ambiance. The Barberhops are an extension of what my home looks like, it’s cozy, it’s warm, it’s alive, it makes people feel like they are back in time in a different era. A theme like out of the Godfather movies, it all goes back to my upbringing,being raised in New York… That sexy cozy ambiance that I wanted to bring RazzleDazzle, when women embraced what I was doing, that is when I knew I had a hit on my hands.”
But when I asked Elena about her success, she asked me to hold on a second, and she took me back, telling me a little bit about herself, and although I wasn’t expecting what she was about to share with me, it was living proof of the evidence that made her into the inspiring person she had become.
“Let me give you a little bit of background… I will go back to the very beginning.
I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York, by two amazing parents and the two parents used to be very very strict, because back in the day the gangs in the Bronx and the drugs had a very strong presence there, so my parents sheltered me to no end.
Therefore, I felt that marrying the first guy that came along would give me Freedom. So I made a poor choice of marrying the first guy that came along, but he was a person that had a lot of issues and he was emotionally and physically abusive. I ended up getting pregnant and I had to escape that relationship, by leaving New York and coming to a shelter for battered women in Miami.
That shelter was, The Safe Space Foundation. My first job, while I was still at the shelter was Supercuts… So I kind of grew-up in franchising and I became very successful rapidly, because I was so grateful to have a job, I appreciated the opportunity, so I was like a sponge and I learned as much as possible. While working for Supercuts… I set a goal for myself to become a franchisee… and I did that, because I am very visual and when I set my mind out to do something, I do it.
I became an award winning franchisee, of twelve Supercuts franchises.”
The pain that Elena went through transformed her into the woman she is today and she wants to ensure that all women, young and old alike, understand that the situation you may find yourself in doesn’t define you.
“I am an advocate against domestic violence, because of what I went through and I ask them to really dig deep and find the strength within to walk away from any violence that they may be facing at this point in time… because life is so beautiful to throw it away, with someone who doesn’t appreciate who they are. One of my passions is being able to be a voice for those women, that don’t get it, don’t value themselves and give themselves the value that they deserve.”
This entire week we are celebrating women after marking International Women’s Day yesterday, but we should be honoring women everyday.
I was eager to know Elena’s advice for Millennials… What would you tell Millennials who are looking to pursue their own small business venture… What do you want to tell young people who also want to create their own brand?
“The first thing that comes to mind, is letting someone that wants to go into business know, that nothing comes easy. BUT, determination, vision, a commitment to excellence in anything that they do… To summarize that, is you really become successful when you are committed to doing the right thing and the success comes from those that really try hard and are disciplined to reach for excellence in what they do.”
That is so true.
“A lot of people just think that it is going to land on their laps, that’s not it, a lot of people tell me you are the hardest working person I know, but nothing comes easy. I love what I do and I have a high everyday and I thank God everyday for the opportunity of being here and being able to be productive. This is the land of opportunity, anyone that wants to reach certain goals can reach them. BUT, it is all on them, there are no excuses, and I don’t believe in luck. I believe in taking advantage of opportunities and not letting them slip by with EXCUSES!”
And THAT is precisely the message we like to share with our readers, when we talk to entrepreneurs like Elena, because we love to share the advice we gather from these experts, with each and every one of you.
I wondered, if Elena sees something in her future that she is really trying to take hold of, and something that we too can look forward too?
“Oh My Gosh, that is a good question… just that I am thrilled to be able to offer opportunity to those that otherwise wouldn’t be able to do it on their own. With franchising, people have an opportunity to have the support system behind them, to ensure they succeed, do you understand?”
Right I responded… ‘Because that is what gave you your first opportunity, correct?’
“Amen. You Got It”
Soooo… Where do you see RazzleDazzle in the next three years?
“It will be one of the most successful franchises in the beauty industry…
This is just the beginning of something that is happening within the beauty industry, mainly the Barbering industry, because it’s the hottest industry right now, especially in franchising. So I am now franchising my brand, after having five RazzleDazzle Barbershops; I started in 2008 and at that time, there was such horrible economy, people were calling me crazy for opening up a barbershop at that point in time, but I knew it was going to work and I proved everyone wrong.”
There is something that I learned, while doing a little bit of research on Elena, that I just had to ask her about… A new glossary term for me… ‘Man-Pered’ like Man and Pampered put together. I am dying to know if this is a catch phrase, Elena is honing in on to promote RazzleDazzle?
“Absolutely. I always like to say, who better to tell men what looks good on them, than a woman… It is not easy for a male barber to call this kind of attention to guys, and guys love it, and they just listen and let us do our thing. 80% of our staff at RazzleDazzle are female and we do hand massages while they do their haircut, we offer them SUGAR, which is whiskey or vodka complimentary, which is one shot and we give them a knock massage after their haircut and we do their hands and their feet… we groom their chest when their hair is getting too, I call it a garden underneath the shirt, so we encourage them to trip it down, we also do the waxing…”
Now that you mention 80% of your staff at RazzleDazzle are women, we have to go there… These are not just women, these are women dressed in throwback, saloon styled, if you didn’t know any better you would even say lingerie… Explain to us, Y these women are dressed in bustier’s? Is this the feeling you are trying to emit from RazzleDazzle?
“It’s a combination of Moulin Rouge and Burlesque, it’s a theme barbershop, like no other, where women are dressed sexy but professional and who doesn’t like to see beautiful women… there is no where else where a guy can go in and get this kind of service.”
Somehow making women and men feel beautiful in their own skin, seems to be a theme strewn throughout every endeavor Elena puts her spell on and RazzleDazzle is none the less a perfect example of just that!
If you want to check out RazzleDazzle for yourself, Click HERE
To Watch RazzleDazzle on The American Barber, Click HERE
In closing, if you or any women you know are in abusive situations, and are in need help & hope…
Both Elena and The Y Life, plead with you to seek out help!