Sometimes, following a big dream means taking big chances and making big decisions to get big results. This was the case for the ambitious Cortny Alvarez, owner of “Hair & Brow Artist Cortny Alvarez.” Her passion for the world of beauty led her from a small town in Texas, to Salons by JC Waco, nestled 1 hour south of one of Texas’ largest metros, Dallas.
Cortny operates “Hair & Brow Artist Cortny Alvarez” in her very own suite space at Salons by JC- Waco. This 25-year-old didn’t let age or conventional standard dictate what she was going to do with her life.
“I attended the McLennan Cosmetology Program and fell in love with making people feel beautiful,” Cortny shares. “After graduating, I immediately started working at a salon in my hometown. Around that time, my dream of being BIG took over, and I wanted something more.” This dream did not come to Cortny over night.
Cortny always enjoyed the beauty industry, but when she began working she realized the kind of power hair can hold for a person; how a simple cut or new color can change a person’s look and make them feel new.
“Since I was a child, I knew I wanted people to know my name,” says Cortny. “My dream was to be the BEST here, there, or anywhere. After months of debating, in 2011, I moved from my small hometown of Weimar, Texas, to follow my dream of being BIG in Waco.”
With shears and color in hand, Cortny worked at a couple of different salons in Waco and even became an educator at one of them. Her aspirations grew and moved her to ACT! Cortny’s motivation led her to open her own business inside Salons by JC, where she has been located for nearly two years at the end of September.
“I was still trying to find myself, and after finding my place in Salons by JC, I did! I now feel like I am something BIG. I get to be my own boss and operate my own suite in Salons by JC,” Cortny says.
In January 2015, Cortny earned her certification and license in microblading. In doing so, Cortny discovered the impact of her services through an experience she says she will never forget. “I had a lady come in who had recently suffered a stroke,” Cortny recalls. “This affected one side of her face — it was drooping compared to the other. She had no control over it.”
With Cortny’s client having one eyebrow that was more raised than the other, she was able to provide microblading services to help the client’s life regain a sense of normalcy.
“After the appointment, my client was in tears because she was so happy that she would be able to look normal again, just by having her eyebrows done,” Cortny says. “It completely changed the way I thought about my work. I don’t feel like it is just a job; it’s something I love. I don’t dread going to work everyday because I get to do these kinds of things for people.”
This client experience left Cortny with even more ambition and drive than before. Her new goal was to help people in BIG ways — and though sometimes performing services may not seem impactful, her clients will beg to differ.
“I have women who come in who have absolutely nothing and leave with two matching eyebrows that they have never had their entire lives,” Cortny says. “It’s, you know, life changing! That really confirmed that is what I want to do with my life.”
Though Cortny is stellar at microblading, her constant five star reviews online show that she is more than just a microblading expert; she has many talents. Cortny is one of the few people in Waco who does hand-tied extensions. With more clients and opportunities coming to her doorstep, her level of expertise only continues to grow.
According to Cortny, her five years in the industry have positioned her to be a confident color specialist, tape-in and hand-tied hair extension expert, balayage expert, as well as a creative for cuts and complimentary styling. However, becoming a beauty expert didn’t just happen overnight. Cortny put in her time to train in a salon setting to learn how to properly handle extensions, which is now considered her specialty. Like many beginners, Cortny’s journey began with learning valuable customer service skills- a lesson in particular that better equipped her to operate her own salon.
“I was working at another salon several years ago,” Cortny shares. “I had just started doing tape-in extensions on my own, and I had a really difficult client who came in. A week after leaving her initial appointment happy, she returned to say she no longer liked it.” This particular lesson became one for which Cortny is now thankful. She went back to the drawing board, learned the newest methods, discovered the trendiest looks, and became an expert at the extensions game.
Now, she is known for her talent and exclusivity of being the one of the few in Waco to provide hand-tied extensions. Booking out months in advance has become her new normal, and it is all due to her willingness to find learning opportunities every chance she gets.
Inspiration can be found anywhere, but Cortny does not find her motivation in quotes or prominent figures; she finds strength within herself. Her dreams motivate her to push on and chase her ambitions of being someone BIG, someone KNOWN, and someone RESPECTED. She works seven days a week to make and maintain her dream as reality.
“I’ve always driven just myself,” says Cortny. “I have always wanted to be better for ME. I grew up in a small town never dreaming I would be 25 years old, owning my own business, booking out months in advance. I drive this dream on my own. I push myself everyday to want to better.”
Cortny has just embarked on her journey of working as her own boss as a salon suite owner at Salons by JC, but she is far from finished. She dreams of opening her own salon in Waco where she can extend the same opportunities to others that Salons by JC extended to her.
Along her journey as a salon suite owner, Cortny strives to maintain the characteristics of being genuine, honest, ambitious, and caring. Cortney says stylist/client relationships and family always come first.
“Nothing makes my day better than making someone else’s,” says Cortny. “I see over thirty clients a week, and knowing that each and every one of them leaves feeling more beautiful or more confident about themselves is the greatest feeling of all! I was given this gift to give to others, and knowing that makes me feel BIG. I can honestly say I never imagined life being this good!”
About Salons by JC: In 1997, Jack Griffey and Cecil Miller began their journey to transform the beauty industry one salon suite at a time. Like most young entrepreneurs, they started out with a big idea but had to learn how to start and run a business from scratch. After much perseverance and hard work, one year later, they opened Salons by JC in Dallas, TX in 1998, welcoming beauty and wellness specialists who were ready to break free from the traditional salon model. The company has since moved its headquarters from Dallas to San Antonio, where it continues to grow through franchising. Today, Salons by JC has over 87 locations in 24 states and Canada. For more information, visit salonsbyjc.com or salonsbyjc.com/franchise