How She Got There: Carolyn Aronson, Founder, CEO and Owner of It’s A 10 Haircare

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Name: Carolyn Aronson

Job Title and Description: Founder, CEO and Owner of It’s A 10 Haircare

College Name/Major: Oakland Community College (Assoc Degree, Applied Science); 1 year University of Michigan BBA program

Website: www.itsa10haircare.com

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

My current job entails overseeing all aspects of my professional hair care brand that's distributed worldwide.  There's no such thing as a typical day for me as every day brings new creativity and new challenges.

I pay attention to everything from organizing the operational aspect of manufacturing production and distribution of our 70 some SKUs of professional hair care, to the marketing advertising and social media outlets that assist in building the brand as well. I’m also involved in the formulation of each and every product that is created for the brand, as well as developing the positioning and creative features that supplement each SKU.

There is not a position in my company that I have not done at one point or another myself. I’ve done everything from processing and shipping orders, operating the accounting/bookkeeping systems, building the website, choosing marketing materials, designing product packaging, worldwide compliancy, etc. etc. I pretty much have my hands in every aspect surrounding this brand.

What is the best part of your job?

One of the best parts of my job is the freedom of creativity. I absolutely love what I do and love the creative aspect that goes along with it.

Being a successful person period is not easy, let alone a Hispanic woman. It’s a 10 Haircare is one of the few Hispanic woman-owned, solely-owned professional hair care brands in the world. I feel very fortunate having achieved what I have achieved. I'm all about handing the torch and not only putting women in positions of power, but hopefully inspiring them by example and sharing my path of experience for others to learn from. I believe in building strength through sisterhood rather than breaking each other down.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

When I was eight, I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser. I was blessed at a young age to know my purpose in life was to give people the empowerment of changing their appearance. By 16, I was working on my license to become a cosmetologist and by 18, I was a hairdresser. My first entry level position was apprenticing under a busy hairdresser at a high-end salon. I tried to find the best salon apprenticeship program I could fine from the very beginning and just became a sponge, soaking up as much information and experience as I could. I did hair by day and went to college at night because I knew I wanted to own a salon someday and needed a business background to be a successful salon owner. I knew blending the creative side with the business side was going to be vital.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

My mother is 85 and was a Columbia University graduate. She adopted me when I was two, and we couldn't have been more different. She always told me, “I don't care what you want to do in life, but find it, be the best at it and don't let anyone ever take it away from you. You always must have an ability to be self-sufficient.” Now that's EMPOWERMENT! 

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

I've been in the hair product manufacturing industry for over 15 years. The first company I had for over four years completely failed, I lost everything and had to start over. What I learned from that experience is to never give up and that to succeed I needed to learn how to work smarter, not harder. Prioritizing and perseverance are major key factors to success. Learning how to prioritize and manage your time is crucial, as well as having the perseverance to always find a way to make your goals happen.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

The first surreal moment in my career happened when I was in JFK Airport in New York City and saw my products inside one of the salons in the terminal. At that moment, I knew I had made it. Like Frank Sinatra says, if you make it there you know you can make it anywhere - New York, New York!!!

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

There are two things that I look for when hiring somebody: Their energy level and how quickly they think on their toes, as well as their experience.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

  • Young girls have limitless potential. What the brain believes, the body can achieve, from any walk of life. As a young girl I knew what I wanted to do in life and by my teen years I was planning how big and far I wanted to bring it. Dream big, then work backwards from there. That’s my mantra. 
  • "This too shall pass". You will survive much more than you ever thought you could. When you are young and in your 20s and things go awry, at that moment it seems very devastating but you would be surprised what you can live through.
  • "Some of your best deals are the ones you did not make." Don't rush to do anything and trust your gut! When a deal falls through it usually ends up being for the best. Try to move past the disappointment and just keep your eye on the end goal. A vision and goal in the future is your biggest asset in business. 
  • When I was young saving was not a priority until my father taught me about it. Saving is preparation and preparation is the door that opens when opportunity comes your way. If you are not prepared, you may miss vital opportunities that are stepping stones to bigger deals. If you don't have the funds to invest to grow your empire you may miss out. Growing starts by being prepared. 

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

There are both good and bad things that can stand out in a resume. Somebody who frequently changes jobs is always a warning sign to me.

A positive thing that would stand out to me in a resume is a cohesive growth pattern of one's career. There's a big difference between changing jobs because you were moving up in your career and going from job to job because of discontent.

About The Author

Isabel is a currently the Evening & Weekend Editor at Her Campus and a student at New York University in the Global Liberal Studies program with a concentration in Contemporary Culture and Creative Production. When she is not watching Gilmore Girls or playing with puppies at the local pet store, she spends her time freelancing for numerous publications about celebrities and life. You can find her work on the websites of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Elle, and Buzzfeed. Follow her on Instagram at @isabelcalkins.