Growing from Town of 500 to Iowa City 

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By Christina Fernández-Morrow, Hola Iowa

Growing up in Jalisco, Mexico, Adriana Contreras never dreamed she would own a salon in Ainsworth, IA, population 511, but that’s what happened when her family moved to Iowa. A few years later she graduated from cosmetology school. She began her career working at salons, but it wasn’t until she became a manager that she thought about owning one. She found a location in the small town but after a few years, her business outgrew the space, and she moved it to Iowa City.  There were many challenges to opening a salon vs managing one. It came with new responsibilities Contreras worried may negatively impact clients who had grown to trust her. “I didn’t know anything about being a business owner. I knew how to be a stylist. I went changing because I had to change my mindset. I knew that apart from working for my business I had to work ON my business.” 

Today, Adriana’s Salon and Boutique has grown to include hair treatments, spa services, and caters to special events to make sure their clients look and feel their best. Contreras takes pride in providing a space where other Latina stylists can share their skills. “I love knowing that people come to my salon because they like our work. The vision and mission of our salon is important to our clients and my employees. I am very grateful that I can provide jobs for professional stylists.” Contreras knows that going to a Latina-owned salon provides a unique experience to try a different perspective of beauty. “What is new and interesting attracts a lot of clientele.” When asked what she would say to another Latina who wanted to start a business, she had this to say: “To begin with, I would be very happy! Next, I would mention how important it is to separate having a job and owning a business.” 

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