Sometimes Pieces of Freedom are brewed in a cauldron of work experience, neglect-by-management
and living life. Sometimes Pieces of Freedom are forged by inept guidance counselors, clueless school officials and well meaning parents. In Jana Sherpan’s case, the foundation for the evolving Pieces of Freedom in her life are from all of the above. But magical bits of freedom did not appear because Jana managed to dodge the perils of school, log miles of work and gain experience. No, they began to appear because she allowed her soul to listen to and act upon the faint whisper of destiny - the whisper of opportunities that would eventually define her life.
An indifferent school system launched Jana into real life void of direction. With the distant drum beats of dance, choir, voice and fashion fading into Jana’s past, she embarked upon college to get a degree and go to work - because that’s just what one did in the late 1980’s. While in college Jana worked in her sister Jill’s beauty salon. An associate’s degree later and she realized that the well trodden path through college wasn’t for her.
Photo by Monika owner of Mona Paris Photography. Monika is also responsible for the photos on the wall that reflect Jana's artwork.
Maybe Jana could find a career in the arts. But her dad, a tool and die maker by trade, instilled both an unshakeable work ethic and the advice to fall back on a trade should the pursuit of unconventional education not work out. So Jana, who had above average grades in high school and college, enrolled in beauty school. She was not deterred by a misguided school official who told the new students:
If you aren’t book smart and work well with your hands, you’ll do good as a hairdresser.
One of those life whispers started off faint but hit Jana right between the eyes when she entered a multi-school fashion contest. While driving to school one day, Jana was overtaken with the urge to pull over and sketch out her contest design. That sketch provided her with the insight that she could be involved with fashion, art and design while cutting hair at the same time. She went on to not only win the avant garde category but also the best in contest award.
Jana graduated and went to work in Chicago’s trendy Streeterville area. But a desire to be close to family inevitably initiated a move to the suburbs and a position in a salon where she was to work for the next eighteen years. Towards the end of Jana’s tenure there she got the opportunity to get training and certification in New York and become a Ouidad curl specialist. After passing the test, Jana and a coworker came back and began to practice the craft. They were the first two Ouidad specialists in the state of Illinois. Soon people were traveling to the Chicago area from throughout the country for her unique talent.
One day after working on a client, the faint whisper visited once again. She came to the realization that a combination of her Ouidad training and the evolution of her own talent had outdistanced and outdated her previous work. It caused her to look at hair differently. And it caused her to embrace and celebrate the curl. Well, in part that is. Truth be told, her client’s reaction to their unleashed and enhanced natural beauty had quite a bit to do with it too.
A north star in Jana’s life is proximity to family. So when her dad decided to move to Florida, their entire family did as well. Leaving an eighteen-year client list, especially one that was gaining serious momentum due to Ouidad, was not an easy thing to do. But Jana found a salon owner whose religion, family and work values spoke to her. And with her credentials in place, she was quickly hired.
As I talk with hair stylists, a recurring theme is beginning to appear: befuddled management / ownership. Whether it’s ignorance or nastiness, salon management for the most part, has a hard time hanging on to talented stylists. With this trait settling in on her latest place of employment, Jana’s attention was acutely ready for the next whisper. And so when the opportunity to open up her own salon with Sola Salon Studios in New Tampa came, she listened and then acted.
Today Jana is the owner of The Curl Specialist located in the Sola Salon Studios in New Tampa. Talking with Jana I believe another, albeit more subtle whisper, took place. And you and I have the pleasure of front row seats in watching it play out. Hands down Jana is a Ouidad expert. Based on client pictures, probably one the most talented in the country. Any stylist can get Ouidad training however and, if they pass the test, become certified. But what separates Jana from the girl down the street are the skills, talent and experience not only that she had prior to Ouidad, but those that she continues to develop today. And so, consequently, the change and transformation that we are in the midst of watching is not Jana the Ouidad specialist, it’s Jana the master stylist who was once trained by Ouidad. In other words, Jana is developing and blossoming into her own brand and not that of Ouidad. That her following at Bloom, the largest beauty social network in the world, is over seventeen hundred people and growing is evidence of this latest whisper and its role in defining her life. Jana's Bloom profile.
Feel like mentioning how Jana's talent has made you feel better? Feel like telling your friends about Jana? Feel like saying something? Head over to Jana's Facebook page, look for the post that links to this article (hint the pic of Jana's studio here is the same one on her FB page) and tell Jana how you feel!! https://www.facebook.com/TheCurlSpecialist