Danika Nieto loves her clients at Leeds Beauty Salon like they were members of her own family.
And that's not too hard to imagine. Spend enough years going to the same barber or hair stylist and you're bound to feel that way. Think about how many times you've spilled the beans about family drama or bragged about your kids' accomplishments (or vented about how they never pick up after themselves).
Nieto is as personable as they come. But there's more to being the best "Barber/Beautician" than just the in-chair chit-chat. It helps to have experience, and Nieto has 18 years under her belt; seven years of which have been spent at Leeds Beauty Salon.
"I love change and I love making people feel good about themselves," said Nieto. "I believe that is truly how I've gotten my clientele. And I'm very dedicated. There are mornings where I'm here at 5:30 and nights where I'm here until 11 o'clock."
She's pulled some crazy hours, but Nieto doesn't mind. Why? "Because I love what I do," she said.
Trust plays a big factor in what keeps clients attached to specific cosmetologists.
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"There's a lot of trust built in our relationships," said Nieto. She added that talking with clients helps build that trust. Neito said she still has clients from when she first began working at Leeds Beauty Salon.
"I actually have several clients from the very first year of doing hair," she said. "They are very, very loyal. It feels really good. There have been some times where they reminded me of when I was just learning. They still stuck by my side."
On average, Nieto sees about 10 to 20 clients per day; she works four to five days a week at Leeds Beauty Salon. Compared to the other hair salons in town, Neito said customers enjoy the shop's relaxed atmosphere.
"It's very friendly and homey," she said. "They feel very secure to be able to talk about anything. It's been a salon here for over 30 years. There are a lot of wonderful hair salons out there, but I think a lot of people like having that small community. It's had a good reputation for many years."
Having a connection seems to be important to customers. Nieto still has a connection to one of the cosmetologists she used to frequent years and years ago.
"One of the girls that had to do my hair when I was younger I'm still connected to on social media," she said. "I still look up to her. You definitely have a connection with your clients. They are my family. They know about mine, I know about theirs.
"It's not just a job. It's something I look forward to doing every day. You make people feel good. They look good, they feel good. That's why I do what i do."