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Sola Spotlight: Carla Gray image

Carla Gray, owner of Carla Gray Brow Studio in Sola Salons Centennial, CO, is a mom and an eyebrow specialist, in that order. When she talks about her career, her kids are a big part of the discussion. You see, Carla didn’t grow up dreaming about being a beauty professional. In fact, she went to college for sports and fitness. It was when she was pregnant with her first child that she decided to go back to school and study to be an esthetician. Carla was looking for a rewarding career with flexible hours, and she found one.

“I went to esthetician school when I was pregnant with my son, and I quickly learned that I [was interested in] waxing more than facials,” Carla said. Her ultimate goal was to generate the most revenue in the least amount of time without investing in a lot of expensive equipment or products. Her instructor advised her to consider a career in waxing because the overhead is low and the client turnover is high.

“My instructor was right,” said Carla. “I do four eyebrow appointments in an hour, and I sell products, which is another revenue stream.” Carla started out as an Anastasia Beverly Hills eyebrow specialist at Nordstrom. She was the first Anastasia eyebrow specialist in Colorado, and at the time, one of only about 25 specialists in the country. Eleven years later, Carla still references the training she received early in her career. “What I learned was not to just follow brow trends. Instead, opt for classic shapes that complement your face. I think a fuller brow just looks better on everyone. It’s more youthful, and it lifts your face,” Carla explained. “What’s changed about brows in the past 10 years is not necessarily what shape looks best, but how we’re filling them in. The trend now is a really defined, filled-in eyebrow using pomade and concealers to clean up the lines.”

After two years at Nordstrom, Carla’s client, Kim Bennett Horvath (owner of Kim Bennett Studios), encouraged her to take the plunge and join her at Sola. Carla worked with Kim for 3 or 4 months, and then moved into her own space when a studio opened up. Carla’s goal when she left Nordstrom was to increase her income while working part-time hours. “I wanted to be full-time mom and a part-time worker, and Sola has allowed me to do that,” Carla explained. “On my first day working with Kim at Sola, I booked myself solid from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. I was afraid to say no to anyone. I made more money on that single day than any two-week paycheck at Nordstrom. And I knew right then that I didn’t have anything to worry about. This was going to work out.”

For the past 9 years, Sola has been Carla’s home, and she has no intention of leaving. “The management at Sola is just incredible. They’re warm, kind, and helpful,” she said. “The reason that I stayed here this whole time is because they’re just great. They let you run your business the way you choose to run it, and if you need help, they’re there. I feel like they want you to be successful and flourish and be as great as you can.” “Sola allowed me to do exactly what I had mapped out in my mind. Be flexible for my kids,” Carla said. “It’s probably not everyone’s goal, but for me it was truly a blessing.”