Interview with Marianne, Maison Marianne
Marianne, can you introduce yourself?
I'm a former Parisian hairdresser who decided to set up a shop in the heart of Harajuku.
20 years ago, I started my career in Paris, in fancy hair salons (Montorgueuil, Saint-Germain-des-Prés) and now I'm based in Tokyo (Harajuku).
Between 2004 and 2009, I often went to Japan for work, about 10 times. And in 2010, I moved to Japan and I started learning Japanese in a langage school (1 year). After that, I enrolled in a professional beauty school (2 years).
I created "Maison Marianne" as an extension of my vision : everyone has the hair which reflects their own personality.
How did you start your business?
After getting my license, I started to work in a Japanese hair salon in Omotesando, one of the biggest structure in Japan. I built my customers base and studied the Japanese hair stylist way too.
After one year and half, I decided to start my own business and open my private salon in Harajuku.
It took me 2 months to open my salon: to find the location, to negotiate with the bank, to find the style I was looking for (simple but unique design), to develop the business-plan... until the final inspection by the city instructor who gives you the permission to open your shop.
What were the difficulties?
It was very hard to study the kanjis and to to understand my studies book about medicine, architecture, law... to get the Japanese national license beauty. It took me 4 years !
I was motivated and surrounded by nice people who believed on me. They make me believe one thing: "in your life you can only do 2 mistakes: to never start and finish your goal."
What are your tips for new professionals who want to start freelancing?
My advice :
- Be patient and get some experience in Japan first.
- Understand the language and the culture to prove to Japanese that you are here to help them.
- Always be nice, even in difficult negotiation.
- Bring something new! Something nature, mixed with perfection.