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Élan Academy of Cosmetology & Barbering
Type of business:
Beauty School

Owners:
Estevan Apodaca & Edwin Abeyta

Ages:
53 & 57

Hometown:
Socorro & Albuquerque, N.M.

Business Address:

1600 Eubank Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87112
(505) 341-3526

Business Fax:
1-888-820-3068

Business Email:
elanacademy1@yahoo.com

Business Website:
elanacademy.com

Number of Employees:
2


How did you get started in this business?
It has always been a lifelong dream of Estevan's to own and operate a beauty school, where he could share his experiences and knowledge of the business. Second it was my own (Edwin Abeyta’s) experience attending another local school that drove me to share this dream with my partner Estevan. After I graduated, I never felt I learned enough to be successful once I went to work. Estevan and I are both intent on providing a special experience for our students, and we share our passion and excitement about our industry with the students.
What is your business philosophy?
We believe that there are hundreds—if not thousands—of potential stylists out there who are looking for a particular learning atmosphere, one in which creativity and experimentation are encouraged. Élan Academy encourages advanced learning and creativity by attending local and out-of-state hair shows. We believe that people in our business are artists and that the client becomes our canvas. Our sole purpose is to make people feel beautiful and confident when they leave our school or salon. Our motto at Élan Academy is "Make every haircut you masterpiece."
What is your or your company's greatest asset?
Our academy's greatest asset has been our concept. We are not your typical franchise school. We allow our students to be creative and challenge them to experiment with color and cutting. They are taught several ways to cut, allowing the students to experience different styles of cutting and begin to develop their own style. Estevan continues to work full-time as a stylist in his salon next door. Having the school and the salon next door allows Estevan to provide them with real life experiences to aid in the transition from school to salon.
What are your strongest business traits?
Our strongest business traits have been that Estevan and I are both licensed cosmetologists, barbers and instructors. Today Estevan and I are the sole providers of education to our students. It allows us to control what and how the students are learning. Essentially our licensing and experiences means that Estevan and I both "pump the chair" or you might say when we aren't teaching, we are working as stylists.
Why did you choose to do business in Albuquerque?
We chose Albuquerque for several reasons. The most obvious would be that Estevan and I are proud to say that we are native New Mexicans, and we have chosen to make our home here. Estevan was born and raised in Socorro, and Edwin was born and raised in Albuquerque's South Valley. We also have a strong desire to give back to our community and to young people who have a desire to enter the beauty industry.
What motivates you to succeed besides the desire to make money?
We are motivated by the success of our students who have graduated and become successful in their own right. We are proud of so many former students who have gone on to work in the industry and who have established a valuable reputation as great stylists.

What significant changes have you implemented recently?
We have recently moved to our new and permanent location at 1600 Eubank Blvd. NE. We are proud of our new location and the environment it provides for our students. We have also added in-house financing to those students who do not qualify for financial aid or do not have any form of financial support from their family.

What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?
We are extremely proud of our statistics for graduating, licensing and work placement of our students. Every student who has graduated from Elan Academy has a license and is working.
What do you offer that the competition doesn't?
We offer courses in all areas of the beauty industry from barbering and cosmetology to nail technology and skin care. Because we consider ourselves a private school, we continue to hold the student-to-instructor ratio down to a minimum. This allows us to concentrate on each of our students’ strengths and weaknesses.

How do you maintain your competitive edge?
I have always said, and I teach our students that the way to be successful and to keep your competitive edge is to remember my saying: "Always remember that there is someone out there better than you." Meaning to strive to learn as much as you can, expand your knowledge and most importantly, to learn to network with stylists from throughout this country and beyond. I am very excited to say that Élan Academy has one of the leading and most experienced stylists, Estevan Apodaca, employed as the lead creative director for our students.
What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?
Over the past eight years, we have been involved in many charitable events, including March of Dimes and Southwest Center for AIDS Treatment. We are also very proud of our other contributions to Breakin’ Hearts (a local, youth-centered dance team) and most recently, our involvement with a drug rehabiliation center by the name of Delancey Street out of Espanola, New Mexico. We intend to work with them to develop vocational training for barbers and cosmetologists. Our ultimate contribution will come when Élan Academy can become a non-profit school that can provide education to women, minorities, single parents and others who do not have the financial resources to pay for their education.

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