Meet Terry Richardson, Owner of Elevate Salon Institute, Durham

Every success has a story, and Terry Richardson and Elevate Salon Institute(ESI), Durham has an amazing story full of trial, dedication, and ultimately, success.

It Begins With a Struggle

There is a point in every story where the hero (or heroine) faces the troubles of life head on and knows they need to make a change.

That moment for Terry was back in the mid 1980’s when, as a newly single mother, she knew she needed a career that would give her the flexibility to raise her three young children, while still giving her the income to support them.

Luckily she fell into the beauty world.

In 1985 Terry began working as a receptionist at a local salon, working part time to welcome and schedule clients. When the salon faced a need for a skilled nail technician, the salon offered to send Terry to school, assisting her to gain her license with the promise that she would pay them back through work after completion.

It was a risk, Terry had young children to support after all, and who knew how long it would take her to pay back the salon? In the end, she took the gamble. Luckily, it was a gamble that paid off.

From Tech To Owner

After completing her education, Terry was able to pay the salon back in just eight weeks of working! It was a lot of hard work, but it was hard work that changed her life, Terry remarked, going on to say ”If you work hard you can do anything”.

After paying back her nail tech education, Terry returned to teaching 5th grade while still doing nails in the evenings and on the weekend. That was when the second unexpected twist in Terry’s story took place.

Within the first year, Terry was making more money doing nails than she was teaching, and because the schedule was much more flexible, she easily made the switch to doing nails full time.

Terry embraced her new career, making a stable life for her and her kids until in 2002 when she accepted yet another opportunity and changed her story once again. She decided to open a spa.

It’s the Spa Life

Bella Trio, named for her daughters, opened in July of 2003 as only the second spa in the area. Offering upscale spa services at affordable prices, the spa was built as a place for everyone to be able to feel relaxed and pampered.

For Terry, though, the spa was more than just services, it was also a place that people could change their lives.

Having written her own story, Terry knows what it took to rise above adversary and create a new life, no matter what your beginning is. “If you give a person the love and support they need, it will change their life.” Those words are Terry’s philosophy and something she has built not only her salons around, but her school as well.

From Owner to Educator

Bella Trio opened more doors for Terry than just being able to support her children. As more and more employees came under her wing, she began to notice that many of them were not prepared for the working world. Many of them lacked bookkeeping and management skills, while many more were unsure how to relate or speak to clients.

Under Terry’s guidance, each employee overcame their roadblocks, becoming successful beauty professionals, and changing their lives one lesson at a time.

After years of supporting her staff in such amazing growth, however, Terry wanted to do more for the incoming professionals. The seed of school ownership had been brewing for quite sometime when Terry moved to open a school, ready to make a difference.

The ESI Durham Difference

The Elevate Salon Institute has found a solid advocate in Terry. After waiting for years to find the perfect opportunity to start her school, she jumped at the chance to join the first school backed by L’Oreal.

Terry knows that it’s more than a solid brand that makes a quality cosmetology education, however. With a focus on the business education and client relations she saw many of her employees lacking, she holds a strong goal to prepare her students for a future that will lead them to every success they see for themselves.

“It’s the little things that you do that make the difference.”

Terry knows they can do it too, after facing so much herself, she knows the drive and determination that this industry takes, and it’s that skill and ethic that she hopes to pass on to every student that enters her school.

A Life Beyond

As much as the spas and schools fill her life, Terry’s passion goes deeper than that, right to the reason she began her spas in the first place. Her family.

Every minute that she is not at the spas, or at the school, she is with her family. Also, an avid quilter and knitter, she fills her life with creation. It’s a passion that truly fuels her.

Are you ready to find your own passion?

Discover how you can be part of the beautiful culture Terry has created. Discover the cosmetology programs at ESI Durham.

Meet Matt, our co-owner!

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