My name is Cleona Britto-DSouza. I was born and brought up in Chennai (then Madras) in a small place called Perambur where most Anglo Indians lived. We were a big family and growing up was a lot of fun with all the family get togethers and picnics of which I have very fond memories. A lovely City but somewhere I felt it wasn’t me I didn’t belong to that City. So in 2002 I found a job in Bangalore and moved with one bag when I was 23 years old. New City. New People. New Challenges. I still didnt feel settled though like Chennai, Bangalore is a beautiful City too. So when I got the opportunity with the same Company to move to Mumbai (then Bombay) on a Project for 6 Months I decided to take a chance and go for it. I think it was one of those life changing decisions definitely. I fell in love with the City so much that when I was offered a permanent position with a Promotion I took it without thinking twice.
Coming from the South to me Mumbai was WOW. I felt like the City embraced me. I fell head over heels in love with the City. It’s given me everything I have today. I truly beleive it’s the CITY OF DREAMS. It’s been 12 years since I moved here and have made it my home.
Life has not always been a bed of roses though. I started my Career as a Receptionist cum Secretary earning 1800/- back in 1996 when I was 17 years old. And I have truly come a long way.
Not holding any degrees of Management, it did require lot of efforts and hard work. I rose up the ranks from a Receptionist cum Secretary to a Deputy General Manager in Operations managing circa 400 people. Never let anyone tell you anything is impossible. Everything is possible.
I worked with some Industry best Superiors and built some fantastic Teams. It was a beautiful journey. My Work was my whole life. I worked Hard. And partied Harder.
And then at the age of 32 I found love. So I woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to do Corporates any more. And wanted to be with the man I was dating my now Husband who lived in Dubai. Giving up the high life to struggle to find a job was all worth it.
The turning point. I had no job in hand. No security about what the future holds and dependant parents but I did it. I quit. 2009 (my last year in the Corporate world) 2010 (my first year as a Business Woman) will go down in my Diary as testing times.
When I landed in Dubai I realized it wasnt as glamorous as it seems. Travelling back and forth on a Visit Visa with no Luck on the job front. I was being asked to compromise on my Designation. I didn’t slog my butt 13 long years to reach a level only to compromise it.
I was without a job for a whole year. I exhausted my savings travelling back and forth and paying my bill’s back in Mumbai. I decided to come back to Mumbai end of 2010.
I was very clear I didn’t want to go back to Corporates to slave for them again. I felt pushed against a wall. But then it struck me that I always knew in my heart I wanted to be a Business Woman. I was keen on the Restaurant Business and I loved the Salon World too. I spent a lot of money experimenting for years at some of the Best and Worst Salons. I remember Straightening my Hair in 1999 when not many heard of it. I remember wearing Acrylic Nails in 2003 when it was just being introduced. Coming to think of it may be this was meant to be. Written in the Stars.
And there I decided to Open my own Salon. I did my Hair and Beauty Course on borrowed Money. I don’t come from a background of Business people either who could’ve guided me. It was scary
All I had were 3 strong women my Mom, my Aunt and her daughter backing me and putting their faith me and giving me the Money to open my Salon. And that’s how I started my Venture.
We are now in our 5th successful year. Have a great Client base and sincere and loyal Staff.
I now wear the Hat of a Full Time Mom of an adorable 1 year old daughter named Gwyneth Hope when I’m in Dubai and the Hat of a Business Woman running a successful Salon when I’m in Mumbai. I also Consult for Salons who are under performing and Women who want to Set Up a Salon both in Dubai and Mumbai.
My Dream is to have a range of Salons catering to the whole family. And a One Stop Shop for all your Beauty Needs. I believe in Dreams and I believe in Miracles. And this will come to pass for which I am grateful already.
It doesn’t matter where you come from what degrees you have whether you are rich or poor, thin of fat, pretty or ugly. Nothing matters. What matters is your positive energy. Your thoughts. Your dreams and you can change your life. Don’t let your past or negative people hold you back from achieving what you want to achieve. Today is all you have. LIVE IN THE NOW. Its the only way to live. Anything you want will and can be yours. All you have to do is believe.
My last bit for all Women. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. We all deserve to be happy. It’s okay to be selfish and put your needs first sometimes. It doesn’t have to always be about Kids Husband Parents In Laws Friends or Strangers. Put your Happiness above everything else. I can assure you that not only will you be happy but you can make more people happy by being happy yourself first.
“”Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”