Jamaica | Feb 26, 2023

Anastasia Rittie continues to realise her dreams one by one

Mikala Johnson

Mikala Johnson / Our Today

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Anastasia Rittie, owner of First Lady’s Beauty Salon. (Photo: Contributed)

Realising one’s dream is not always an easy task. With the constant fear of failure lingering over your head, it can be daunting to take the first step towards executing your dreams.

Businesswoman Anastasia Rittie’s journey took her from renting salon booths to owning a top class beauty salon – First Lady’s Beauty Salon.

About 15 years ago, Rittie entered the beauty industry to carry out her passion as a hairstylist. Upon entering the industry the beautician desired more and conceived the idea of owning her own salon.

 It was with God’s help that the hairstylist was able to finally give birth to her dream by officially formalising First Lady’s Beauty Salon on June 5, 2021.

Professional hairstylist Anastasia Rittie. (Photo: Instagram @firstladysbeautysalon)

“The Lord gave me a vision to cater to a certain class of women. There are ladies out there that are looking for class and elegance and First Lady’s Beauty Salon offers just that,” Rittie shared.

First Lady’s Beauty Salon offers quite a unique experience that lies somewhere between the warm and relaxing environment and the exceptional customer service.

“We provide a quiet and calming atmosphere for our clients, allowing them to feel relaxed and rejuvenated at the end of each service and wanting to return to the salon,” Rittie said with a smile.

It wasn’t love at first sight

As children, you often dream of the career path you’d want to embark on as an adult. For some they actually realise that dream while destiny leads others into the path unknown.

“To be honest, it wasn’t really my passion. My dream was to become a counselor but I have this independent attitude and so I didn’t want to depend on my parents. So, I looked at what would be the best thing and quickest way to become a business owner and make my own money, so I tapped into myself and said, outside of counselling I like fashion, so I thought of doing something in the beauty industry.”

Hairstylist Anastasia Rittie shows her team how to get the job done. (Photo: Instagram @firstladysbeautysalon)

With this, Rittie enrolled in the HEART School of Cosmetology signalling the start of her career as a hairstylist.

She recalls being asked the question, why do you want to attend the HEART School of Cosmetology?

“I want to come here so I can work, make some money for myself and leave the business,” Rittie replied.

But, after entering the business, Rittie noticed something that she’d always desired.

“Once I got into the business, I realised that it was offering me the flexibility I desired and that it also ties in with counselling because it entails me meeting and talking to a lot of persons daily.”

Building her brand

Sometimes in life all you need is just a push in the right direction; grant you, it may not always be a gentle one.

Rittie has been in the industry for almost 20 years, having started out as an assistant at the age of 18. However, by the age of 21 she was working for herself as a professional hairstylist, because fate would have it no other way.

Anastasia Rittie and her worker, Keisha Duncan, pause for a quick selfie. (Photo: Contributed)

“I was forced to go on my own. There was an incident, and I was asked to take some time off and that I’d be called back but they never did. With this, I said to myself you know what, I am going to take some time off and take a month break after which I went straight into business for myself and that’s how I went in search of my first booth.”

This would be a blessing in disguise for Rittie as, once she went on her own, she was able to build her brand and make her mark in the industry.

 “Before I had the space, I was a booth renter. I used to rent booths at different locations, during that time I was known as Anna the hairstylist among clients.”

Giving birth to First Lady’s Beauty Salon

Taking that first step towards becoming an entrepreneur was a dreadful period for Rittie but praying earnestly to God helped her over that hurdle.

“I would ask God to establish me and prosper me because my business needs to pay for itself. I would go on the road to hand out flyers and sell myself as a hairstylist until the brand started to go out and started to build.”

When time came for Rittie to establish her brand, she said she specifically chose not to name the salon after her.

The official logo of First Lady’s Beauty Salon. (Photo: Instagram @firstladysbeautysalon).

“I didn’t want the business to have my name. I wanted it to stand alone and so I decided not to use my name for the business.”

And with this, Rittie was tasked with coming up with a name for her business. She wanted a name that would speak to a specific set of ladies and, after much brainstorming, she came up with the perfect name.

“First Lady’s Beauty Salon was the name that manifested to me. Being a woman of class and after working in the beauty industry for so long. I was able to give birth to First Lady’s Beauty Salon by allowing what was on my inside to manifest in this space,” Rittie said.

Anastasia Rittie in action doing what she does best. (Video: Contributed)

Rittie said her experience over the years helped her in creating the ideal salon to cater to the needs of her clients.

“Being a booth renter, I would be in a salon and persons would speak anyway, act anyway and there would be clients who would want their privacy, that one on one session but can’t get it. So, I realised that there is a need for ladies who want to come and speak and feel at home.

“First Lady is where standard meets class. So, if you are a woman of standard, if you are a woman of class, you can come here and you’ll realise that at First Lady’s we offer that service to you. We go above and beyond for our customers,” Rittie continued.  

Life as an entrepreneur

When asked what life has been like as a business owner, Rittie noted that life as an entrepreneur has its pros and cons.

“Being a business owner has its pros and cons because, as a business owner, you realise that the burden is different. It’s no longer about just you, the responsibilities become greater as you have to be thinking about how to sustain the brand.”

With this, she noted that sometimes young entrepreneurs will feel like giving up, but that’s when they must remember their dream in order to push through.

“Despite the challenges, it’s a good feeling because it is a tap on the shoulder to say ‘yes, I did that, and I am proud of myself’.”

She is therefore encouraging those looking to start their business to seek help and remain focused as the journey can get rough at times.

Anastasia Rittie. (Photo: Contributed)

“Don’t ever feel like you stand alone, it is OK to go out there and get help from other business owners. Also, not every wave that comes you are going to ride and not every music that comes you’ll dance to it as this may drive you away from your vision,” Rittie said.

She’s also advising persons wanting to become an entrepreneur to register their business, develop strong leadership qualities, carry out market research and make sure they have a vision of what it is they really want.

“Don’t just get up and say you’re going to open a business because when the storm comes, you’ll need to go back to the vision. So, you must remember from the foundation this was my vision and I am sticking to it. Also, remain humble because there will be times when, as the boss, you’ll have to put the needs of others before yours,” Rittie said.


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