Marissa Cross explains how a supportive family helps her deal with the challenge of juggling motherhood and a career as a beauty therapist.
> Tell us about your upbringing.
My family and I are all Armidale locals. I was born at the Armidale hospital in June 1980. I have two older sisters, Tanya Graham and Kristy Adams (both live and work in the Armidale area) and a younger brother, Paul Cohen (who now lives in Lismore). My parents, Vince and Margaret Cohen have lived here for over 35 years and are well known in the community. The four of us kids all attended Armidale City Public School and then Armidale High School.
I played a lot of sports while I was growing up, including hockey and touch football and also dabbled in other sports, such as volleyball and basketball. My parents had a caravan down at North Beach, so we spent a lot of weekends and holidays down there water skiing and swimming. My family has always been very close and still is, which has played a huge role in who I am today.
> What prompted you to become a beauty therapist?
I was always into Mum’s makeup and creams as a kid, so I guess I was always interested in beauty. I completed some work experience at Anna Louise Beauty Salon (which was in Jessie Street at the time) when I was at school and really enjoyed it.
When my parents decided to buy the salon they asked me if I wanted to do an apprenticeship as a Beauty Therapist, and so I did. It was a 4 year deal. I completed my training at the Hunter Institute of TAFE in Newcastle, which took 2 years, then I finished another 2 years at the salon. I love the industry, which I have now been in for 11 years.
> When did you open your own salon?
My parents bought Anna Louise Beauty Salon in 1997. After completing my apprenticeship, I managed the salon for a few years. Back then I always dreamed of moving the salon and decking it out in the best of everything … creating an indulgent, pampering place where clients could come and relax and get away from their everyday life (if only for half an hour). So when the time came for us to have to move, I decided to become an Ella Baché franchise. We had the salon especially designed for the site and area. I converted to being a franchise in 2006, and that’s when we moved to our current location in Dangar Street.
> What’s new in your world of beauty?
This month we are launching a new product in the Ella Baché range, NEW Age – Protection range. There are 4 products in the range, which all protect the skin against free radicals and ageing, provide defense against fine lines and wrinkles. We also have a new in-salon treatment, the Age Protection Facial Treatment, which works in 2 stages.
Firstly, it uses natural stress relieving ingredients, which revitalise the skin providing energy to the cells, helping to fight fatigue and stimulate the skin’s own cellular mechanisms and renewing its own youthful molecules.
Stage two delivers a unique 3D shield to protect the skin cells against free radicals caused through stress, from pollution, UVA and UVB rays – these being the main causes of premature ageing. This relaxing facial treatment combines a specific massage technique, which assists in maximising absorption of the active ingredients to deliver a stress-free youthful glowing complexion. Being an Ella Baché Salon allows us to keep up to date with all of the new technology in skin treatments, which we can then pass onto our clients.
> We heard that your wedding was a huge event.
It was a special time in our lives. Robbie and I were married on the 3rd of November 2001, after being together for 6 years. The service was at St Mary and Joseph’s Cathedral and the reception was at the UNE Bistro. We had a lot of family and friends at the wedding. You could say it was the best day of our lives, up until the birth of our son, Samuel. For our honeymoon we spent a week at Brampton Island, which was gorgeous, and another 2 weeks was spent in Mackay and on the Sunshine coast.
> What does your husband Robbie’s work involve?
Robbie is in a partnership at a local smash repair business (Cundy’s Smash repairs), which has kept him busy for the past 2 years. He was in the panelbeating industry for 12 years prior to owning Cundy’s. It all happened at the same time, with me opening my franchised business and Robbie with his. It was a hectic time in our lives.
> Congratulations on the birth of your first baby. Are you enjoying motherhood?
Thank you. Yes, loving it. Samuel is 5 months now, which has gone so quickly. It is a huge lifestyle change, but I wouldn’t change things for the world. He was born on the 20th of December 2007; he was a wonderful Christmas present. It’s amazing how fast they grow from week to week. It has also been a great opportunity to meet some new friends through our mothers’ group, who are also new mums and have babies that are the same age as Samuel. Being a mother is a full time job, as many mothers know. There are always new things to learn and it has been very rewarding.
> How do you juggle parenting and your career?
There’s no doubting it has been a challenge at times, but I am very lucky to have a supportive family who help me out – especially Mum, who also works at the salon. I also have great staff, whom I trust completely. They have been looking after and taking good care of the salon.
I’m still quite busy though, keeping up with the bookwork and with meetings from head office in Sydney and being a mother as well. As Samuel is a little bit older now, I will be able to start going into work a little bit more, with some help from Mum. I do take him into the salon occasionally; all of our clients and the girls at work have loved seeing him grow.
> Plans for the future?
For now we are so busy in what’s happening today, but there will be plans to have another child at some stage. We both grew up with a strong, supportive family background and wish to provide the same for our own children. Working on both of our businesses is also a big priority to us. There are a lot of Ella Baché franchise opportunities around the region, which we may look into as well. We personally would love to build another house at some stage. It would be nice to look back and know that we worked hard to achieve the things we wanted in life. We’ve always been up for a challenge and I’m sure there will be a lot more in store for us in the future.
> Thank you Marissa.