Success Doesn't Happen Overnight


Candy Shaw loves to joke about how long it actually takes to become an “overnight” success. After twenty-some years of putting in work behind the chair, the name Candy Shaw is finally a recognized one in the industry. Candy is living proof that nothing truly happens overnight, instead, reaching your goals requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance.

We have had the pleasure of chatting with Candy America’s Beauty Show during our Spotlight Podcasts, but if you’ve missed her previous interviews, we’ll give you a quick recap:

Celebrity-stylist Candy Shaw, perhaps better known as the Balay Lama, literally grew up in the beauty business as the daughter of former world-champion competition-hairdresser Jamison Shaw. Today she owns and operates three companies, all of which are under the beauty industry umbrella. She runs her father’s salon, Jamison Shaw Hairdressers as well as the Jamison Shaw Academy, through which Candy offers her infamous French Haircutting and Balayage classes for licensed cosmetologist every other month. And finally, her most recent venture, Sunlights Balayage, a professional hair product company fueled by her commitment to providing career changing education.

Candy put in the work necessary to create her own legacy, and now she’s sharing her story in hopes of inspiring others in the industry to take their time—it’s worth the wait.

Don’t Be Afraid to Do Something Before It’s Cool

I bet you didn’t know that Candy basically invented balayage, did you? She was painting hair before hair-painting even had a name. Candy developed her own clay lightener, which she used behind the chair and when working with her students.

Because nothing like Candy’s clay-based lightener existed in the industry, she decided to take a leap of faith and sat down with some of the leading manufacturers to see what it would take to mass produce her product and share it with the world. Candy jokes about her meeting with “the suits,” as she calls them, as they told her that balayage was just a fad, and like all fads, it will eventually fade.

Don’t Take “No” for an Answer

Of course, Candy wouldn’t be the great success that she is today had she listened to “the suits”. She’ll be the first to tell you that you shouldn’t take “no” for an answer, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

So, she took her clay lightener and sat through many think-tank sessions with her family before realizing that the only way to get it done was to do it herself. Of course, that doesn’t mean all by herself!

Going It Alone Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely

If you’re going to go out on a limb and try to tackle an issue on your own, you had better find people to back you up. Candy knew she would need help if she was going to try to mass produce her own product.

She couldn’t risk it falling flat on its face once it hit the marketplace, so she enlisted the help of a chemist with impressive product knowledge, and they tested and re-tested Candy’s clay lightener until they were sure they were creating the best product they could.

Climbing Your Way to the Top Takes Time

Candy reflects on her twenty-some year voyage to success, and remarks that is wasn’t easy. It’s crowded at the top, and you have to scratch and claw your way up there before you get noticed.

You’ll have doors slammed in your face, but that doesn’t mean another one won’t open up right down the hall. Candy often says that the key to success is to build a solid foundation with all of the bricks that are thrown at you along the way. Learn from your mistakes and the negative feedback you receive, there’s always a way to spin it into something positive.  

Candy describes balayage as the “little black dress” of the beauty industry—it’s not going anywhere—and well, the rest is history!

If you’d like to learn more about Candy Shaw’s incredible success story, listen to the full podcast episode, episode 166. And if you haven’t already, check out Sunlights products, where you’ll have the inside scoop into the history of this clay lightener!

Samantha Georgson