Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


Law of Attraction in Action: Interview with Suki Duggan, Owner, Donsuki Townhouse Salon


This is the 18th post in my Law of Attraction in Action series. It’s my first interview with someone who exemplifies its principles, combined with my Embracing SUCCESS series. After interviewing Suki Duggan, I knew she belonged here. After starting off with nothing but her great spirit and determined beliefs, Suki was able to put out her intention to succeed, and she didn’t stop until she did. Even today, she keeps going, showing the Universe what she wants. It returns to her multiplied. Suki is a fantastic example of the Law of Attraction in action!

Suki owns Donsuki Townhouse Salon, with 5-stories that houses top industry stylists, estheticians, nail artists and makeup artists under one roof in Manhattan. Her business keeps booming, due to her talent, tenacity, and good business principles. Suki came to NY from Korea in the 70’s, knowing minimal English, to study violin at the prestigious Julliard School of Music. When she realized her true passion, she dropped out of Julliard to begin her hair career. Her salon is now a multi-million dollar empire. Suki brings her upbeat spirit to her business and attracts the SUCCESS she is determined to have.

What made you decide to come to NYC? I play the violin and wanted to go to Julliard. That was my goal. I had some basic English grammar and could read enough. Having a conversation was more difficult. But it was my dream! I was 17 and got into Julliard. I was more excited than scared.

How did you switch from the violin to hair? During summer vacation, I wanted to make some money. One day I looked up to the second floor of a building on 57th Street. There were a lot of people, hustling and bustling around, with blow dryers and doing many things in a salon. I went in and asked for a job. The boss was a Frenchman. He was impressed with me, didn’t ask if I had experience and hired me to be his assistant. I’d never even seen a blow dryer! I watched very carefully. About two hours later he gave me a client to blow dry. I told him I didn’t know how. He said, “Didn’t you watch me for two hours?” So I started doing it. That was the beginning of my career.

How did you move up? I learned by doing it. My persistence helped me and I set goals—in three months was going to be the best assistant! My boss told me to find people to practice cutting hair on. I stopped people on the street, and asked if they’d like to have a free haircut. They came after work to the salon. I cut their hair and showed my boss. He was surprised that I’d done so well and loved every haircut! By the end of the summer when my vacation was over, he gave me my own chair and I began to make money!

Was there a turning point? A New York Times journalist came to have her hair cut. She wrote an article about it. Then I had a long line of people. I was very innocent then and didn’t know why all these people were coming. I started making so much money I never went back to school. I decided that if I’m going to be a hairdresser, I’m going to do it all the way.

How did you get your first salon? I worked very hard for a few years in the salon. Then I met Donald, my partner, and we opened a salon. We hired 14 people. It was a very nice business. But in the late eighties/early nineties, there was a very big thing with AIDS. I had eleven people die from it and was left with just two hairdressers. My rent was $20,000 a month. A lot of people say I’m always happy because I’m always smiling. But I did a lot of crying. There was a rumor going around—“Suki is going to close.” I was upset with this! I said to myself, “Suki doesn’t have failure in her vocabulary!” I had to make it.

How did you stay strong? Since everybody talked about me, no one would come to work for me. Meanwhile, there was $20,000 in rent to pay. I realized that rent was the same if I worked Saturday and Sunday too. So I gave 50% off if they came on Sunday and cut from 9AM to 8PM. I got up at 6AM and gave out fliers. Sometimes it was very cold. People asked how I could do it and called me a cheap person. I didn’t feel shame. You know what? You have to make it happen! So I continued to do it. You have to see positive things and deliver. As I got more clients, more hairdressers came in. My husband supported me mentally and spiritually, 100%. And we made it happen! Then we bought the building we’re in now. And here I am.

What kept you going? When I was a little girl I had no parents. So I had to always do things by myself. I realized young that I had two choices—either you go downhill, or you only know about going up. That’s all I had. It’s very, very hard to go up but easy to go down. As a girl I learned to try my best. When people said, “Suki is going to fail,” I decided to get sweet revenge. I thought, ”I’ll show them what I can do.” This is how I am.

How does spirituality help you? I always tell my daughter that if you try to go fifty inches, God will give match it with fifty more. If you try for eight hours, God will give eight hours more. This is my belief! If you don’t try and think that God will just give it to you, it won’t happen. You have to take your control. You may wait, thinking that tomorrow is another day and will be good. But I keep going NOW!

Do you think you’re lucky? People tell me I’m so lucky to have a building. Lucky? Yes, because God gave me good health so I could work. That is lucky. Let me tell you. Lucky doesn’t come when you sit down and watch TV or take vacations and days off. That doesn’t bring luck. I work hard. Many people don’t like it when you’re happy. I don’t understand that but it’s true. They ask, “Why are you happy and smiling all the time?” I say, “Excuse me? Life is beautiful. Why not smile. You’re alive. Go to hospitals and see how many people are dying. Then you’ll realize how lucky you are.” Is there anyone who has no problems? No. But it depends on what you make of it.

What do people need to understand about being nice to others? Kindness and stupid are very mixed up by many people. If you’re kind, people ask what’s wrong with you. “Why is she nice to me?” Hello! Why do you hav
e to be tough to be a strong woman? Don’t misunderstand kindness.

What does courage mean to you? Strength. I always have strength and am honest. When I pray every night, I thank God for everything up until now and ask for the strength to be a very courageous person. If I don’t have strength, then I’m nobody. So that’s what I always ask God for. Nothing else. I don’t ask for money or other material things. I just want the strength to do it myself. I also get courage from thinking positive. When my daughter says “in case…., if this doesn’t work” I tell her not to say “in case.” Say, “I’m going to do it! That’s the end of the story!” I tell her to say three times—“I can do it! I will do it!”

What does SUCCESS mean to you? It’s funny, because a lot of people think I’m successful. I don’t feel it about my business. My SUCCESS is being happy—having a wonderful husband and three children. That makes everything successful. My SUCCESS is being able to have the freedom to do what I want to do. I can take time off for my family. If I didn’t have the success with the business, I couldn’t do that.

How do you handle fear? I look in the mirror and ask, “Why should I feel fear?” Then I look myself in the eye and say, “God is with me, let’s go!” I do this whenever I feel a little down. I say, “God is with me, why should I feel fear?” Three times. I scream it.

What’s your best advice for achieving a goal? Be patient and don’t ever be negative about it. Don’t think about “If I don’t make it…” If you do that, you’ve already lost. Always be positive. You can’t think—EVER—that you can’t do it. Be positive, be patient, and keep going. It may not come tomorrow but it will one day. When I opened the salon in ’89, I said that in the next decade I’d have success. It didn’t happen in ’91 when 11 people died, or in ’92. But I had the strength to know that it would come. So I kept going. You cannot stop. If you do, that’s it. You have to keep going!

If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment and/or click on the bookmark and write a short review at some of the sites, especially Stumbleupon and Digg. Thanks!

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  • VickiLA

    This is so inspirational Daylle! Thanks for sharing her story.

  • Kiko

    I too came to this country without a lot of English but I used it as an excuse not to succeed. I’m learning to move forward and Suki’s words gave me a good kick in the butt! Thanks Daylle!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01445486103480238038 Daylle Deanna Schwartz

    Glad you enjoyed it Vicki and Kiko. Suki is definitely inspiring!

  • NikkiBella

    Just found this and really enjoyed reading this interview. Just shows what you can do when you believe in yourself!

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