© Nathan Liewicki
Elite Hairstyling & Esthetics Training Center director Amy Duzan sits in the spa area of Moose Jaw's newest vocational school on Sunday. The centre is set to open on Sept. 9. Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
By Nathan Liewicki
Amy Duzan is finally looking forward to opening her Elite Hairstyling & Esthetics Training Center. The four-and-a-half year process of opening up a private vocational school is finally complete. All that remains is for students to register for one of the four programs the school is offering starting Sept. 9.
Duzan, the director and co-owner of Elite, located at 228 Second Ave. N.W., said the process basically involved starting from scratch. That included building the whole curriculum for each program, registering with the private vocational schools
"You have to start out with everything when you're building your whole curriculum. Then you have to go into being registered with the private vocational schools, and building the site on which the program will be taught.
"It's a lot different when you are going to be a private school. You are not just opening your doors as a business. You are opening it up so you are certified to (award) diplomas to students," Duzan said. "It's a long process, but worth it in the end."
Duzan said that it has always been a dream of her's to open up her own salon and spa. She added that it’s a good thing for Moose Jaw.
The school will offer four different programs — hair styling, esthetics, nail technician and skin care technician — and they vary in terms of the course length and cost. Students looking to acquire any of these four diplomas can expect to pay between $4,380 and $11,032.50, and put in between 450 and 1,500 hours of time in the classroom or through hands-on training. Duzan said prospective students looking for specific information about each program can stop by or check out the packages online.
Elite will annually take a maximum of 35 students for each course, with classes beginning every two months. However, Duzan noted that students will not be restricted to a single program.
"Some people will take hair and then through their program they will jump into the nail tech one too. That's usually how it goes. People in the hair side like to learn manicures, pedicures and things like that. Usually they will jump into the other programs also," Duzan said.
Duzan and her husband Derek, who is the other co-owner of Elite, spent a lot of money to get the place in ideal shape, but she said it's all for the benefit of her students.
"We really strived to make this look like a spa environment. We wanted our students not to feel like they are in a school.
"We wanted them to feel like they are going to learn in a spa area, so when they leave they have that background. Lots of girls don't really understand what it's like when they go out, so this way they know the environment when they leave," stated Duzan.
Students will also be taught about retailing, a skill she said that hair salon and training centres are bypassing in the training of new employees in the industry.
Although classes are set to start in early September, Elite will not be taking any clients until October. And since it's primarily a teaching facility, prices will be lower than at other salons and spas. For example, a haircut will only cost $12.50, and that includes a hair wash. A same day manicure and pedicure will cost just $25.
All of the 16-hour days that the Duzans put in over the course of the last over the last month-and-a-half renovating the place are about to pay off. Elite's grand opening will take place Wednesday evening, from 6 to 8 p.m.
"It was a lot of work, but we wanted it perfect. There are not just clients coming in. There are students, too," Duzan said. "They are paying for education and we wanted them to have the best setup they could possibly have."
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks.