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Profile: Monique Tompkins & The Hair Café Salon

By: Richard Darryl Nichols, IVN

Rancho Cucamonga, CA — Monique Tompkins recently opened The Hair Cafe Salon-Premiere Hair Salon at 9622 Foothill Blvd. #105 in the city of Rancho Cucamonga 91730.  Tompkins is very proud of her business mainly because she established it on her own. She did not have anyone to talk to about the business.  Her husband is a truck driver and was not always available for her to communicate with. She did research and found where, what, and who she should be in contact for help.  She did all of the negotiation for the contracts for the building.  She went to city hall to get information on how to get started. Some contractors took advantage of her and overcharged her for services.  She did not know and understand some of the things she was doing. She uses those experiences as a learning experience.  “I will never use those contractors again. I will not refer them to anyone,” said Tompkins.  “The best lessons are the ones that cost you because you will never do it again,” she said.

Tompkins has been a hairstylist for over 30 years.  She believes she made a mistake starting off as a salon owner instead of a salon renter because there were a lot of things that she was not aware of such as paying taxes, getting insurances, getting insurance for employees and other business-related issues. She wishes she would have shadowed an owner and started renting a booth. She would have gained experiences by watching the owner. Tompkins does not like the long hours she has to put into her business, but she does enjoy the compensation she receives for her hard labor.  She would like to come from “behind the chair” and build a good team of hairstylists so she would not have to work as hard.  One challenge she has is finding the type of hairstylist she would be happy to have in her salon. “Everybody wants to be the boss.” It is very competitive because of competing with private suite, which started happening about ten years ago.

Tompkins had a poor experience going to the beauty salon as a child because she had long thick hair.  The hairstylist would make her wait for long hours.  Her grandmother would drop her there. The hairstylist did not care about her time. “They took advantage of me because I was a kid,” declared Tompkins.  This experience encouraged her to respect her client’s time.  “When a client has an appointment, that appointment is their appointment,” said Tompkins.” Time management is everything and is very important.  That goes with good customer services,” added Tompkins.  She has been late, but she always gives a courtesy call.  “I respect everyone’s time,” proclaim Tompkins.

Tompkins wants her customers to have a feeling of a great experience when they leave the salon.  She learned how to give good customer service through her employment at Disneyland.  “A lot of people don’t this, but once you walk through the gates at Disneyland, you can’t see anything on the outside.  You can see the sky but nothing else,” Tompkins said. Disneyland has created their own world.  They have their own doctors and police.  They have everything.  It is an experience when you go to Disneyland.” I have always wanted my business to be an experience,” said Tompkins proudly.  She offers her customers wine; they get great conversation and good music.  The atmosphere is very relaxing.  She uses clean robes and capes. These items are always smell good. She uses high end products for all hair textures.  “I cater to all people, not just black people nor white people but I cater to all people.”

Tompkins is constantly learning and getting training because she wants to stay current with her skills and the trends that occurs.  Before covid, she would take four classes each quarter.  During covid, she takes classes on the internet. Tompkins said,” I absolutely still love what I am doing.”  She loves the people. Every hour or two has people in the chair.  It is a revolving chair.  That means she has a different client with a whole new conversation which helps her day go by quicker.  She loves the energy the clients bring to the salon. She loves to talk, and 90 percent of her clients also love to talk. “We just be running our mouths all day long, Tompkins joyfully added. Tompkins loves to create and give a great experience at The Hair Cafe Salon.

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