Maria Cristina Bruno and Bruna DiCecca

Owners, Ritual and Ritual 2 on King Street West

1. What does a typical Thursday look like for you, starting from when you wake up – to heading to bed?

Maria Cristina Bruno: I get up at 7 a.m., have a quick Americano and then it’s off to workout with my trainer, Alex, at a gym called Circuit Fit on Mount Pleasant and Davisville. After a 30-minute circuit training session, I shower and head off to work, but not before grabbing a second coffee at Wagamama’s on King Street. A typical work day includes checking voicemail and e-mail, making sure appointments are running smoothly, chatting with clients and making sure they’re getting the best service, repairing any small handy (wo)man things I can actually do myself! (For example, replacing doorknobs, tanning bed maintenance, unplugging drains, etc.) Creating new monthly promotions and executing them – from writing the copy and assisting on the design to sending out e-mail blasts and getting posters printed. I’m often assisting staff with any HR issue and I’m the salon’s in-house IT person, so I try to sort out any computer issues. Once work is done I race back home to prepare dinner for my fiancé and I, make lunches for the next day, sneak in a load of laundry and dishes and check my e-mails one more time before bed. My last guilty pleasure is getting my daily gossip fix at, and then its nighty night by 11:30 p.m. 

Bruna DiCecca: I wake up to my 2 year old calling my name at 7 a.m. We go down, I prepare breaky and have my first coffee of the day. We eat, sing songs and my nanny comes so I can go get ready for work. I leave at around 9 a.m. to get to work for 10. Driving in from the ‘burbs can be a big pain, but I blast my tunes and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Upon arrival I do a walk-through of both salons to ensure everything is in a neat orderly fashion; check inventory; look at the appointments for the day; touch base with my partner at least three to four times a day just to keep each other abreast of what’s been going on at each location; and check in with the staff to see how they’re doing – if they have questions or concerns that need to be addressed. I reconcile cash-out from the previous night, run to the bank, pick up some lunch, get back to work and mingle with the clients. Sometimes I’m able to squeeze in a yoga class somewhere throughout the day. If I’m lucky, I get my hair done or a mani/pedi – that’s definitely one of the perks of owning your own salon J I try to leave before 5 p.m. but that rarely happens (something always comes up!) When it does, I’m stuck in traffic for 45 minutes to an hour. When I arrive home I make dinner for myself and my significant other, give my son a bath and hang with him, sing him a lullaby, say our prayers, and then he’s ready for nite nite. I join my honey on the couch until 11 p.m. and then its lights out! I usually fall asleep even before my head hits the pillow. Being self-employed and having a family is definitely challenging and tiring – but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

2. What was your first job out of school?

Maria Cristina: I bartended at some of the hottest nightclubs in the city during my twenties, from Fluid Lounge to the Guvernment.  I worked my but off every weekend, and thanks to bartending, I was able to finance the start-up of my business and buy my first home. 

Bruna: I worked at Pegabo Shoes and never received a pay cheque because I was buying a new pair of shoes weekly at age 15. I had six pairs of cowboy boots in different shades and styles and 42 other pairs of shoes. I still have a shoe fetish!!! 

3. What are the 3 skills you require most to do your job well?

Maria Cristina: I think because we have such a fast-paced environment, effective multitasking is a must. You’ve got to be able to do more than one thing at a time when you have 100 people coming through your doors in one day. As a small business owner, another important skill I believe you should possess is adaptability. If you’re not continuously evolving, learning and growing, you’re bound to fail. You have to be resourceful and savvy to stay ahead of the competition when you don’t have the unlimited budget of a larger corporation. Ultimately the number one skill I think you need to have in any career is passion. It’s something you hear over and over again, but it’s true. If you don’t eat, sleep and breathe what your going after you’ll never be the best at what you’re doing. You won’t be able to give that much of yourself and you’ll be miserable! 

Bruna: Organization, accountability and understanding; it can get pretty tough trying to manage 16 female staff members! A good sense of humour goes a long way too. 

4. What do you love most about your career?

Maria Cristina: I love the challenges that being an entrepreneur have presented to me. Through overcoming challenges in owning my own business I’ve learned not only amazing work skills like self discipline and staff management, but I’ve learned incredible life skills like how to maintain a successful partnership, and how to motivate people around me and to accept their limitations and empower them to rise to their fullest potential. 

Bruna: I love the social interaction with the clients and staff! It doesn’t feel like work; our clients are like family. They stop by just to hang out and chit-chat. I also like the flexibility I have to spend time with my beautiful son and the ability to bring him to work with me. 

5. Do you have any warnings?

Maria Cristina: My only warning is to truly be passionate about what you’re doing, because owning your own business is a 24 hour-a-day job. Its 11 p.m. as I’m filling this out, and when you wake up in the middle of the night it’s your business that you’re thinking about. Your day doesn’t end when your business closes. Your business is an extension of you so you take its successes and failures very personally. 

Bruna: Hire a business consultant prior to opening your business, it’ll save you a lot of time and $$$! 

6. If you could try a different career on for a year, what would it be?

Maria Cristina: I think I would try real estate. I’m a people person and I think I would enjoy the one-on-one relationship you forge when you’re helping someone make the biggest purchase of their life. 

Bruna: A reporter because I love to TALK! 

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