YOU must have a dream before your dream can come true.
As a 12-year-old shampoo girl, Albee Soong Shi Yun had a dream to set up her own hair salon, take a hair styling course in Paris and open a hair styling academy.
Twelve years later, Soong is now a proud owner of two salons in Gopeng, Perak.
Armed with a primary education, Soong may not be academically inclined but she believes in acquiring knowledge and experience as these are small steps to realise her dream.
“I am going to start on an English course soon,” she said of her next goal during an interview at her salon recently.
Bubbly and frank, the Chinese-educated Soong said she realised the importance of language after having worked in Australia for a year six years ago.
She said she was 18 then, and decided to return home to continue pursuing her dream after the year-long stint.
Soong, who turned 24 last month, opened Albee Beauty in Desa Lawan Kuda in Nov 2011 and Albee Beauty II in Gopeng town in Oct last year.
Soong, also a mother of a five-year-old boy, Chong Yu Jun, believes that a woman can have a family and career together though there was much juggling in between.
The last 12 years for Soong is a hectic one indeed.
At 13 she took up a one-year hair styling diploma in CHK Hair Academy in Ipoh.
“That is the basic only,” said Soong who went on to take other basic short courses on perming, colouring and hair cut.
She pointed out that hair styling is a fashion, just like clothes for instance, and thus the need to keep up with the trend.
Apart from learning and keeping up with the fashion, Soong said she also loved to put her skills to test.
“Competition is also a chance to learn from others and gain experience, and it is not just about winning or losing,” Soong said.
Nevertheless, she said she could not attend competitions frequently because of time constraint.
Besides, many of such events were also held in big cities like Kuala Lumpur, she added.
Having grown up in the IT era, Soong is glad that she can keep up with the latest development in this field all the while.
Apart from the normal hair styling services, she is also venturing into hairdos for special events, including concerts and weddings for instance.
Soong said she also did make-up, a skill she learnt from her aunt.
Hairdo and makeup complement each other, she said, adding that she does dinner makeup.
Her salons are open between 10am and 7pm daily except Monday.
But she was quick to add that she also accepts bookings outside the working hours.
Third among five siblings, Soong believes in hardwork and being independent, including financial independence, since young.
She said she worked part-time while studying for her diploma for instance to help finance her course and living expenses.
Most of all, Soong is also very hands on and work closely with her shampoo girls now.
“Good service and customer satisfaction are our priority,” she added.
On her next target — to set up a hair styling academy— Soong said she hoped more young people could have access to such courses without having to go to big cities.
She said she had not set a date on this target, for now.
But she believes she is nearer to her goal every passing day.