Perhaps because everyone does so, I don’t like to walk through the city at night. But sometimes I have no choice and on one of those occasions, on a Saturday night, I was returning from having supper with some friends and I went by the corner of F and 23, in Havana’s Vedado district, very close to my home. On the other side of the avenue the Salon D’Luce was lit up and “El Luce,” as the son of the electrician of the town of El Rancho, in Caimito, is called, was giving a young woman a last minute haircut. I looked at my watch, it was close to eleven, and I told my wife: persons like Yoandry are what this country needs to continue going forward. I had not seen a beauty salon working until so late.
I few months we didn’t know each other, but we have already shared some moments and, little by little, I have started to understand how that vision was possible. Yoandry “El Luce” began giving “machos” haircuts during military service because there was no one else to do it. Twenty or thirty a day, just like that, because “what has to be done has to be done.” He undoubtedly had some skill since when he later entered a student hostel to study in the Agrarian University of San José he continued giving haircuts to his friends and to others who demanded more attention to aesthetics.
When he got to the Faculty of Accounting and Finances, and already living in a student hostel in Havana, he continued giving haircuts there and was able to sit the first young women on the chair. He developed new skills and another focus. The small enterprises he assumed during that stage together with giving haircuts, to earn a living, were so varied, so demanding of wit and will that they awoke my interest for his style of work.
In this business, either you have a natural inclination or a powerful vocation for service. He entered the Bella Caribe International School, overlooking the suspicions of half a hundred of “inflexible friends” who think that beauty services are not for men. And, luckily, with the encouragement of a few and blind determination, he graduated two years later with the essential knowledge in hairdressing, giving massages and as a barber.
1. D'Luce beauty salon. Photo: Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida
2. D'Luce beauty salon. Photo: Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida
3. D'Luce beauty salon. Photo: Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida
4. D'Luce beauty salon. Photo: Alain L. Gutiérrez Almeida
But the difficult part, even with the knowledge, is to insert oneself in a world dominated by stereotypes and with a projection completely alien to his spirit. He accepted working as the assistant of a professional, who paid him with just learning. In a few months he was prepared to rent a space and accept his first regular clients. The location of the space – in front of the popular Habana Libre Hotel – led him to face clients from throughout the island and many foreigners, and with practice came the confidence and certainty of having found the path. Three years. He is able to open his small space on 23 and F, still under construction. And it is fabulous to see how almost all the result of his work has been reinvested in the new project, how he has started incorporating personnel, refining a style, in addition to all his work. The force of the enterprise and his principal virtue is respecting and paying total attention to each client.
Before getting a premature idea of the project, I sat down in one of the chairs. What almost everyone says and is almost impossible to perceive, the personalized service, is notable right from the start. The amount of persons who place their image in Yoandry’s hands continuously increases. I have followed the evolution of this project that started from scratch, with vocation and talent that were not inherited. Others have perceived the same energy. Entrepreneurs like him are condemned to success, and we cannot do anything else but cooperate with the inevitable: that D’Luce become a referent of virtuosity, honesty and good taste for the indispensable enterprise of the Cuba that’s coming.