Donna Martin loves what she does for a living. In fact, she attributes the longevity of her business, Donna Martins Hair Design, to loving what she does everyday.
“The fulfillment of feeling needed and making people happy every day is a blessing that I am grateful for,” Martin said.
From age 8, hair styling fascinated her.
“My mother’s coffee times with friends were always interrupted by me playing and teasing their sixties-inspired hair-do’s,” she said.
As she entered Coughlin High School in 1972, she already knew that college was not the path she would choose. A year later, she enrolled at the Wilkes-Barre Area Vocational Technical School in the cosmetology program.
“This was a three-year program that allowed me to receive my cosmetology license and high school diploma in 1976. I furthered my education at Empire Beauty School and received my managers/teachers license in 1977,” she said.
Martin established her hair salon in the Forty Fort area in 1983. She acknowledges that her business has allowed her to serve the community by providing a culture to enhance the beauty and well-being of others.
But, the personal service Martin is most proud of is being a volunteer instructor in the “Look Good, Feel Better” program, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. This program was designed to offer beauty culture advice to women dealing with hair loss and skin changes and to provide emotional support during their cancer treatments.
“I was a part of this wonderful program for more than 10 years,” Martin said. “Having dealt with this horrible disease throughout my career with my clients, and with my own family, this vital mission is near and dear to my heart.”
During her career, she has also been an advocate for the “Locks of Love” program for decades. Many of her clients have grown their hair to the required length to make wigs for children in need, some which have done such multiple times.
“People helping people is contagious. I am honored to be part of it,” she added.
She has developed a family-like relationship with her clients, many of whom have been with her for more than 30 years.
“We have experienced many life moments together,” she said. “Marriages, children and grandchildren have taken me into second and third generation haircuts. Unfortunately, sickness, injuries and losses, also find their place. My clients have stood by me, and I by them, offering each other much needed therapy,” she explained.
She admits she would not be as successful in her career without the support of her family – husband, Jim; son, Jimmy and daughter, Katie – who have understood the need to work long hours, many weekends, and her dedication to her clients.
Martin strives to achieve the balance of work and family.
“Both of my children were literally raised in my beauty shop, and have developed a love and need for helping others within their own careers,” she said. “My husband also, has a passion for community service, and excels in that aspect of his life.”
Her advice to any young entrepreneur is to choose a career that follows your passion, and work for the joy of making a difference in someone’s life.
She lives by the philosophy of “the purpose of life is a life with purpose.”
“Find that purpose,” she added, “and make it your life.”