By Ryan Andrew Mitchell The Afro News Vancouver
In 1989, Elsa Piassa moved into the City of Vancouver. Living in a new town could be intimidating, but she did not let that break her confidence. She entered the Déjà Vu International School of Cosmetology, the first of its’ kind in Vancouver. When she unpacked her bags, she was unaware of the impending love and aid that was waiting for her.
Not certain of where to start, Elsa knew that she needed a place to call home, and guidance to encourage her. She was introduced to the Cross family and they quickly became her support system. She states “I met them through a friend, when I started working here. They were the first family I met in Vancouver; Anthony, Lukas, and the Mother, Delores Cross. Being in a new city, one can feel lonely but, having a family can ease that [feeling].”
Elsa had an innate passion for her career “I had always loved to make people look beautiful. Now I can put that to work here, that is what I love about the salon.” Piassa is not only her last name, but also the name of her birth place. “There is a little town in Ethiopia called Piassa where I grew up. I wanted to name the salon after my home.”
The Mother of the family, Deloris Cross, had a salon of her own. Cross was Elsa’s mentor and gave her the stepping stones in management and hair treatment, before Elsa graduated and studied advance training in North Carolina. “She helped me a lot; in fact she is a lot like my Mom!” Mrs. Cross introduced her to the business side of hairstyling. Once Piassa knew the in and outs of owning a salon she pursued her dream. “Deloris Cross taught me how to do hair.” Elsa admits if it wasn’t for the aid of the Cross family, especially Mrs. Cross, She wouldn’t have thought about opening her own business. “I’m in my position all because of the Cross Family.” Elsa is the mother of two twin boys Nathaneil and Romel aged seven. She comments that she got double what she bargained for. “I always wanted one boy, but then God gave me two, so that is a great blessing!” She looks forward to supporting and mentoring her own children. “I wish to keep the same business, and keep working in hairstyle, but most of all; I want to raise my kids.” She did not let fear overcome her when she was opening up her shop, and she welcomes young Mothers to pursue their potentials. “If you like to do something or have a passion… go for it, I’m [the type of person] who likes to take risks. [Back then] I really didn’t know if I would make it or not, but I then I would say ‘why not? If it works out well, that is great, if not, that is OK.”
Elsa states the need for everyone, especially young women to find a support system. “It is hard trying to manage a business and being a single Mother, but I have a lot of heart because of great friends and family. That is why I made it; I have a lot of help.” She admits that Deloris is one of the biggest anchors in her life, and she states that she is grateful for the building blocks Elsa used to construct her business. “She is like my Mother back home, and I will always see her as my Mother.