Darla Dilbert is one of those people who knew from an early age exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“From the time I was 5 years old, I wanted to be in beauty," she says. "I loved doing my hair, dressing up, watching my mom put on her make-up.”
Dilbert grew up in West Bay and began working as a "Saturday girl" at Virginia’s Beauty Centre from the age of 9. In high school, her instructors recognised a natural ability for communication and information retention, and encouraged her to choose a teaching career. Despite being discouraged from pursuing cosmetology as a profession, she followed her passion.
After earning a cosmetology degree in Toronto, Dilbert returned to Grand Cayman where she began work as junior stylist at Le Visage salon. Within a year, she was promoted to manager at a small satellite location at Treasure Islands and two years later, as manager of the new main location, where she began refining her leadership skills.
Dilbert was only 23 when she opened Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa.
“I knew at some stage of my life that I was going to want to own a business."
Eclipze spent its first four years at Paddington Place before moving to Alexander Place for another 12 years. Then in 2007, Dart approached Dilbert about taking a space in the Camana Bay Town Centre. Although she was initially apprehensive, she eventually made the move.
Eclipze has now been in Camana Bay for 13 years and, on 1 April, it will celebrate its 29th anniversary overall. Dilbert says she still enjoys what she does.
“I love that we can make people feel so good about themselves within a short period of time," she says. "You can turn a person’s day around within a couple of hours.”
She says she also enjoys keeping up to date with industry trends and advancements.
"Cosmetology really fascinates me," she said. "Over the years, I continued to train in every area of this field to stay up to date with the constant changes. Over the last six years, I decided to study trichology, which deals with hair loss and scalp disorders and is the bridge between cosmetology and dermatology. That’s where my passion is now.”
Having recognised her calling so young, Dilbert can’t think of much she’d have liked to pursue instead, but she does recall a fleeting thought that evidences her bold character.
“I once thought about joining the air force; I was a bit of a daredevil — no fear — but that was only a small thought that crossed my head.”
This article was originally published in the March 2022 print edition of Camana Bay Times.