Holly Waldhauer, from Chicago, knew nothing about swimming pools or the industry. In the early 2000s she decide to quit her job and join a friend in Florida who was installing pool tile. It was a niche job which Holly had absolutely zero experience in. Some would look at a move like that as a risk.
“I was only 22,” said Holly. “When I made that choice, I was young. I wasn’t scared at all.”
Holly would work with her friend installing pool tile and doing other jobs on pools. She was enjoying the tiling aspect of it the most and decided it was time to start her own company once she had quickly mastered the skill.
The young, goal-driven woman from Chicago, who knew nothing about the industry, got her subcontractors license and her company was officially off the ground running. Holly was finding success in the pool industry.
“I was loving the whole experience of working on a project and seeing it from start to finish,” said Holly. “That’s what motivated me each day.”
To this day, Holly isn’t the prototypical business owner. You won’t find her behind a desk during the day planning and strategizing on how to grow her business.
“My day to day is physically demanding,” said Holly. “When I go to work, I’m full on labor working in the Florida heat from sun-up to sun-down.”
An in industry not dominated by women, Holly maybe one of the only females in the state installing pool tile.
“I’m the only female that I know of who does this job,” said Holly. “When I first started, I knew of one other woman, but she’s retired now.”
Holly’s business, Mermaid Lagoons incorporated, which started in 2002, is thriving today because of Holly’s hard work and dedication to her craft. Being an entrepreneur has been a role she’s embraced easily.
“I love running my own company,” said Holly. “I love the freedom and flexibility that comes with making your own hours.”
Holly doesn’t regret her choice at all.
“Absolutely no regrets,” she said. “It’s the best. It’s (the pool industry) absolutely the best. I have made great money in this profession, and then becoming an FSPA member, I’ve gotten to meet with other pool pros, make great friends and pick up a ton of business opportunities with the membership.”
Out of 415 specialty license holders in the state, only 17 are female.