This month let’s meet Victoria Perez.
MP | How did you get your start and how long have you been in the carwash industry?
VP | Like a lot of people in the industry, I never imagined that I would be working in carwashing, but I am so glad that I am. I was exposed to the industry roughly six years ago when I worked as an account manager at an advertising agency and made the shift to director of marketing for Bubble Bath Car Wash in January 2022.
MP | What is the most important lesson you have learned while working in the carwash industry?
VP | Teamwork makes the carwash work. I know that doesn’t rhyme, but it is true. Getting a carwash open, running and growing takes a village — from crew members to mechanics to marketing vendors — and it is a constant effort that requires creativity and flexibility.
MP | What advice do you have for women getting into the carwash industry today?
VP | My advice would be to trust your gut and own your position. While entering an industry that men have historically dominated can be daunting, it offers a unique opportunity for women to show up and bring their individual strengths, ideas and skills to the table. We are selected for these positions, because of our expertise and abilities, so we need to remain confident in our approach to leadership and trust our knowledge and experience to guide us.
MP | What are some challenges you have overcome as a woman in the carwash industry that you’d like to share with other women in hopes of helping them to overcome similar challenges?
VP | I was the first woman to fill a director position at Bubble Bath Car Wash. So jumping in was equally as exciting as it was intimidating. While I didn’t meet extreme resistance entering my role, I sensed that most of the team didn’t understand my position and its impact. That made it hard for me to get buy-in and support from everyone.
I tackled that with firmness, constant communication and consistent follow through. I informed everyone about our marketing plans and included the execution and results. Once the team saw my intentions and role in the company’s bigger picture, I saw more trust and respect. I also offered assistance outside my position, such as HR, internal communications and operations. Diving in to help in other areas strengthened my position as a team player. Having a great leadership team has also helped tremendously. They have supported me and helped me navigate situations every step of the way.
MP | What aspect of the carwash industry is most exciting/rewarding to you?
VP | The carwash business touches so many people, from our employees to our customers. The Bubble Bath Car Wash puts a lot of time and effort in being a great employer and an active community partner. Seeing the effects of those efforts has been the most rewarding to me.
From an employment standpoint, we have so many young adults realizing their opportunity to grow at The Bubble Bath and the potential for carwashing to be a viable career. We have employees — many of them are women — who are taking the initiative in advancing their roles or creating new roles altogether. The fact that they feel empowered to do so means we are doing something right as an organization.
From a community angle, carwashing is a great vehicle to get involved with organizations and causes that strengthen the community. Our community agenda, The Bubble Bath Promise, is our constant effort to stay involved and give back to the areas that help us build our business. Knowing that we positively impact lives outside of our business, whether through donations or time, is extremely rewarding.
MP | What three character traits are most important in your opinion for a woman starting out her career in carwashing?
VP | Accountability: Say what you are going to do when you are going to do it and hold all parties included accountable. This is a great way to earn trust and set expectations.
Empathy: Take time to assess the situation and understand what everyone is feeling and why they may be feeling that way. In my opinion, practicing this leads to some of the best outcomes and collaboration.
Confidence: Remember that you are in your position for a reason and own it. Even if you don’t have all the answers, know that you can figure it out.
MP | What would you have done differently starting out in the carwash industry if you could go back to the beginning? Or, would you not change a thing?
VP | I would have made the move sooner.
MP | Did you have a role model or a mentor in this industry? If so, who and how did he or she inspire you?
VP | My boss, Nick Lopez, has been my mentor and biggest advocate for quite some time now. Working with him has shown me the importance of networking and forging relationships, and his passion for people has inspired me to look at the industry as more than carwashing, but as a way to change lives.
Melissa Pirkey is the CEO/president of Melissa Pirkey Insurance, dba Car Wash Insurance Agency. If you are interested in sharing your story in an upcoming issue, please contact her at 214-998-8960 or [email protected] or email PC&D’s Rich DiPaolo at [email protected].