As long as I can remember, I always dreamed of being a hair stylist. I was told by many that I wouldn't be able to make a living "doing hair," but I busted that myth long ago. You can read more about the beginning of my hair journey here, but this blog post focuses on my newest journey: pushing myself to follow my dream of opening my very own salon in Los Angeles.
I worked as an assistant and a stylist at various salons before I made the decision to go off on my own. When I first branched off, I started a home studio, and once I built a solid clientele, I moved into my private luxury studio (where I have been transforming hair for the last 2+ years). All of these moves were important and necessary, but deep down I always wanted to open a salon of my own.
And this past September, the day before I turned 27, I signed the contract!
Now that my dream has become a reality, I am seeing how much detail, time, and money goes into opening a salon. I'm happy to be open and share my experience with all my fellow stylists, but fair warning: if you also dream of opening a salon of your own, be very cautious and know what you're getting yourself into before you do it. Even though it isn't easy, and (in full transparency) I am stressed out of my mind trying to figure everything out as I go, I know I wouldn't want to have it any other way. My DREAM is finally coming true!
From finding a salon in a location with heavy foot traffic to designing every inch of the building with MY brand, hiring my creative team, and filing permits and licenses, there is SO much that goes into starting a business. Here are some of the key details that have gone into opening my new salon:
Locating the perfect salon and location
Larisa Love Salon is located in the heart of Studio City: 12180 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA 91411.
Finding an amazing construction team.
My construction team, Racing Green Construction, brought my vision to LIFE.
I highly recommend them for any design and construction needs; they will bring your dreams to 100% fruition. Dougal Murray, head of design is SO great! He listened to my vision and went above and beyond to meet my needs, exceeding my expectations beyond imaginable.
Customizing my design
The space I bought was a salon in its previous life, newly remodeled only a year ago. However, it didn't reflect my brand and who I AM. If I am going to dream big, I know I need to go all in and make it my own. That is why I decided to tear the whole place down, start from scratch, and create MY brand, MY vision.
If I am going to do it, I am going to do it right the first time!
You will see that my salon is completely customized. My reception and seating area is all custom made. The stations and the mirrors are custom made, and the color bar is custom made... Okay, you get the point. In order to fully capture my style, I know that a customized look and feel is the only way to go.
Creating a logo
I know that my logo will be the first point of interaction with many new clients. I went with classy and simply.
Hiring talented stylists and a loyal manager
When I am not seeing my own clients, I am traveling to teach classes or attend hair shows. I knew that it was finally time to expand and hire, so to start, I've hired three stylists, three assistants, and one manager. This process wasn't easy. While I had over 300 amazing applicants, I held around 50 interviews and had to narrow down my options to just seven new hires. Talent and experience is important of course, but personality and cultural fit is just as necessary to the overall atmosphere and client experience.
Budgeting for all of the expected and unexpected costs
Think of what your budget is and then DOUBLE IT!! I promise, from experience, that the budget you think you need to start up a business is much more than you think. While I am blessed to be able to open a salon on my own without getting out loans or any business partners, this is not the reality for many. Be sure to team up with a business partner you get along with and trust so that you can get the best business loan out there.
Moral to my story...
Now this is just the beginning of my journey. I haven't even touched base on inventory, products, stations, or the color bar for the salon. I won't overwhelm you with all this information...yet.
The point is that we all have dreams, but are you willing to get down and dirty with paperwork, stress, and anxiety to do what you love? Are you willing to put everything else aside and lose countless hours of sleep to fully focus on your business?! I know I do, and I would do it all over again!!
Trust your instinct, get your BOSS face on, and go out and make your dreams into a reality!
Be sure to follow @LarisaLoveSalon on Instagram for updates about the grand opening.
Cheers to a new year with new adventures! xo Larisa