Owner, Harroin Salon and Haute Hollywood Locks
Sebastian Professional Stylist Design Team Member
Licensed: 2000, Golden West Community College Beauty School, Huntington Beach, CA
First job: I started an updo and makeup business at age 15 with my best friend Noel. We sublet a space out of a dress shop in downtown Huntington Beach. We specialized in high school dance hair and make-up. We were booked months in advance.
Clients per week: 35. I take clients 3 days a week, then do photo shoots and office work 3 days as well as traveling for Sebastian and other clients.
Price point: Cut: $120, highlights: $180; updo: $105, hair extensions: $1,700
Why did you choose beauty? I have loved doing hair as long as I can remember. When I was as a kid, if you sat next to me long enough, you would end up with a braid or updo of some sort (dad included). I was so happy to learn that there was a career in it! I love the fact that I get to dress up every day, work and chat with my friends, see my family at work from time to time. And everyone leaves feeling better, thanks me, pays and tips!! Oh and I can listen to whatever music I want, have tattoos and dress outrageous if I wish. I also love that my day is never the same. There has never been a day I haven't wanted to go to work. I feel so blessed to exercise my passion each and every day. And make people feel pretty at the same time
Milestones: Opening my salon at age 24, taking second place and Fan Favorite for Shear Genius, and receiving a plaque at Golden West Beauty School/Community College for Outstanding Achievement.
Big break: The Pussy Cat Dolls. That is what brought me to LA when I was 20 years old. They were an underground burlesque troop when I started with them. I would drive up 2-3 nights a week to style 15-20 girls till the wee hours of the night, then drive back to the OC and work a full salon day. It was a labor of love that ended up paying off big-time for me.
Career advice you’ve received: From my mentor Donna Federici: "It’s not the one thing you do. It’s the 100 things you do at once and all the time."
Career advice you’ve given: Being part of a team is much more rewarding than individual success. When you surround yourself with friends and mentors it is easier to go further, faster and it’s a whole lot more fun.
Your mentors: Donna Federici, my grandmas, Jason Lara, my parents and my best friends.
You mentor: My staff, my siblings and I’m a mentor for the Los Angeles Youth Network
Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty industry? Women understand the majority of our clients’ needs firsthand.
Are there challenges for women in beauty? As a salon owner, I’m faced with proving myself everyday. I come in an unlikely package (4 foot 10 inches, 30-year-old girly girl), so often people are surprised that their preconceived notions of a "boss type” don't fit my description. But I revel in a challenge and always strive to prove myself and help other women.
Sacrifice and lesson: My 20s were a blur, driving from Orange County to LA for the Pussy Cat Dolls, flying around the globe 2-3 days a week as a Platform Artist and juggling the challenges of owning a salon and pushing my freelance efforts. Needless to say, there wasn't much time left for leisure. But I don't regret a thing. I do, however, plan in my 30s to travel and relax just a bit more. In years to come, I'm going to try to work kids into the equation... so I don't see life slowing down any time soon.
Risk and reward: When I bought Hairroin (from a failed salon I was working at part-time), I used all the money I had saved carefully since age 18, and took over the salon lease, paid off the bills and began to build the Hairroin brand. It was probably the craziest and best thing I have ever done.
What does “work/life” balance mean to you? Just this year I started taking Sundays off… all the way off. It was a promise I made to my husband so that we can have real time together. I’m working on 2 days a week off by the end of the year.
To follow in your footsteps, a woman would have to: Ignore anyone who tells her no. So many people will project their own fear and insecurities on to anyone who is braver then they are. Surround herself with people she wants to be like. Save her money and live within her means. Take care of her mind, body and soul. Not waste time comparing herself to others.
Famous woman you would like to style: Martha Stewart. She is a huge inspiration to me.
Next change to my personal style: Blonder and longer! Also, I’m going to play with color blocking, A-line skirts and loafers this fall/winter.
Reading: Blogs (Stylecaster, Fashion Gone Rogue, Apartment Therapy, In the Kitchen); articles from Harvard Business Review (recommended by my sister Corie who is in her MBA program at NAU); The Art of War; and Bossypants by Tina Fey.
Playlist: “Punk Rock Girl” by The Dead Milkmen and “Nothing Compares To You” by Sinead O’Connor
Every day, just for you: A bath and cup of coffee every morning in my dream 1920s claw foot bathtub.
What are you working on next? Hairroin 2011 Cut and Style Collection with Hairroin’s Master Stylists to be revealed on Nov. 17th at our grand opening party. Hairroin is moving this month. Yay, big year!