Women of Style: Sonya Dove
Co-owner, The Doves Studio, Santa Monica, CA
Co-founder, The Doves creative team
Spokesperson and educator, Wella Professionals and Nioxin
Licensed: 1980, City and Guild Certificate in England; also licensed in California
First job: At the Imperial Hotel salon in England. It was my Saturday job while I was attending cosmetology school.
Clients per week: 48
Price point: Cut and blow dry: $195 and up; color: $130 and up; highlights: $210 and up
Why did you choose beauty? Because I knew I wanted to work with people. At the time, my boyfriend Christopher Dove was signed up to start cosmetology school, so his family suggested I try it. Best thing I have ever done.
Milestones: Opening my own salon at the age 19 with Christopher; leaving our salon and coming to the U.S. to head up education at Shelton’s salons and Ogle schools in Dallas in 1994, opening The Doves Studio in Santa Monica in 2007.
Big break: Being asked to do a huge big show in London for the Association of Hairdressing Teachers.
Career advice you’ve received: Be consistent and reliable.
Career advice you’ve given: Follow your heart and instinct, and do everything with passion.
Your mentors: Trevor Sorbie , Vidal Sassoon, Ann Mincey, Beth Minardi and Christopher Dove
Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty? On a stylist-to-client level, women have an innate ability to understand the spiritual and social concerns of women.
Sacrifice and lesson: I’ve tended to be a workaholic. It has only been the last six years that I have worked really hard on trying to balance work and pleasure. I have earned a great reputation in the industry, which is why I do not regret it.
What does “work/life” balance mean to you? This is still my big demon. When Christopher and I were married, we were both workaholics, so we did not have much free time to do other things. Years later and now dating, I realize I want to make time for my partner. I have grown to realize I need someone who is calm, easy going and very Zen, as this helps me personally. I have also discovered a new hobby—dancing to house music—and I LOVE it.
To follow in your footsteps, a woman would have to: Find someone she could partner with creatively and on the business sense. Be true to herself and stand by what feels right. This has been my key to success.
Famous woman you would like to style: Victoria Beckham
Next change to my personal style: For the first time I have had hair extensions and am enjoying long flowing hair. The next cut will be more of a stronger bob with a fringe. I leave my hair in Christopher Dove's hands as he has been cutting my hair since I was 13 years old.
Reading: The Four Agreements, given to me by the owner of Gadabouts salons and spas. I also have a huge addiction to "Hello" magazine from England.
Playlist: "Finally" by Kings of Tomorrow and “Take Over Control” by Afrojack. I love house music and dancing is my best way of relaxing.
Important client experience. I had a client whose hair was just growing back from having chemotherapy, and it was only an inch long . She made an appointment with me and when she came into the salon she was so apologetic that she had hardly any hair to work with. It felt good to do the best for her I could. This client has sent me so many new clients. She says because I cared and had empathy for her, it made her feel so good and her self esteem increased dramatically. This made me see how I can change the way people feel about themselves just by my work.
Every day, just for you: I pour a nice, large glass of red wine, and reflect on the day or call a close friend to catch up.
Working on: The International Trend Vision show in New York coming up at the end of October, and global projects for Nioxin We also have some fun events for the salon coming up.