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Take the Plunge: Ricardo Santiago On Starting a Solo Artist Career

Elizabeth Jakaitis | April 7, 2017 | 1:14 PM
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Ricardo Santiago

Instagram: @stylistricardosantiago

Cut & Style: $70-90

Single process color: $120-200

Favorite products right now: I absolutely love Joico's Blonde Life System, as well as Joico Luster Lock, which is a game changer of a conditioning masque.

Most used tool: Olivia Garden Cara Shears

Advice to other Solo Artists: “Prioritize your character. To be talented is one thing, but to be a relatable and kind person with integrity is another. Both are essential to true success. Also, don't ever think you kn

With nearly 50k followers on Instagram and a page full of stunning vibrant color, well-blended colormelts and precision-carved undercuts, it seems that there is nothing Orlando stylist Ricardo Santiago cannot do. However, when it came time to dive into the business of doing beauty independently, he admits that it was daunting stepping into this uncharted territory.

“I was hesitant to lose the security of the commission salon even though I knew I had the client base to support being on my own,” says Santiago. “When things at the salon I was at came to an end, I jumped into an opportunity to open a studio of my own. It was definitely a little scary at first, but there is something so liberating and exciting about being able to do what you want, how you want, when you want.”

For Santiago, maintaining relationships with clients and having the support of his wife/business partner were essential to his success as a Solo Artist. Running an independent business does not mean working alone; it means building a personalized network of beauty professionals that can be called on for support.

“Being a solo artist has opened more doors and opportunities than I could have ever imagined. It was hands down the best decision I ever made for my career.”

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After working in many different salons as an employee, manager, wedding coordinator and as a self-employed stylist, Gioia Gomez, currently based at Akasu Hair Studio & Spa, found the perfect balance. “There are many different ways to be a productive, profitable hairdresser. No one way is the right way for everyone,” she says. “I’ve found being a solo artist is a perfect fit for me.”

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