This year has been life changing on a global scale – Covid-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives. It has and continues to have a major impact on the beauty industry.
I first interviewed Laura in 2017 when she was a hair stylist at Texture Hair Salon in the Byward Market. Life has changed quite a bit since then. Here is my follow-up interview with her as she embarks on a new chapter of her career.
What was your first reaction when you found out the shop was closing its doors?
It was very shocking to say the least. I was going through a lot of emotions, I worked with some great people and was able to make great connections. I will always have great memories from Texture Hair Salon.
Texture allowed me to grow as a stylist and a person. I will be forever grateful for the time that I spent there. \The one thing the closure allowed me to do was to reflect on my career and on my future, which led me to open up Studio Youforia.
What made you decide to open a salon suite versus going down another route?
I was given a couple opportunities and over my 10-year career I have worked in a couple of salons. I felt now was the perfect time to take control of my career and express myself creatively in my own space. Not saying that I couldn’t before, however as I look around Studio Youforia I crafted it to be a direct representation of myself and who I am as a stylist.
How did you come up with the name Studio Youforia?
That’s a great question, it took me a few days of tossing ideas back and forth. I had thought of a lot of names, that were unfortunately already taken. I was out for a walk listening to music, Mac Miller has a song called Youforia, I liked the play on words and it just seemed to fit the style I was going for.
What emotions did you go through on your first day?
A little stressful, but it was a great feeling to be back behind a chair. The first day I only did haircuts, I felt it was a great way to get back into the groove.
I cannot thank my clients, my family and friends enough for the support they have given me over the last few months with opening Studio Youforia.
The appeal of salon suites is a chance to be your own boss. However on the other side you have your financial future in your own hands. Though you don’t have all the responsibilities, risks and costs of a salon owner, having a salon suite is still a big undertaking. How has the adjustment been for you?
It is certainly a learning curve and a little scary at times. I personally love the MySalonSuites because I found it an extremely smooth route from going from working for someone else to working on my own.
Do you find social media has become an even more important tool for you now?
It is huge for my career, it allows me to connect with clients if they have questions about products, hair or even booking appointments. Social Media is a fantastic showcase of my work, which in turn is how I advertise. I want people to be inspired with new looks, through my Instagram feed or Facebook and to show my clients what is possible with their hair.
Although you are near other Salon Suites, do you find it a bit isolating at times-going from a salon environment where you saw clients and team members every day?
Not at all, I find that I can close my door and have my own peace and quiet. The one on one environment allows me to connect with my clients more than ever before and quiets the distractions from working in a busy salon.
What has been great about the move, however, is that a bunch of my co-workers came from Texture and it’s great to have those familiar faces around to bounce ideas off and socialize with. Sometimes it feels like I never left.
In order to have a long successful career in the beauty industry education is key. When you are part of a team you inspire each other – you are part of a culture, a community. How do you plan to continue with your education now that you are on your own?
Education is huge for me; I find it important to always be learning. You can never be perfect you always need to be receptive to new ideas and new ways of working.
Yes definitely working with a team brings you inspiration and new ideas, however even when working at Texture I found other ways to be inspired and keep myself educated through programs and classes. Talking to other stylists is huge for me, they always have great ideas and concepts.
Social media is huge for inspiration while I hope my social media inspires other hairstylists and my clients, I know there are some that I follow on social media that inspire me to try new things. As well, working with different brands has allowed me opportunities to learn new things. The freedom to choose the brands I work with has been huge for my education.
Finally, virtual classes seem to be the way of future for now, however I really look forward to getting back in the class with other stylists and inspiring each other.
Do you still plan on competing in hair awards?
Absolutely! I cannot wait till we open back up a bit more, that way I can go back to competing on stage. While some companies are doing online/virtual competitions, I don’t know if those are for me. There was nothing better than being on stage that rush of competing was amazing, but who knows I may compete again (virtually) depending on how long this is going to go on.
Do you find it more difficult to separate your work and home life now that you are on your own?
It was certainly an adjustment balancing it all. When I was at Texture I had a full support system, I had someone to help me with booking clients, colour orders among other things, which meant I could leave all my problems at the salon knowing that stuff would all be taken care of. Now that all falls on my shoulders.
While in the beginning it was certainly hard to find the balance. I think I have it finally figured out and definitely found a perfect work/life balance.
It’s hard to believe that there is little over a month left to go before end of the year. If you could describe 2020 in five words or less – what would they be?