Estetica LOVES a good story. When you work hard, you catch people’s attention, and make an impact, you deserve some recognition for all your efforts. This is why we’re highlighting the Faces of Sola.
Each year Sola Salon Studios selects 10 salon professionals in their community who have done just that; earned the opportunity to be acknowledged for what they’ve done well. They are beauty pros that are excelling not only in the careers but also in their Sola studios and we are fascinated by their stories and very different career stories!
Polly Sanders-Peterson, Polly & Company // Denver, Colorado // @pollysanderspeterson
For starters, Polly is 73 years young and has spent 50+ years of her life behind the chair. We are honored to have the first black hairdresser and first black salon owner in Cherry Creek (a neighborhood of Denver) in our Cherry Creek Sola and a 2018 Faces of Sola. She shared stories with us about cutting hair the day Martin Luther King Jr. spoke, opening up her salon to cut white women’s hair for free that day alongside her black clientele.
She was a bit of a trailblazer and pioneer in the ‘60s for the hairdresser community. Actually, she’s the reason you can charge $65 for a haircut. Polly was one of the key players in making it so that hairdressers could raise their prices.
Polly The Business Owner: Her best business advice is this: “Make sure you understand the working side of running a business, and not just focus on the styling side of it all. Spend time and surround yourself with people who are excellent at business development. I honestly think that’s what makes Sola so successful.”
Christopher Matthew, Dillinger’s Hair Company // Long Island, New York // @dillingershaircompany
Where do we even begin with Chris?! He’s chock-full of passion, charisma, drive, experience, knowledge, connections, and… an amazing, down-to-earth and warm personality. Chris has a born-to-give spirit. From helping impoverished people in other countries to cutting hair for the homeless to having dreams of becoming an educator to help others expand their knowledge and skills (whether that be in hairdressing/barbering or in business & marketing), we knew the minute we interviewed Chris Matthew for the first time, that making him one of our 2018 Faces of Sola was an obvious choice.
During our interview, we asked him if he had 10K to invest in his business/brand, he said, “I would look into getting a larger suite, along with an assistant, and would add a serious coffee/espresso station. I’ve always wanted to do a hipster coffee shop/barbershop. I want to serve espresso, and create lattes and latte art, while someone is shampooing hair, and give them a macchiato.”
Ashley Lantz, TressPassing Salon // Avondale, Arizona // @ashleylantzhair
Have you ever met someone who radiates confidence, creativity, and compassion? Well, meet Ashley, because she’s the real deal, and we’re thrilled to have her as one of our 2018 Faces of Sola! When she’s not in her Sola studio, this certified color master is an educator for MATRIX and a true foodie at heart
Ashley The Business Owner: Imagine being able to pay your Sola studio rent in retail profit. Ashley does just that. She has mastered the art of retailing and has established a strong relationship with her sales consultant. Making product knowledge a top priority and educating her clients on how to use them, and creating a remarkable retail area in her studio, is her not-to-secret secret.
Alex Sylvester, Edge by Alex Sylvester // Birmingham, Michigan // @alex_sylvester_
Alex has this certain energetic and endearing quality about him that makes him completely approachable and genuine. He’s absolutely adored by everyone at his 33-studio Birmingham Sola location and his personality is carefree and versatile.
Teaching and mentoring others are some of his proudest passions. When he’s not working for Paul Mitchell as an International Educator, he’s collaborating and educating with Antonio Heath, one of our 2017 Faces of Sola. He’s always been a big risk taker and strongly believes that in order to succeed, you have to take risks, market yourself, your brands and put yourself out there and show the world your work in its raw essence.
Ashley Lewis, Nest Hair Studio // Richmond, Virginia // @the_blondologist
Ashley Lewis is someone who has definitely caught our eye. We’ve been watching her just absolutely killing it on social media over the course of this past year, and knew she needed to be one of our 2018 Faces of Sola. During her interview, we learned a lot about the colorist who has an ongoing “closed” book (she’s not accepting any new clients!) and learned her secret about how to make your client’s Instagram photos look professional and vibrant. No, it’s not investing in a good ring light (although yes, you should use a ring light), but everything to do with painting a wall with a high-reflective white paint. It truly makes a difference. You can see more Ashley’s Instagram shots and her how-tos, HERE. See what else makes her pretty special:
When she’s not making her color clients’ dreams come true, she’s an educator for The Business of Balayage. After continuously engaging with them on Instagram, and after applying to their open call for educators, she has been teaching her techniques and providing tips to colorists who want to take their skills to the next level.
Ashley only offers color services to her clients. That’s it. By doing so, it has made her happier to be in the salon, while also making her business exceptionally profitable. She has found her true passion and area of expertise and she is laser-beam focused on cultivating that day in and day out. In fact, 85% of her business is…you guessed it…balayage!
Morgan Cameron, Enlightened Beauty // Sacramento, California // @enlightenedbeauty
An aspiring health coach, Morgan is totally killing it as an esthetician with a focus on organic, environmentally friendly products and of course beautiful skin (she’s currently taking clients seven days a week!). Maybe it has something to do with her desire to lead with kindness and her empowered spirit to heal and help others.
“My business isn’t so much about skin care, it’s about building my community,” she shares. “If somebody isn’t comfortable in who they are because they have bad skin or they need to get their eyebrows done or something, they cover their face more and their shoulders come in and they walk a little bit lower. I have clients that have extreme acne or extreme pigmentation and when you know that you’re doing something that also builds them up and then they’re happier, and then they’re like trickling their feelings throughout the community you live in, I would say that’s the most rewarding thing about doing what I do.”
Morgan has also mastered the art of retailing so much, that she also pays her rent in retail. She even has big dreams of starting her own product line. If Morgan had 10K to spend on building her business/brand, she said that she would use this money to do just that.
Amanda Fagan, Saba Salon // Novi, Michigan // @amandafaganhair
Amanda had us in tears during her interview. She spoke so eloquently about her father, who had passed away, expressed such love and gratitude for her husband who has helped her along her Sola journey, and shared highlights and struggles she’s embraced to achieve what she has today. She is a true example of how sometimes you just have to chase your dream and take a leap of faith. For her, it was opening up her Sola studio, and it was the best decision she could have ever made.
“I would say, ‘Why not?’ Why not just try and explore it. Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back. Just do it. You’re not going to know unless you try it.”
LaShonda Banks, Tress Elite Salon // Atlanta, Georgia // @tresselitesalon2
LaShonda is one of the best and well-known natural hair care specialists in Atlanta, Georgia. Her passion is not only to provide outstanding hair care services and styling to her clients but also to help build their self-esteem and confidence. As a young mother, LaShonda began her career as a hairdresser while raising her son. When he was only 10 years old, LaShonda opened her salon at Sola – and in the blink of an eye, 11 years later, she continues to thrive and grow, year after year. Let’s get to know Lashonda a little more:
Many of you can relate to LaShonda’s biggest career obstacle—leaving a commission-based salon. Taking that leap of faith and accepting that level of risk was one that she struggled with, but…she pushed thru and followed her own advice, and frankly, it was the best decision she could have ever made.
Jennifer LaVigne, Jennifer LaVigne Hair Studio // Ann Arbor, Michigan // @jenniferlavignehair
What’s interesting about Jennifer is the fact that she never had big dreams of becoming a hairdresser. But now that she is, Jennifer is making a big name for herself in the Ann Arbor area and amongst the Sola community. Her Instagram is growing, and her color, cut, and styling are completely flawless.
She is a 1st generation immigrant who came here to pursue the American dream. Jennifer came to the United States from the Philippines with several other friends to work in the IT world. After a while though, she grew tired of her day-to-day work and found it quite impossible to continue down the IT path. After hearing about a beauty school that offered night classes, Jennifer made the decision to enroll, because she knew it was something she could learn and make a business out of it for herself.
When people say, “I wish I could clone myself” well, Jennifer has done just that. She has hired and trained an assistant to multiply herself in the salon. It was a strategic business decision to make better use of her time.
Mahogany Plautz, Carve Salon // Minneapolis, Minnesota // @mahoganyhairstylistmpls
Mahogany truly is a breath of fresh air and is intoxicating to be around. She has a vibrant personality, a wicked sense of humor, and is an incredibly talented and well-educated hairdresser who has this unrestrained desire to share the wealth of knowledge with others. She is a national educator for John Paul Mitchell Systems.
Who has made the biggest impact on her business? In addition to Paul Mitchell Systems, it would have to be Nina Kovner. Here’s why: “I don’t think I have enough words for what that woman has done for my self confidence and my self respect. Even though I have confidence, it does take dips. Her whole philosophy and doing things you do for yourself so you can do better things in the world has resonated with me. She has great advice and she makes you work for it. She pushes you to be a critical thinker and makes the right choices for you. She helps me to see more opportunities and what it is to be a hairdresser; the soul of hairdresser and beyond just the hands of a hairdresser. Nina has helped me see my real value.”
Estetica further invites you to meet this year’s 2018 Faces of Sola not only on a beauty professional and a business owner level but also a personal level by following this link here! at Faces to the Sola blog, because Sola is a community of truly Independence in Business: Connect with Faces of Sola Salon Studios!