My journey began in Kiev, Ukraine, where I was born and raised. My family immigrated to America in the 1996 after winning the visa lottery. We settled in California. I was 5 years old when I first braided the hair on my toy-dolls. I showed my mother my proud work, but she’d thought my older sister had actually braided the dolls’ hair for me.
Hair is my craft, my passion, and my love. It’s in my blood. When I first started in the hair industry, I started from the bottom. I worked at salons in Beverly Hills, but I found the clientele I was servicing wasn’t fulfilling my creative needs as an artist. The looks were traditional, outdated, and boring. I took a huge risk, began working for myself, and rebuilding a clientele that would help me express my creative vision for what hair could look like.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdles came from taking huge leaps of faith, trusting God, and stepping out into the unknown. I found the self-confidence within myself to believe that I could, and that made all the difference. It always pays to bet on yourself.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
My father had a negative opinion of the hair industry and believed it to be a hobby, he still tells me to go back to school to be a nurse, or a secretary. At this point in my career, I own a salon in Studio City, California, I’m traveling the world teaching and educating with a team I love, and I’m in a community of people who love hair as much as I do, why would I ever leave? I’ve broken the gender expectations in my family and shown them what a woman can achieve when she’s passionate, focused, and determined.
I would do it all over again.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
I love hair, truly.
I love coloring it, cutting it, styling it, anything hair.
It’s a wonderful feeling seeing the look on my clients face when look in the mirror,
I make sure they feel beautiful when they leave my chair.
The most important factor in business is to Do What You Love.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Find your balance between work and taking time for yourself. I throw myself into my work 24/7. I’m either doing hair, creating content, answering emails, traveling across the globe, or thinking about doing hair, which can take its toll.
Balance is so important in my life so I don’t get overwhelmed. My me time is my exercise time, and that’s my place where I find the headspace to take decompress from it all, and plan my next move.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Love what you do and believe in yourself. Dedicate yourself to your craft completely and always give your best effort in everything you do. Know your ability and your audience. Also, it's very important be kind, compassionate, and loving, because reputations last a long time.