The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

EP. 13 Jess of Vanity Lounge Hair


Jess is a bomb Bay Area hairstylist, salon owner, and entrepreneur who's clientele includes Ayesha Curry, wife of Golden State Warriors NBA champion, Stephen Curry. Ayesha's hair always looks amazing and we especially love when she rocks a middle part bob! Jess gives great hair weave tips as well. Tune in.

Hello, hello, hello, everyone. Welcome back to the cut life podcast, where we interview the most amazing stylists in the business, and today we have jess, who is the owner of vanity lounge hair in the bay area. I'm correct, right, jess? Yes, that's correct, and I'm so excited to talk to her because before we even get into some more the backstory of her brand, I noticed her work because she is hairstyles for Aisha Curry, Steph Curry's wife, and I was like when I used Tould rock those Bob cuts and we started posting them on the cut life I was like wow, she looks edgier, she looking so fly and I'm like who is behind this hair? And then one day, I don't know how we did, you email me. I forget how we got in contact off of social media and into email, but jess reached out to me to advertise and then I was like, Oh, you know, we should get you on the podcast. But I was so impressed with you just because someone you know that it is so accomplished and already doing her thing. The fact that you were willing to invest in yourself in that way. It made me very impressed by you and I was like, like she is a boss, like a real boss, not a playboss out here. But yes, so just welcome to the show. My producer, Big Med is always in the building, the big homie in the background. Yeah, so you're based in the bay area and it's interesting because I always hear from a lot of black women that are on the west coast that it is hard to find stylist that do black hair, and I in a lot of those friends are in the La area. So I don't know if the bay area is different, but can you tell me a bit about just your start in the business and the culture of black hair in the bay area? Yeah, well, for me I grew up in the industry. My aunt did hair, uncle did here, great grandmother did here, cousin the ex petition. So the beauty industry is not new to me. It's just something I grew up in. So it's just a natural and that's really how I got my start, just being a shampoo girl in the salon. I like Twail, you know, like I was always in the Salan. By the time I was eighteen I owned my own salon. So it's just a AE. Yeah, when I was eighteen, I come on boss Lady, eight teens. See, maybe that's why your voice is sounding so cute, because I'm like you alreadyach. I'm not going to say your age because I don't know your age, but I'm like, she might be like Super Young. Still, I'm getting up there, aren't we all? Aren't we all, as long as we still look young as all good? Yes, no, I just had to early start. So yeah, I mean I just grew up in the business and is this the something I've always loved them and passionate about and something I just really just came natural. You know, in the bay area there there's tons of hair, of Salads. I mean there's tons of hairstylead said, I grew up influenced by and and admiring, but the culture with hair is a little different compared to maybe the east coast. Our climates are different, our techniques are going to be different, and I hear that a lot. But once my friends pretty much fine either like oh my God, well someone and I have a lot of clients that have moved here from the East Coast or, you know, from the south, and I've heard those things as well, but I think it's just more so that the techniques are different because our climate are different.

So it's just a couple things that you know we do that aren't done over there. Vice Parson Plan of great styles here. Yes, I would love to hear more about that because I'm originally from Providence, Rhode Island, but I grew up in Atlanta and my mom's from DC and also live there as well, and Atlanta and DC are really big markets for black hair and so I would love to hear your perspective being on the West Coast like what and I know it's kind of hard to explain certain techniques, you know when we're that people can't see because they're listening now, but what are some of the things that you have to do differently with black hair in that climate versus what they might be doing in the on the east coast or in the South? I think the biggest difference it's our thermal fowling, how we how we put that, how we put our heat on our hair, is a little different. I know that there's a lot of like blow drying and blowouts that are done on the East Coast and here we don't necessarily do that. I mean they're baby necessary because you have a lot more humidity here we don't have that. So we were able to just do a lot of flat ironing. A lot of moisture treatments are just going to be done on wet hair and them treatments. We don't do a lot of blow drying. It's pretty much our thermal foiling comes a lot from like flat irons. That's probable a lot. That's probably the biggest difference that I seen or clients looking for. No, I think that's amazing because honestly, I don't like putting a ton of heat on my hair, but sometimes because of the humidity, especially right now in Atlanta, the summer is popping and it's humd it goes from hot to rainy and that humidity is like nothing else and so your hair will go crazy. And then obviously I'm I rock my hair short, so that's a whole other level of maintenance going on with that. But no, I love that you have that different technique there and that you cater, you know, to the climate of hair and always like to hear people's experience is based on where they are. And again, we don't talk to a lot of stylists on the west coast, mainly just celebrity stylist that may work in La like doing a lot of like movie TV set stuff, so the conversation is a little different. So the fact that you have vanity lounge hair your own salon. I love hearing about that Salon experience from your perspective. And so you have been in business since you were eighteen, which is very commendable. But tell me how you even started getting into celebrity clientele and working with Aisha Kurry, because, like I said before, her hair has been looking super fly and I think that you are always testing out like new looks on her. I'm looking at her page and even though this particular one I'm looking at on your page is not a short style, but it's like a very textured braid and has some curl to it, like it's so beautiful. So definitely tell me how the two of you got together since create this magic. I would say it just it really was a fluke. It just not really a fluke. I don't want to say that, but honestly I would just say reputation and word them out is everything in its industry and, like I said, I've been doing it for a while and I just always was very conscious of my reputation and art of the brand and, you know, of myself as a stylish and really we we met about five years ago and it really was just that, the reputation of my Salan that brought her in it. She was looking for new styllus and you know, she was able to find me just through,... I said, just the brand having such a strong rap chere in the bay. Love that. So your brand basically speaks for itself. That's awesome. Yeah, and that's that's pretty much how he met and and the rest, you know, was just history. Really clicked it up. We hit it off and you know, I've dinner stylist for a while and you know, as she grew, I grew and really, I would say, you know, from there it's just like referrals, you know, I would I'm really like big on that, like referrals or everything. You never knows going to sit in a chair. You never know who your clients they know and if people love your work and they appreciate your passion, they know your reviable and consider the same things, you can all kind of referrals and it just lead to so, so many places. Know, I love that because on our page anytime we post one of your photos, it goes pretty crazy. You're definitely in the I called the Tenzeros Club, those that get ten thousand or more likes on their photos consistently, and that is a great thing. And so people that are salon owners and that are trying to build their brands, I would love for you to give just some tips on how to build a clientele and consistently build it, and I know one of the tips should be to do quality hair, because when you look at your page, I think the theme that I'm seeing across the board is very healthy looking hair. Everybody looks like it's cared for really well, and then the styles are like softer styles, but very well styled, I'll say. So give us some tips that we can give to usalant owners about just building their clientele and building a brand that can live off of word of mouth and that they can help build their business through some of these tips? Yeah, well, like you said, so it's working on your on your craft, you know, and being able to be consistent and give consistent quality work is the biggest thing. Like when you if you have opportunity to get one person in your chair that day, like you got to make it count. So you got to pull out of all your tricks and make, you know, make something, make something amazing, because you just never know who that person's going to tell. And Trust me, women we like to talk. So if we're happy and we let it, we're going to tell somebody. And besides that, you just you do the work, you get out there. I mean I'm doing everything, handing out flyers to back to back in the day when Craig was popped and we put Craig was as out there. I mean, you know, you got a hustle and do the work too, but once you get them in your chair, your job is to keep them in your chair forever. You know, I've got clients that I've been doing since I was eighteen. So every person you touch, you got to take advantage of that opportunity and believe that you know that client to possibly lead to your next client. You know that, along with just doing the consistent work. So you know, I mean it's redundant, but it really works getting out there with your flyers. I mean it's easier than when I started. Now you got instagram, so now you can. Now you can reach way more people than you can and one day handed out flyers just with a post, you know, investowing me yourself and advertising like instagram and social media has advertising campaigns like it's it's really like, you know, a no brainer at this point. But the consistency of doing a good job, you know, investining your craft and being consistent with those things, like it'll built. You know, I takes time, but it definitely do. I'm glad you mentioned that because I was going to ask how social media has changed not only your business but the hair business in general, and you really touched on a key point of it creating even more awareness outside of your own immediate neighborhood and your own, yeah,... So now if I have to go to the bay area and have a hosting GIG and I need my hair done, like, who am I going to call? The same chance I need to book an appointment, I'm going to be out there, and that's great, great marketing and great tips. And I love what you said about the consistency of it, because people think that engagement is going to happen overnight. You know, on their social media pages. have to be consistent about posting and consistent about responding to people in a professional manner and posting quality work with good lighting, good angles, without having a lot of crazy stuff in the background. We repeat these tips okay and over again. Some people get it, a lot of people get it in there are some that just don't want to listen, but like hey, that's how you really are able to brand and market yourself. And so I had a question that I have asked any other styliship but it was on my mind today when I was prepping for this interview, and just the idea of the stylist that doesn't say no, and what I mean by that is, you know how there are stylists that can have an array of stuff, services, I would say, that they offer and there will skilled in those services. But then there are some stylists that may be skilled in a particular area, but if their client asked for something, they'll say yes, they can do it and they really aren't as killed. Client walks away with like a sew in and the braids are falling apart or you know, just crazy stuff like that. So I just wanted to from a stylish perspective, get your thoughts on just when to say no and too, and also people who feel that saying no to a client might hinder their business, but you could actually still make money if you, you know, focus on your specialty and just kind of getting your ass behind that. Yes, that's funny that you brought that up. This is a conversation that we have in the phone all the time and I my clients just crack up because I just tell him the truth. I mean, at the end of the day, most stalists have something that they are most comfortable with, that they are most skilled in. I mean that's that's pretty normal, you know, like they're very rare. But you may be great and perfect at every single thing. So it's okay to say now it's okay to say, Oh my God, girl, I don't I don't really know if that's going to come on like that. I don't really know how to do that. It's Okay and nine times something I've done it, some many times. Nine Times of the ten, your clients will appreciate that and you'll say a client versus trying to do something doesn't come out or you know. I mean even sometimes you can't even play those kind of games with chemicals and cuts, like you can really Jack somebody else and it's not worth again your reputation. People appreciate it more to just be honest. You know, the client Salas relationship is is you know your your clients trust you. So if you're telling them no, I can't do that, then then you know, run it back with but we can do this, girl. You know, like you're not going to lose your clients trust you, they like you. You know you're not going to move. You know your entire business if there's just one thing you can't do and then if you feel like you're not skilled enough this, that's your name up. It's always, it's always room for improvement. Like I say, classes like. It's nothing wrong with it. You know. I mean I'm sure there's there are salads that have been doing here for twenty, thirty years that are still take more classes like it's nothing wrong. Things changed, things that ants. It's nothing wrong with adding to your skill level if you feel that there's an area that you lack in, you know. But other than that, I would say always be honest with our clients and know they heard say. They're there, you know, and they trust you. So it's okay to send now that word and a ministry and I hope they heard you aloud clear,...

...because we get tags. I mean, obviously we have a huge following. We get tagged in photos all of the time and I'm like okay, and then their stylus that want, you know, advice on how to grow their following it. Always tell them numbers don't always equate paying clients and you have to focus on that quality because you could have ten tho or five thousand followers and make more money than someone with a hundred thousand, just based on the quality service that you offer. But I'll see things tagged and I'm like this person is promoting this color and this is a horrible color job or this cut is uneven. It's just this is not a blunt Bob that anybody wants to like this. That's stop right here. Or they're like, oh, this is a finger wave on a Pixie. I'm like, no, the waves are hardly waving. They are do they've already landed on the shore. They're flat, they're no longer way. But yeah, they have to listen to that and know your strengths, and I think that a good way for stylist to be able to tell what their strengths are is to look at what are people booking you for. Like, if you're the best at pressing natural hair, promote that. If you're the best day we've or color cuts, what have you. Promote that. If you're the BOB's layer, make it happen and people will come to you and you won't have a lack of clientele because you're specializing. And the point you made about education is so very important, because no matter what field you're in, you should always continue to want to learn more and to grow absolutely in the industry and to become well versed with new terminology and things that are going on. And it even baffles me when style is don't want to get on social media. I'm like, it's free right, free marketing for Your Business, and it's so easy to build a clientele from there. And you know, we can. We try to have this podcast to give the people tips so that they can be empowered by just amazing stylists like you that are doing their thing and they have been in business for so long, and the fact that you've been in it since eighteen still blows my mind. I think that's amazing. And what are some of your future goals and plans for Your Business? I recently been thinking about that. We've grown our STALAS and in the Salon we've grown to a point that, you know, I'm very happy with and comfortable. We have. I think we are now versus hall and in every type of hair. We've got natural hair at styles, we've got color as, we've got precision cutters like so I'm happy there and I've act. We've been trying to figure that out. Like what's the next move? I really enjoy working, you know, on the on the film scene and and doing shoot, but I've been considering moving forward with four of those types of projects and I really really been focusing lately on the hairline and pushing the hairline and getting it out there more, because it's been such a success just here in the bay area. So it's like, okay, well, this is something that, you know, I stand by and I feel great about. So I've been focusing on that as well and you know, I'll just continue to you know, have this brand that really stands out and you know, itself apart, you know, and you know really just says quality and consistency. So why as I can keep that going, I'm still trying to figure out what's the next steps are. Well, that just means we'll have to do a whole other interview talk about it, you know, and the few months from now, like how things have continued to evolve. But I think that's great that, number one, you've...

...gotten a handle on your business and you've been successful for years and the and you know how to run a business, because some people are in business and it doesn't last or they're wondering why they're not able to maintain clients because they just you know, sometimes the salon to client etiquette can be crazy in a lot of places and I'm sure you've heard horror stories from clients you know that you've worked with that may have come from other places, whether it's waiting for hours to get your hair done or, yeah, not receiving the right treatments. It kind of blows my mind when you go somewhere and they want you to tell them everything, but I want you to look at my hair and say, you know what, you need a deep conditioning treatment, you need to steam dream, you need and trim, you need to touch up, like you're the expert right. So it's like I want you to tell me, but I think that is great that you have mastered that and you have a staff of specialists that are able to provide different services. Yeah, just shows that you're not selfish about it, that you're giving and open and having giving these other stylus and opportunity to grow within your salon and representing for the bay area because, I said earlier, I'm telling you, like the West Coast were always like we always get asked for stylist recommendations and obviously now I'm sending everyone to Vanity Lounge hair because I'm like, if you need somebody to bay, hopefully you can get an appointment and you can go and support Jess and your whole staff there and I would just love to see how you continue to grow and just trying different things. And the hairline is amazing because having your own product as a salon owner makes perfect sense because you have the customer base right there. You're like, Oh, you're try this new hairstyle, we got the hair for you right here. Yeah, I love it. Well, thank you so much. It was such a pleasure speaking with you and I just wish you all the success in the world. I know that Vandue vantasy lounge hair is going to continue to grow and expand and just take over. I mean the West Coast is pretty big. So expansion is not going to be hard for you and and everyone that's listening. Make sure you follow jess on Instagram at Jess Jess underscore, jewel, jewel, and we got to get those filet we're going to get those followers up, because I know you already popping, but we can't get you more popping. So they used to listen and follow and comment. And you don't have to be based in the bay. I'm sure everyone travels. We have a lot of travelers that follow us. So when you're jet setting, go ahead and jet said up there and yeah, hair done for that next warriors game. You know exactly. And even if I'm not available, my partner and all of the fowlers in the Salon are amazing and we showcase everyone's work in the salon. Like I said, we have natural hair stowers. Color is everything. So and you can look at everybody for work at Vanity Lounge hair per on instagram and then the website, Vanity Lounge haircom. Can they book on the website? Yep, banging around share that time. You can reach all the Shalas on there. Everybody has their individual contact information and everybody can be reached right there on the website perfect. Well, she's in a make just as an amazing stylist, and she's super cute too, because you'll see on her page she'll have the hair picks and then a few pics of her, but she's letting you know that she stands by her brand, so her hair is always together, as you know. That's what another thing that I can't stand is like, don't sell me hair and makeup services and your stuff is not looking right. I just never understood that a stylus in this along with crazy hair trying to do my hair. I'm like, how do I trust you right now? But anyway, thank you again and I'm sure we will talk soon. Thank you, Jes, thank you, thank you so much. Thank... for tuning into another episode of the cut life podcast. We're really excited. We have some cool things going on over at the cut life. One announcement that I can finally make now. We are the official media partner for the new Netflix Film Napoli. Ever after starrings and a Lathan. We just hosted, well, I just cohosted and influence her dinner with Larry Jerassim's, who is SNA's hair stylist, and he was also featured on the podcast previously. He did tons big chop and created many of the looks for the film and then he did a big chop for a cutlife contest winner at brauner brothers. So that's why you have to make sure you're following the cut life and staying on our email lists because we have all sorts of contests and giveaways happening on there and you never know, you may have an amazing celebrity style is like Larry cut your hair for you one day. And also just stay tuned to our website live the cutlifecom we have our summer interns have been cranking out amazing content. There's some really dope blogs on there that we want to make sure that you check out. And I'm always traveling, so I know I don't shout out my personal instagram a whole lot, but it's to hear a joy Tahira Ajohy, and you can see which city I'll be in. I definitely want to touch and hug and talk to all of you. I was just in Columbus and Philly and I'll plan to continue traveling the rest of the summer. So I definitely want to connect. I do response to DM's, as long as they're not crazy. And then you got to follow my Homie for life, Big Med, big meed. He's pretty he produces the cutlife podcast. That's my right and my left hand. So you know, stay tuned for more and make sure you subscribe to the Cutlife podcasts and follow it in all whatever you got to do to make sure we're getting love. On soundcloud and itunes. The easiest way to do it is just search the cutlife podcast. It'll come right up and we just want to continue giving you more of what you need.

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