Today we’d like to introduce you to Natasha Ateah.
Hi Natasha, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started dating an actor from LA while I was still living in Canada right when the pandemic hit. I had just started a job with a new company as a luxury brand manager for luxury hair brands and wasn’t able to start until quarantine and lockdowns had been lifted, and even then, work could only be done from home, so I couldn’t go and visit my salon accounts or start new ones. It was extremely frustrating, working and then work being shut down periodically because of covid.
After a visit to LA to see my boyfriend, I decided that I wanted to open a salon down here, I didn’t want to rely on a job that was only good some of the time, I was going to create my own.
I hired an immigration lawyer and got right to work.
I walked up and down ventura, meeting new people with commercial spaces for rent, checked out the local shops and asked how their experiences were during lockdowns, and really found a sense of community and understanding with the small business owners. I was convinced that this was the best place to start!
I acquired a space and we began renovations right away. At this time I had to be in Canada to start the business, so I did all of my interviewing, all of my inventory in Canada. The staff I hired are amazing and still with me a year later!
The visa process was, gruelling to put it lightly, and finding new clients has been an uphill battle, but The Ice collective has been growing since we opened last July, we now offer nail services and are expanding to have lashes, microblading, and hopefully much more!
The support I’ve received from everyone has been amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the next years bring!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh no. Anyone who tells you opening a small business during a pandemic is crazy. Immigration was my first hurdle, it’s time-consuming and they pick apart your life, it’s a really good glimpse into the process, but it’s gruelling.
Finding great customers is difficult for any new business, but when you’re from a different country it’s certainly a challenge that a lot of new business owners don’t face.
I had to learn new tax systems, insurance terms, and state laws. It’s like going back to college.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
We are a full-service hair & nail Salon. We began with just doing hair and then have quickly expanded into other services such as nails, lash extensions, micro-blading, facials, etc. We specialize in blonding, extensions and textured hair, and what makes us unique is that our staff can do ALL of these services and more, where other salons have stylists who only specialize in one particular thing. This allows us to really create a unique and more customized service for all of our guests.
We’ve also been told that we have the most inviting and friendly vibe in LA! (Must be the Canadian in me).
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
Fashion is always evolving, and that rings true for hair and nails. With the easing of restrictions now and no looming lockdowns insight, I think it’s important for the industry to learn something from it. More and more people are wanting to have services at home, and I intend to take this opportunity to create a mobile salon, not in a truck or RV, but to actually be able to bring the full services offered in a salon right through your door.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.theicecollective.com
- Instagram: @theicecollective_
Photographer: Michael Osikoya