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Meet Danielle Badger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Badger.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Danielle. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
My profession is in the hair industry. My art comes alive by my clients/family who sit in my chair. Once you sit in my chair, you become family. It is more than creating an image from the outside, it’s an experience of building trust and a relationship.

It starts back in Cleveland, Ohio. I went to hair school and got kicked out for something I was accused of. After that, I became pregnant at 19 and had to figure out what to do knowing I would be a single mother. You will face hard situations in life, but that does not mean you give up the dreams and talents that you are gifted with from God. While I was pregnant, I re-enrolled in school, attended eight hours a day and from there, worked a closing shift at a pizza shop eight hours at night. I quit my job right before my daughter was born and finished as many hours of hair school that I could.

A few months after having my daughter, I continued to finish the last required hours of hair school. It was hard being away from my daughter, having a rocky relationship with baby daddy and having an entire group of people and family waiting and expecting me to fail, instead of cheering me on and encouraging me. If it wasn’t for my faith and trust in Jesus, I would not have made it through.

Eventually, I graduated from school and was hired at the first salon I had my eye on the back when I was ten years old before I was even thinking about a career. This salon taught me a lot about a small six-chair salon in an inner city. I knew there was more for me, so I applied to different places and was hired by a salon called “Tomorrows A Hair Salon” in Rocky River, Ohio. Anci Brennen had been running it for decades, and it was staffed around 25 people. I was praying to be hired and knew I was a hard worker. Clearly, Anci saw something in me.

During this time, I was battling the struggles of being a single, young mother and missing out on life in my early 20’s, so I began to dabble in the drug scene. If it wasn’t for the harsh love of my boss and her encouragement, I would not be where I am today. Despite everything that was going on in my personal life, I always came alive when I was creating hair.

Now… we all think we are the cream of the crop when we start doing hair out of hair school, and I was surrounded by amazing hairdressers that studied from renown artists all over the country. They inspired and taught me that I will never reach my full potential because, in an industry of creativity, we are constantly learning our whole career from every age, gender, art, and so forth. We will never know it all. AND… that knowledge we do know is NEVER meant to be kept a secret. We are to teach others and give back.

I moved to Los Angeles with my daughter after four years of my hairdressing career in Cleveland. I became clean and decided to start a new life. I had my portfolio built up and was ready to walk into each high-end salon I knew and tell them to hire me. I got four out of five callbacks of the salons I applied to. The salon, This or Die, stood out to me the most because it was small and eccentric and it was not something that I was used to. After praying about it, I felt this was the place I was supposed to be.

The owner of This or Die Salon, Vanessa Swan, shook my hand and I started the following week. Ever since then, I have been building up my clientele, making sure my clients are 100% happy, and I am putting my all into their hair AND their hearts. As I have said before… if you sit in my chair, you become family. Vanessa allowed me to build my clientele and, eventually, I became a chair renter and operator of my own small business based at her salon. I’m still located at This or Die Salon in Atwater Village and love every second of it.

From building relationships with the local businesses to each neighbor who lives in the area, to the people that fly in to see me from around the country and globe. This is my calling. This is my passion. The craft and art of hairdressing is a gift from the Lord that I can give back to people. I have been blessed to be in a city as tough as Los Angeles, for the past five years, as a single mother and have the amazing clients and people I have in my life today. The people that sit in my chair make me a better hairdresser and most importantly a better person.

I am a businesswoman. I am a hairdresser. I am a single mother. I am a survivor. I am a broken human being. I am strong. I am weak. I am whatever title that you give me, BUT those titles are NOT WHO I AM. I am a made whole by the man that laid down his life for me. His name defines why I do what I do and why I love the way I love.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
First thing is first… it is never a smooth road. I had to work my way up to brand my talent and have my business. From hair school to assisting, to hourly stylist, to moving across the country and dropping my clientele, to starting all over again, to finally representing my own brand and business has been a journey none the less.

The biggest struggle I face is thinking I know a lot. The only way to master your craft is to master the basics of your talent and when you think you know it all, start all over again. Knowledge is constantly challenging and growing your mind. If you are not willing to learn, then you will have to be okay with just coasting along.

It is not about what you can get but what you can give to a person. To put others before yourself and love others the best you can is not only the best way to run your personal life but also your business. Struggles will always happen but do not look at it as defeat, instead, as a way for you to grow and learn.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My business is called Danielle Badger! It’s ME! 😀 I am a hairstylist in Los Angeles, California. I specialize in blondes and unnatural/fantasy colors that are made to look natural. I want you to wear the hair instead of the hair wearing you. I enjoy cutting the hair and styling it as well to tie the whole look together. It’s about taking that before photo and then comparing it to the after.

What I am most proud of is my clients. It is not about what I have achieved, but what I have been blessed with by having all the people and their unique stories sit in my chair. You become family when you sit in my chair. It is more than a hair experience, it’s a transformation of your heart and image.

Just like any relationship, there must be trust. If you are not 100% satisfied with how you look and feel, then I didn’t do my job correctly.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
I love Los Angeles with such a passion. It is my home despite the fact that I did not grow up here. I love all the people and their willingness to take risks and be honest and seek answers. I have met and continue to meet the most amazing people from here, and all over the world. Los Angeles is a place that is misunderstood, and that is exactly why I am here. To shed light and love people in this city!

I would say that the least thing I like about this city is the fact that there are so many ethnicities and sooooo much culture (that part is a great thing) and yet it is still so segregated. You get people from all over the world, and you learn about so many different cultures yet each culture has their own neighborhood instead of mixing together. It is a work in progress, and I am so excited to see the day that everyone is accepted for who they are and their hearts.

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Image Credit:
Abigail Gordon, Kaleb Seaton

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