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Meet Downtown Los Angeles Hairstylist & Entrepreneur: John Esparza

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Esparza.

John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have been a hairstylist in Los Angeles for 25 years now and have worked all over LA. Ever since I was a teenager I had a love for Downtown and was so excited to find a new salon that had opened in the South Park area. I worked there for a few years and knew that the salon was not the right fit for me. A great opportunity arose to take over the lease of an existing salon and although the salon was in disarray and had a bad reputation I decided to go for it.

Well, I’ve got to say it was a huge undertaking, just the re-branding alone took over a year. Davines haircare had always been a favorite of mine and I eventually brought their Essentials line in, then their Oi line, then their hair color and so on… lol we really love this product line and what it represents and stands for. In addition to Davines, we’ve added EVO to the products we carry. Both eco-friendly, sustainable, small businesses. We gradually discovered our place and became an official Eco-friendly salon by partnering up with Greencircle Salons. We now recycled up to 95% of salon waste! That includes hair, excess hair color, foils and even broken equipment. We specialize in hair services as well as makeup, waxing, and skincare. Salon on Main is an eclectic, artistic and down to Earth salon where the focus is on a great relaxing service partnered with talented stylists that educate you. We are only one of two salons in the LA area that are certified Eco-friendly and we are so incredibly proud of it.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not really a smooth road. I do have a business partner that is basically absent. When we first took the salon over she thought it would be a good idea to hire on the previous owner and that was a year of nightmares and putting up with a sour person that could not handle losing complete control of the business. Nightmare employees, health issues, the weak economy and the fact that Downtown was not quite up to speed when it came to being a self-sufficient area for new residents. It lacked shopping, grocery stores and quite frankly the homeless situation just kept people away. Fast forward a few years later and we are now in the transition stage and more and more people come to Downtown and actually move here. The demographic has changed tremendously and this is what I have been waiting for!

Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
I did have it tough the first 2 years. My business partner thought it would be smart to hire on the previous owner and that ended up being a nightmare! She did not speak very good English and would actually talk shit to her clients in Spanish while they were here getting their services done. She did everything she could to undermine me AND she was under a 6-month contract! Meanwhile, we also decided to rent all of her equipment for a year while we (or, unknown to me) “I” bought all the furniture and equipment for the salon. Well needless to say she was damaging everything I was working so hard to create. I finally terminated her at the 6-month mark and still had to deal with her for another 6 months because we were renting her equipment. Needless to say, that was very tough and I had absolutely NO (and still do not have) support from my business partner. I went through some health issues during that time as well and a back injury. So glad I made it through!

Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
It takes courage, dedication, the right staffing and lots of capital. Do not rush into anything especially if you are unsure of it.

What are you most excited about these days?
I am so excited to see that Downtown is finally becoming a destination and happy to see that residents with more money are moving in as well. I have been waiting patiently this renaissance of sorts to occur. I believe we have a talented staff, excellent customer service and being eco-friendly is a huge draw to clients here in LA.

Pricing:

  • Haircuts- women’s $100 | men’s $80
  • Balayage- starting at $190
  • Basic make-up- $65
  • Keratin treatment- starting at $190

Contact Info:

  • Website: salononmainla.com
  • Phone: 213.626.2131
  • Email: salononmainla@gmail.com
  • Instagram: instagram.com/salononmain_la
  • Facebook: facebook/salononmainla
  • Other: twitter/salonmainla

 

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