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Meet Geraldine Arias of The Color Bar by Diine in Montebello

Today we’d like to introduce you to Geraldine Arias.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Talking about this always gets me so emotional…

Growing up I always had a thing for hair, in middle school I used to do friends twisties during lunch or after school. My friend’s older sisters would pay me to do their twisties in exchange of McDonalds! Eventually, I started doing hair for special events, keep in mind I was only 13 years old. Never did I imagine to pursue it as a career.

Fast forward to high school senior year, I graduated with a 3.2 GPA and applied to schools that were out of the area, typical 17 years old wants to move away from home. Unfortunately, financially that was not an option. My mother had been in an accident and was on disability and my father refused to give me his information to apply for FAFSA. To be honest, I was very resentful of my father. Instead of fighting the idea of not going off to college like all my friends, I decided to go through Beauty School. My mentality was get your license and pay your way through college. I really wanted to be a Marine Biologist, I laugh now because I would be so miserable! First of I don’t know how to swim!

Going through beauty school was such a breeze I was naturally talented I won every competition during school, I worked so hard to finish those 1600 hours and pass my state board test. By 18, I was a licensed cosmetologist. I remember going to 5 interviews in a week and I prayed to be able to get my dream job.

I was hired by Salon Gardez in the Montebello Town Center. I worked so hard to get clients in my chair. No one trusted the youngest one in the salon. I would lie and say I had been doing hair for two years. Eventually, I picked up a rhythm and was filling up my books. Three years went by and my career picked up so much, I then found out I was pregnant with my son Matthieu and everything changed. I had to stop working a few months into my pregnancy doctor’s orders. To be honest, I was terrified I was 20 years old about to have a baby and lose all the hard work I had put in. I fought through it and came back to work at six months, I hustled hard and I developed strong relationships with my clients. At seven months in a half I found out I had Cholestasis. My son’s birth was induced early, thankfully I had a healthy baby boy. That is when my reason to grow and succeed changed. Now I had this precious baby I would devote my life to and be the best I can be for him. When my son turned three months, I decided it was time to start working again at the same time I wanted to be the best mother to him.

I took my first client in our small home. I remember Matthieu was crying the whole time and I rinsed her on her knees on the restroom floor, head in the bathtub, water running all over her face. (Jenny Burgos if your reading this thank you for believing in me). Clearly that was stressful, my partner and I talked about options and we decided to ask my parents if we could convert their tiny laundry room into a salon space. Literally shampoo bowl chair and mirror that we bought off Craigslist. I took clients Thursday Friday and Saturdays. With the help of my partner, parents and my sons Nina I was back in business. This was a very special time I was able to do what I love and be with my son. When my son turned two years old, I decided to go back to the salon. I contacted my old boss Henry and asked if I could rent a station at his salon. Thankfully he was opening a new salon closer to home. My partner and I had a lot to think of this was a big step! This meant leaving my son so we worked on a schedule that would accommodate him. I continued to work Thursday Friday from 3pm to 10 pm and Saturdays 6am to 6pm. As he got older, I started working more days and he eventually started school. This meant I saw him less which was so hard for me. I then decided to stop working Saturdays, which was super scary!

I’m extremely thankful for that specific opportunity it taught me a lot of discipline and perseverance.

Years later, the salon changed ownership, my rent was increase a couple of times in a year. Going over numbers with my partner, taking into consideration the stress I was going through he planted a seed in me. The situation, his support and my son’s future motivated me to open The color bar at 25!

I can never say I did it alone. I will be forever thankful for my family friends and clients. You are all the reason behind The Color Bar.

Great, 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?
Someone once told me you can be an amazing artist but that doesn’t mean you can be a great business owner.

I took that challenge.

Opening the salon in Literally a month was insane! I remember talking to my parents about the idea and how we needed a loan from the bank to cover part of the overhead. My father is the most negative person you can meet, he is also the most hardworking man I know. He had so many questions and to be honest he didn’t believe in the idea. A few days passed and he said forget the loan I will let you borrow the money. My mother was the light through all this her positivity and encouragement was a big role in this decision. This was a huge deal for us! Thankfully because the bank denied our loan and we had a lease signed already!

We opened our doors mid-July with literally ZERO dollars in our bank account and we owed my dad money! I had a team of 3 girls that I had promised growth. Bills started piling up. I remember they would sit there in hopes of getting a walk-in. I felt so shitty I would spend whatever I had to buy them lunch because I felt sick to my stomach that they were not making money. I still cry remembering this. They believed in me and I could not let them down. I advertised on social media invested money I didn’t have on yelp Google and Facebook ads. My clients never let me down. Somehow before we knew it, they had built a name of their own.

To be honest, I never knew Hustle until then. I worked my butt off, I would start my first client at 9 am and go home at 3am the next day! I missed a lot of family time that still hurts because I will never get it back. I thank my partner and I could never repay what he has done. The support he has given our son and me is so immense.

Six months into opening the salon things got harder I was in my opinion wrongfully sued. Unfortunately, I was not there and did not have cameras, because let’s be honest I could not afford them! My team and I had a hard time we were portrayed as bad people. I had to learn that there will be situations like these that we have no control over. I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason and a lesson can always be learned.

The biggest obstacle for me has been balancing family and business. There were days I cried to my team because I thought I was not doing enough. Then there were days where I would rush home to put my son to sleep or be able to scrub his back. Days he would tell me I cared more for work than him. It was hard I have probably shed more tears these past years. But I can now say we have gone through the storm and of course there will be more rough patches and thats okay because we all have learned so much!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Color Bar by Diine – what should we know?
When opening The Color Bar I wanted it to be a space were every stylist and guest felt like home with a high-end luxury ambiance. The Color Bar is a safe space where all guest can feel relaxed and unwind from all daily life stress. All of our stylist are well rounded and specialize in many different areas. Our stylist are strong colorist specializing in “lived in” balayage and hair extension transformations. Our ultimate goal is for everyone walking out to feel uplifted, confident and most important beautiful. We take pride in the relationships we build with our guest, definitely quality over quantity. We are always striving to be up to date with all styles and techniques. Education is very important in our salon with bi-monthly in salon education and plenty out of salon classes. The best part of visiting The Color Bar is you just don’t get one stylist, we are a team and we always work together! By the time your appointment is over, I guarantee you will feel like family.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Support – with the support of family, friends and our guest is why it all has been possible.

Of course the hard work, dedication and perseverance, but all that come with support if you have a strong foundation the possibilities are endless.

Pricing:

  • Balayage $250+
  • Balayage ombre $285+
  • Balayage ombre + babylight $330+
  • haircuts $55+

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2465 w whittier blvd Montebello, CA 90640
  • Phone: 3235970223
  • Email: thecolorbar.bydiine@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: @hairby.diine @thecolorbar.bydiine
  • Other: www.vagaro.com/thecolorbarbydiine

Image Credit:
Christopher Medina

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