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Meet June Alvarez of Union Salon South in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to June Alvarez.

June, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After high school, I was pretty much all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to go to art school but at the time I couldn’t afford it, so I decided to take fashion courses in Pasadena at PCC. I remember during one of our pattern making projects my instructor coming up to me and looking down at my pattern and telling me “Your company just went bankrupt”, so I dropped out (lol). I took some photography classes in Covina and learned how to develop my own film but that didn’t feel right either.

I took a small break from going to school and worked in the mall at a hell hole called “Portrait Gallery”. There was rumor that the company was closing down so I quickly applied to a salon in Covina, CA called Tantrum. Thats where it all began for me. I worked front desk and occasionally helped the stylists shampoo their clients when they were running behind. My first mentor, Frank Andrade, would steal me away from the front desk when the salon was slow enough and show me how to formulate, blow dry clients, and his techniques for some creative haircuts. Hair was a world unbeknownst of me but it felt good to have someone believe in me and take the time to guide me.

Shortly after finishing Cosmetology school, I left Tantrum and started work at Union Salon South as an assistant. Those first couple of years were extremely rewarding and also very stressful. I’ve never really been one to throw myself out there and talk to people but when you’re trying to build a clientele, you sort of have to. Not only was I trying to build a clientele in the salon but I was also doing some behind the scenes photography gigs with a hair company called Wella. I would shoot their company events, hair shows, and marketing. One of my favorite experiences with them was being able to shoot their big Atelier event in Chicago. I remember at the end of the trip when the team and I were all out at dinner, I left the restaurant to call my best friend and I cried to her (I’m also a Pisces). I don’t remember exactly what I was crying about but I think I told her “I can’t believe I’m here”. It felt for once in my life I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. I felt complete but also anxious to see what else I could do.

Currently, I am traveling between Union Salon South and Carbon Salon in Portland, Oregon building clientele in both locations. This was a goal I made at the beginning of my career and one that I am happy to have accomplished. Other than hair, I still like taking my camera around and I am working on sketches and designs with my art to make prints and shirts.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think one of the biggest struggles was telling my family I wanted to go to Cosmetology school? I know my family loves me and all that but I feel as though there has always been this type of stigma with going to Cosmetology school. I would hate going to family gatherings and my uncles and aunts asking me what I was up to. I would proudly say I was going to enroll in Cosmetology school and they would immediately question it or tell me I should go into the medical field.

I think I was most nervous to tell my dad as well. He’s a Sheriff for LA County and has always kind of had a strict view of the world. I think ultimately he was afraid of people not taking me seriously. At the time, I think this made me angry but I now know this was from a place of love. I know him and my mom want what’s best for me and I think that looking at the situation from my parent’s point of view, seeing your child take a more untraditional route, is scary.

Sharing my artwork online has also kind of been a struggle. I tend to draw a lot of “sad” stuff and sometimes it’s annoying that people will think I’m in this constant state of depression. How do you know happiness if you’ve never known sadness? I actually like to think that I am a very happy person, even when I’m crying on a public sidewalk talking to my best friend.

What else should we know?
I cut and color hair. When I first began doing hair I specialized in haircutting and hated doing color. I now understand that was because I hate things that I do not understand haha. I took some classes and began doing more and more color and now I truly love it.

I don’t really know what sets me apart but I like to think that when a client sits in my chair its almost like rekindling an old friendship. I admire honesty from my clients and I also want them to feel comfortable enough to give me a complete recap of a show they watched on Netflix or feel comfortable enough to say nothing at all. I love all my clients and I love hearing about all of their experiences.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve never really thought about luck when it’s come to business. I’m very fortunate to be able to call the people I have in my life my friends.

I guess my constant reminder of the bad luck in my life is when my earbud wires get tangled.

Pricing:

  • Haircuts – 90
  • Balayage – 195
  • Color – 100

Contact Info:

  • Address: 435 S Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
  • Phone: 6264409100
  • Instagram: @junedanielalvarez

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