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Meet Leslie Rutherford of Crush Salon and Dry Bar in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leslie Rutherford.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been into doing hair since I was a teen. When I graduated high school I started jr. college to be an EMT or Firefighter. I decided it wasn’t for me, so my mom suggested beauty school. I NEVER thought something I loved to do as a hobby would take me into a career! 24 years later I feel as if I’ve never worked a day in my life. Although I still have a passion for medical, coincidentally I have many clients who work in the medical field.

This “job” has given me the opportunity to meet many amazing people and work with some of the most talented individuals. Opening doors to an awesome journey!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I started out as an assistant to a wonderful mentor, I still keep in touch with today. She instilled in me a passion for work ethic and mostly customer service. I was good at hair early on but the communication process between client and stylist is key no matter your skill. After my assisting career (16months) I made it through journey salons that were all amazing to work at! One in Ventura Ca., one in Santa Paula Ca.

Life changes and marrying my husband took me into working at two salons at the same time. My mother in law owns a salon in Ojai Ca. So I joined her staff part-time as my clientele grew larger. Working in these three cities I knew I had to consolidate my constant travel and choose an area best for myself and my clients. I’ve had the pleasure to have clients all over the county. From Santa Barbara to Los Angeles. Clients who come back when they’ve moved away and are home to visit.

Honestly the majority of my clients I’ve had 15+ years! I treat them every time as if they’ve only been to me a few times. I learned early on when you stop treating your clients as clients and start treating them as “only friends” they don’t get the full experience. So, you will never see me premix color assuming they want the same thing. I consult with every client EVERY time. Making sure I give them what they want on that day. You never want someone to feel as if your complacent like they don’t matter.

Every guest that sits in my chair I appreciate. We are a customer service based business and as long as you keep the customer first you will succeed. Crush Salon is open to any guest getting in with any Stylist. Whatever is convenient for them, we’re not competitive with each other. Every one of my stylists is hired knowing I can refer them all to my clients and they will still get the same amazing service!

Please tell us about Crush Salon and Dry Bar.
In 2013 I decided to take a leap. I was in a major comfort zone. Both salons I worked at were perfect. But I had the itch to consolidate since I had clients from each area I worked. Time to simplify my life, I thought. I started the search for the “perfect” salon. I looked around the Ventura area. If you’ve been to Ventura we have many salons! I know a lot of stylists and owners. Coming with a full clientele I’m a great asset to an owner but I couldn’t see myself fitting into these large salons. So my husband and I entertained the thought of opening our own. I had worked closely with the owners of the few salons, I worked for.

Watching the struggles and accomplishments, I was intrigued by the challenge to create a small passionate talented salon. The journey has been hard. I’ve experienced the good and the very ugly. Overall I’ve learned a ton and my team is stronger than ever! I’m glad. I’ve been faced with these challenges. My staff today rocks! They are so crazy talented and we’re a family, Our clients feel it every day, I’m a blessed owner!

Recently, I invested in a mural for our salon and city. I wanted to give a Ventura the love and beauty it deserved after the Thomas fire. I wanted people to know as a community we are beautiful if we support each other and work together. I myself, commissioned an artist (Chris Saunders) to paint us what we call our Crushbabe. A beautiful, strong, independent, and humble woman on our building. Chris gave me more than I could ask! Our babe has brought love to Downtown Ventura. Life to the plain wall welcoming you into downtown.

A place our clients can be proud to call their salon home… I’m proud to have been born and raised in Ventura and love the diversity of this town. I’m even more proud to have opened a salon where clients feel at home and part of our family.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Honestly, I’m not sure? There were days I wanted to give up. Let me say I’m a very strong person inside. My passion for my craft runs deep. I’m 100% customer service and I always will be. I take care of my staff. I always have, the ones that didn’t want to hear it didn’t see it and no longer work alongside me. That’s ok! We all have a journey and I may not be the fit for some. I have sent every person who has left me off with grace and supported their move.

I think there’s nothing I’d change. Even in the stressful times, I cried alone. I knew it was my passion that got me through. I knew what I was doing was creating a path for strong, independent, talented stylists who would appreciate me being their equal, not their “boss.” Also, creating an amazing space for them to grow. For clients to feel the passion and talent we give and for sure the Customer Service! Something so many forgets about in this day and age. Which is too bad.!


  • Women’s haircuts $55+
  • Balayage $150+
  • Highlights $75+
  • All over color $65+
  • Up styles $65+
  • Blow dry bar $35+

Contact Info:

  • Address: 654 E. Main Street
    Downtown Ventura Ca. 93001
  • Phone: 8056530663
  • Email:
  • Instagram: Crushsalonanddrybar
  • Facebook: Crush Salon and Dry Bar
  • Yelp: Crush Salon and Dry Bar

Image Credit:
Toki Lee Photography, Crush Salon Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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