Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Silva.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Melissa. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I come from a long line of creative entrepreneurs in the Fashion and Beauty industry.
One of my many influences was my grandmother. Back in the 1960s and 70s, she owned a small hair salon in San Francisco. Some of my fondest memories are of my grandparents visiting during the summer. My grandmother would always give my sister and I our annual haircuts outside in our courtyard.
Growing up my parents were self-built clothing manufacturers who taught me that hard work, passion, and loyalty are some of the key fundamentals to maintaining a business.
They also showed me that you can have a nontraditional job by using your creativity and drive and be just as successful as everyone else. And that being your own boss gives you the space to create the life you want. As I went along my path, I decided to go to college after high school to learn the skills needed for owning a business.
After schooling, I got an office job, and although it was very financially stable, I felt like I wasn’t living to my full creative potential. So I decided to use my savings to fund my enrollment into cosmetology school and follow my dreams. While in school I knew hair was my calling.
I got a job right out of school assisting the owner of a salon in Brentwood. Although I learned a lot of people skills within the year I was there, I soon became unhappy because I felt there was no room for growth. Due to the lack of encouragement towards further education, I knew I needed to find a place that better suited me.
Then everything seemed to fall into place when my best friend’s husband introduced me to Jonathan Van Ness in 2016. I interviewed with Jonathan and started assisting him at Mojo Hair the very next day. I assisted him for two full years of opportunities and learning.
This past year, I’ve finally been able to blossom on my own as a stylist thanks to him and my fellow amazing stylist Monique Northrop. They’re the ones who gave me a shot and showed me where hard work, determination, and a good heart will take you.
Has it been a smooth road?
The salon life is cut throat. It’s hard to find a salon space that is the right fit where you feel comfortable and safe. There’s, unfortunately, plenty of places that offer low wages, poor treatment of assistants, and bad morale. I wish I could say it’s uncommon, but there are so many salons that have bad energy among the stylists and management, and clients can definitely sense the tension.
As a stylist entering the salon world, you need to take the time to research and vet the places you would want to work at. It’s also very important to see who you will be working alongside with cause you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them. If you can’t be there for your client, there’s someone else who will be willing to swoop in and take your place.
You have to put in a lot of time and energy to get where you want to be, and there are plenty of times where you feel like giving up. Since trends and techniques are constantly changing, it’s very important to do continuing education in order to provide the best services for your clients.
That’s why it’s so important for me to stay in a place like Mojo Hair because it is a cohesive, positive working environment. Everyone is supportive and works together, and no one tries to steal each other’s clients. Because I’ve lived through horrible salon experiences, I want to treat my clients into a safe space that is light, happy, and inviting.
We’d love to hear more about what you do.
I take pride in doing color, cut, and styling on hair while keeping its integrity. Every individual who sits in my chair is to be celebrated as their own person. I would never manufacture the same hair color for every client who comes in because not everyone is the same. The fun thing about color is you get to experiment with the formulas and make the perfect tone that will accentuate the client’s being and personality.
Each client comes to me at different phases of their life. Everyone goes through breakups, new love, job transitions, or even moving to a new town, and I want for my clients to feel empowered and have the beauty of their hair reflect how they feel on the inside. And sometimes a fresh color, cut or blow out can lift you up and make you feel better about yourself.
As much as Hair is a part of the beauty world it’s much more than just an aesthetic, it can help mirror the changes you feel on the inside. For each client that I have, I hope to make them feel proud and beautiful. I also hope that my work helps spread the message that beautiful hair doesn’t have to be the same for everyone, beautiful can be curled, it can be short, it can be an 80s shag, it can be anything that you want it to be.
I’d like to participate in the forefront of changing people’s perception of stereotypes and beauty “standards,” by celebrating and advocating for equality of all beauty.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I definitely feel like Los Angeles is a good place to start in the Beauty Industry. It can be tough and highly competitive, but I feel like it sets you up for a strong working foundation. You have to work harder to stand out, and it tests you on figuring out if it’s something that you really want to do.
Although many may feel the beauty industry is an over-saturated market here, there are so many amazingly different people in such a small area that it just opens a bigger opportunity for you to really find your niche.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: Hairbymelissasilva
- Other: Mojohair
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