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Meet Moya Easterling of Image Arts Studio in Toluca Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Moya Easterling.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Beauty school was an afterthought. I had moved to Maine from Arizona when I was 18 and loved the hospitality industry. I loved the people I loved seeing them smile and I loved surprising every guest with a smile that, we as a society, are so used to not getting. Living alone in Maine at a young age I wanted to have a career to fall back on. Something I could always go back to. My Mother was a hairdresser and it has served her well for many years.

After years of being sick, I found myself in Toluca Lake for a month to take some rest and see a Naturopathic chiropractor that was recommended to me by my elderly Aunt. I visited for a month and saw the doctor a few times. Next to his office was a small room that I envisioned as a cute little hair studio. I lived in Maine, so it was a fleeting thought. After seeing the doctor, I realized it had been years since I had felt so good. It was about 10 days after I got home that I decided that I need to make a move in life or life was going to make it for me. I quickly sold what I had, packed what would fit in my back seat and headed out to California on a prayer and a credit card. I arrived at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2014. On May 1st I signed lease to that little room then thought to myself “oh my, what have I done?” I only knew my elderly aunt who was ill and the kind doctor next door. It was about to be my greatest adventure and truest test in courage and self-worth. Over the next few months, I would paint, build, design and hunt for the things that would eventually create the studio, just as I had imagined. The road is never easy. That wouldn’t be fun. I walked dogs. Took up side jobs to help fund this wacky idea I had about opening a business in LA. Though the process I learned a lot, worked hard enough that I cannot remember months at a time, met amazing people that are genuinely good and found out what I, and the humans around me, are really made of. Late one evening, a few months after I had opened, a joyful face opened the door and said “Hi great space! Are you new? “After a long conversation with Jeff, who felt like a lifelong friend, I was inspired to keep going. Three days later he called, we met for coffee and the next week he was working next to me. There are some things that you just can’t explain, like this, how did the perfect person walk into my shop at one of my saddest moments to lift me up and encourage me to keep going. Jeff still works side by side with me and together we make great hair and inspire those that sit with us. My hope with the studio was to inspire the beauty within each one of us and the hair is the bonus. I truly believe that we can create anything with a positive attitude and a drive to dust ourselves off when the storm passes.

Has it been a smooth road?
Life wouldn’t be any fun if there were not challenges. Even the best laid plans rarely go as such. When I arrived everything seemed to be going swimmingly. After just a month here I found that my apartment had fallen through and the Studio was going to take much more than I had in my pocket. I picked up another job, I walked dogs. Helped people move, etc. In those moments there had to be something to smile about. With every odd job was another bottle of shampoo, a set of towels and a new broom. Eventually through odd jobs and meeting new people, I found a new place to live, which was nicer and closer to the studio. The first two years were slow slow slow goings. With anything, you have to show up, every day. No matter how beautiful the weather is outside, or how terrible you may feel, showing up is the key to success.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Image Arts Studio story. Tell us more about the business.
Image Arts Studio is a small hair and makeup studio. We make hair beautiful through color changes, cuts and styling. Every time we are with a client our main focus is to bring out the beauty that lies within. We strive to show our clients that they are not only beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside. We like to help our clients achieve styles that not only compliment their look but also, their personality. With every appointment we look to educate our clients in easy styling to up their hair game and make their lives easier. It is my firm belief that when you sit in our chairs not only do we feed your hair health but also your spirit.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The beauty industry is one with heart and creativity. I am not a fortune teller but it is my hope and prediction that we as an industry will continue to encourage the beauty that is within each of us. With the current styles and creative looks we are seeing more and more people with their own individual beauty coming to the forefront. We are letting go of the “standard” and creating something beautiful within each piece of art this industry produces.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Carlos Parada, Cassandra Ybarra Babcock, Nora Hall, Lizzy Ferdinand, Liz McCleary, Zoe Glick, Jeff Johnson, Joe Reagan

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.

2 Comments

  1. Alex

    September 11, 2018 at 15:41

    I love this salon ! I recently moved into the area

  2. Alex

    September 11, 2018 at 15:51

    I love this salon ! I recently moved into the area and accidentally diacoeveres Moya and her fun little shop! First of all I have been going to the chain haircut places and felt like there was always something missing or that I was always being up-sold . I never liked that that but I felt ( just like most guys) that we don’t like to pay a lot for our haircuts and Moya delivers as if I had paid her with gold bullion but only charges a copper penny . This is my new spot and I have brought about 5 friends with me , and they had an amazing experience as well. I love this salon and I love Moyas attitude towards life . She is definitely a cup half full kinda girl and inspires you to feel good about yourself and your life . Moya is a true stylist and an amazing hairstylist. I just wish I had met her years ago and never gone to the big chain places . Well, those ore ny 2cents , now go visit Moya and prepare to have your mind blown!

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