Today we’d like to introduce you to Risa Vinegar-Johnson.
Risa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My interest in working with hair started before I graduated from Hollywood High School. Fast forward to today. I am the Founder and Owner of THE LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE HAIR SCIENCES, WELLNESS AND STYLING SALON in the Mid-Wilshire District.
Becoming an Entrepreneur was a good fit for me. I am a seasoned and well-established hair care specialist. I am known as “The Hair Whisperer” and “Hair Guru” by my clients because of the phenomenal results they receive from my services. Helping me achieve these amazing transformations are my long-time assistants Inosencia (Lupe) Gomez and Gloria Carrillo. Both ladies have been with me for years and have acquired an invaluable amount of knowledge and expertise in creating our trademark “SIGNATURE HAIR.” Their loyal and intrinsic team support allows me the freedom to do what I do best – create innovative, cutting edge hair care products for my clients. Together, we provide excellent hair care services for the preservation of natural hair. My salon “SIGNATURE HAIR” is also referred to as “THE NEW NATURAL.”
My journey into the hair care industry began to unfold after I received my California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology license from Los Angeles Trade Technical College. I soon landed entry-level work as a hairstylist in a succession of small local Los Angeles boutique salons.
I attracted a following of clients from friends, family and by word of mouth. My natural talent for transforming damaged hair miraculously into healthy hair with body, bounce and shine also began to reveal itself. After just a couple of years of working as a stylist, my reputation began to rise steadily and quickly. I was either very lucky and/or at the right place at the right time when three of my former employers made life-changing decisions to transition out of the hair care industry and turned over their long-time clients to me. Each time this happened, I was able to comfortably take on new clients with flexibility and ease. It was also during this time in my career that I began to feel that I was on my way to working in my calling.
I achieved another personal milestone in my life when I married my husband, Marvin Johnson, who oversees the day to day operations of THE LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE. I had been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug early in life. I took a giant leap of faith and opened my first startup hair salon, THE HAIR DESIGN. I followed that startup with a transition into NOUVEAU RICHE for a few years and then transitioned into a joint venture as JOHNSON AND GUESS. For the next fifteen years, the growth and stability from the joint venture allowed me the capacity to hire my hair salon staff. My services expanded to include an esthetician, manicurists, additional stylists and my own personal salon hair care assistants. Eventually, the time came for a major shift in my career path along with a reinvention of my brand, services and products. I closed the Johnson and Guess Salon. I settled into a temporary location that turned out to be just the healing and nurturing space I needed for reflection and renewal to create a new vision for my future.
The temporary space was small, humbling and the perfect incubator for new ideas. I could openly create new formulas in solitude and confidence. The sense of privacy contributed to my freedom to develop more cutting-edge, organic hair care systems and solutions. I dived deeper into scientific-based research in order to create more effective chemical-free hair care formulas for my clients. With the change in environment, my creativity went through the roof and I attracted resources to implement a new brand image for my salon services and products. My sister and many of my clients refer to me as the “Mad Hair Scientist.” A year later, I opened THE LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE HAIR SCIENCES, WELLNESS AND STYLING SALON in the Mid-Wilshire district where I have been for the past ten years. Rosalind Morris, who began working with me during my joint venture start up years, has been a long time dedicated salon stylist and is also here at The Lounge as a premier hair wellness stylist.
My client base was loyal and stayed with me through my year of transition. It is at The Lounge On Wilshire where I introduced my clients to my new, advanced organic hair care formulas and products. I feel truly blessed to be able to continue to create solutions for the scalp and hair care problems that emotionally and negatively impact the lives of my clients. I am still as excited about working in the hair care industry today as I was when I opened my first salon. Exploring new hair care technology and ways to advance my products and treatments is an ongoing process that I find extremely satisfying and rewarding.
I am currently working on plans to expand my exclusive ORGANIC SCALP TREATMENTS and COCKTAIL HAIR CARE SMOOTHIE CONDITIONERS to a broader consumer base in the future. I am actively looking for other individuals who are interested in discussing marketing opportunities that would be a match for my products. I’m very open to brainstorming with any interested angel investors who would like to roll up their sleeves and have this conversation.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My venture into the hair care industry was a relatively smooth one. I had a clear perception of the type of career path that was a match for my personality and the lifestyle I wanted to live. This clarity made it easy for me to stay on track with my goals. I have had numerous successes and major disappointments along the way. My journey has had its ups and downs, but they have all worked together for good.
One unfortunate business decision turned out to be a huge disappointment and extremely costly. Although a hard lesson learned, I successfully recovered 100% from that setback. It gave me a chance to reflect on what went wrong and why. I had a chance to start over, build on the benefits generated by the experience and move forward. In rebounding I found clarity in my purpose. Once I cleared out the negative noise (and people), I was able to become laser-focused on what really mattered. I discovered new and exciting ways to accomplish my objectives. My flexibility and resilience along with my ability to learn from my mistakes and adjust to change, is what led to my freedom and success in rebuilding and reinventing myself and my business.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Lounge On Wilshire Hair Sciences, Wellness And Styling Salon – what should we know?
I am a pioneer in Professional Scalp Restoration and Hair Care Rejuvenation. I research and develop proprietary organic hair care products designed to repair damaged hair and various scalp abnormalities, including seborrhea and psoriasis. I have developed an innovative line of NATUROPATHIC CUSTOMIZED SCALP TREATMENTS AND COCKTAIL HAIR SMOOTHIE CONDITIONERS that address most treatable causes for scalp and hair deterioration. My focus and expertise is rejuvenating and growing out all hair textures and types to long lengths and thickness by healing damaged scalps. My salon services address hair loss, premature balding, shedding, breakage and a wide variety of damaged hair conditions. Our salon treatments regrow hair edges and individual hair strands damaged by tight braids, wigs, weaves, harsh chemicals and/or products. I treat weak and/or aging hair and specifically hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances. My products work and I am blessed to have a high rate of successful results with my clients. I have created a unique brand of formulas to stimulate and rejuvenate dormant hair follicles. My hair growth systems and products penetrate deep into the scalp, nourish hair strands and preserve the beauty of natural hair. I have also developed a SALON STYLING TECHNIQUE that relaxes the hair curl pattern of natural hair with minimal indirect heat. I use NO HARSH CHEMICALS for this process and NO BLOW DRYING. The salon is exclusively designed to nurture the growth and beauty of healthy natural hair. I excel in bringing damaged hair back to a luxurious shiny appearance that is vibrant, sexy and full of life.
What do you specialize in?
I specialize in growing out the hair of African American women to extraordinary lengths.
My expertise is the preservation of natural hair with organic products that I develop myself. All products are uniquely formulated for use on a wide variety of hair textures and types. My hair care systems and products are customized to meet the personal hair care needs of my clients.
My philosophy is: like a plant, hair requires nutrients, moisture, oxygen, and TLC to thrive. We specialize in PLANT THEORY THERAPY which consists of vitamins and other nutrients that we infuse into our SCALP TREATMENTS AND COCKTAIL HAIR SMOOTHIES to enhance the nourishment of the scalp, hair and root follicles on the cellular level.
We use SUPER HYDRATION OXYGEN (STEAM) SYSTEMS for maximum results combined with a mixture of natural amino acids, minerals, enzymes, and other organic ingredients to enrich the hair and scalp. I am the creator of THE VIN METHOD ORGANIC HAIR CARE AND REJUVENATION SERIES, which is a three-step, exclusive salon process that starts with our PRE-DRY CLEANSER for the scalp. This breaks down scalp build-up which consists of sweat, salt, oils and DHT a hormone that contributes to hair loss. The Pre-Dry Cleanser is followed by a shampoo, conditioner and roller set. THE VIN METHOD SYSTEM strengthens and nurtures regrowth and natural hair making it viable and flexible enough for our clients to wear their hair either curly or straight without chemicals.
We encourage our clients to adopt a healthy lifestyle of intentional, mindful living and “clean eating” to help detox their bodies of toxins which in turn will enrich and enhance their hair growth. If it were not for the long-time loyalty and trust that my clients have given me over the years by putting their hair care issues, growth and maintenance in my hands, there would be no LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE.
What are you known for?
My salon is known for our trademark “SIGNATURE HAIR.” I am known for growing out beautiful thick, voluminous, bouncy, shiny natural hair for my clients, be they 7 to 97. Our “Signature Hair” is highly recognized for being silky, luxurious, sexy, strong and long. We are known for cutting edge scalp restoration and hair rejuvenation treatments that promote phenomenal healthy hair growth. I believe that nurturing this healthy hair growth begins from the inside. Consultations include a review of any pre-existing scalp and hair conditions and/or any hormone imbalances. We also include questions regarding healthy lifestyle living regimens and practices, exercise and diet, because our hair is what we eat and drink. We are known for providing comprehensive strategic plans for treatments, formulas and maintenance programs designed specifically for your scalp and hair care needs. Our services are supported by a collective network and dynamic community of innovative specialists and experts in their fields to ensure that our clients achieve maximum satisfaction and results. A hair and scalp analysis and review is done at the end of the first month of treatment. Clients have experienced noticeable new healthy hair growth in as soon as 30-60 days after receiving regularly scheduled treatments.
What are you most proud of as a business?
I am most proud of the fact that I develop and make my scalp treatment formulas and hair conditioners from my own independent research and studies. My products deliver the amazing results that I promise they will. I do take great pride in the fact that I am the creator and developer of a NATURAL AMINO HAIR CARE PRODUCT that is a BOOSTER ENHANCER for practically all conditioning, coloring and/or alternative hair care treatments and products. The Booster Enhancer significantly improves the texture of hair and minimizes hair shedding. It fulfills a need for new and improved hair care product technology that protects our natural hair from extreme heat, harsh chemicals or additives. It is improves the condition of the client’s hair, leaving it healthier and fuller with a smooth and shiny appearance.
I began to specialize in scalp restoration and natural hair rejuvenation when my clients came to me with hair loss problems that needed organic solutions. I’m proud of the fact that I have created products with organic ingredients and formulated natural remedies that deliver results. My hair care maintenance programs eliminate the use of conventional hair care treatments and products that are damaging to the hair. I have used my products on approximately 60 clients per week with measurable hair growth results. My clients inspire my creativity. My success in finding solutions for their hair care problems has turned me into a resourceful, imaginative thinker in my field and a mastermind of my craft. I am grateful to have this platform that allows me the opportunity to continue my research. I truly believe I am in alignment with my divine assignment and living my purpose by helping to advance hair care technology.
What sets you apart?
I believe what sets me apart is longevity, integrity and quality in service. I am passionate about what I do. I am dedicated to reinventing myself each year in order to stay at the top of my game. It is important to me that I consistently provide my clients with the most effective and up to date hair care services and technology. I have an uncompromising focus on satisfying my clients. My success in contributing to advancements in the hair care industry is what keeps me current and relevant. Most gratifying for me is that the results and success of my products and services contribute to the self-esteem of my clients. They return to me with stories of how the compliments they receive on their hair uplift their spirits and confidence. My business represents a whole-body wellness lifestyle brand that visually evokes a holistic emotional connection between me and my clients. My clients are the heartbeat of my business. My salon services are well known throughout the community as a NATURAL HAIR WELLNESS MOVEMENT. I’m proud to have a purpose-driven business model that empowers my clients through education which includes self-care, good health and wellness best practices.
I strive for excellence in everything I do. I am proud of my authenticity. I don’t try to be everything to everyone. My clients still come to me through word of mouth. I consider my salon a sacred, safe place of healing for my clients, mentally and spiritually. I am a strong advocate for the beauty and maintenance of our NATURAL HAIR. Our society places a strong emphasis on how we present ourselves to others. My goal is to help women simplify and minimize their daily hairstyling processes and routines so they have more time to do the things in life they enjoy and still feel beautiful while doing them.
My clients are my brand ambassadors. My goals are always to stay in touch with their needs by keeping a constant pulse on their evolving wants and concerns. Individuals come to THE LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE for a scalp and hair care experience that is value and results-driven. My hope moving forward into 2020 and beyond is that my clients continue to feel confident, secure and empowered with the services that are provided by my salon.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. I grew up with ideas that turned into my mission and eventually became my reality, but not without a lot of hard work. My journey continues to be filled with visions of infinite possibilities for growth and expansion of my products and services. I am respectful of the fact that I would not be where I am today without the long-time support of my staff, clients, family and friends. I am grateful and thankful to be blessed with a unique talent and gift that has such a positive influence and effect on the lives of others. My intention is to continue to provide the highest level of excellence possible in my craft.
If you are experiencing scalp disorders or abnormalities, hair damaged by heat, hair loss, premature balding, shedding, weak and/or aging hair, please contact us for a free consultation so that we can have the conversation and let the healing and the hair growth begin!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
In life, I would say I was lucky to have been born into a family with two loving and nurturing parents. They were married for 52 years until my father passed away in 2003. I’m lucky to have married a husband who has supported all of my business ventures. I feel lucky to have an older sister (Venise Vinegar) who has been a life-long cheerleader and supporter. She has witnessed my personal and professional growth from cocoon, to caterpillar to butterfly. Consequently, she was able to write this story on my behalf in order to share my journey. Lucky to have decades of invaluable brainstorming support from long-time friend Karlton A. Levias on a wide variety of creative ideas. He is a successful multi-talented entrepreneur professional and close friend of my family, as well. In regards to the role of luck in business…over the years, I was lucky and blessed to have found other extremely successful entrepreneurs and business professionals who mentored and supported me in my very early stages of entering the hair care industry. That accountability and support helped build the foundation I needed to sustain the credibility and success in the hair care business that I have achieved today.
- Website: linkedin.com/in/risa-vinegar-johnson
- Email: Venise Vinegar: firstname.lastname@example.org