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Meet Elizabeth April Savala and Paulina Lillian Serrano of Le Hair Shack in Upland

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth April Savala and Paulina Lillian Serrano.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Elizabeth April Savala and I am the Founder/Co-Owner of Le Hair Shack. Many in the business industry know me as Miss April. I grew up in the city of El Monte, where my grandmother owned and ran a successful salon for 42 years by the name of “Alice’s Hairstyles”. Growing up in a salon taught me many tools to run a business and I didn’t realize at the time how valuable and significant it would be in my future career. At 19, I started working for a big brand cosmetic company as a Special Events Makeup Artist. During that time, I would get asked by company clientele to do makeup for private events, in-home. In addition, I would style hair during in-home visits. I then realized that I had a true talent for styling hair and decided to further my career by offering hairstyling as an additional service. This led me to enroll in Cosmetology School.

After graduation, I got picked up by Carlton Hair where I became a Master Hairstylist. In 2005, I took up an offer to book my first wedding. The wedding came out as a success and that is how Le Hair Shack was born. From that point on, my career took off as I started to take on more weddings to serve brides on-location. After a period of time working in a salon and having my third child, I decided to stay home to care for my children. Le Hair Shack became my “salon”. Four years into my career, Paulina showed up as a hair client and expressed much interest in my makeup skills. She immediately took on the role of the makeup artist for Le Hair Shack, allowing me to focus on hairstyling and my role teaching at a local cosmetology school for a brief period. Paulina became a great partner, and together we created a beautiful business servicing brides and other clients throughout L.A. and California.

My name is Paulina Lillian Serrano and I am the Co-Owner of Le Hair Shack. I first joined Le Hair Shack in 2009. Growing up, I never had one specific career in mind, but always knew that I wanted to own and be a part of some type of business. When I met April, I was a student at Cal State University, Fullerton (CSUF); switching from major to major trying to figure out a career path and even trying to figure out WHO I was in my 20’s. Being a hair client of hers, I was amazed by how much makeup products she owned. She even made time for me to sit with her and learn about makeup. I decided to attend a makeup school that was perfect for me as I was still a full-time student at CSUF. I loved attending the school because it gave me time outside of my traditional school and day job to do what I loved. I worked my first wedding with April in 2009 and became a part of Le Hair Shack as a Makeup Artist. Let me tell you, the first wedding was not the easiest and I didn’t run scared like many would. I managed to continue to do makeup for weddings and other events with April while maintaining my status as a full-time college student and retail employee. I even found myself as a Freelance Makeup Artist with MAC Cosmetics, which I honestly thought was impossible because I constantly critiqued myself in the worst way as a Makeup Artist. I was enamored by the artists at MAC and looked to them for new trends in makeup. I had the opportunity to interview for a Freelance position and whoa, was that an experience! I was so nervous and felt out of my league. I didn’t get the callback, but I made it a point to continue to educate myself in the cosmetic industry.

About a year later, I had the opportunity to interview again. I was more confident and it showed during my interviews. I worked as a Freelance Artist and learned from the best. I brought all those skills with me to Le Hair Shack and focused on my customer service skills to promote our services and bring in clientele. I also pursued a Masters’ degree in Educational and Clinical Counseling, bringing me to work as a School Counselor. I am passionate about serving my community in various settings. It turned out, all of the education and experience I had, whether it was from college, makeup school, cosmetic sales, school counseling, and just life, in general, it all came together to help me become a successful co-business owner of Le Hair Shack. I love working in the wedding industry to serve those on the most memorable day of their lives. I am forever a student when it comes to being a Makeup Artist, learning from others and sharing what I have learned. Being a Makeup Artist has helped me evolve into the woman I am today: confident and ambitious.

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?
We have had very few bumps in the road like any business. We understand that planning a wedding is a very stressful time for some brides. The planning and executing of a big event can put a tremendous stress on a bride. Navigating emotions of others and keeping a bride focused, calm and collected on that day, and reminding her of the love she is sharing with friends and family became a big part of our work. We are truly motivated by our love for the industry and artistic work.

Being an on-location service, we never know the setting we will be walking into. It could be a house with little to no room for us to set-up or even a small corner of a hotel room. It can be challenging if there are other hairstylists and makeup artists servicing others when it comes to space. We don’t mind at all working with others and even love connecting with fellow hairstylists and makeup artists in the industry, but we have definitely made small spaces work for all of us to get the job done. It may sound funny, but we have even had to create a spot outside in the driveway of a home to do hair and makeup. We always say “we’re moving in” when we arrive and “we’re moving out” when we leave because we create our space wherever we are.

Elizabeth “April”: I thought Paulina’s first wedding would have scared her away, but she kept at it. The wedding industry can be tough when you first step in, especially when your job is to bring a bride’s look she imagined come to life. I find it most challenging to keep current with the new way of marketing and learning social media do’s and don’ts.

Paulina: For me, the obstacles I’ve had to face were making it all work, schedule-wise when I’ve continued to work my “day job.” We’ve never wanted to turn a bride away, so we did what we could to book a wedding. I’ve had to take clients extremely early in the morning to make it all work.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are an L.A. based glam team, providing on-location hair and makeup services for weddings and special events. We are in the business of enhancing the beauty of each client for their BIG DAY. As a company, we strive to connect with each client and personalize their vision of beauty and bring it to life.

We are most known for being genuinely ourselves. We make it a point to get to know our clients and do all that we can to provide the best service for them on such a special day. Being ourselves is really what sets us apart from others, aside from being able to offer both hair and makeup as a package.

We are most proud of the fact that we have both managed to consistently work together for ten years and grow as individuals in both our personal and professional lives. We have a great balance because to be honest, as women, we all have our days where we just need to help push one another. And we do just that for each other.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
We see the industry continuing to grow, but taking a new direction. People are having more civil ceremonies and small weddings with either a small reception or just a dinner at a restaurant. Yes, this time has shut down many big events, but marriage is still a commitment people are taking, just not in a large capacity. We continue to provide our cleanliness and disinfection practices that keep ourselves and our clients safe.

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Image Credit:

Little Brownn Shoots, Ariel Whiteman

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