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Meet Stacey Ellis of Ellis Salon in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey Ellis.

Stacey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I ventured into the beauty industry at a young age. I am from Christchurch, New Zealand and feel lucky to have very supportive parents who could see, that at 17 I was destined for something outside of the confinements of the classroom. I was most productive in all of the social and artistic subjects, so they suggested I may like to leave school and try something creative. Knowing I wanted to pursue a career in Beauty or Fashion, I decided to go to a technical college and study Cosmetology and later followed up with Makeup.

A well-known hair salon offered me a 3-year apprenticeship where I worked hands on in the salon and attended the Christchurch Polytechnic School of Hairdressing, completing my apprenticeship and all of my final exams.

Having had the opportunity to work alongside some amazingly talented people over the years, I feel like they have helped mold me into the Stylist and Salon Owner, I am today. It was also rewarding to contribute to the growth of each salon as a Stylist, Manager, and Educator both in New Zealand and in Los Angeles.

Since moving to LA with my husband in 2008, I have enjoyed building my clientele on the West side.

I first worked at a luxury salon in Santa Monica and later at their Brentwood location. It was the Pureology Flagship Salon for the West Coast and a Redken Elite Salon, providing me with the latest knowledge and skills within the industry. I had the chance to do hair and makeup for red carpet events and contributed to various online publications. I became a Redken Specialist and a Pureology Certified Stylist and continue to use both of these product lines in my salon now and attend regular educational workshops and hair shows.

In 2013 the opportunity arose to open my own unique salon when Sola Salons Brentwood opened. The salon studio concept has been around a while but made its way into the larger cities more recently. I have noticed a change in the trend, where people are now choosing that one individual stylist that they trust with their hair and following them where ever they may go.

Running a small business in a big city isn’t easy, so now in my 20th year in the beauty industry, I really do feel lucky to have found the perfect balance of doing what I love and enjoying life here in LA.

Has it been a smooth road?
When I arrived in the US I was met with one major challenge…my New Zealand Cosmetology License was not recognized. I was shocked to realize that my years of training and experience were not valid in California.

It was a long road ahead to try to convert my New Zealand Qualifications into something the California Board of Cosmetology would recognize and then had to apply and wait for an exam date to do it all over in the US.

In the end, I made a decision to take a front desk position in the salon in Santa Monica while I studied for the California exam and waited for an exam date. This way I was able to learn about how the management of this salon worked, familiarize myself with the local clientele and build a rapport with the team.

Eventually, I was able to move positions from Front Desk Manager to a Senior Stylist and later to be part of the Management Team.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Ellis Salon – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Ellis Salon is located within Sola Salons Brentwood where there are 20 individual businesses/studios all privately owned. Offering services from hair, makeup, nails, eyelash extensions, facials, and waxing. At Sola Brentwood, they treat us like family and offer a lot of support and encouragement. I have great friends with studios alongside mine and we often join forces to ensure we continue our education.

My clients seem to love the personal and peaceful feel of the studio without the background noise and hustle of a full salon. I also feel more focused on my clients, it’s a nice change of pace and now I get to look after them in a one on one setting. I can run my business just how I like it, with no distractions.

When it comes to hair and makeup I am completely obsessed with the vintage era, but am also strongly influenced by bold and intentional, modern looks. I have also tried to express this in the feel of the salon, I was inspired by Parisian decor, it is clean, bright and inviting.

I love problem-solving and experimenting with shapes, styles, color placement and techniques. I have an honest and down to earth approach. Listening to my clients is important, we work out a plan to keep their look current. Healthy hair is something I really strive to educate my clients about by providing them with the knowledge and products that best suit their individual needs.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Los Angeles can be overwhelming, especially coming from a small country with the same size population of Los Angeles County. Aside from being so far from my family and friends in New Zealand, there is plenty to love about LA.

I like the diverse pockets of the city and continue to stumble upon new ones that I have never been to before. I know the traffic is frustrating most of the time but you really just figure that out and know when and how to work with it. We live in Echo Park and I drive to West LA for work, I appreciate things about both sides of the city and feel at home in each.

LA is chaotic but doesn’t have to be, somehow I find peace and feel content in this big city. I constantly strive to find local places to go to and things to do to make it feel like home.

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Image Credit:
Michael Shields
Chuck Espinoza
Candace Boysen

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