Today we’d like to introduce you to Nami Hasegawa.
She started her work as a hairstylist as a teenager in Japan and has since moved to LA and spent a decade building a name for herself. She’s had a long, curvy road to success, but her portfolio and her client list stand testament to how well she’s done in our city. We’re super inspired by stories of people who move to LA from faraway places – LA is a global talent magnet and talented people like Nami make our city great.
Below you’ll find edited excerpts of our interview with Nami.
Nami, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started working in this industry when I was 16years old. I wanted to become a hairstylist ever since I was little. I have worked in Japan for 13years, then moved to LA about 11years ago. My English was horrible back then, but fortunately my skill and passion went through, then I started my own business only 2.5years after I moved LA. I have many customers comes from different states or even overseas. I always really appreciate customers and feel very happy to work on their hair (believe or not, I never get any stress from work.im so lucky!!)
Has it been a smooth road?
It was very tough. First of all, I was kind of clumsy and my skill wasn’t very good in young age.so I had to practice 100times more than normal stylists. But I was just very passionate about what to do and wants become better and better. I used to work 10hours every day, and take lessons and practice 4hours daily and all of my days off. After I moved to LA, definitely Language was my biggest issue, but also understanding people’s standards or cultural differences was difficult.
What are your plans for the future?
My dream is make LA people even more beautiful. I’m not thinking about opening up my own salon, or Hollywood debut, but simply I want increase “nice hair population” in LA or even outside of LA) with my job!
Let’s dig a little deeper into your story. What was the hardest time you’ve had?
It’s probably even harder to understand the working situation in Japan, but it’s the hardest moment in my young career.
In Japan, we have to work as an assistant (to assist all service except haircut) at least 3~5years before start taking own customer. And I was working so. But my boss, he has slight impaired color vision, so in between me and him sometimes had disagreement about how his client’s hair color came out. Actually the main reason to cause that issue was, he kept giving me wrong direction or formula to create the color he or his client desired.(because of his disability, he couldn’t tell subtle differences of swatch books).
And I knew the problem is his direction, so one time, I secretly changed the formula he gave me, and started applying it, but as soon as He found out I changed his formula, he took my brush away and said “Ok! You’re fired. I don’t need an assistant doesn’t listen to me. Wrapped up and go home now”. And jumped into bullet train and I went all the way back to my home town (from Osaka to Fukuoka). But the same night, salon owner called me “please come back to salon tomorrow morning. He (my boss) said sorry and regrets what he said to you.”
And I figured out very hard how to break through this issue all night long. Because I can’t just go back and keep making same problems.
So the next morning, I took the earliest train to go back to salon.
He said “I’m sorry” when he saw me, but we didn’t really had any conversation without that. And then, when I got the first color client, I started applying color and completely ignored his formula.
Of course he came to me and said “what a heck are you doing?!?!”, but I said “please do my own way. I PROMISE it’ll turn out much better than the formula you gave me”. Fortunately he said yes to it, and the color came out perfect.
As soon as he saw the result, he said “I admit I’ve lost from you. Do your way from now on. I trust you”.
So, that was the first example that I should trust myself to achieve the goal not matter what situation or what people say. The most important thing is making customer’s wishes to happen.
After I moved to LA, there were many difficulties that I had to go through, not only language, but cultural differences or people’s tastes.
First I came to LA, I started working at another Japanese salon as an employee, but I left there in two and a half years even I became one of the top stylist in the salon. (The owner was all about money, but I wanted work to make customer happy. Not for money).
When I told the owner that I’m leaving, she said “you made huge success in this short amount of time, but it’s just all because of our salon name. The success is not from yourself. So you will be going down rest of your life after you leave us. Because you are just over estimating yourself”.
The owner was mean enough to not to give my customers contact numbers, so I had to started from scratch, but now my customers are expanding more and more, and I make much more sales every month than when I was at there.
- Haircut $60~75
- coloring $80~250
- straightening $150~450
- perm $150~250
- Blow dry $30~60, up do $60~100
- Tel: (310) 435 0767
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: hairstylistnami
Check out her work below: