Salon openings are typically pretty swanky affairs. Champagne flows, appetizers abound and clients mix with beauty insiders in a convivial atmosphere. But when you’re Instagram star Larisa Love (@larisadoll), things tend to happen on a grander scale. When Larisa Love Salon opened in Studio City, California, dozens of cool kids queued up for hours waiting for the festivities to begin. All told, hundreds of people attended, and while many were locals, some traveled staggering distances—we talked to one woman who had flown all the way from Georgia to meet her idol.
Part of Love’s success has been her tendency to buck trends and create her own. The typical track to stardom is a somewhat prescribed path: work at high-profile salon, attract high-profile clients, gain a following and strike out on your own—often literally as an independent. Love has done the opposite: she started on her own, gained a loyal following and has now opened her own high profile, commission-based salon—a bold move in a city awash with booth-renting salons and suites.
Love says she’s known since she was a child that she wanted to own a salon, despite the naysayers, including her father who immigrated with Love and her family from Ukraine when she was six years old and believed that success meant a university education and a “traditional” job. “The secret to my success is taking risks and not waiting for anything to be handed to me,” explains the 27 year old, who was recently named a ComsoProf Brand Ambassador. “I don’t stop till I reach my goal.” But opening a salon was more than fulfilling a life-long dream—it was also a way to secure her brand, which is why the salon is commission-based. “My stylists are still growing a clientele and I’m here to give them clients as well as motivation,” Love states. “But more importantly, I grew a brand and it’s important for my brand to stay within the salon.”
Love says she adores being a salon owner (“I feel like I’m living in a dream and someone needs to wake me up!”) and she’s happy that she helps so many clients feel more confident and empowered. And despite the fact that Love built her brand in the instant world of social media, don’t expect these sentiments to change any time soon. “My passion for the craft burns within my soul,” Love says decisively. “I will be 90 and still be behind that chair. Just watch me.”
From the April issue, click here for the digital edition.