PassionSquared Q&A with David + Alexis Thurston, Butterfly Loft Salon & Spa

Nina Kovner, of PassionSquared, is one of our favorite guest bloggers on We recently spotted this interview beetween Nina and her friends, David + Alexis Thurston, of Butterfly Loft Salon & Spa. We're pleased to share it with you here: 

In life, sometime we meet humans who immediately have an impact on us, ones that change our life for the better. That is exactly how I felt when first meeting David + Alexis Thurston, Owners of Butterfly Loft Salon Spa and Ubungalows in Encino, California.

Could it be cause I was born in Encino? No. It is because these two passionate humans are creating awesome + opportunities for so many. They are the real deal. What an honor it is to share some behind the scenes insight into the magic that is Butterfly Loft.


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N. What does passion look & feel like to you?

BL. If you really care a lot about something, you are usually careful not to show exactly how much you care about it, for fear of coming across as uncool to others.  However, when you are really passionate about something (or somebody), you cease caring about how you appear and what others think of your ambition, in fact you can’t help yourself… you talk and talk and talk about your passion.  It becomes not something you do, but instead, something you are.  You think about it when you’re trying to go to sleep (which is hard when you’re passionate about something), and you think about it in the shower and while driving in the car.  When you’re passionate about something, and a critic puts you down, it stings even more, but when the passion is strong, you use it to proactively fuel your work to prove the critic wrong.  I see many of our stylists having this kind of passion about hair… and we are passionate about our salon.  It’s not what we do for a living… it’s who we are.

N. Why did you become owners?

BL. Before opening Butterfly Loft, I had created a hair product line.  I would go on the road, and into salons to educate stylists about the product line.  I loved doing what I was doing, but I was lonely.  After each class, I would leave the salon having met many cool people I would have loved to know more.  But, each time I would have to leave, and that’s the last I would see of them.  No long-lasting attachments were being formed in my professional life.

Most people’s big dream in life is to have a home and populate it with a loving family.  We created Butterfly Loft to develop a space that is a reflection of ourselves, and populate it with a salon family who we strive to inspire, and work with to create something bigger than we could alone.  We experience great joy in attending our stylist’s weddings and being a part of their other major life experiences.  The space we created is more than a salon, it’s where many get their sense of home, where they feel most right each day.  We got married inside Butterfly Loft… it’s a special place.

N. What is the biggest challenge you have had and how did you overcome it?

BL.We believe that a team that rows together in the same direction can go so much further than each can rowing alone. But, having a large salon where each stylist is an independent, station-renting stylist makes it a challenge for most to create a team atmosphere.

Outsiders are often surprised that our stylists are all independent, because the salon oozes teamwork and collaboration. To accomplish this, we create as many opportunities as possible to get our stylists together, by hosting a dozen education events a year and hosting parties where everyone is invited.  We often have one of our stylists teach a small workshop, passing on a skill they posses, and in return, ask one of the students to teach a workshop of their own to pay it forward.  In our design, we focus on building common areas where stylists can exchange ideas and inspire each other.  We have small dinner’s together where we discuss strategies on growing our social media following together as a team.

N. What is the greatest lesson you have learned?

BL. When hiring stylists and staff, don’t just hire anyone who wants to work for you.  Character and personality are the most important ingredients when building a team.  If you were stuck for two hours in a layover at an airport with the person, could you see yourself enjoying their company?  If not, don’t hire them.

N. What is one skill you believe all successful owners need to have?

BL. The ability to operate comfortably using both the left (analytical) side of the brain and the right (creative) side of the brain.

N. Why that one?

BL. You need to operate in the left brained sphere in order to run any successful business.  If you don’t have strong analytical and organizational skills, I would strongly recommend you do something other than own a business.  But, in the beauty world, you need to use your creative side to come up with solutions to problems, to communicate effectively with artists, and to inspire the hearts of stylists rather than the typical business where you try to inspire minds.

N. Why are you so passionate about sharing the stylists of Butterfly Loft + Ubungalows work on Instagram?

BL. Every day, a stylist at Butterfly Loft does something that makes our jaw drop in awe.  Instagram is an amazing tool for highlighting their talent.  But my favorite thing about Instagram is that it provides a way for salon owners and stylists to work together as a team to accomplish something more than each could on their own.  When one of our stylists creates great hair, we post it and the content brands us as being a great salon.  And in turn, when we post the content, it brings the stylists much more exposure, which of course can also lead to more opportunity for the stylist.  When we post the work of one of our stylists, over 25,000 people see it almost instantly.  Instagram creates a true win/win relationship that every salon owner should utilize to strengthen their team.

N. Favorite Quote?

BL. Whatever you are… be a good one. – Abraham Lincoln

N. Starbucks or Coffee Bean?

Coffee Bean

A big shout out to my soul sister Larisa Love for introducing me to David + Alexis, an introduction that continues to make such an impact on my heart. And to David + Alexis for being so generous and open with their hearts, minds and business. So grateful for you two rad humans.

To learn more about Butterfly Loft and UBungalows + to stay connected with all their awesomeness, you can find them on Instagram @butterflyloftsalon @davidbutterflyloft @alexisbutterflyloft and on Periscope @butterflyloftsalon and by visiting +