The Power of Wigs, Hair, and Business: A Candid Talk with Larissa Von
Time to read 13 min
Time to read 13 min
The first time I wore a wig was more than just a change of hairstyle for me; it was a transformative experience.
A cascade of emotions washed over me as I looked in the mirror - confidence, empowerment, and a hint of playful mischief.
For many, a wig is just a fashion accessory, but for me, it is a doorway into a world of endless possibilities.
I remember it was a chilly afternoon that would typically frizz up my natural locks.
A newfound boldness enveloped me as I adjusted the wig onto my scalp and positioned the strands.
I stepped outside, the cool breeze rustling through the synthetic hair, yet it felt strangely natural.
People's eyes met mine with admiration, and I couldn't help but revel in the renewed attention.
But it's not just about the wigs. It's about the stories, the people behind the wigs, their transformations, and the confidence they instill.
I was thrilled to embark on a special collaboration with Private Label, delving deep into the world of wigs, their making, and their impact.
The entire journey was captured and immortalized at the prestigious Private Label Studios.
The ambiance, the professionals, and the setting added a touch of magic to an already spellbinding experience.
Join me as I navigate this beautiful journey, from the initial hesitations to the exhilarating revelations, and explore the intricate world of wigs, hair, and the business behind it.
At first glance, wigs might appear simply about style and changing one's look on a whim.
However, if you delve deeper, you'll realize they represent much more than a fleeting fashion statement.
Firstly, wigs have historically been a solution for those experiencing hair loss due to medical reasons, genetics, or other factors.
They offer an immediate confidence boost, allowing the wearer to reclaim a part of their identity that may have been lost. A wig can be a shield, a form of empowerment, or a symbol of transformation.
But it's not just about the exterior. The true essence of wearing a wig lies in understanding the importance of the hair underneath.
Many individuals opt for wigs as a protective style, allowing their natural hair to rest, rejuvenate, and grow without the constant wear and tear of daily styling and exposure to external elements. In this scenario, the wig becomes a protective barrier.
However, it's vital to remember that while wigs offer protection, the health of the natural hair beneath should never be compromised.
I've always emphasized caring for one's hair underneath the wig. Neglecting the hair below can lead to traction alopecia, a loss caused by prolonged tension on the hair follicles.
I recall a poignant moment when I witnessed the effects of traction alopecia firsthand.
After years of using tight hairstyles, a close friend took off her wig one evening to reveal significant hair loss. The patches were evident, and the pain in her eyes was palpable.
It was a heart-wrenching reminder that while wigs offer many benefits, they must be used responsibly and carefully.
Wigs are not just about aesthetics; they're about health, self-expression, and, most importantly, self-care.
They remind us that while we often focus on external appearances, the foundation – our natural hair – needs equal, if not more, love and attention.
Every hair professional has their own unique journey, marked with trials, errors, and those moments of sheer euphoria when everything just falls into place.
My path, like many others, was filled with its own set of challenges and lessons.
In hair school, my education on coarse textured hair was disappointing.
The curriculum seemed woefully limited, and the depth of understanding was surface at best. I distinctly remember our 'education' being reduced to watching a "Good Hair, Bad Hair" video by Chris Rock.
While the film highlighted certain aspects, it was hardly the comprehensive education professionals needed. I voiced my concerns, but they fell on deaf ears.
It was a stark reminder that the hair industry, like many others, still had a long way to go in embracing diversity and inclusivity.
However, this education gap drove me to self-learn and seek knowledge outside the traditional classroom.
Early on, I recognized the advantage of mastering a broad spectrum of hair textures. It's not just about catering to a diverse clientele but also about understanding the intricacies, beauty, and nuances of every hair type.
By diversifying my skills, I wasn't just catering to clients who looked like me. I worked with Caucasian, Indian, and Asian clients, among others.
This versatility opened doors, expanded my client base, and enriched my professional experience.
With this knowledge, I set higher aspirations for myself. I wanted to expand beyond the salon walls.
Platforms like CNN beckoned, not just because of the prestige but because they offered an opportunity to showcase versatility in hair expertise on a global stage.
Knowing how to do a round brush blowout is as crucial as mastering sew-ins. One never knows which skill might be the key to unlocking a new opportunity.
My journey underscores the importance of continual learning, the value of versatility, and the ambition to aim higher.
Hair is not just about styling; it's a language, a form of expression, and a bridge to connect with people from all walks of life.
In the dynamic world of hairstyling, staying static is not an option.
The trends change, techniques evolve, and client preferences shift. To keep pace and stay relevant, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the learning journey never really ends.
Diversifying skills is not just a strategy; it's a necessity. While formal education provides a foundational base, it's only the tip of the iceberg.
When I realized there were gaps in my formal training, I turned to other avenues, and the world of digital learning opened up.
Platforms like YouTube became invaluable. They're a treasure trove of worldwide hair professionals' tutorials, techniques, and tips.
It's incredible how watching a 10-minute video can introduce a new perspective or skill you'd never considered.
The transition from sew-ins to wigs is a testament to the evolving nature of hair preferences.
Once upon a time, sew-ins were the gold standard. But as with all things, change is the only constant. Wigs emerged as an alternative and a powerful tool of transformation and expression.
For many, myself included, the shift to wigs represented freedom. Freedom to change styles without commitment, protect and nurture natural hair underneath, and the sheer joy of embracing a new look with every wig.
Reflecting on it, the move from sew-ins to wigs symbolizes my professional journey. It's a journey marked by transitions, learning, and adaptability.
To all budding hair professionals or those curious about the craft, here's my advice: Be like water.
Adapt, learn, and flow with the currents of change. Harness traditional and digital platforms to refine and expand your skill set continually.
Because in the world of hair, the day you stop learning is when you become obsolete.
Behind every hair transformation, there's a story. Behind every story, there's passion, dedication, and a dream.
My dream started with a single chair and a vision, which today stands tall as the Stitch Beauty Lounge.
Nestled in the bustling heart of Sandy Springs, situated perfectly between Chastain Park and 285, Stitch Beauty Lounge is more than just a salon—it's a haven for hair enthusiasts and those seeking transformation.
From the moment you step in, every strand of hair, every curl, and every wave is treated with the expertise and care it deserves.
And while the salon has my essence, it's also the culmination of countless hours, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of hair perfection.
But as with hairstyles, personal brands also need refreshing and reinvention. My online presence, which started as 'Larissa Von Artis,' is transforming.
Soon, the world will see it reborn as 'XO Larissa Von.' While the name may change, the heart and soul behind it remain the same—my passion for hair, my commitment to my clients, and my love for the artistry of hairstyling.
This rebranding is not just about aesthetics; it reflects my evolution as a hair professional and a person.
My portfolio, which showcases my work, will also reflect these changes. From cuts to color, from traditional styles to avant-garde, it captures the range and depth of my expertise.
I invite everyone to witness this journey, to be part of this evolution, and to join me in the exciting chapters ahead.
So, if you're in the vicinity, or even if you're not, drop by Stitch Beauty Lounge. Let's embark on a transformative hair journey together.
And for those who want a digital sneak peek into my world, 'XO Larissa Von' on Instagram will be your window to it all.
Beyond the world of hair and beauty lies a purpose that deeply resonates with my core: giving back. Enter "Queens That Serve," an initiative close to my heart.
This mission is about more than just giving—empowering, uplifting, and making dreams come true for young women.
At its core, "Queens That Serve" is centered around making prom dreams a reality.
But it's not just about the dress; it's about the experience, confidence, and memories these young ladies will carry with them for a lifetime.
Every year, countless young women miss out on this magical experience due to financial constraints or other barriers. With "Queens That Serve," we aim to bridge that gap, one dress at a time.
Our ask is simple but impactful. Consider donating if you have gently-used prom dresses gathering dust in your closets.
These dresses can become the centerpieces of someone else's unforgettable night. But our mission doesn't end with dresses.
We also welcome accessories, shoes, and other essentials to complete the prom look. Every contribution, big or small, helps us inch closer to our goal of ensuring every young woman gets her dream prom night.
And even if you don't have items to donate, you can still play a pivotal role. Support us by spreading the word, engaging with us on our social media platforms, "Queens That Serve," on Instagram and Facebook, and directing others to our official website at queens-that-serve.org.
Together, we can make prom dreams come true and create lasting memories for these young queens.
Every dress donated, every accessory contributed, and every share or like on our platforms brings us closer to a world where no young woman misses out on her magical prom night.
Join us in this noble cause, and let's transform lives, one prom at a time.
Stepping into the world of hairstyling and salon entrepreneurship can be exhilarating, but it's a journey paved with its fair share of challenges and lessons.
Through my own experiences, I've gathered a wealth of insights that can guide the next generation of passionate hair professionals. Here are some golden nuggets of advice:
Dive deep into the industry before you immerse yourself in it. Like any profession, hairstyling is nuanced, and understanding those nuances can set you apart.
Before you even set foot on the court, understand the game. Know the players, the trends, the techniques, and the clientele. Being informed gives you a competitive edge, making your journey smoother and more fulfilling.
My earliest memories in this profession take me back to my days as a salon assistant. It was a role that many might overlook, but the lessons I gleaned from it were invaluable.
I didn't just learn how to manage salon operations; I observed, absorbed, and understood the art of hairstyling, client interactions, and business management.
Every sweep of the floor, every shampoo session, and every observation taught me something. Cherish these foundational roles—they lay the groundwork for what's to come.
In an age where instant gratification is sought after, it's essential to remember that real growth often requires time, patience, and service.
Before you can lead, you must serve. Assisting seasoned professionals, apprenticing under experts, and volunteering can provide you with a hands-on education that no classroom can replicate.
By serving, you acquire technical skills and understand the essence of humility, teamwork, and client satisfaction.
In conclusion, like any other, the hair industry is a ladder. No matter how lowly it might seem, every rung is essential for your ascent.
Stay dedicated, be patient, and always be willing to learn. Your passion, perseverance, and humility will undoubtedly lead you to the pinnacle of success.
Building a brand is like crafting a masterpiece—it requires patience, dedication, and a clear vision.
My journey from an artist behind the chair to a salon owner has been transformative, laden with enlightening challenges and invaluable lessons.
Here's a glimpse into some of the most significant hurdles I've faced and how they've shaped me:
Now, I wasn't just the creator but also the strategist, leader, and decision-maker. Balancing the creative side with the administrative aspects—budgeting, staffing, marketing—was challenging.
It was a shift from hands-on artistry to a broader perspective, ensuring the salon thrived as a business while nurturing my passion for hair.
In a bustling city like Atlanta, where everyone is striving to carve their niche and become their own boss, finding the right staff is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack.
The dynamics of the city, with its plethora of independent stylists and entrepreneurs, made the task of building a cohesive and dedicated team even more daunting.
Every interview involved skills and finding individuals who shared the salon's vision and ethos.
We live in an era dominated by social media, where success stories seem instantaneous, and a viral post can make one an overnight sensation.
But this landscape has its pitfalls. The allure of instant gratification can lead many to overlook the painstaking effort behind genuine success.
Building trust, reputation, and a loyal clientele takes time in business, especially as personal as a salon. Patience isn't just a virtue; it's a necessity.
In retrospect, each challenge was a stepping stone, pushing me to adapt, learn, and grow.
They reminded me that building a brand isn't just about logos and marketing; it's about the experiences you offer, the trust you cultivate, and the legacy you aspire to leave behind.
Every profession, art form, and journey has its rhythm—a sequence of steps leading us from one stage to the next.
Much like a meticulously crafted symphony, each note, each pause, and each crescendo has its place and purpose. Here's why embracing the process in its entirety, without the temptation of rushing through or taking shortcuts, is so pivotal:
Imagine trying to pen a novel without a thorough grasp of the alphabet or attempting to run a marathon without first mastering a sprint.
Every level we find ourselves at, whether as a novice or an intermediate, is an opportunity to solidify our foundation.
By fully immersing ourselves in our current stage, we ensure that when we progress to the next level, we do so with confidence, expertise, and a strong foundation.
Shortcuts may promise quick success, but more often than not, they come at a cost. By sidestepping the challenges of the current level, we rob ourselves of vital learning experiences.
These experiences, no matter how tough or tedious, equip us with skills, insights, and resilience that become invaluable as we move up the ladder.
Shortcuts may offer a temporary boost but often lead to unstable foundations and unpreparedness for future challenges.
The beauty of embracing the process lies in the eventual goal and the journey itself.
Each step, hurdle, and victory adds layers to our professional and personal growth. The process molds our character, instills discipline, and teaches us the true value of patience.
And when success does come knocking, it feels sweeter, more earned, and infinitely more satisfying.
In conclusion, while the allure of rapid success is tempting, there's an unmatched reward in fully engaging with every stage of our journey.
In the wise words of an old adage, "It's not about the destination; it's about the journey." So, let's cherish each step, each lesson, and each moment, knowing that the process is preparing us for greater heights.
As the curtain falls on this enlightening journey through the world of hair and business, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
The opportunity to sit with the Hair Biz Radio team and share my personal insights, triumphs, and challenges has been a privilege.
Each strand of conversation we've woven together paints a larger picture of the beauty industry, but more importantly, the passions and perseverance that drive it.
I extend a heartfelt thank you to every reader who has journeyed with us through this post.
Your engagement, curiosity, and thirst for knowledge are the very heartbeat of this platform. Stay connected to the vast and varied tapestry of tales, tips, and triumphs.
Please follow us on our social platforms, delve deeper into other stories, and hit that subscribe button on Hair Biz Radio. Let’s continue this journey of discovery and growth together.
Lastly, as we part ways today, I'd like to leave you with a thought close to my heart. In our fast-paced world, patience often takes a backseat.
Yet, patience is our most faithful companion in every strand of our endeavors, whether hair, business, or life itself.
It reminds us that the best results, the most profound growth, and the most lasting successes often come to those who trust the journey, embrace the process, and believe in the beauty of every step.
Stay inspired, stay curious, and remember - the journey is as beautiful as the destination.