August 12, 2019
Lauren King, one of our first cosmetology students and incredible alumni, is the owner of Oxidize Hair Company in Boise, Idaho. We got to catch up with her and see what she’s accomplished since graduating. She shared her story with us and some tips on how to achieve your goals and make it happen. If you want to know how to go from working at Walmart to owning the only hair extension salon in Boise, keep reading!
Beauty from the Beginning
Lauren was born for the world of beauty. She always wanted to do hair, since she was a little kid. In junior high and high school, Lauren was her friends’ stylist and she even dabbled in a haircut or two. Cosmetology school was always a goal for Lauren. There was no question for her about making it happen.
“I liked the artistic freedom of being a cosmetologist and knew I wanted a career where I could express my artistic side and creativity. I knew that going to beauty school could give me the lifestyle I wanted.”
When Lauren first told her dad that she wanted to become a cosmetologist, he was not excited. He wanted her to go to law school and did not think that hair school would provide her with the future he wanted for her.
Lauren’s mom, a business owner herself, was very supportive of Lauren and her dreams. So Lauren didn’t let her dad’s concern stop her. She knew that it was the path she wanted and wasn’t afraid to put in the work and chase her dreams.
Making it Happen
Lauren was already friends with our school’s co-founder, Nate Shaw and heard that he was opening a beauty school with his brother, Ren. It was an easy decision for her to enroll and she became the 10th cosmetology student to join Shaw Institute, now Aveda Institute Idaho!
“I always brag about my education there because I felt like it was very unique. I felt like I got one of the best hair educations that people could possibly get. I feel very fortunate in that sense.”
Ren and Nate were instructors when Lauren attended and she was able to learn directly from them. As Shaw Institute transitioned to Aveda Institute Boise and opened a new campus in Twin Falls, they have stepped into other roles. We are very proud of our instructors and the education they provide that can prepare our students for a successful career.
Learn from Others
For part of her training, Lauren completed shadow hours at Nate and Ren’s salon,The Electric Chair. One of her biggest tips for beauty students is to get out there and shadow as many salons as you can! Spending all day in hair school can make it easy to forget that the salon environment could be very different. If you’re wondering how to go about shadowing salons, start by connecting with local salon owners. Ask if you can come in and observe how they run things.
Learning how salons run things can help you find a good fit, expose you to the beauty world, and see what environment you want to work in. Lauren’s advice is to, “Ask a lot of questions. Ask how they are run with commission or lease, etc.” Reaching out will help build a support system and can help make sure you feel prepared to start your career when you graduate.
From Student to Salon Owner
“I knew down the road that I wanted to own my own salon. I come from a family of business owners so it was a no-brainer for me. I knew it would take time, so I wanted to make sure I was doing it at the right time and for the right reasons.”
After graduation, Lauren worked at Walmart salons for two years. She then went on to work at a mall and independent salons. While working in salons, Lauren started to specialize in hair extensions and hair replacement. It was at this time that Lauren started to build up her own loyal clientele at the salons until she was ready to open her own space!
Oxidize Hair Company
Lauren knew she wanted to open her salon but knew how much competition there was in Boise. She thought about how she could stand out and what would set her space apart. Having specialized in hair extensions and knowing that there wasn’t a hair extension salon in the area, Lauren decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
She opened Oxidize Hair Company in December 2017 with only 750 sq feet and 5 chairs. As a lease-only salon, she wasn’t sure how quickly stylists would fill the chairs, but it look less than a month! In August, they expanded into 2200 square feet with 13 stylist stations, a nail technician, and a lash room. Her business took off thanks to putting in the work, finding a gap in the market, and using her knowledge to create a space people were excited to work in and visit.
If you’re in the Boise area, make sure to stop by Oxidize Hair Company!
Creating the Culture
As a very involved owner, it’s important to Lauren to create a space where everyone feels welcome. “It’s not just about making money and opening a salon so people can make a living for you,” Lauren says. “It’s what you put into it.” And she continues to live by that. She works 10-12 hours, four days a week. Developing quality relationships with her team is important and she has found a great balance of being supportive, invested in them, and having high standards.
Advice for Beauty School Students
“Just trust the process. Trust that what you’re doing, even if you’re starting at the bottom, it’s okay. You have nothing to prove to anyone…do it for yourself. “
Lauren warned against getting discouraged easily. Remember that it takes time to establish yourself after graduation. She says that a great tip when looking for your first job is to “find an owner that will invest in you the way you will invest in their salon.”
She also advises people to remember to think long term, don’t get discouraged if you aren’t where you want to be right away. It does take a lot of hard work to get where you want to be, but it is totally possible. Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams! Be realistic, think it through, and make it happen!
What the Future Holds
Lauren hasn’t stopped dreaming. She is planning to open a second salon next fall. Bigger goals? She’d love to develop her own line of hair extensions. We can’t wait to see what she accomplishes!
Go For It
If you’re as inspired by Lauren’s story as we are, consider going to beauty school! We can help prepare you for the beauty industry whether cosmetology or esthetics is your passion. Contact us to learn more.