Questions for Ellin LaVar from Koture Magazine

1. Where are you originally from?

I am originally from Mount Vernon, New York.

2. What inspired you to get into the beauty industry?                

I was inspired to join the beauty industry because of a bad relaxer when I was a child.  Most of my hair fell out!  My mother covered the damage with wigs.  I hated them. They were always falling off.

3. What was your first beauty job?

My first professional beauty job was for Revlon’s Polished Ambers collection. It was a line of makeup for African American women. I was hired to braid hair for the models that were selling the makeup at Macy’s in Manhattan.

4. Who are some of your favorite beauty and style icons?

Some of my favorite beauty and style icons are, Leona Horne, Diana Ross, Susan Taylor and Halle Berry.

5. When it came to opening your own salon, LaVar Hair Designs what were some of the obstacles you faced? Challenges? Triumphs?

When opening my own salon, I had to constantly prove myself worthy of respect. I was 19 at the time. I was attending college and paying my own way through school with the money I earned from styling hair. Banks refused to loan me money. I used my savings and credit cards to fund my opening. I graduated from Fordham University in New York, with a Bachelors degree and no student loans to repay. I have graced the cover of Essence magazine, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show several times, acted in and styled hair for the Bodyguard, with Whitney Houston, traveled the world, from Nelson Mandela’s house to the Great Wall of China, Had my own television show on WE TV, called Hair Trauma. Finally, I launched my own line of hair care products called Ellin LaVar TEXTURES and have now entered my 20th year in business.

6. You are known for your amazing work with weaves and extensions, how did that reputation come about?

I believe that my work is responsible for my reputation. I put 110 percent in to everything I do. I treat every client the same no matter who he or she are or what they have. Everyone gets my best efforts. I take pride in my work.

7. What do you love about weaves and extensions in terms of applying, styling and cutting?

I love the fact that weaves and extensions give a person the ability to change their appetence and mood without making any permanent commitments. Hair is now an accessory.

8. Who is the LaVar Hair Designs customer?

The LaVar Hair Designs client is anyone who desires to have the look THEY want! Not what the stylists wants. LaVar Hair Designs is a client driven salon.

9. What are some of your favorite hair trends for Spring 2010?

I am not a big fan of trends. I believe that a person should wear whatever style makes them look and feel their best. Trends are not good for everyone. You should be your own trend!

10. What made you decide to jump into the world of hair care products with the highly touted Ellin LaVar Textures?

My clients are responsible for my entry into the product arena. They kept asking me to develop products for their hair texture.  That’s how I came up with the name. African Americans have many textures when it comes to hair. My line includes products for all hair types. These products were created and tested in my salon. We found that they worked for ALL women, not just African American women. They are also excellent for weaves and braids. I also insisted that they be affordable, which they are, at 7.99 each.

11. How was it showcasing your day-to-day life on the WE reality show Hair Trauma?

Working on Hair Trauma was challenging. No woman wants the world to see her undone! The cameras were always there. Sometimes I had to intervene when the clients and stylists became overwhelmed by the intrusions. However, I enjoyed the work and the end result.

12. Where do you see LaVar Hair Designs in the next 10 years?

In the next 10 years, I am hoping to be able to franchise LaVar Hair Designs and have a line of styling tools associated with the salon.

What are some of the goals you want to reach both professionally and personally in the next 10 years?

My next goals are to open a beauty school franchise and launch my professional line of hair care products for salon use.  Personally, I would like to become a philanthropist, using my wealth to uplift and educate or children.