We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Erika Livingston. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Erika below.
Erika, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Often outsiders look at a successful business and think it became a success overnight. Even media and especially movies love to gloss over nitty, gritty details that went into that middle phase of your business – after you started but before you got to where you are today. In our experience, overnight success is usually the result of years of hard work laying the foundation for success, but unfortunately, it’s exactly this part of the story that most of the media ignores. Can you talk to us about your scaling up story – what are some of the nitty, gritty details folks should know about?
When I first started Hello Gorgeous Blowouts six years ago, we were strictly just a blowout salon that offered makeup and spray tan services as well. I started out with one stylist then quickly built up to three stylists.
I did a lot of social media marketing, grass roots marketing, worked with the Rockwall Downtown Association, and networked everywhere possible to get our name out there. Don’t get me wrong this part takes time and time to build up. With patience and lots of prayer we were able to gain so much traction. Later we added more services that then brought up more clientele.
After two years at our very first location we had to move to a different location. We moved directly into the “square” of downtown Rockwall. We were able to capture a lot of foot traction at this location. At this point the demand for us doing color was so high that we went into full force and became a full salon. At this point we offer blowouts, makeup, color and cut, eyebrow waxing, microblading, and hair extension services. Because of this I was able to hire more hairstylists and bring in more clients.
Growing is not easy, it comes with a lot of twists/turns, obstacles, mistakes and learning experiences but the great thing is you learn and grow from it. You deal with financial issues, HR issues, pandemics being thrown your way. I had to take a deep breathe and just come up with different ideas and solutions to fix whatever obstacle was thrown our way. I thank my husband for being a huge supporter and helping me come up with ideas and solutions.
I had to continue advertising and making sure we continued to grow in a healthy way. My goal was to not only make sure the salon was successful but that my employees were learning more techniques and growing themselves. I believe in my employees so much because without them, there is no salon. Their personal growth and success is highly important to me.
Fast forward today, we have moved into another much large location. We now have the capacity to have up to ten stylist in the main salon. We also now have a back spa area where we rent out private rooms and offer spa services. Our clients can have the one stop shop experience that has been my main goal from day one.
Currently we are days away from opening our retail shop in the back part of the main salon and we are going to offer women/men/and baby clothes and accessories.
We are truly blessed but again it has not been easy especially since we were hit with the pandemic. It is much harder to find people that want to work and become their own boss and become successful. Hiring is a major issue in every industry at this moment but I am staying positive and continuing to focus on the salon and our new retail adventure.
Think positive, STAY positive, and your dreams will come true.
Erika, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Hello Gorgeous! My name is Erika Livingston and I’m the owner of Hello Gorgeous Blowouts. I opened the salon back in Oct of 2015. The craziest part is that I do not do hair. I come from a marketing background. I opened the salon because I live in Rockwall and at the time there was not a “blowout” salon. I had to travel to Dallas and it was getting to be such a pain so I decided you know what, I’m going to open up a blowout salon. Fast forward to today the salon is now a full service salon. We offer blowouts, cut, color, hair extensions, and other services such as waxing, facials, spray tans, and more. We are located in Downtown Rockwall and welcome anyone that wants to look and feel Gorgeous!
We currently offer Kevin Murphy and Eleven hair products. We are open Monday through Saturday from starting at 10am. You can book 24/7 online with anyone of our stylists simply by going to www.hellogorgeousblowouts.com or by calling us at 469-264-7433.
On thing that sets us apart is we take a unique approach for every client. We always start with a consultation to see what are the problems a client is experiencing, what would they like to achieve and come up with a plan to so we can achieve their desired goal. We take our time, we are not one of those let’s get you out in a hour type of business. We want every client to come in and leave feeling Gorgeous or Handsome for our men clientele.
What I’m most proud of us is my team. Without the amazing Glam Squad at Hello Gorgeous Blowouts, we would not be around. They care about their work, client’s needs, and most of all meeting the client’s goals. I’m also very proud that my main goal in the beginning was to have a one stop shop. We truly have become a place where you can get a facial then a blowout. There are so many other services you can do but the importance is the convenience we provide.
Stop by and check us out and we would be so happy to see you!
Have you ever had to pivot?
One of the biggest scares of my life happened in June 30th 2021. I woke up at 5am to chest and back pains. I got up to try and shake it off but then I started sweating profusely all over my body. I was freezing at the same time so nothing made sense. I woke my husband up and he quickly took me to the ER. Long story short, I was having a heart attack! I am 41 years old, I work out all the time and eat healthy. I was in complete shock. I was rushed to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and quickly went through surgery and was given a stent. I can’t believe this even happened to me.
We found out that my autoimmune disease caused my heart attack but it could also have been because of the covid I had gotten in Dec of 2020.
I was always a 200 mph person, always go go go. I own the hair salon, I was working a full time corporate job, and also helping my husband out in his business. This event made me evaluate my life and lifestyle. I was given a second chance and I knew God did this for a reason. I had to slow down and enjoy life.
I changed my business structure. I now rent out my chairs and private room and this has alleviated so much stress in my life. I now take days off, and enjoy the time with my husband and family. I have learned to balance my life.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
I had the biggest scare of my life on June 3o, 2021. I woke up at 5am with severe chest pains and upper back pains. I got up to “shake it off” but I couldn’t. I started to freeze and get chills but then I started to sweat profusely all over my body. I finally woke my husband up and he quickly took me to the ER. Long story short, I was having a heart attack. I was in complete shock because I’m 41, I work out and I eat healthy. I had zero idea why this was happening to me. I was taken to Texas Presbyterian in Dallas and was quickly put into surgery. I now have a stent in my artery.
Prior to my heart attack, I was always on the go. I was living life at 2oo mph. I own my salon, have a full time corporate job, and I also help my husband run his a/c business. I was never taking time for myself or to enjoy life. After going through this heart attack, I understood God gave me a second chance and I’m taking full advantage. I quickly changed my business model at the salon where everyone rents. This has relieved so much stress for me. My husband and I take time off and go enjoy the things we love in life.
- Website: www.hellogorgeousblowouts.com
- Instagram: @hellogorgeousblowouts
- Facebook: @hellogorgeousblowouts
- Twitter: @helloblowouts