The Beauty Garage
Growing up some of us might have imagined a life of being our own boss, and owning our own business. We might have sat around and even talked about how we would decorate our own spot if we had that business. For Andrea Morales, this is now her reality. She is a 30-year Arcadia Native who now owns her own salon Beauty Garage in Monrovia, CA. I meet Andrea about 6 years ago; she did my hair for my brother’s wedding. Even back then she was always a girl with an idea and plan. She is always bettering her craft by going to classes, and learning the newest trends. She stays up to date with the newest products; with this knowledge Andrea is able to give her clients her best opinion on what would work for them. Besides being a hair stylist, Andrea always has multiple other projects she works on, this shows her dedicated to her craft. I never doubted that she would one day open her own salon, watching the process and it come together was truly amazing.
The Beauty Garage has a warm welcoming energy when walking in. The decoration and design is very modern, with a clean outdoors feel. She offers coffee, tea, and for those customers who want some wine, she has wine glasses to enhance your experience. There is greenery and open shelfing, as well as a really cool mirror made out of smaller hexagon mirrors. It is a place you can tell the owner put her heart into.
I want to thank Andrea for taking time out of her day to allow me into her salon, to take pictures, as well as meet up for Sushi to do this interview.
When did you first fall in love with the beauty world?
Do you know what happened at that time?
This was plan B, I was going to be a chef for 2 years before that.
You know I was enrolled in bakery school?
Ha, that is the one thing I hated was baking. Junior and senior year in high school I was in the ROP cooking and I won cooking medals. I got accepted into San Diego culinary school, but it was real expensive.
Those schools are super expensive.
Yeah I found Glendale community college and they had their program, and then I hated it after a year and half. It became just like work, and it wasn’t fun.
So you found the beauty world and was it an immediate you wanted to be a hair dresser?
Yeah, it was the first time I think I had exceled in school. I was second highest in my class, and I had never gotten A’s before. It was just fun I think it was just the chemistry of it, that was my favorite part and I knew I wanted to change people.
Because you are a people person?
Yeah, and then I’m not stuck in a kitchen by myself talking to no one. I can’t just be stuck in a kitchen.
This makes sense with you. I can’t just see you stuck in a kitchen.
I think that’s why I hated it.
When your clients come in and you give them a new haircut, do you feel like it gives them a new sense of power?
Yes, you give someone a new style, haircut, or color different from what they had. They walk out just like swishing their hair around, or saying my hair is so soft. It kind of gives them a boost of confidence to look and feel different.
You own a salon now, how scary was that to leap into your own business?
Well it took me 6 years to make that decision. Super scary and you don’t know if everyone is going to follow you. You start a business and you’re like slow at the beginning but not slow. I did loose people moving, but I gained people as well. I was scary, freaking scary as ever. Also making sure people liked it, because I am like huge on that. Making sure the design was how I wanted it to be, I am still working on the design. It was scary shit. Every day I would call my mom making sure I made the right decision.
But your parents were supportive?
What is your favorite thing about running your own business?
Not having to worry about anybody else but myself. Not having to be like “ohhh I don’t want to go into work today because so and so is going to be there.” I think the women really make the place and this way is only like two of us. It fun and I can literally work whenever I want.
Did you ever face adversity when you were working at other salons, anything like ageism or racism?
There was some especially working in like upper Arcadia, I got a lot of people from the foothills. Age discrimination was for sure, because they look at you and I’m the youngest one in there and everyone else has 20 to 30 years on me. So I started working there and people are like are you sure you can cut. I was the most hip one; I always had different color hair and dressed different. So when people would see me they would be like oh shit what is she going to do to me.
Do you think that contributed to you wanting to own your own salon?
I always wanted my own, because I wanted to be able to decorate the way I wanted, play the music I wanted, make it the environment I wanted. Because I was doing different things people use to start at me when I worked. And my clients felt it, and I don’t like that. It was funny I didn’t know that till after I left. People were uncomfortable and they told me once I left.
That is interesting I could say I felt that you were different when you were at your last place, you were the outlier. I don’t think I felt like they judged you, but you were for sure the outlier.
Yeah for sure.
What advice would you give to someone if they want to make the jump into owning their own business?
Don’t move unless you have a cliental base. Don’t get into something that is over your head. Crunch numbers and have a safety net. Don’t use all your credit cards to buy everything.
What does FemPower mean to you?
I see it as women in different strength positions.
Where can everyone find you if they want to set up an appointment with you?
Instagram: @beautygaragesalon or give her a call 626-802-7884
Beauty Garage Salon
530 W. Huntington Dr. Ste. 9
Monrovia, CA 91016