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Hairstylist’s Side Hustle Turned Into a 6-Figure Business

This Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A features Kayla Valerio. Valerio owns Haus of Color, a six-figure salon business specializing in vivid hair colors.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Haus of Color. Kayla Valerio.

What was your day job (or other sources of income) when you started your side hustle?
I was still a hairdresser and doing hair but on a much smaller scale. I’d been a hairdresser for years, doing side jobs here and there to help me fulfill the dream of opening my own salon one day.

When did you start your side hustle, and where did you find the inspiration for it?
I’ve been doing hair for almost 16 years, working at a mom-and-pop salon and building out a diverse book of clients over the years. I’ve always been drawn to designing vivid, bright and colorful hair designs, but I didn’t have many opportunities to experiment while working full-time. With a moment here and there, I honed my skills as a vivid colorist, working with customers on the side. There were a lot of college students in the area who wanted to try my aesthetic.

Related: The Side Hustle He Started in His College Apartment Turned Into a $70,000-a-Month Income Stream — Then Earned Nearly $2 Million Last Year

My passion for the vivid looks fueled my inspiration for Haus of Color. These days, I’m only taking on new clients who want rich, vivid colors and styles. These are the styles that I love to do, and the work just fills my soul. Today, we’re the top vivid hair salon in the area, and clients travel near and far to us after seeing our work on Instagram and social media.

What were some of the first steps you took to get your side hustle off the ground?
Covid changed my whole view on the industry. When I was working solo, it was just me, and my clients were wearing masks. It was honestly very lonely. It made me realize how much I missed being around people and wanted to have my own salon. I dreamed of a space where I could have a team, welcome clients and enjoy a beautiful community space.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your side hustle, and how did you navigate them?
I’m behind the chair full-time, so the biggest shift was balancing my day-to-day client work while managing operations. At my previous salon, we used a booking system to coordinate the business, but when I went off on my own, it was just me scheduling bookings, responding to potential clients and managing the finances. Once my business started picking up, I knew I couldn’t go back to pen and paper.

Picking the right software to run a business isn’t easy, but to scale, I knew I had to add some tech to my mix. The software platform GlossGenius sucked me in right away. I’d never seen a booking site so beautiful or so cute and kitschy and fun. Their design aspect immediately locked me in, and I was like, Oh, yeah, I’m here for the long haul. I was able to double and then triple our bookings.

Related: ‘I Could Never Go Back to Corporate’: She Quit Her Silicon Valley Tech Job After Her Creative Side Hustle Hit 6 Figures

Haus of Color has evolved so much throughout the years. Today, the business has grown into a full-service brick-and-mortar salon, and we have seven stylists and a nail tech.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Haus of Color

When did you take the business full-time? What does growth look like now?
I took Haus of Color full-time in May 2021. It was very hard to make things work, considering the pandemic was still very much in effect. I started with one stylist and me, and it has blossomed into seven full-time stylists and a nail tech. It took consistent time and effort and long nights and days to make this once dream a reality.

What do you enjoy most about running this business?
The Haus of Color salon has become a second home for my team and clients. We have such a great creative space, and I love to open it up to our community, especially our talented, amazing clients.

A number of our clients are tattoo artists, and we’ve set up tattoo pop-ups, which are popular. There’s always a line around the building. During the holidays, Haus of Color hosts tables, and my clients bring their home-made goods and we sell them. I’ve met many creatives through hosting events. It’s been a great way to build our clientele and our larger community of artists.

Related: This Former Starbucks Employee Started a Side Hustle That’s Making More Than $70,000 a Month — and He’s Not Done Yet

Image Credit: Courtesy of Haus of Color

What’s your advice for others hoping to start successful side hustles or businesses of their own?
You can find success in doing the work that you love. When I started Haus of Color, I took a bet on my creativity and artistry. I now have a team of talented stylists and clients who are just as passionate about the vivid aesthetic as I am. It’s brought an incredible space, team and clients into my life.

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