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Hidden Gems: Meet Tina Valencia of V Collective

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Valencia.

Hi Tina, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
When I was a kid, my friends would come over with their Barbie Dolls and I would lock myself in the bathroom with their dolls so I could give them all a haircut. I think that was a pretty good indicator that I would someday become a hairstylist. However, I went to school and received a B.S. degree in Child and Family Development. I started the teaching credential program but stopped and started cosmetology school after an aha moment when I realized I have been doing everyone’s hair, I love doing everyone’s hair and I should probably get a license and do it legitimately.

After cosmetology school, I started as an assistant at a Toni & Guy education-based salon where my future husband was the educational director. From there, he opened a bumble and bumble affiliate salon where I became a network educator for the brand through a series of classes that spanned the course of 13 years. I was lucky enough to have the super technical foundation from Toni & Guy followed by a brand that emphasized creativity and training your eye for balance, nuance and the perfection of imperfection. Five years ago, about the same time the team from bumble and bumble went rogue and started the brand R+Co, we decided to go rogue too by downsizing, simplifying operations, and opening our first boutique salon together. At that time, I also became one of the first members of the Creative Counsel for R+Co.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Personally, my dad had suddenly passed away in the middle of cosmetology school and while it was devastating, it gave me something to focus on. I think that level of focus and energy has carried through my entire career. I’ve never lost that drive to continuously learn more, from attending hair and business classes to teaching classes, I love honing my craft. In terms of business, Covid has been at the forefront of challenges. We were so fortunate to be able to weather the 38 weeks storm of being shut down. While we had to constantly “pivot”, we’re still figuring out the “new normal”. Trying to keep ourselves safe, our clients safe and delivering our high level of service our clients are accustomed to was one of the biggest challenges and continues to evolve and challenge us.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about V Collective?
We’re 100% minority-owned boutique salon that celebrates and elevates the craft of hairdressing. While grounded in foundational and technical expertise, we explore the unique beauty and individual lifestyle of every client and translate that into an exceptional hair experience. I’m known for my precision, dry cutting techniques and modern approach to color that allows for a beautiful grow out. I firmly believe in maintaining the health and integrity of the hair that undeniably leads to lower maintenance. We proudly offer R+Co products and were recently granted an Inclusion 1st Ally Award for assisting all hair types in understanding and loving quality hair care and creating an inclusive environment for everyone who walks into the salon.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
In terms of business, I don’t think we have seen the full impact of Covid on our industry yet. A lot of salons have permanently closed down and displaced stylists have ended up at these small studio spaces. We’re stylists! We’re social, creative types that draw inspiration from each other. Sure, we can look at photos on social media but nothing beats the experience in person. I mean, who looks at photos from a great party and didn’t wish they were actually there? In terms of trends, I think the balayage beachy wave has stayed around for so long because you can cover up technical mistakes and it still looks good. There are so many photos I would love to see blown out straight. I often wonder what the cut and color really looks like under those waves and curls. I do love a good shag and we will definitely see shags transition to mullets. Let’s just hope the “Rachel” from friends style doesn’t make a comeback.

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