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Life and Work with Adrianne Tolentino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adrianne Tolentino.

Adrianne, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was a receptionist at a salon while going to school for horticulture, and was immediately drawn to the artistic and interactive environment. I love working with people, and the idea of helping them create the best versions of themselves was hugely appealing. So, I changed courses, literally, and enrolled in cosmetology school. A few months later, I was offered an assistant’s position at a high-end salon downtown, where I decided that someday I would be an educator in the industry and own my own salon. Ten years later, I opened The Lab. November 10 will be our 10-year anniversary.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I’m pretty sure that every business experiences bumps in the road in one form or another. My philosophy is that the hardships help us recognize and make needed adjustments, and appreciate the easier times. When we opened, I naïvely jumped in thinking I could think I could just do hair and pay the bills. I soon realized that it was about much more than that. I wanted more for my staff, myself, and our clientele. I wanted The Lab to be an innovative, knowledgeable and reputable salon. All that takes time, management skills, education, and persistence. I started taking business courses, and implementing the tools learned from them. That has proven to be a huge help with communication, consistency, sales, and just about everything else. If I were to make one suggestion it would be to look into all aspect of starting their specific type of business and start on the smaller side, there’s always room for growth. My space is over 1,900 SF, and when I was just starting out, paying the rent could be a little daunting. That said, had I did not jump in, I wouldn’t have my space, which I love and am extremely proud of.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with The Lab A Salon – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
The Lab A Salon specializes in on-trend and innovative cut and color techniques. Our reputation is built on always being on top of what’s happening in the fast-paced world of fashion, and near-constant education relative to those evolving trends.

Personally, I have a passion for avant-garde and editorial work. I find experimentation with radical and unorthodox hairstyles very inspiring. While definitely nontraditional and not meant for the day-to-day, pushing boundaries shows what can be achieved; and that that there really is no limit when it comes to imagination and creativity. Utilizing and pushing cut, color, and styling knowledge and techniques make me think and dream.

I’m most proud of our inspired team. No matter how many years in the industry under their individual belts, each of them is committed to growth and excellence, both in and out of the salon, and it totally shows.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I’m a sponge for books on personal and professional growth – both provide the tools to help me encourage and communicate with my team. One of my favorite reads currently is “You Are A Badass” by Jen Sincero. It’s fun and funny and I found it hugely inspiring – so much so that I gifted several copies over the holidays. Other books include Start With Why, Tribal Leadership, Smart Women Finish Rich, Think and Grow Rich, and anything by Don Miguel Ruiz.

I’m also a voracious podcast listener. Some of my favorite salon-specific ones include Passion Squared, Hairbrained Conversations, and Thriving Stylist. Non-salon include People Passion Purpose and Abraham Hicks (on YouTube).

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The Lab A Salon

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