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Meet Emilie LaSota of Dapper Dolly in Encinitas and Point Loma

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emilie LaSota.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always been interested in hair and makeup, as a young girl (3 or so) my great-grandfather would pay me a quarter to “do his hair” and I always got my great-grandmothers makeup samples. As I got older I would have my girlfriends over to practice on…over and over.

At 14, a friend paid me $20 to get her ready for the home coming dance. I did both her hair and makeup. From then on, I was a go to with my friends and eventually my younger brother’s friends.

While I was in college, I started working with local photographers getting models camera ready and did my first wedding. After I got my AA degree I went to makeup school at Award Studio in LA in 2004, where I received my makeup artist certification.

Then next day, I moved to San Diego to start my lifelong passion of hair and makeup. A year and a half later, I was enrolled in Cosmetology School. Once I had graduated and received my license I started an assistant program with my mentor Abe. We worked downtown on Cortez Hill in a salon called C-13, which is no longer around. I went with him to a Sola Salon and from then on, I have been a booth renter, freelance artist/stylist for photoshoots, special events and my specialty, weddings!

I have worked in a few different salons over the past 12 years and even taught makeup at the Paul Mitchell School SD for a little over a year. Every place I’ve been has presented a challenge to learn and grow from. Marketing myself in a studio with no walk-in potential to bigger spaces with lots a personalities and mentoring assistants of my own.

I had my own 6 chair salon, Dapper Dolly, (also the name for my wedding business) for 3 years, which I recently decided to closed. I did so to pursue another life goal…. motherhood. That being said, my first passion is still at the forefront of my life, I work at the smaller 2 chair version of Dapper Dolly in a Point Loma Suite and at Stainless Salon in Encinitas. This way I can give 100% to both loves of my life and I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There is the cliché that nothing worth having comes easy. I think that is true. I worked a full-time desk job and collected cover charges at a bar 3 nights per week, all while in Beauty School 25-30 hours a week. After 4 months, my mom came to visit and saw how awful I was taking care of myself and her and my dad demanded to pay my rent and utilities so I could attend school full time. I still kept my bar job, but was able to focus on networking, booking photoshoots and weddings, while getting a little more rest.

After finishing school, I assisted at first a friend, and you know how business and pleasure go. Then I met Abe, I learned a lot from him, but you don’t make anything as an assistant, so I had to bust my buns to make my bills. However, that got me further in my career than if things were handed to me.

I know how to manage my time and my money. I learned a lot about what needs to be done, what most people aren’t willing to do. Sacrifice, I put my career first always. There were plenty of times I skipped the “fun” to work. However, this got me a full clientele in 15 months. Something I am very proud of, since it usually takes 3-5 years to build a strong foundation in a salon.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dapper Dolly – what should we know?
Dapper Dolly is me. The hair stylist, the makeup artist, the person. My specialty is weddings. Being a part of that moment, getting the bride and her friends/family ready, it makes me fulfilled. I love it!

I also love my time in the salon, creating, experimenting, learning, growing and experiencing with my clients. I love the connections and relationships I make with the people in my chair. I have people that started this journey with me and during the last 12 years, we have experienced each other’s lives and become friends and even family during the process.

I am most proud of choosing a path that challenges and intrigues me, helps me grow and keeps me grounded, connects me to life and people. It makes work easy to go to and easy to love.

I think my love of the people and how I connect with each person sets me a part from the crowd. I always intend to be more than your hair stylist or makeup artist, I want to be your teacher, your confidant, your friend. I love my job and sharing my knowledge and time with those who are interested.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents, they always supported my dreams and never doubted how well I could do, they are my biggest cheerleaders and have more than helped me get to where I am today, I don’t know if there is a big enough thank you for all they have given to me.

My great grandparents to my beginnings in hair styling and my starter makeup kit.

My mentor Abe Barron for showing me the ropes of the hair game! He’s a talented man and I soaked in every moment.

My husband who is constant support and encouragement. He lifts me up, brings me back down and understands my need for 35 black eyeliners. His adoration of my talent is unwarranted. I don’t know what life would be like without his appreciation of my career.

And of course, my clients and brides. Their support and continued loyalty is beyond words, I don’t know how I found such a loving and amazing community in this strange world! Most of us have been through all life has to offer with each other, I don’t have the words to express my love for each and every one of these beautiful people who let me into their lives!!

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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