Have a realistic plan on what to charge, how many hours you should work a day, and create some healthy business boundaries because without boundaries you make a lot of unnecessary mistakes
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Deena Von Yokes.
Deena Von Yokes is the founder and owner of Studio Savvy, a hair salon located in Rancho Santa Fe, California. A stylist and educator, Von Yokes has spent her 38-year career building her business and mentoring the next generation of hairstylists. A hair color specialist, she is a Redken Artist Educator and has trained with the best in the industry to build her expertise over the years.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
My backstory was very scary and tough most of the time. We had much in the way of resources and money. The foundation of who I am was built on exactly that. I believe scary times are the mother of inventions. Coming from these circumstances, you have two choices: either sink or swim; I chose to swim. Tough times can make you or break you. I made the discussion at a young age that I wanted to make something of myself. One thing people may not know about me is that I opened my first salon with a credit card because of the lack of income I was experiencing. This goes back to having no resources or money. At the time, my thinking was, what do I have to lose? Thus I went for it and never looked back.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
My mother and I did hair shows for more than 15 years. One year, we went to London and met the iconic Vidal Sassoon and Annie Humphrys. I vividly remember my defining moment was watching Annie doing her magic, which was hair color for Sassoon. I knew right then and there that’s what I wanted to do and hit the ground running to the passion I have today. I am now a hair-color expert and loving it!
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Let’s just say starting very young at the age of 17; I operated flying by the seat of my pants. The one thing I had going for me was I wasn’t afraid to go for it. The flipside of that, I made things chaotic and tumultuous. I had a high pain tolerance. I definitely worked harder, not smarter. I function 24/7 off of adrenaline and lots of caffeine. This is the area I wish I knew better and could have done differently, had healthier habits. Doing things this way, you completely miss out on the joy of life and are always in survival mode. Although the takeaway from this is learning that more is not always better and to know my worth. In addition, I learned to slow down and be purposeful. It’s also important to pay attention to how many people I have around me and in my chair as well as what I’m charging. Raising my prices and
knowing what I’m worth, not feeling guilty for it. Having more time to connect with others around me. Overall the biggest lesson is being good to myself and remembering it’s ”quality not quantity.”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I believe in mentors and I’m one myself because of having them in my life. At the beginning of my long 38-year career, I started working at my mom’s salon which was vitally helpful. I believe in education and continuing to sharpen your skills when it comes to this great industry where fashion never sleeps. You must stay in a lifelong learning space if you want to stay at the top. That’s my secret weapon. I believe when starting anything, it’s important to find a mentor because there’s always so much to learn. In this industry, it’s not just hair cutting and color. It’s how you relate to others around you. The business side of building relationships is key. So is staying organized, determining what’s appropriate and professional, and so much more.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a more significant impact in the world?
I feel it’s crucial as individuals when it comes to health and wellness to have achievements and accomplish those goals. In my opinion, it is vital when it comes to our mental and spiritual health. I love the saying, “a body is in motion, stays in motion.” Many of the former stylists that I trained and helped get a start in their career have come back into my life and shared the impact I’ve had in their life. With things, I said that they never forgot or training they experienced that made them want to achieve certain goals, it’s clear the value that my words have had in their life. It’s these moments in time that are the most meaningful and the most significant. I’m a firm believer that it’s not always what you say or do, but how you make people feel. This is my imprint I want to leave on the world; I want people to feel supported, elevated, and loved in our time together. My mission is to figure out how I can create this on a bigger scale. I’ve been working on a platform to create speaking opportunities and a virtual online academy to share my knowledge and expertise with others. I want to guide and inspire others on their journey to greatness. This is my way to help others live a purpose-driven life.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
I used to burn the candle at both ends and was a world-class perfectionist until I realized how mentally drained I was and on the verge of burning out. Although, in that same realization, I learned how we can change and learn to manage stress. Once having decided this is no way to live and started looking for ways I could do that change, the new me now takes more mental breaks. A list of wellness activities I do include:
1. Writing my thoughts down, I call it a brain dump; some call it journaling. It stops my thoughts from swirling around.
2. Do a hobby or create a project I enjoy, not work-related.
3. Rethink and plan what I’m eating for the week; this is vital for a crazy day so you have food at all times.
4. Do something fun like a facial massage or nails. This makes me feel human again and who doesn’t love to pamper themselves?!
5. Finding something to do that inspires me with a book, movie, a walk on the beach with friends, etc.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
When I started my career I didn’t have the money for my tools, so that was my first obstacle that was needed to get started in not just a job but my career. When I started beauty school they gave me a kit and it only had right-handed scissors in it. I asked if I could have a left-handed pair and it would have been 50 dollars more at the time. I didn’t have that kind of money. I had no choice but to start cutting hair with my right hand and have been doing so ever since even though I was left-handed. Thus developed this dream and now a reality! #ScissorsAndCombs is my movement I created to raise funds for people in need for tools that are crucial in getting their careers started like I had! Therefore #ScissorsAndCombs developed from my humble beginnings and was a way I could help many people starting their career in my industry
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Have a realistic plan on what to charge, how many hours you should work a day, and create some healthy business boundaries because without boundaries you make a lot of unnecessary mistakes
2. Time Management, because jumping all over the place is unproductive and wastes time. 3. Be more present with people, human connection is what’s it all about. Without it, I feel I missed out on joy.
4. Take more vacations; self-care is where longevity to life is. ”Health is wealth”
5. How short life is and to enjoy the process because none of it is worth anything if there’s no joy and human connection, it’s all a part of the human experience!
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dear to you, and why?
Mental health hits home for me; My best friend took her own life and it was the most helpless feeling I’ve ever experienced. I see so many people with so many reasons to be happy and just aren’t. No money, beauty, or things mean anything if you don’t love yourself or have some kind of greater purpose. I believe we all need to find our own way to love ourselves and help others.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My salon @studiosavvysalon website StudioSavvySalon.com
My academy @vonsavvyacademy website VonSavvyHairAcademy.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights!