Hair is the name of this game when it comes to the beautiful and skillfully talented Gocha Hawkins of Gocha Salon and the hit show LA Hair. She’s a woman who didn’t start out loving hair, but it became her. I got a chance to talk with her and to pick her brain on her life as a hairstylist, a reality tv star and an expert on weaves and wigs!
What inspired you to do hair? Was it something that you’ve always wanted to do?
Well no, actually I didn’t want to do hair as a young girl. I actually got married early and got in a little trouble and I was trying to find the next best thing to make fast money. I went to my hairstylist and saw she was making these fat checks doing hair (laughs), and I thought to myself ‘wow I’m going to go to hair school.’ So I ended up going to go to hair school, and one of the girls in my class, who I call my angel, helped me learn so much about weaves and more. When I got out of school I went straight into a salon and that’s how I started. I developed a passion for doing hair and being a stylist over the years. I was never the person who had been doing hair since I was in middle school or high school, and doing all my friends hair and whatnot. It wasn’t something that was on my mind. Every time I would try to walk away from doing hair, I’d find myself right back in the industry. I believe it was God’s plan for me.
What’s the story behind LA Hair? How did you land an opportunity on the show?
Actually I had been approached from several shows and most of them fell off because it may not have been the right time. The first show I had been approached by was not LA hair but it was Atlanta Hair. I felt that it was something more of my arena because I thought it would be great to do by myself and not have to come up with a storyline. However, they paused the process and asked if I wanted to do LA Hair and I was like ‘OMG I have to leave my clients in Atlanta?!’ I was only supposed to be there for 8 to 11 weeks and that turned into 8 months. I would come back like once a month and keep up with my clients however; I did lose some because of me being in L.A. so much. It was a great experience for me and all I can say is so far so good.
Did being on the show inspire you to open your salon? Or has this been something you been working on beforehand?
The thing is, a lot of people have the misconception that I opened the salon because of LA Hair. I actually had a salon before the show even existed. I moved to Atlanta in 2010 and opened the salon in 2011. Now the location that everyone sees now was called Prive. It happens to be the same location that Kim Kimble came and did a pop up shop in Atlanta. When I was leaving to go to L.A., I found out that the same location came up for sale and I contacted the owner to buy it and it’s funny because at the time, she wasn’t selling it. Well about 3 months later, she hit me up and ended up selling it to me. I kept the space and only the pictures she had, but of course I made it my own. Outside of that, the other misconception is that when LA Hair was filming the grand opening for the salon, it wasn’t that I was opening my first salon but instead I was just changing locations. However, it made a huge impact on my business and I went from a 4 chair boutique to a 13 chair boutique.
What sets your salon apart? What are some things you want people to remember about your salon?
The first thing is customer service. When you first walk into a place, you want to feel welcome and greeted, and I feel that that’s one thing that is lacking in this industry. We pride ourselves at my salon because you will be greeted by the director or the front desk manger. We offer hot hand towels at the shampoo station, champagne and more. It’s just the little things that helps to ease people in and shows great customer service. We also offer makeup, nail services and treatments for hair loss.
What are some tips you would give women for hair? Do you recommend weaves over wigs or vice versa?
I really like the option of wigs because I know how to make them and how to make them look natural. I make it fit for each person so it’s just for them. It also allows you to be free and versatile with your hair. You can grow you hair at the same time and still maintain your own hair. To me, weave is good for those who don’t like to change their hair all the time.Washing weaves is ok as well, however sometimes you need a fresh weave besides washing it and that’s another reason why I like the wig option better.
To learn more about Gocha and her salon, visit her website!