We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika Staten and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Erika, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind success for my business is the relationships and connection I form with my guests. I know it’s slightly unpopular in the beauty industry to be “friends” with your clientele, but the ability to be vulnerable and allow the space for them to be vulnerable, has taken us all collectively to the next level. I see these people once every month or two months, I learn a lot about them, and they about me. I want to grow old with them, see their kids grow up and go off to college or have their own kids. My job is to provide exceptional service, beautiful hair, and an atmosphere that allows them the freedom to, if only for a couple hours, relax and let everything fall off their shoulders. We connect on a deep level, and I count any of my guests are some of my closest friends.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What I’ve come to realize recently, and it sounds odd that it’s taken me so long into my career to actually put words to it, is that I’m an artist. I was explaining to my daughter that artists come in many forms, not just someone who draws or paints. As I recounted all I have done in my life, professionally and creatively, it dawned on me that I am, in fact, an artists that dabbles in many mediums. I am a photographer, painter, hairstylist, designer. If I think really hard about it, all I’ve ever done is considered art. What that tells me is that I see beauty in many things. One of my favorite things to do is to visual something “unpleasant to the eye” and see how I can make it into something beautiful. Sometimes all it takes is a shift in perspective, but isn’t that the beautiful thing about art? Changing how we see things gives us a limitless ability to experience the beauty of world around us. One gift I am blessed with is that ability to see the potential in something less desirable, I suppose the silver lining on a cloudy day. In the salon, when I’m doing a balayage, or “painting” hair, my guests could tell you that I’ll zone out and really get into my element. I’m not sure I can explain to you what I’m doing and why, but my artistic vision has taken over and leading the way. It’s freeing work that allows me to just do my thing, and my guests trust that my vision will collide with theirs.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today in life if it weren’t for my three daughters. I know it sounds cliche but raising independent, hard working, young women to go after their dreams is a task that I’m not sure has an end date. I believe that the influences around us move us either forward or backward, what do I want the future to look like? For them, I want the world to be more welcoming, more accepting, and more encouraging to women in the workplace. I want them to have a dream, and not think for one second that they can’t achieve it. The way I hope to achieve that, is by doing. By being. By showing up every day, working hard, failing but then getting back up and trying again. I want them to be humble in their efforts and know that humanity is the most important of all, I believe that is shown by serving your community.

Website: www.balaylab.com

Instagram: instagram.com/balaylab

Facebook: facebook.com/balaylabhairsalon

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/the-balaylab-phoenix

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.