#ItTakesAPro Team Artist and SexyHair Ambassador Shayla Robertson (@samirasjewelry) began her career in jewelry, running a small booth at her local mall in Naples, Florida. But after attending the national beauty trade show Premiere Orlando in 2016, her passion for hair and styling took centerstage as she quickly became fascinated with the extravagant world of bridal styles, braids, and makeup.
From that point on, Robertson started practicing on the mannequins at her booth in the mall, incorporating her own jewelry into each hairstyle to create a unique, signature look. Her 219,000-strong following on Instagram is a testament to her talents with her posts frequently achieving viral status.
While continuing to pursue her passion and building up her social media base, Robertson transitioned from her booth at the mall to opening her very own studio in 2019.
We sat down with Robertson to learn a little more about her career success and passion for all things beauty.
“While I was still in cosmetology school, I went to the Premiere trade show in Orlando, Florida, where I saw a big stage full of models who were getting braids done with accessories. It really caught my attention because I love everything sparkly and I wanted to be able to create braids that incorporated that into the hair. I started practicing a lot with mannequins, then moved on to clients who had seen my work at my booth.
Once I finished school, I had grown my clientele enough to open my own suite. I had also worked towards building my social media and participating in competitions like Model Salon Vintage, Hairdo USA, and Sexy Hair.”
Do you specialize in a certain style of hairdressing?
“My specialty is bridal, up-do styling, braiding, and makeup. I went to cosmetology school, where we learned everything including coloring, cutting, and styling, but I always knew styling was my favorite. And I also love everything bridal, from going to new venues and places to meeting beautiful new people, it’s all so glamorous.”
Why did you choose to open a salon suite?
“I opened my suite in 2019 when I closed my jewelry business at the mall. I used to do hair right in the middle of the mall, but decided it was better to move to a suite to give clients more privacy. This is especially the case when it comes to brides as it’s a very personal occasion and they don’t want people standing around watching them. I wanted a space where I could tend to the client without any distractions, but I didn’t want to be in a salon, so I found a suite that I could create into my own beautiful space.”
How has opening your suite changed your career?
“I was able to get more clients and open up my availability to include weekdays.”
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve run into as a suite owner so far?
“Salon suites can be expensive, especially when you’re just starting out, which is why I didn’t go that route. Instead, I was able to find a salon that has a separate room, so I’m renting that room as a studio."
Any advice for a fellow beauty professional who is looking to open their own suite?
“Find something that’s affordable and works for you."
Any advice for someone wanting to specialize in bridal or braids?
“Begin by building your social media towards a bridal aesthetic. You can do this by collaborating always looking for hairstylists. If you begin by volunteering, it will help to get your name out there.
Then, once you collaborate, you get the benefit of professional photos that you can post on social media. You also build a good relationship so that they can recommend you for future bookings.
And make sure to optimize your social media by tagging the location of the wedding you’ve done so that people who are looking at the venue can also see your work. Using things like locations and hashtags can help potential clients easily find your page."
What is currently trending in bridal styles?
“Hollywood waves, half-up/half-down, and braids are trending right now. There aren’t too many people asking for up-dos these days.”
Any predictions for what will trend in 2023?
“From my experience, what's trending really depends on what goes viral on social media. For example, two years ago, I did a hairstyle that had a slicked middle-part with waves in the back and accented pearls, which went viral after I posted a photo of it to my social media. I was getting tagged from people around the world because they loved the style, and it became a trend to have accented pearls on the hair. This taught me that whatever becomes popular or goes viral on social media will become a trend in real life."
Any next steps or goals in your career you can share?
“I want to open a glamorous salon that specializes in just makeup and styling. I also want to get into the movie industry or fashion shows, because I get so much of my inspiration from the cinema.”