We had the good fortune of connecting with Arlen Vazquez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Arlen, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
You know to keep going if you truly desire to achieve the goal you have committed to. No matter the time it may take or the obstacles you will have to overcome, how bad do you want it? At times taking breaks in between is necessary but it doesn’t mean that you are done, It means that you are recharging. It means you may need to go through this temporary experience to learn a lesson or the adjust your lifestyle, to focus on yourself, your health or your family before continuing. You truly never give up, you may have just taken a long break but you can always jump back in and keep going.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My art is the hair I create, it is truly a creative release for me. The beauty world is the best of both worlds, we are creatives while simultaneously becoming the business itself. I believe having this perspective does set me apart from others because I am creating a brand but I also am passionate about my art and the work I do, so my goal is to be able to create the art you want on your hair to the tea. Im not looking to cut corners or make the most money out of my time. While that is important to keep in mind, it’s not the forefront thought of my day. Sometimes projects will take most of your day and I am ok with that. I would like to achieve “the look” more than having time to go out that same day. I will say I am most proud of the color corrections and creative vivids I have created.
I am excited to start working at my new salon location in Echo Park, it is one of my favorite areas to be in LA and now I get to be part of the creatives in the community.
I got to the position I am in today by lots and lots of trial and error, taking things as a lesson along the way and really committing to my goals and getting serious about where I wanted to be in life.
I was introduced to the beauty world when I was a receptionist at a salon and loved the environment and the lifestyles of hairstylist, they were so cool. After that job I got an opportunity to become a beauty school director’s – administrative assistant, at the time I took the job because they offered me full time hours. But little did I know that was one of the most rewarding decisions I made. While working there I was still not a student but I did help with enrolling people into beauty school and finding financial solutions for them to be able to attend the school. Many may not be aware but cosmetology school is expensive. Not only do you have a big financial obligation but you also have a high level of commitment required. The school I worked for was partners with one of the community colleges, you were able to register through the college and it saved you money, you were also able to apply for grants that the state offered that could cover your entire tuition at times. With that knowledge I was able to start attending school, I couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket so that was a huge blessing for me. It was a hard decision to stop pursuing my business degree and switch to becoming a cosmetologist at the time.
Once I was attending school, I wasn’t receiving the education I felt was needed so I switched partner schools. Although it was an hour away from my house, I knew it was worth it for me. A month into attending that school, I was excused for the semester because I had missed 2 days and left home early one day, the college program was very strict about their attendance. It came as a shock to me and I was devastated. During that period of time, covid happened and the schools shut down. I had been away from school for so long that I was losing hope and ambition. One day I received a call while I was having lunch alone and it was my beauty school staff asking if I would like to come back to school, it had been almost about a year since I had been there and I had already started a full time job but I impulsively accepted and registered. I have no idea how I made it work but I started school full time, switching from in person and online throughout the week while working my full time job remotely at home. It felt like I had no life but school and work for 9 months straight but I was so determined to finish school. I gave up my complete social life for it. Once I finished beauty school, I took my state board exam and unfortunately failed by one question. I was heartbroken but deep down inside I knew getting my license with no problem was not gonna happen for me. I always had obstacles and I knew that so I didn’t give up. I studied for months and was able to retake it and passed, it was an incredible feeling to know I kept going and it paid off. I even managed to learn more thoroughly after studying for so long. Since then my biggest challenges have been knowing when to move from a job position or salon. I have assisted under 2 stylist for 6 months each, which is considered a shorter time for an assistant but I felt like it was the right decision and you have to trust your gut. It has been rewarding because I have gained knowledge from different stylist, different environments and have been able to identify what I do and dont like. Where I want to be vs where I don’t. How I want to be treated as a professional and the way I want to present myself.
I would like the world to know that Dyepretty by Arlen Vazquez is the pure statement of rebellion and resilience. Like you think I cant do it? I will prove you wrong. You think my hair is too bright? let me add some neon UV color to it while im at it. Or you just want to step out of your comfort and explore something low maintenance? Let me guide you to become more expressive and confident with a balayge. I love to hype my clients up and get to know them and their stories. I am your number one fan when youre in my chair, I love to encourage my clients through their appointments. You’re getting amazing hair and im going to remind you that you are truly capable of becoming the best version of yourself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend was visiting LA, I would first take us to hike the Walnut Forest trail at 7-8 am because that’s usually early enough to beat the 9 am crowd, getting dtla city views. After that I would take a short drive to DTLA and grab a coffee at VERVE or a breakfast sandwich at eggslut but you also have the option to get tacos since its located inside the Grand Central Market. I would then drive to the fashion district and stroll through the Santee Alley because we support our community and the hustle, we love a good deal too. I would then drive out to echo park and chill, grab a snack, listen to some music, ride the ducks. After that we would stroll down sunset blvd. maybe grab a Coffee at Dinosaur coffee or Dayglow. Do some thrifting at the crossroads near by. We can grab some lunch at Sage if we’re feeling vegan food or maybe some ramen at Silverlake ramen or if Cena Vegan is doing a pop up, catch them wherever they are. I would end the day driving up the Hollywood hills to the Universal City Overlook or the Hollywood Bowl overlook to enjoy the views and roll up.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out my parents, siblings, boyfriend and friends for supporting me through my journey. Without their continuous encouragement, it wouldn’t be as easy to keep going after so many obstacles. You get busy and caught up with the journey so you spend a lot of time away from them, words of encouragement through text, a call or a comment on a post can go a long way. It’s a huge part of what continuously keeps me going.