We had the good fortune of connecting with Elsa Lam and Joyce Lin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elsa and Joyce, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind our success is, hands down, the love and support from our friends and family. Without them we would not have taken the initial leap to turn our hobby into a brand we are proud of. Even when we had doubted ourselves, their trust and support fueled our ambition and motivation to continuously grow.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Turning your hobby into a business is a dream that a lot of people have. Though it was quite the struggle initially, testing us both mentally and physically, we’re most proud of just making it happen. We’ve never had formal training in Cosmetology, just our passion, curiosity, and aspirations to grow, and in a sense, that was enough. It’s really comforting to be able to tell yourself that you did it and didn’t give in to your doubts or talk yourself out of something that scares you. That’s also why we’re so fortunate to have each other.
The three things that continue to contribute to our growth are overcoming self-criticism, accepting that progress takes time, and tuning out external expectations. We both dedicate a lot of our time to our day jobs, so starting LOOKS was also inventing a space where we could express ourselves creatively.
With each appointment, we learn something about ourselves and one another and build special relationships with people. We almost get this backstage pass to our bride’s wedding days and it’s super special. When we see the happiness radiate from our clients, that’s what warms our hearts, that’s what we’re here for.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To truly get a feel of what LA is all about, you definitely need to compartmentalize the different areas of the county.
Day 1: The Beach
Head over to the South Bay and grab a bike to make your way along the boardwalk. You will get to experience 4 different beaches along the Pacific Coast. Starting off with Redondo Beach, then moving over to Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and lastly, Marina Del Rey. Hungry? Check out Redondough for some cinnamon churro donuts or take a trip to Torrance for some amazing Japanese food! They have real authentic ramen or sushi choices that will make you salivate. Our favorite by far is Maruhide Uni Club if you love fresh uni on everything! If you want a refreshing beer, Torrance is on point with their breweries that include Smog City or Strand Brewing.
Day 2: Beverly Grove
Start off your morning with a nice latte from Coffee Commissary. Then make your way over to Blu Jam to try their mouthwatering Crunchy French Toast, topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries and a side of vanilla bean sauce to drizzle on top. Once you’re fully fed, it’s time to walk it off! Head over to get some shopping done at the Grove or if you prefer to view some amazing artwork and the famous Urban Light installation, go visit LACMA. If you can bear the LA traffic, drive a little further and visit the beautiful Getty Museum.
Day 3: Hollywood
Take a hike up Griffith Observatory to view the whole city of LA and continue making your way up until you see the Hollywood sign. After the hike, go walk through the Hollywood Walk of Fame to take some photos with your favorite stars on the street. Don’t forget to grab a nice slab of steak at the oldest restaurant of Hollywood, Musso & Frank Grill. You might be able to sit at the same tables where famous people such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor sat! Then end the night with a show at the Hollywood Bowl.
Day 4: Downtown LA/Arts District
Unleash your wizarding experience at Nimbus Coffee! The vibe and drinks at this shop was heavily inspired by the Harry Potter series. If you are a Harry Potter fan like us, you will definitely enjoy choosing which potion to drink! With endless options of happy hour menus, DTLA is the place to be. If you are a whiskey drinker, be sure to visit Seven Grand for their delicious drinks. For some tasty bar food, take a trip to Prank where they have tons of options all for $7 each! End the night with handmade pasta at Maccheroni Republic and some cocktails while viewing the LA city lights at Perch.
Arts District is another great area to visit. Their great additions of new bars and restaurants includes the best burger, hands down, found at the Father’s Office. Or move over down the street of Alameda to grab the best tacos you can ever have at Avenue 26 taco stand!
Day 5: 626 San Gabriel Valley
Far east from the heart of LA, you will find the best Chinese food LA has to offer. From various dim sum options such as pork shu mai at Lunasia Dim Sum House to noodle soups and soup dumplings at 101 Noodle Express or Mama Lu’s. The options are infinite! Be sure to add boba to the list! Check out the fruit teas at Sunright Tea Studio or some milk teas at Half & Half.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost, an enormous shoutout to our friend, Sam, the one that brought us together and continuously pushed us to make LOOKS happen. Of course, our families for being our first customers; our friends for being our most loyal clients and helping us spread the word. The brand, Motives Cosmetics, that connects makeup artists all over the world to share their passion in making people feel confident about themselves. And lastly, it only feels right to shout-out each other because LOOKS could not have come this far without one another to lean on.
Christy Kendall Photography ifloyd Photography KLV Photography Randall Gee Photography