We had the good fortune of connecting with Risa Vinegar-Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Risa, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?

I am a native of California, born and raised in Los Angeles. My father and mother were both traditional, full-time, working class parents and they were married for 52 years. As a child, I was a true daddy’s girl and was mindful of his dedication and commitment to finding and doing work that he loved. It was my father’s work ethics that had the most substantial influence on my life.

At an early age, my father mentally and physically prepared me with life skills that have been the backbone and foundation for my success. I observed the many levels of success he achieved in his lifetime, particularly as the primary breadwinner and provider for my family. The experience of growing up with him as my role model had a significant impact on my drive and desire to do well in the world. He gave me the determination and the confidence to go after the life I envisioned for myself.

My father passed away in 2003. I think of him whenever I arrive at my hair salon or when I return home. I regret that he is not here to see the results of his guidance and direction. My surroundings and accomplishments are a true reflection of just how much I am who my father was. His spiritual influence is a constant in my environment, my lifestyle, how I process my thoughts and how I take action to achieve my goals. He is my reminder that when we are doing the work we love, our dreams do come true.
After thirty years of service, my father retired from the City of Los Angeles doing what he loved as the Supervisor of the Traffic Signal Department. I began my career as a licensed hair stylist, forty years ago doing what I love in my true calling. I’m still going strong in 2021 as the founder and owner of The Lounge On Wilshire Hair Sciences, Wellness and Styling Salon, and I have plans to expand my brand.

Although my father did not pursue an entrepreneurial career path, my background was still heavily influenced by his core values. I strive daily to embody those same values of excellence in service, leadership, a positive image, a stellar reputation, and a commitment to the good health and well-being of my clients.

I miss my father a lot, and I always feel his presence around me. Growing up I was surrounded by the things that brought him joy. Consequently, I have his keen taste and appreciation for high quality craftmanship and artistry. I have his discerning eye for detail and I have surrounded myself with those things that bring me joy as well. Entrepreneurship is more than a notion. It can be all consuming and self-care becomes key to surviving and thriving in the entrepreneur environment.

The admiration I had for my father as a young child is immeasurable. What has shaped me into who I am today is the blessing of growing up enjoying the fruits of my father’s labor with the knowledge that he had been richly rewarded as a result of his extremely high level of performance and hard work. I can feel his spirit living in me. I’m quite happy knowing that I have made him proud by becoming the person he knew I could be. I am carrying on his legacy of consistency and dedication to providing a high level of hair care wellness services and products that deliver long term solutions for my clients.

What should our readers know about your business?

My passion to work with hair was instinctive. I was blessed to have the mentorship and support of a wide variety of professional business owners when I began my journey into this field. My mentors shared their trade hair care secrets and tips with me. One of my mentors passed his entire roster of clientele over to me when he decided to leave the hair care industry and that was the beginning of my journey onto the path of entrepreneurship. The lesson I learned along the way is that entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart.

Fortunately for me, becoming an entrepreneur was in my DNA and a perfect fit for me. Fast forward from my early start up days to present, I am the Founder and Owner of THE LOUNGE ON WILSHIRE HAIR SCIENCES, WELLNESS AND STYLING SALON located in the Mid-Wilshire District, where I have been for the past ten years. I grow out all textures of hair and types to its longest, fullest potential by treating and stimulating new hair growth from the hair follicle cavity containing the root of the hair. I am a specialist in solutions for clients who are experiencing scalp disorders and abnormalities, hair loss or premature balding. My clients call me “The Hair Whisperer” or “Hair Guru” because my services and treatments work.

I am also referred to as the “Mad Hair Scientist,” because I research and create chemical-free hair care products and scalp treatments for my clients. My scientific-based products elevate my services and expertise to a next level experience of hair and scalp wellness that is exclusive to my salon. What sets me apart is that my clients have been with me for years because they receive phenomenal results.

I am known for my proprietary brand of organic hair and scalp treatments. I am most proud of my longevity in the hair care industry and that I now personally create my own naturopathic formulas that repair the scalp and regrow damaged hair caused by tight braids, weaves, chemicals, hair shedding and breakage. Advancing my hair care and scalp treatments is an ongoing process that excites me and that I find extremely satisfying and rewarding.

This year I am formulating plans to expand my brand of ORGANIC HAIR CARE PRODUCTS, SCALP TREATMENTS and HAIR CARE SMOOTHIE CONDITIONERS to a broader consumer base in the future. I am actively looking for a like-minded joint venture capitalist and/or angel investor interested in partnering with me on this journey. I am also happy to be in discussion this year with Gail Gibson of Gibson Public Relations | Los Angeles | PR Agency on next steps and best practices for expanding my brand in a variety of new and exciting directions in 2021 and beyond as well.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

I would start by taking him/her to my neighborhood restaurants and bars on Ventura Blvd and then I would venture out probably to Sunset Boulevard and hit all my favorite restaurants and hot spots on Sunset: Katana’s, Le Petit 4 and Bosa Nova! Then I would head out to Malibu. My favorite restaurant there is Geoffrey’s Malibu. Just about everywhere I go you are bound to run into a few Hollywood Stars. I would probably hit three or four other restaurants and hotspots on the Malibu strip. By the end of that week we would be – wasted and ready to just hang by my pool and chill!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am forever grateful to my parents for the nurturing and dynamic family environments they provided for my growth and development. A shoutout to the mentors in my past who were dedicated to helping me get my feet firmly planted in fertile soil so that I could successfully survive and thrive in the hair care industry; my long-time hair salon assistants Inosencia (Lupe) Gomez and Gloria Carrillo who are irreplaceable; my loyal and dedicated clients who keep my doors open; Rosalind Morris – the salon’s premiere wellness stylist. A shoutout to my husband Marvin Johnson for holding down the fort; sister and trusted personal ghostwriter K. Venise Vinegar, who has been there for every salon iteration since day one; close friend and ride or die Karlton A. Levias; my rock star salon scheduler Angela Hoffman; and last but not least, April Smith – close friend, supporter and cheerleader. Thank you all for being the village that keeps me personally and professionally grounded.

Instagram: https://instagram.com/risaonwilshire?utm_medium=copy_link

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/risa-vinegar-johnson-b07179192/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/onwilshire

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Lounge-On-Wilshire-100100520461385/

Other: Questions or comments please contact: https://www.linkedin.com/in/venisevinegar venise_v@yahoo.com

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