Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Published November 6th 2019
Meet Yovanka Loria - an Adelaide-based Creative Hair Director who has over 20 years of experience working in salons across Melbourne, Los Angeles, and New York and has recently launched her very own signature range of luxury Hand-Tied Hair Extensions.
Bringing together an innovative technique of making ethically-sourced and handmade lightweight extensions that are customized to each of her clients' hair colors, Yovanka's hair extensions also help with promoting hair growth and maintaining the integrity of the natural hair. Additionally, it eliminates the potential damage that more traditional hair extensions may cause due to the use of glue, tape, or braiding that causes an unhealthy level of pull on natural hair.
In anticipation of her recent launch of the hand-tied hair extensions that are available across over 15 salons nationwide, I was fortunate enough to score an e-interview with Loria about the story of her business - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, Yovanka? Yovanka: I grew up in Adelaide and when I was five years old, I told my parents I wanted to be a hairdresser. I left school in Year 10 to start my apprenticeship and once I was qualified, I went on to work in Melbourne, Los Angeles and New York. I later returned to Australia, got married, had two children and settled down in my favourite place… Adelaide!
Tema: What inspired you to start up your own business around hair extensions? Yovanka: It first started out as a small hobby and passion, which quickly turned into an obsession for hand-tied hair extensions. I then realised there was a gap in the Australian market, which led me to follow my dreams by creating my own line of luxury, high-end, hand-tied extensions. I knew I was onto something special and I am so grateful that my business has hit the ground running.
Tema: How long have you been in business for and what has that journey been like so far? Yovanka: I was a sole trader for the last 10 years working in salons on a commission structure. Two years ago, after gaining some traction on social media, I took a leap of faith and I decided it was time to set up my own studio - It was the best decision I have ever made! Having the best team by my side has given me the strength I needed to pursue my dreams. They also share my passion by helping me build a community of amazing women who support one another and lift each other up. I always encourage my staff and tell them that If I win, they win too.
Tema: What would you say to someone who has never tried having hair extensions - what's there to know? Yovanka: Compared to other extensions on the market, this is the least damaging method I have ever come across. We completely customize each installation to each client with application, length, and weight in extensions varying across our clientele. We can install extensions to create length, density or simply install a few pieces to fill in those sparse parts of your hair. We explain to our clients that pain and scalp sensitivity is different for each person and that some people can experience minor discomfort for the first couple of days and some can experience none. However, after approximately one week, it feels like you're not wearing anything at all. The removal process is the best part, as it is pain-free and only takes around 5-10 minutes. As our extension application is unique to each individual, an in-salon consultation is required for each client. A thorough consultation helps us determine exactly what clients are wanting to achieve, helping us understand their hair type and it allows us to discuss whether our extensions are suitable. We like to explain to our clients that our hair extensions are a low, yet high maintenance product. If they are willing to follow aftercare instructions and maintain their hair correctly, they are a very low maintenance option for hair extensions. We always say to clients, "Our extensions are addictive, don't say we didn't warn you!"
Tema: How are your hair extensions made? What does the creative process look like? Yovanka: YL hand-tied extensions are made from 100% human hair and are ethically and expertly sourced. The colour process takes around 1-2 weeks and is carefully conducted, leaving the hair naturally silky, soft and fine in texture, creating longevity for the extensions.
Tema: How do the customized hair extensions work? Yovanka: Our extensions are customised to fit each individual head shape by carefully measured placement in the hair. Followed by a colour service which completely blends the extensions with our client's hair, offering a seamless and natural result.
Tema: How do your hair extensions help with hair growth? Yovanka: Our hand-tied wefts are evenly distributed in the hair with less contact points on the head, allowing hair to recover and grow. Without glue, tape or heavyweight on the hair, this leaves minimal/next to no breakage.
Tema: What do you think helps your hair extensions stand out from the rest in the industry? Yovanka: There are honestly so many draw cards to our hair and our method. One thing I know for sure, Is that if I had a method but I didn't have high-quality hair to back it up, it wouldn't have grown to where it is today. Our hair itself stands out as it is finer in texture, compared to most hair on the market, which can feel coarse or is covered in silicone. Finer textured hair extensions help keep the outcome looking and feeling like it is your natural hair. Our hand-tied wefts are lightweight, comfortable and blow-drying them takes half the time compared to extensions that are coarse. The wefts are strategically placed onto a beaded track and sewn onto your natural hair. We also eliminate glue, meaning no sticky mess or separation occurs, leaving your hand-tied wefts feeling as if it is growing out naturally, similar to your own hair. Lastly and most importantly, our installation method and colour application go hand in hand to create an undetectable blend between our extensions and our client's natural hair. If you wear your hair up high or if the wind blows, these factors create an almost invisible blend.
Tema: What do you hope for your customers to experience by using your hair extensions? Yovanka: We cater to a broad range of clientele and we strive to offer a friendly, relaxed, and overall amazing experience when clients sit in our chair. There is no better feeling than when we see our client's faces light up when we finish their makeovers. You can see their confidence come alive and nothing brings us more satisfaction than helping women feel more secure and confident within themselves. We aim for our customers to experience hair quality and customer service like they never have before and this is why we have selective criteria for both our hair source and our YL Extension stockists.
Tema: What are your visions of the business' success in the Adelaide market? Yovanka: The success I have had here in Adelaide has taken me by storm and I am honestly so overwhelmed and grateful for everyone's support. They say if they can test a business in Adelaide and it can work, it can survive anywhere! I am extremely proud of all of the positive feedback and support we are receiving and feel all of our hard work is paying off. I want to continue to provide an environment and community where my team and like-minded stylists have the opportunity to grow and support each other, wherever that may lead me!
Tema: Where do you see your business in 5 year's time? Yovanka: I see our network of stockists growing Australia wide! My end goal is for everyone to convert over to hand-tied wefts, of course, to have the best quality hair on the market, and for our team to continually provide honest, high-end customer service. I want to change the game by adding value and quality to the standard of hair in the hair extensions market.
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like us to know about yourself and/or your business? Yovanka: I truly love what I do and after 28 years of being in this industry, it never gets old for me. I love continuously learning and growing - personally and professionally. You can take a pretty picture on social media, but if the customer service doesn't back it up, you risk everything and we strive to create an exceptional and one-of-a-kind experience. Sharing and building a community of like-minded individuals is what has truly become one of my highest values and become my biggest motivation. My team and I feel so lucky to meet so many people and to work along-side amazing stylists alike.