New-Gen Filipino Entrepreneurs is a feature series that will spotlight young Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs, and their respective businesses in Toronto. Explore and be inspired by these Filipino go-getters in our community! Here is the first shout-out:
Wanna get your hair ready just in time for warmer days of Spring? Check out Loriebelle Urrutia of LBhair!
WRITTEN BY RINA ESPIRITU
Loriebelle Urrutia, Professional Artistic Hairstylist at LBhair
Born and raised in Winnipeg, hair-stylist Loriebelle Daaca Urrutia moved to Toronto in 2006 to pursue her career in fashion, entertainment, art and culture. She has been recognized as one of the top 5 in Canada with the Contessa Hair Award. Though she’s never taken a trophy home, she happily calls herself the “Susan Lucci of hair awards.” But she did rank first place in Redken’s Cover Competition and is part of the prestigious L'oreal Fashion Week team.
Loriebelle has done hair for the MMVA’s, Breakfast Television, Much Music, TFO and currently the Marilyn Denis Show. She has lent her hairstyling skills to the likes of television actress Hannah Simone (now with the hit sitcom “New Girl), award wining R&B recording artist Melanie Fiona, CHUM television personality Dina Puliguse and the god-mother of Canada’s fashion world herself, Jeanne Becker.
Describe your introduction to your craft? What inspired you?
Funny you ask about my introduction. I started because I grew up in a big Filipino family. My dad is one of eleven, mom is one of fifteen. I have two older sisters, an older brother, and we are all one year apart. Being Filipino, any reason to have a "dinner and dance party" is a good enough reason to get all dolled-up, all those weddings, birthdays, even Christenings. But debuts are what got my artistic creative genes ticking. I started doing hair when I was 15-years old because of debuts.
I used hairstyling as my artistic expression. Styling hair has no boundaries.
I loved creating a look or style for someone that enhanced their beauty and most importantly boost their confidence. I found it satisfying when I'd create different looks, textures, detailed work, and people started recognizing it as an art form. I found a way to be creative and connect with people at the same time.
What are some of the adventures you've had in your career?
Leaving the nest, my family, the security in Winnipeg - to start out at the bottom of the Toronto food chain. Coming to Toronto I learned quickly that I'd need to hustle hard. Without my own clientele many salons wouldn't hire me as a stylist. I had to start as an assistant again. I was sweeping floors, washing hair, making less than minimum wage. I didn't touch scissors or color for 3 months - and that was tough. I felt like I was going to lose my craft not utilizing my skills for what felt like so long. That's when I shifted gears and decided if I have to sweep floors, wash dishes, pick up other people’s dry cleaning, then I'll do so to show them that I can do more, create more, that I was worth more. I just needed to prove that I'm best being behind the chair with scissors in my hand.
What are the most challenging elements of what you do?
I feel as a hairstylist, the challenge is finding the balance between your art and your profession. I know many hairstylists would agree with me that our work takes physical, mental and emotional tolls. We're constantly being challenged to be creative and artistic with meeting the needs of others while building relationships.
As a hairstylist I’ve been called an artist, a sculptor, a shrink. We play many rolls. And now starting my own business I'm not only all those hats but I'm now my own boss. I’m learning everyday, even after doing hair for 11-years. I'm a firm believer that art and business can become one.
Who does YOUR hair?
You are a reflection of your work. I do my own hair or bribe other hairstylist friends to help, if needed.
Do you ever tire of hearing people talk about themselves while they get their hair done? Answer honestly now, do you ever just zone out?
Of course we zone out at times. Especially while blow-drying. But honestly, I'm a people person. I love hearing stories and growing with my clients.
Sometimes you just need to talk to a person outside your circle. But I am surprised there aren’t more hair salon based reality shows (laughs).
What's the most gratifying part of your job? Where do you want to take your career next?
It's amazing how my craft is able to touch people. I can help change, mold or define their character, bring confidence, beauty, and satisfaction to each person on a daily basis. Doing this, as my career, is truly a gift on it's own.
Check out Loriebelle's work at LBhair.com. Be inspired!