“I feel like that’s probably why a lot of businesses fail because early on they’re just…they’re mindset is “I need to make money right now.” I understand, that’s definitely, obviously that’s important, but that’s just not realistic in starting a business for that to be a goal right away. If you want to be able to really grow it into a long lasting brand you have to put in the time, all the money, everything. You have to keep it in there.”
Natalia Harris – Beauty Entrepreneur & Founder of Glam Parlor; Learning on the job; Being a mom and an entrepreneur; Constantly making her own opportunities.
Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Natalia Harris and her journey as an entrepreneur; Hustling at a young age; Learning from every opportunity given; Going all in on her dream.
Natalia’s finer points:
“I moved here when I was 2 years old with my family. My parents moved here, my mom’s sister already lived in San Francisco, so she kind of help a little bit, as much as she could. But realistically, it was my parents coming out here and hustling from day one.”
“I was never brought up where it was an option of “Do you go for it? Do you grind and try to make things happen?” It was how many different ways can you grind and make it happen? I saw that early on with my parents so for me as a young kid I was just looking for the next opportunity to make something happen.”
“I was watching a TV commercial and a modeling agency ad came on. I do remember this part, I called the agency and I scheduled an appointment, and I told them, “I have my parents permission, they’d be with me, they know this is happening, I’m scheduling this appointment.”
That was kind of like my first taste of, if you want something just go for it. The grind continued from there. My parents didn't really have a lot of money to allow me to do the things I wanted to do. They tried their best, they put in all the time they could.
“They’d take me wherever they needed, but dance, all that stuff, pageants…it cost a lot of money so a lot of times I would call and find sponsors for stuff. There’d be a local store that maybe would sponsor me a couple hundred dollars towards my pageant and I would promote them on a weekend. Or a lady that made my dress, I would advertise her dress. And I would literally call these places and make marketing deals with them essentially.'”
“Ten years old at various places, finding sponsors. Really, really early in life I just realized there’s no reason why you can’t go for something. You just have to figure out how you can make it happen.”
“With all the stuff going on now, it’s essentially no different except I’m older, and it’s in a different capacity. But that happened all the way through my career in nightlife, it was the type of thing where I went from being a marketing coordinator to marketing manager to a marketing director.”
“And relatively quickly just because I was the one that always, at my job, never said “this isn’t my job.” Whatever opportunity came up to learn a new aspect of the business, I took. Even if that meant working more, I just was interested to learn everything.”
“I think that’s a key of why I felt comfortable leaving at a certain point and starting my own business and brand is because even though I was a marketing director for a brand for a really long time, I wasn’t, that wasn’t the only thing I did. I really tried to immerse myself in all aspects of the business, whether it was operations or the advertising end of it, you mentioned talent relations, event production.”
“I think you have to be passionate and actually enjoy it. For me, even though nightlife initially wasn’t what I thought, I was using marketing when I went to school for business. It definitely became I was passionate about the music, I was passionate about the artists and event production.”
Even though it swayed me from my initial path, I saw a lot of potential in being able to learn from it. I think it's just a combination of actually being passionate about the thing and also it being a part of your overall puzzle. You don't really want to do a million things that don't relate to each other and won't help each other at all.
“For me, with nightlife, I built a lot of relationships that are going to help me PR-wise. Meeting all the different cocktail waitresses, it was like a 10 year education of my target market right now for my beauty business. So aside from that it was just really great bootcamp of just being on 24-7 and just being able to juggle 5 million things at once.”
“My other biggest advice is if you’re gonna go and start a business you just have to be realistic in the expectations. So many people think, “oh you’re gonna start a business, you’re gonna be really rich and it’s easy.”
“Because if you own a business that means you have a lot of money… It’s funny…how many people have been like, “I should start a business, do they have any other openings in that shopping center?” Just so casually, like it’s no big deal.”
“I think so many people don’t realize that. They just think that “oh wow you quit your job you must already be rich” when you opened yesterday. It must be amazing. They don’t realize that one day hopefully it’s gonna be amazing, but right now it’s about making it happen and getting there.”
Segment 2: (Length :08:00) – Talking with Natalia; The concept behind Glam Parlor; Playing for the long game.
Natalia’s finer points:
“If you don’t put the money back into it now it’s not gonna be a long lasting brand. Do you know what I mean? I feel like that’s probably why a lot of businesses fail because early on they’re just…they’re mindset is “I need to make money right now.”
“I understand, that’s definitely, obviously that’s important, but that’s just not realistic in starting a business for that to be a goal right away.”
If you want to be able to really grow it into a long lasting brand you have to put in the time, all the money, everything. You have to keep it in there.
“Glam Parlor essentially is a princess cave. If you can think of a man cave…you guys have your sports bars and you go play golf and you’ve got your man caves, and I know spas and stuff exist. This is essentially a princess cave.”
“You walk in and there’s huge chandeliers we make fresh cotton candy every day. Right now we have made it out of candy canes, it’s peppermint cotton candy. There’s candy popcorn, you get offered wine or champagne or pink lemonade.”
“There’s the glam/beauty area. Everything is sparkly and glittery. No other way to describe it other than a princess cave.”
“It’s so awesome because I thought this was madness in my mind that I needed to release creatively, but the woman are feeling it. It’s so funny, it’s all ages. It’s everything from the 3 year olds that walk by to the 80 year olds that go, “I really feel glamorous in here. I really feel like a princess.”
In addition to that, I've really personally found the best artist in Vegas in the lash industry, the brow industry. It wasn't just enought through resumes, I personally reached out to artists that I saw and heard that worked great.
“Then I took all the artists that either applied or I found myself and I put them through a training camp where they had to audition and they went through training based on their auditions. Only then did they start working with us. It definitely has been super hands on with that aspect because obviously the art itself and the customer service has to be amazing.”
“The third part of it is between the girls and me being there, you really have that sorority/hanging with the girlfriends vibe there. It’s almost like…i don’t know if you remember that TV show Cheers where you always have a friend. It’s pretty much that girly type of hangout. This is kind of a little brainchild that was in my mind.”
“First of all, in my surrounding area there really wasn’t a quality place to go get a lash or brow service. You could get it in a back room of a nail salon, or somewhere where it’s an afterthought, but not really where somebody is about the quality, the health of your actual lashes. More than anything, what I learned from nightlife is creating and experience. I feel like that was something people feel.”
I kind of took a detour with nightlife and it was fun, but after having a baby, and getting older, I turned 32, I realized that I have to figure out what I want to do long term. With everything I've learned I feel like I've gained the experience to really build a brand.
“That was the other part with Glam Parlor, it wasn’t gonna be just a shop in a strip mall. Some people thought I was crazy. “Why are you spending all this money on chandeliers and crazy ceilings and cotton candy machines and all this stuff in a strip mall?” I’m like, “because I’m creating a brand.”
“This is the first of hopefully many locations and I have to create and identity from the first one.” So I was either gonna do it all in or not do it at all.”
Segment 3: (Length :10:00) – Constantly creating opportunities; Diving into all the details of creating and running a business; Being a mom and and entrepreneur.
Natalia’s finer points:
“First of all, I always tell people I’m going to be my hardest boss I’ve ever had. With me, I’m always in trouble. I should be doing more, I should be doing better. Even if I’m working every hour of the day I’m going to be the hardest boss I’ve ever had.”
“Also, with the switch, it was kind of gradual. It didn’t really happen overnight. It was the type of thing where I always knew that one day it was gonna happen.”
“My parents owned businesses, they were my early role models, and I saw them from nothing develop. They owned a Steak Escape inside a mall. They had deli inside an office building. I saw people give them so much shit, but still run their own business and do their thing and just grind it out. Seeing that I knew if they could do it, I had to own my own business one day. I had to be my own boss. The fact that my parents can do it from nothing, I had no excuse.”
For me, even working for someone else, I always had in the back of my mind that one day this was gonna be the end result anyway.
“I was just trying to learn as much as possible. I learned stuff like how to put together a media buy, how to buy advertisement, how to create an event, how to hire. I talked to our HR to figure out what the hiring process is. I figured out all the uniforms. When we did any kind of special service or training or training manuals for the staff, I was involved in it. Everything that I was learning it was always towards this end goal. There wasn’t really a day where it was a decision where it just happened.”
“I feel like sometimes I always say, “everything happens for a reason.” This space became available two doors down from the gym that we go to every single day. I always complained about how there was nothing around to get your lashes done or to get a quality beauty service. This is Vegas, this is crazy, there should be something on every corner.”
“When Ben told me this space came available I was like, “oh my god, somebody should open a lash lounge, they’d kill it.” Then I remember I used to say stuff like that all the time about opportunities and I would miss them because you get comfortable.”
You have a good job, and I had really, really cool job. It's hard to walk away from the type of excitement and types of celebrities and caliber of people I was able to deal with, even though sometimes it's a pain in the butt. It's really scary to walk away from that.
“So a lot of times I feel like I had missed opportunities when I would say stuff like that. “Someone should do this, they’d make a killing. Someone should do this idea.” Then it would happen and I would complain about it. I just got sick about being that person that complained about it and made it…oh…”I wish I could do something like that.”
“At the end of the day I was like, “why not? Babe, what do you think? What if we just did it?” What’s awesome about Ben is he’s so supportive and with it and he knows I put my mind to something…he’s knows I’ll hustle and do it, it’s not like a blow off idea. He was behind it right away. “You’ve gotta do it.”
It was not an overnight thing. I had to create a business plan, I had to do projections, I had to figure out financing. What I didn't want was a partner, other than my husband. That was the extent of the partner that I would want. I didn't really want to bring in other investors or anything like that.
“It was figuring out financing, it was figuring out time to do it all with a baby. I had to do everything on a really small budget. I didn’t have the finances to hire a huge construction and design company to lay the place out. I had to do that. I had to be involved on figuring out where plumbing pipes would go to make it the cheapest route to do it. I had to be hands on with everything.”
“It was gradually things happened. I created a business plan. I created projections…”okay, this looks realistic.” I started to dabble into look into what artists were out there. As each thing happened and evolved it just felt more and more right.”
“Then, “why don’t we just apply for the lease, let’s see what happens.” They were really impressed with the business plan and the concept and everything. That went well. As each step evolved it kind of just happened. And then all of sudden we were in construction.”
“After that there was no turning back, we were all in. I’ve never regretted it since and I just honestly finally feel like I … even though it might be scary right now and financially it’s been a complete crazy shift… because you go from working for someone else to depending on a new business.”
“Right now that just means making a lot of adjustments. Like I was mentioning, even if we do make money, I need to put it back into more marketing to grow the brand. That was the scariest thing was financially saying, “okay, we’re gonna make the decision right now to maybe go out less and maybe eat less at restaurants and make sacrifices.” We’re choosing to do this and both decided, yes. Now here we are.”
I'm sure some parents will be mad at me too with my choices, but I feel like at the end of the day the things that I'm doing are for my son. At the end of the day I was working 60 hour, 70 hour weeks anyway at my job to provide for him.
“To do all the things we want to do with him and provide him with all the stuff we want to provide. I was working a lot anyway. At the end of the day, eventually, after however it takes to get the business up and running, eventually I’ll be able to take more days off and spend more time with him. So I can take him to his little league practices and stuff like that.”
“Right now I still do my best to spend time with him. He gets up really early so we get our morning time. He gets up around 7, so we get a couple hours to hang out in the morning. When I get off of work, I keep him out for about and hour and half and we get to play after work.”
“The other thing is, when I hang out with him I’m actually spending quality time with him and I try to not be on my phone. I’m actually playing with him. So many time parents are with their child all day, but they aren’t really spending quality time with them. They’re just around them and they’re playing.”
So when I'm with him, I'm totally present. There's an overall plan. Within the next 6 months to a year I feel like I'll be able to spend even more time with him. Right now, he's a little baby, so by later it'll be even more important time. Then I'll get to go to all his little practices and stuff.
“Segment 4: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:
Some entrepreneurs think how can I make a lot of money? But the better way is to think how can I make a lot of people’s lives a lot better? If you get it right, the money will come. — Richard Branson
Natalia Harris – Beauty Entrepreneur & Founder – Glam Parlor
Founder of Glam Parlor – Former nightlife executive turned beauty entrepreneur opens an experiential and immersive glam environment, Glam Parlor, in one of the city’s most posh neighborhood.
Natalia moved here from Russia when I was 3 years old with my parents who were in their 40’s with no English and $200 in their pocket.
Early on, she took things into her own hands since her parents didn’t speak English. One example: her parents always bring up that when she was 6 years old, she called a modeling agency and scheduled an interview for herself.
Growing up, she was a really good student and participated in dance, pageants etc. Went on to become Miss Arizona Teen USA 03, among several other smaller titles.
She graduated top 1% of her high school graduating class of 635 students. Then received her real estate license when she was 19 while on summer break from ASU. Bought her condo when she was 19 from saving up from her hostessing job.
She worked her entire time in college even though she had a full ride and rooms and boarding paid for.
Natalia started her own clothing line while still at ASU and working her cocktailing job. This eventually evolved into what is now her bikini line. She designed uniforms for various nightlife and day-life venues.
On top of that, she spent the last 10 years in nightlife marketing in Vegas. Most recently she was the marketing director for Play Management who oversees Light Nightclub and Daylight Beach Club. She ran everything from artist relations (dealing with the biggest artists in the world like J-Cole and Selena Gomez), to advertising, event production etc.
And of course, she recently left nightlife to open her own salon in Vegas, called Glam Parlor.
And she’s also married six and a half years to one of our best guests we’ve had on the show, Ben Harris, recording artist, songwriter and the opening act for the Terry Fator Show at The Mirage. She is also mom to a one-year-old.
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