On a quest to help Akronites manage the many hats they wear, local entrepreneur Dr. Leia Love recently opened her second business. While flourishing in her first successful business, Leia’ Love Hair & Nail Salon, she found that her clients were not getting the support they needed, like mental health and therapy, to manage their busy lives. Through her beautician volunteer work, she also saw that helping people who’d lost their eyelashes, hair or eyebrows from cancer treatment was priceless to them. The S.H.E. Suite was born from these experiences and provides coworking space, training sessions, yoga classes and mental health counseling and is located in Fairlawn.
Dr. Love spoke with us about how she has supported the community by helping people embrace self help.
“A confident woman who looks good and feels good is a force to be reckoned with. She can literally change the legacy of generations beyond her years” Leia says.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Brynne Olsen: Tell me about your new business. What inspired you to start S.H.E. Suite ?
Dr. Leia Love: I was getting ready for one of my dances in high school, and I had a hair appointment and she ran me super late. I didn’t get to go to get my nails done, I didn’t get my makeup done, and I ended up just not going to the dance. So I thought, ‘I never want anybody else to have this type of experience.’ So I learned how to do everything, which was hair, nails, lashes, all of that so that they wouldn’t have those types of issues. I wanted to make sure that I could offer a time sensitive and quality product and service to my customers.
Starting out in business was challenging because there were no resources or people I could go to. I wanted to be able to help that beginning and budding entrepreneur be as successful as they could. One of the areas we have is a coworking style executive suite that they’re able to rent out on an hourly basis. Some people couldn’t necessarily afford to have a monthly rent somewhere, but they still needed to look professional when conducting their business.
With yoga, that was my selfish part. I wanted to do it but my schedule would not allow me to go to anybody’s yoga class. So I put it next door so I would be able to go. I also found that we’re always so busy and yoga really helps you to stop, slow down, and be mindful of your own body and your time.
BO: Tell me about holistically helping one’s self.
LL: What I have found is that when you look good, you feel good and you do good. Clients have a place where they can be vulnerable and be themselves without judgement.
Sometimes you can get that in an average setting, but then some people may need a little bit more to complete the puzzles that we all are. How can we help you with your puzzle pieces? Maybe you need some additional medications to make your puzzle whole and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being able to really accept that and be able to say ‘This is what I need for my puzzle and it’s okay if nobody else needs that.’ When we’re able to realize those areas that we are not as strong in, it makes you even stronger in the long run.
BO: If I were a small business owner, how could I get involved with the S.H.E Suite?
LL: If you, say, taught classes, and you wanted to rent out the space to hold a class you can do that. If you are looking to be a Youtuber, you can rent out the executive suite to do your YouTube videos or your podcasts. If you’re a lawyer and you usually meet at Panera, but you have sensitive documents, you can rent this out privately for the hour. Maybe you are a mom who has been at home all quarantine with the kids driving you crazy, and you need to get away. Let’s say you’re writing a book, you can have a book launch here. If you own a clothing boutique, you can do a pop-up shop. Whether you’re a new business owner or you’re trying to enhance the existing business, you can find something here.
BO: What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
LL: If I could tell small business owners one thing to do, that is to get a banker and develop a relationship with them. Learn Quickbooks, marketing and leadership. If you’re going to be leading employees, you definitely need to learn about the art, principles and foundations of leadership. And make sure that you are an effective leader or else your business just won’t be able to survive.
BO: How can people support your business?
LL: People can come to the salon and get a service or they can get a gift certificate for someone else.. When you see social media posts, ‘like’, comment, share, repost. This is huge because a lot of times we don’t have the access to different audiences.
Brynne Olsen is a wanderer who enjoys eating dessert first, writing, photography and meeting the demands of her fur children.
Photos used with permission from Dr. Leia Love
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