We had the good fortune of connecting with Raziel Cariaga and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raziel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe risk is necessary in life. “What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” To me, the only way to find specific answers or to get what you want in life, is to take that risk. When taking risks, there will always be a chance you won’t get the results you hoped for, and jumping into the unknown is really scary, but as a result you can say you were brave enough to try, it was a life experience/lesson, and you are able to walk away with more wisdom, then you move forward with your next game plan. Taking risks has played a big role in my life and career. My biggest risk by far was going against the career my parents wanted for me and following my heart by choosing to pursue my passion for hair. My second biggest risk in life (as equally scary as going against my parents) was choosing to go independent and run my own business. I don’t regret a thing, and I’m glad I took those risks, I can’t imagine how my life would have been if I hadn’t.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I found my passion for hair after receiving a bad haircut! I remember crying in front of the mirror saying “I’m never going to a salon again!” Then thought, “But who’s going to cut my hair from now on? Who can I trust?” That’s when I decided I could trust myself if I learned. After growing my hair out, I bought a “Haircutting for Dummies” book and learned the basics and started cutting my own hair. Not too long after I had friends and family asking me to cut their hair, I was in high school charging $10 for haircuts in my parents’ garage! From then on, I wanted to be that person that everyone could trust with their hair, the type of person I needed when I was 15. After high school I was expected to go to nursing school. I quickly learned my heart was not in it. My friends would always ask me why I wouldn’t go to beauty school, I told them I wasn’t allowed to because I had to be a nurse. But after a little more convincing, I decided to take a tour at Paul Mitchell the school San Diego, and at the end of the tour, I took that risk and signed up. My life changed dramatically. My parents were upset, and I had to pay for tuition on my own, so I worked full time at a memory care unit for the elderly with Alzheimer’s or dementia during the day and went to beauty school at night for 2 years. Was it easy? No. Was it worth it, YES, a million times yes!
After getting licensed, I styled women’s hair for 2 years, and always did house calls for women’s color on the side, but started missing my love for cutting hair, so I took on a new challenge; men’s grooming. I started at a men’s salon in Little Italy. I could not fade hair for the life of me, I couldn’t even believe these complete strangers were sitting in my chair, trusting me to give them a $47 haircut fresh out of beauty school. I’ve given good enough haircuts but far from quality, so I felt defeated and discouraged a lot of the time. Let’s just say it took a lot of trials and tribulations to get better at cutting more quality hair. Another men’s grooming place later, I decided I wanted to take on a new challenge and expand my potential. So I took the jump and started my own business as Raz Cutz. The craziest part about it was that I started my business in the middle of the pandemic in 2020, with all it’s glorious salon closures. But today I am grateful to be able to grow my business and give people some nice hair.
Throughout this journey so far, I’ve learned that taking risks are necessary, consistency is key, always learn through your experiences, and most importantly follow your heart.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If you like to eat and drink, say less! My favorite spots are Downtown, Little Italy, North Park, and Convoy. Some notable spots for me are Morning Glory, Ironside, Harumama, Taco Stand, Stella Jean’s, Underbelly, Hiddenfish, Min Sok Chon, Jeong Won, and Mochinut. I’m a bit of a foodie so I would recommend any of the spots I’ve been to and have posted about on my foodie Instagram @razeatz
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to everyone that has been a part of my journey so far. First and foremost, my parents and siblings for always being there for me and continuously being supportive. My best friends Jamila and Victoria for always being there for me in all my highs and lows in my crazy life. My clients! For supporting me and my passion, building bonds with me, and for simply choosing me to be your hairstylist! I also want to include all of the people that have had a negative impact in my life, everyone has a role. I truly wouldn’t be the person I have come to love today if it weren’t for all of these people. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!