We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryleigh Hunter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ryleigh, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I think one thing outsiders don’t know about our industry is how extremely vulnerable this job can make you feel. Not just emotionally, but mentally and physically as well. Emotionally because we have some very deep conversations with our guests and a lot of time it feels like a therapy session, not only to them, but often times for us too and you really build strong connections with many of these people. Mentally because maybe you have someone very particular and not-so friendly in your chair so you’re under a lot of pressure, or maybe you have a really difficult color correction you’re not sure how to tackle, or maybe you haven’t had time to eat in 7 hours and you’re not operating at your best, the list goes on. Physically because you’re standing for up to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. Being a hairdresser is incredibly taxing on your mind and body though it may not seem that way, but any hair dresser you meet will tell you they wouldn’t change a thing- its the best industry ever.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Im not sure what sets my journey apart from others, but it was not easy getting to where I am nor am I even close to where I want to be. I will say that what keeps me going is the slow, but constant growth I have seen over the last 10 years. The biggest lesson I have learned is that its a *must* to stay inspired in this industry. It’s not a “get in, get out” type of job and its a very progressive industry. For me personally, as a dreamer, I always have my eye on a bigger prize. I’d say thats what keeps me inspired and motivated to be better, keep learning, and get rid of energy that is no longer serving me. If I ever feel I’m becoming stagnant, its often because something shifted in my work environment and I’ve always been intuitive to that and made major changes when it was necessary.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lets just imagine I have a friend visiting in the summer. because thats the best time of year. I envision a lot of eating, drinking and laying on the beach, maybe a boat day or two. I love a good windansea day- I like to bring juneshines and floaties down and just have a solid day in the sun. Food wise, we’d have to go Mexican food for a lot of the meals because it is just so good in San Diego and there’s a place on every corner. I personally love puesto for the environment, cantina mayahuel for the margaritas, oscars for fish tacos, and don bravo for a quick bite to take to the beach. Or if you live in South Park like me, del sur is amazing and they sell margs by the pitcher 😉 I also see brunches in order- Isabels, second nature, the great maple, Georges, the cottage, sooo many good ones. And lastly, a little shopping at my favorite shop to take all of my friends from out of town- pigment. You can’t deny that store is stimulating as f*ck.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would definitely want to dedicate this shoutout mainly to my dad. I relied on him financially A LOT in the earlier years of my career and it took me a looong time to get to where I am. There were a handful of times I thought about quitting and choosing a different career entirely so without my dads help, im not sure I would even be a hairdresser anymore. I also give it to all of my coworkers I’ve had along the way. I’ve had such unique experiences at each salon along the way, but I can honestly say I’ve learned at least one thing from every single person whether it be different techniques, formulas, etiquette, how to run a salon, how not to run a salon, etc. Im thankful for all of my experiences because they each helped set me up for success in some way. Also very thankful for the support I’ve gotten from my friends and family. Especially the ones that have been my guinea pigs since the very beginning. Looking back, some of the hair do’s I was slanging nearly a decade ago were a little questionable. sorry guys.

Instagram: @_hairbyryleigh

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