Changing the Face and Pace of California's Salon Community

by Sharon Esche Irving

Corinne and Anthony LamCalifornia salon owners and hairstylists Corinne and Anthony Lam, owners of Zenbi Complete Beauty Salon in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. (near San Diego) are young, enthusiastic and passionate about their industry.

Everything appears fresh and new in Corinne and Anthony's lives, but this persona is simply the culmination of well-spent strategic years of dreaming, planning and making visions into realities with hard work and commitment.

Their salon actually opened seven years ago -- a charming Mediterranean-style cottage sanctuary within the larger mission-mode of the surrounding high-end community.

Zenbi's promises clients: "You came for hair, and you will leave with peace of mind." The couple was married seven months ago in Las Vegas, while in the middle of salon staffing challenges, buying a new home, accommodating family in from all over the world for the wedding (from Italy to Vietnam) -- and seeking out advanced education for themselves and their Zenbi salon team.

Also being developed then was Hairgy.com, a website the Lams had just launched helping professional stylists and students to build their business. Hairgy is an effective and evolving social networking community uniquely dedicated to helping the individual stylist to grow. This is achieved by emphasizing online networking, continuing education and marketing themselves directly to clients.

Hairgy.com was born out of the huge need for California's mega booth renter population to have somewhere to go to help market themselves, showcase their work, attract new clients, and have resources plus direct access to major mentors and advanced education. A Hairgy.com Facebook contest recently awarded both a stylist and a student a $5000 grand prize opportunity to build their professional portfolios by doing a hair fashion photo shoot with photographer Gary Lyons and industry public relations, Esche & Alexander PR, Inc.

With Corinne and Anthony, it is hard to separate the various industry identities and roles that have merged. Individually, each is a powerhouse as salon owners, educators, stylists and communicators. Together, they are a welcomed force to be reckoned with when it comes to empowering their fellow stylists (and aspiring stylists) to simply grow and market themselves in practical, affordable and attainable ways.

Last, but not least, comes the heart part drive of this couple. Anthony's childhood roots to his native Vietnam continue to fuel his passion to support Hagar International, the only non-profit organization that provides services and offers a way out for young women after they have been sold into slavery via human trafficking by their families back in Vietnam among other countries. Anthony, whose sister, Agnes Lam is the country representative for Hagar Vietnam, anticipates and welcomes the support of the professional beauty industry to impact this important cause.

"Through our websites, www.hairgy.com, and www.zenbisalon.com," Anthony explained, "Corinne and I hope to be able to raise cause awareness and donations that benefit Hagar International (www.hagarinternational.org). Our ultimate dream is to help Hagar build a beauty school in Vietnam to offer women in recovery the same rewarding career that we have also found in cosmetology."