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Daily Inspiration: Meet Erika Barbee

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Barbee.

Hi Erika, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I graduated from Paul Mitchell the School St. Louis in 2010 and started working at a salon in the south county right away then by 2012.

I realized I wanted to do more than just hair, I wanted to learn all about every aspect of our industry so I took a couple of different bartending jobs and took lots of Internships & continuing education classes for makeup, print work & extensions.

A lot of people thought I was crazy to give up the clientele I had built but I definitely don’t regret it, because it made me into a better stylist & it’s also how I met my husband… So, taking time Off from behind the chair definitely worked out. Lol. I also got to meet some. Amazing people and work at some really cool shows here in St. Louis.

When I came back behind the chair, I truly felt like I was the best stylist & makeup artist I could be at the time, of course, you grow and get better over time, practice makes perfect right? Right after my daughter was born, I was at a local salon and I thought I had found my forever home until they closed a year and a half later.

Then I was faced with a decision, to either go find another rental salon, go to the other salon in town that was commissioned, or finally venture out on my own. It was definitely a hard one because I knew all the work that would go into going out on my own & it was definitely scary but once that salon closes, I moved into the tiniest little room that I had everything in and started my journey.

Someone had actually made a Comment about my new “home” because it was legit the size of a closet and boom LUX was born, which looking back now it’s totally funny because there was nothing luxurious about it at all. Lol. Actually, when COVID hit I was in that room & honestly Covid was the best thing to ever happen to me, it forced me to stay on track with my goals for myself, both professionally and personally

When I came back I finished out my contract there and moved to a bigger suite just down the road, and that October I was out for our town’s annual witches’ night out & I had seen a spot that was empty & all of sudden the next day I started looking at building to expand in to and by thanksgiving weekend that year I had signed the papers for now home. Which was crazy and scary but I had never been surer about anything in my life.

Demo & the rebuild took about 60 days I knew I wanted to be in the new studio before that year’s wedding season started and 2 weeks before I opened the studio I found out I was pregnant with my second, which made opening that much crazier but it was definitely the best craziest time of my life & I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

LUX studio opened on February 4th, 2021, today we have 3 stylists 1 lash tech, and 1 microblading specialist. And they all are amazing.

We are currently looking to add stylists to our team which we hope to do by this year’s holiday season, we have been growing so fast my head is spinning, but it’s the best problem to have and all my gals have worked so hard to get where they are today, it’s amazing.

I’m truly so proud of each of them.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Definitely not always a smooth road, I mean that’s what makes life interesting right? Lol, but my journey has been filled with so many amazing people I didn’t mind all the bumps along the way.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We started out being known for color, man we can slay some color but we are very quickly expanding into other areas as well, our girl, Tess is one of the most amazing Lash extension techs on this side of the river, and our girl, Jaime has been slaying the hand-tied extension game.

We just hired our girl, Rhi in March who is putting us on the map for microblading, but what we have mainly known for is weddings. We LOVE weddings, we are known so much for weddings we just expanded our bridal team by 2 make-up artists and other stylists.

Most proud of definitely our weddings, when I did the build-out of the space I made sure we had our very own bridal suite, because, at the time of opening a lot of venues wouldn’t let people get ready together because of Covid, we are slowly getting back to normal now though so we are traveling a lot for weddings however we still have about 6 weddings head which is always a nice break from. Traveling.

What sets us apart from others is the fact that we are a studio & not a salon. If it can be done on your head or your face we do it.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Always trust your gut.

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @_luxstudiobar_
  • Facebook: @LUXstudiobar
  • TikTok: @luxstudiobar

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