Yovanka Loria has always been ‘obsessed with hair’ and at age five proudly declared she would be a stylist
Yovanka Loria has always been “obsessed with hair” and at the age of five she proudly declared that she would be a stylist.
Little did she know that following this dream would one day bring her millions.
The 44-year-old mother of two first worked in a salon when she was 12; sweeping the floors and begging for the chance to start cutting customers’ locks.
Now, lengthening her hair – rather than cutting it – has made her a fortune after she began designing revolutionary extensions that “look natural” without causing damage.
“I’ve always loved extensions, but most hairdressers and salons just canceled them because they take too long to apply, can’t be colored easily and damage the hair,” she told FEMAIL. .
“Not only that, but the hair quality in many extensions was also questionable, making it difficult to work with.”
So, after having children and thinking about how to improve hair extensions, Yovanka embarked on research and development.
Two years later, she almost gave up – after a global search for the perfect hair supplier and manufacturer yielded less than desirable results.
“I couldn’t find any in the US or China and even sent my brother to Ukraine,” she said.
Yovanka has developed a new type of hair extension which does not damage the hair and is of consistent quality and good quality. The client is photographed before and after the extensions.
The busy mum said investing $400,000 in her business was the scariest bet she’s ever made – but it was worth it
“Then a miracle happened and I was contacted by a supplier, he was so unique, and together we found the hair I needed,” she said.
She now gets her hair from China, where it is bought from young women at a “fair price” allowing them to live well in their villages and feed their families.
“I was so naive when I got into this, because the hair is marketed all over the world as Slavic or Russian, but actually most of it comes from India and China.
“We use younger women’s hair because it’s not as coarse, which makes it look more natural,” she said.
In 2017, Yovanka was ready to “soft launch” her brand, simply named Yovanka Loria Extensions.
It was the culmination of a huge risk as she invested $400,000 to achieve her dream.
“I’ve never been so terrified in my life,” she said.
She admitted that her extensions are much more expensive than others on the market and can cost clients between $1,000 and $4,000 for the look they want.
“I was so nervous that people wouldn’t want to pay for them, but my husband told me to support me.”
Extensions are expensive and can cost customers between $1,000 and $4,000 – this customer opted for a full head of very long extensions
The extensions also “look more natural,” says Yovanka, because they blend seamlessly into the hair.
The hair comes from China, Yovanka said, before going to a factory to be processed – she now has an impressive library of hair.
In 2018, Yovanka had to hire more staff and had a six-month waiting list for new clients.
She also had to employ her husband, Vlad, full-time to help her with business administration – as she worked to get her hair done at more than 470 salons in Australia and the US.
“They use our hair and our methods, it’s so empowering to be able to teach my method to other stylists and to have my hair extensions in so many salons,” she said.
Although she works with new salons every day, Yovanka maintains that she is “very selective” and that the stylists allowed to use her products are part of an exclusive club.
Yovanka’s husband Vlad gave her the boost she needed to continue the business – and now works there full time
The salon is located inside the family home – and has grown into a seven-figure business
“There is a very strict application process, you have to be the right candidate and navigate certain selection criteria,” she said.
Since starting the business, Yovanka’s confidence has skyrocketed and given her the enthusiasm to review her diet, losing 20 kilograms.
Now the self-proclaimed workaholic is tackling new goals.
“I’m trying to learn to compartmentalize so I can put work aside and spend more time with my kids,” she said.
Daughter Teya, 13, has already shown interest in the family business while David, 11, is just happy that she is happy.
Yovanka started a second business distributing hair and teaching other stylists how to put it on after popularity skyrocketed and she found herself with a six-month waiting list.
Although deactivation is still a work in progress for the hairdresser.
“I can’t help it, so even though I’ve changed my schedule from Monday to Friday, I’ll still hop on my computer in the morning when everyone’s asleep.”
Yovanka hair extensions can last up to eight weeks before needing replacement and can be reused for 12-18 months if properly cared for.
“I have a wife who’s been using hers for two years which is crazy but they still look good,” she said.
Yovanka says she is proud to be able to set a good example for her children – her daughter Teya has already shown interest in the business
She says it’s important to dry them completely after swimming or showering – and never swim in a chlorinated pool.
Yovanka still works from her home salon, but is halfway through renovating it to provide more space for clients, a training room and more storage for her impressive hair library.
The successful mum says both businesses, the salon and the hair supply business, are booming – and have plummeted by seven figures following increased demand on Covid.