Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Angela Zajic, Owner of Rah Hair Studio, Rah Beauty Bar and Rah Weddings, located in South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Starting as a passion project to create an atmosphere that was not only healthy for the people working there but also made them feel at home, from a regular day of cuts and color to event hair and makeup. We evolved over the years because weddings are my absolute favorite. My goal then turned to focus on weddings and people's experiences with hair and makeup. I wanted to find raw talent that can be cultivated and then educate and lead a team who loves the wedding industry as much as I do! Every year I put my team through training called bridal boot camp, it's my 13th year teaching it to my staff, and I put them through timed exercises and brutally honest feedback that helps them grow as an artist and be prepared for anything! We now have 2 locations, one in South Lake Tahoe and one inside Edgewood Tahoe resort, the nicest property in Lake Tahoe. A Forbes property that does many weddings each season. An environmentally friendly, focused property that matches our values and high expectations. We now have the largest team in Lake Tahoe for beauty, and I enjoy going to other cities and teaching bridal hair.

Tell us about yourself

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10 and went to a children's camp to help me manage this incredibly challenging disease. Through this program, I learned leadership and how to not focus on my disease as a weakness or a disability; instead, it motivated me. I have always been artistic, but beauty was deep in my soul, and I had a child young and wanted not to miss any of the special moments. I decided to become a salon owner, so I could set my own schedule and be able to take my child to and from school. My business and my disease have had good days and bad over the last 14 years. I've had hard health scares and stress, I had to fire people which I do not enjoy, and I also had to manage my disease. We have dealt now with Tahoe fires, smoke, and COVID shutdowns and are now busier than ever. I raise my eyes for this children's camp for Type 1 Diabetic children because I really feel like it saved my life and showed me that I could do whatever I want to do and that life is short, so just try. What's the worst that can happen? I fail? That's ok. I've grown so much.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

The local newspaper holds a "Best of Tahoe" contest yearly; we've won it for the past eight or nine years. Our salon gets so excited when we win, and although we always have some haters when we win in a small town, we take so much pride in our work it's so nice to be recognized. I've been in many magazines for bridal and other shoots. I save every magazine and cry every time. My goal is that all of the people on my team get published! It's a joy to see your work recognized in print and online! But most of all, our biggest accomplishment is finding growth in my company through huge COVID challenges. My husband is very smart, and with his brain and my creativity, we make an amazing team.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

COVID challenges and mean people in the pandemic. When elections happened and masks, we have never been treated so poorly as stylists. Everyone became mean and vocal because I believe they were all in fight or flight. I just tried to encourage my team to know that the entire world is in a bad place, but it has been incredibly difficult.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Just do it. Just try. Don't be afraid.
  2. Know your numbers, and don't want something so bad that you ignore the red flags.
  3. Don't waste too much money at the beginning on the bones of your business; build out your dream later when you can afford it. Start small, start somewhere.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

If you're struggling with a disease or diagnosis and think you won't be able to live a normal life, reach out for help. Find a counselor, find a camp, find your people, and know that you can do it. Don't believe people that don't believe in you. Always grow. We never know what we are doing in the beginning. You are not going to be perfect, and that's ok. Just grow in a way that's healthy for yourself and your team. And create a positive environment.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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