Profiles in Leadership: Lupe Voss is Always Looking Ahead
Profiles in Leadership: Lupe Voss is Always Looking Ahead

Lupe Voss joined the professional beauty industry as a licensed cosmetologist in 1981, opening the Julian August Salon in Redlands, CA, in 1988. She started teaching in 1998, launching the hair color education company Hair Color Magic in 2008. In 2018, Aveda appointed her as the North American Artistic Director for Aveda Hair Color.

As part of our Profiles in Leadership series, Voss recently partipated a little Q&A with SALON TODAY:

SALON TODAY: From where does your entrepreneurial drive originate?

Voss: “I am not sure where the entrepreneurial spirit came from. I saw an opportunity, and felt the need to create an environment to share and help others.  It was a seed that was planted and grew, and I haven't looked back.”

ST: How would you describe your management style? What do you think makes you a good leader, and in what areas would you like to improve?

Voss: “I would describe my management style as empathetic, as I work behind the chair currently. I can connect to the team as a fellow stylist and set standards with our work. I would also describe my management style as diverse with structure.  Depending on who the team member is, I approach them differently keeping in mind the direction the company is going.  Not all rules and ideas can be presented in one manner.  Communication is important. Improvements can be made all around.  I try to find ways to keep the culture/beliefs while updating the business model for the new work force.”

ST: Throughout your professional career, what’s the best lesson you’ve learned after making a mistake?

Voss: “The only lesson to be made that I have learned after making mistakes is... accountability first.
I always ask ‘What was my role in this, and could I have done something differently?’ Then the solution, if needed, will always be unveiled. It has been my experience that some mistakes have been a great thing, they taught me to approach issues differently.”

ST: As you grew your beauty business, what “Ah-Ha” moments of clarity helped you shape its future course?

Voss: “Some of the biggest ‘Ah-Ha’ moments have been the most influential for my future. In owning the salon, teaching and having an education business. No matter who you are, no matter what you have accomplished, no matter where you are in your career, you are only as good as your last... (fill in the blank.) I find understanding this, keeps you on your game.  ‘Keep learning, sharing, giving’ is my mantra for all aspects of my career.”

ST: From whom or what do you draw your strength, courage, vision?

Voss: “I draw strength, courage and vision from the people I choose to surround myself with. From like-minded individuals, and also from past experiences, good and bad.  Knowing who I am as a colorist, salon owner, and trainer, and understanding what my standards are, while never abandoning my beliefs.”

ST: How do you set goals for yourself? How do you hold yourself accountable?

Voss: “At this point, I'm living my best life! Everything from here on out is such a bonus to me.  I reached the major goals in my life.  Being able to grow individuals in their craft, is everything.  
I hold myself accountable by asking, ‘Is this the best you can give every individual who has taken the time, money and energy to be here?’”

ST: In your opinion, what is the single biggest threat that beauty businesses like yours face? How do you believe you and your peers can overcome it?

Voss: “I find the biggest threat to the beauty business is the lack of education the stylists feel they need to keep relevant in the industry. Unforeseen reasons could be the reason for this. Could be from education costs being out of range or classes not available.  Some stylists are relying on videos for ongoing education. There are nuances that are trained in classes, with the right trainer, of course. I do believe and hope there will be a shift soon, where the stylists can attend hands-on training with knowledgeable trainers, to give them the tools to be successful.”

ST: If you weren’t in the beauty business, what would you be doing now?

Voss: “This industry has been so amazing that I cannot imagine not being involved.  Maybe customer care?  The front line is so important to our salons.  I think I would contribute there... “

ST: What’s the best thing an employee/colleague ever said about you?

Voss: “’You are as loyal as a dog.’ Come on... dogs are everything!!!”

ST: If you were to look at a scrapbook of your professional career, what would be your favorite page? Which page would you like to remove?

Voss: “Oh, I don't look back.  Too heavy.  It takes away from looking forward and side to side!”

ST: How would you like to spend your retirement?

Voss: “I plan on spending my retirement doing yoga, working in the yard, playing with my dogs and volunteering time at the animal shelter.”

ST: Describe your target client/customer. Now, describe your ideal team member.

Voss: “Our target customer is the one who enjoys being pampered, and who is open to what is offered. My ideal team member is the one who enjoys pampering and can offer options to our ideal customer.”

ST: Whom do you lean on for advice, support and wisdom?

Voss: “I have multiple levels of advice/support/wisdom for personal and for business. My husband Manuel who keeps me grounded.Two business-minded people who know process and procedure.Three go-to friends who are completely different. They offer different perspectives that make me think.”

ST: Describe your company’s culture. As its leader, what do you do to drive that culture?

Voss: “Our culture is based from education and sharing. When free from client time, we work on mannequins to help practice our craft.  Also, the team is encouraged to go share what they know with new hires.  We all grow, we all succeed.”

ST: How do you like to spend your time away from your business?

Voss: “I really do not spend time away from my business, or businesses.  I find enjoyment from them. I balance with Yoga, my pups and Gardening.  I do like to travel overseas!

ST: What do you hope is your legacy?

Voss: “I hope I am known for sharing and growing individuals.  Giving tools for our industry... the craft.  Not one colorist left behind!”

ST: Why did you want to join Intercoiffure?

Voss: “I wanted to see what the organization was like.  I had heard about Intercoiffure, known about it.  Van Council invited me to come and see.  I fell in love with the connection.  Every single person in the room has either dealt with your same salon challenges or can give you a connection to any challenges you are currently experiencing.  The connection is real.  A family.”

ST: What has been the biggest benefit you have received from your ICA membership?

Voss: The biggest benefit I have received from ICA is having the personal time and moments with like-minded people there. Sharing discussions of challenges, ideas, and networking is my biggest take away.”

For more information about Intercoiffure Canada America and becoming a member, visit

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