NAME: GISELLE SOTO
AGE YOU FEEL: I’M 24
LIVING IN: LOS ANGELES
OCCUPATION: OWNER OF GISELLE SOTO BROWS
TGM: TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU GREW UP
GS: I’m of Mexican decent, but was born and raised in California. My family moved here to give us a better life, and that has always driven me. I’m the first person in my family to start a business, so I take a lot of pride in being a young Latina who’s building something from scratch.
TGM: HOW DID YOU GET INTO DOING EYEBROWS?
GS: I got into eyebrows because I had a really bad threading experience a few years ago, and I did not trust anyone after that with my eyebrows. I am very detailed oriented, things have to be symmetrical and balanced for me. Which is a strength in this kind of work. I learned to do my own eyebrows and friends and family started to ask me where I got them done, and when I said I did them myself they asked if I could do theirs! As people kept coming back, I realized that I was really good at this service. I decided to go to beauty school to get my certification. Beauty school allowed me to also book clients, so that’s where I built my clientele and my social media.
TGM: HOW DID YOU END UP IN LA
GS: This really big celebrity eyebrow artist who is from LA recognized me while in beauty school, and she reached out to hire me! The minute I got my license I took the role under her and was commuting from Ventura to Venice which was usually a 4 hour roundtrip drive. I wasn’t upset because I had always wanted to move to LA, it was just a matter of time. However, 10 months into working for this person, I was let go without any reason and while it caught me off guard I took it as God stirring my nest and as a chance to be my own boss. I did not want to lose any clients, so I very quickly turned my home into a small studio, and I worked out of there for one year. And at the one year mark I opened up my first storefront on Melrose in the heart of Los Angeles. My business just turned one year old in December!
TGM: CONGRATS! OPENING A PHYSICAL SPACE CAN BE SO DAUNTING. BEING THAT YOU WERE THE FIRST PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY TO OPEN A BUSINESS, WHO DID YOU TURN TO FOR INSIGHT AND ADVICE
GS: I was blessed that my boyfriend walked into my life at a very perfect time. He has a business background, and while not in the beauty industry, he does have a different business skillset than me. There was still a lot of things about opening a space that we didn’t know, but other business owners were really kind and were open to giving us advice when we asked. Also, google is my best friend! And to be honest we are still learning. I don’t think we’ll ever stop doing that.
TGM: HOW DO YOU BUILD HEALTHY BOUNDARIES BETWEEN BEING A COUPLE AND BEING BUSINESS PARTNERS
GS: We’ve created a ritual where the morning’s are our couple time, we get ourselves centered. We believe that however your morning goes will set the tone for the rest of your day, so we really try to have a peaceful morning… we don’t get on Instagram, we don’t talk business, we focus on making breakfast and checking in on each other. We set up time for business meetings, which at first was really difficult because it was like if we are always together we can talk whenever… however that was overwhelming us, so we took planning business meetings very seriously.
TGM: WAS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC DURING YEAR ONE THAT WAS HARD TO OVERCOME
GS: You know, since starting beauty school I knew I wanted to open up a brow salon, but had I known what owning a business came with I might have not opened one so soon— I still would have opened it, just not so soon. I was very naive and there were a lot of risks I was taking. I was forced to learn fast and not always easily. Right when you think you have everything in order you reach for some tissue paper and find yourself reaching for air because you forgot to buy some! You’ll be broke you might even be depressed, but I learned to get back up and keep going. It really benefitted me to have a partner that was/is supportive and understands how much work goes into running a business.
TGM: IS IT JUST YOU DOING THE ACTUAL CONSULTATIONS
GS: When I first opened the business I set up to have four stations. I had hired three other girls a long side me to work at the salon. I am now down to one other person, and that’s another part of running a business — knowing when to hire people. Two of the original girls had been doing eyebrows on their own, but through working with them I realized that it’s easier for me to train people who actually haven’t done brows before, because ultimately they can absorb all that you teach without issues. This is important for the studio since our clients come in for the specific style that I do. My name is outside of our doors, so I need to make sure that whoever walks out is fully satisfied.
TGM: YOU MENTIONED DEPRESSION EARLIER, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR YOUR OWN MENTAL CARE
GS: I’m Mexican American, I grew up with my grandparents who are super old school. I had to grow up very quickly, I didn’t really have the love or guidance I needed… nobody to really show me how to deal with lives obstacles. So when all these real problems began to happen, when I started to deal with anxiety and not knowing how to really cope and deal with my feelings I had to figure it out for myself. I learned to meditate through watching YouTube videos. I’ll take a moment to go for a walk around the block during work days. It’s forced me to build a stronger bond with my spirituality and I’m getting to know God little by little.
TGM: TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH CELEBRITIES, AS THIS IS SOMETHING YOU SPOKE INTO EXISTENCE
GS: No matter the client I tell them what is realistic and what isn’t, some people just don’t have the hair to create the look they want… even if I am an expert and can manipulate as much as possible, I am always honest at setting expectations. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great celebrity clients who appreciate that.
TGM: WHO WAS YOUR FIRST BIG CLIENT
GS: My first big client was Normani formerly of Fifth Harmony. I actually didn’t even know who she was until she was on my chair and through convo I was like wait! what! She actually loved that because it made her feel comfortable. After her came Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and Nazanin (model, singer and wife to artist Miguel).
TGM: HAVE YOU EVER DEALT WITH A CLIENT WHO HAD A LOT OF EGO AND THAT GOT IN THE WAY
GS: Oh yes absolutely… I won’t say names. But I do deal with a lot of people who are wealthy. One woman in particularly was coming in for microblading— this woman had tattooed eyebrows. I had told her that people with tatted brows were not good candidates for microblading, her skin was very oily and the microblading ink won’t stick to previously tatted skin. She was adamant about getting this done. I was literally with her for over an hour trying to convince her that this was not the right service for her, and that I did not want her money. The energy was just off. She continued to ask for this so I finally said yes, but had her sign a lot of legal paperwork to protect myself. Sure enough, days after the consultation, she called me asking for a return on her money because the microblading did not stick. At first I was ready to tell her that this was what she had asked for against my advice, but then I thought about it and decided that I did not want to deal with the drama and refunded her the money. That was hurtful because as a professional I am honest with my clients and we had an agreement. I see her at the nail salon now and she doesn’t even look at me. But it’s all good.
There’s also influencers who want things for free, and I am very picky about who I say yes to because at the end of the day this is a business and this is my work. I’ve said yes to people with 5million followers, and the return was not significant for my business. I try to collaborate with makeup artists instead. There’s also someone like Michelle Williams who is so respectful and supportive. She will not accept anything for free, she tips and she will go live on her IG stories and promote the business without any ask.
TGM: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE
GS: I’m not really into fashion per-say, I am more into beauty and taking care of my skin… but dating a stylish man you learn to sauce it up a little bit! I do work out so often times I am wearing workout clothes. I’ll throw on some heals and a blouse to dress it up though!
TGM: WHAT’S A SKIN CARE BRAND THAT YOU LOVE
GS: My favorite brand is Osea Malibu, it is all seaweed based. I have acne prone skin, which I get from my mom. My brothers do as well. So if I don’t take care of my skin I can easily have flareups. My esthetician also uses Osea Malibu so I trust them. As for my hair, I use a brand called Vida Hair Growth. It was started by a Puerto Rican woman and it is all natural. Cardi B uses them too!
TGM: IF YOU WERE DOING A COLLABORATION WITH OSEA MALIBU, WHAT PRODUCT WOULD YOU CREATE AND WHAT WOULD YOU NAME IT
GS: I’d do something calming for inflammation, something I can use post waxing on my clients. I’d probably name it “keep calm and stay cool”
TGM: WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT TO SEE COME INTO FRUITION THIS YEAR
GS: Well I am currently working on my product line! I am starting my own eyebrow products. Gel, powders, conditioners. I’m collaborating with a product scientist since I am doing everything from scratch, and have also already found a manufacturer. I’m not putting a time on it, because you can’t rush perfection, but that is my focus this year. I look forward to when it’s out since my clients and students always ask me about this.
You can follow Giselle Soto here!
All photos provided by her and or can be seen on her instagram.