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February 28, 2024 21 mins

Today’s guest puts herself on the path to success by choosing to face life’s challenges with a can-do attitude. Gina Rivera’s fierce determination has made her a force to be reckoned with in the beauty industry. Hear from Gina as she shares her family’s rich history in the beauty industry, xoxo by Gina new 6 in 1 lip collection, the power of identifying your values, being comfortable in your own skin, and more.

Gina Rivera, CEO of Phenix Salon Suites and renowned beauty expert joins host Tommi A. Vincent on Stay A While podcast. Gina made up her own rules to achieve success. She shares some of those rules with us. Gina Rivera’s highlights:

•Phenix Salon & Suites – fastest growing salon company in the industry

•High School dropout to business owner employing more than 5,000 professionals across the country

•Inspirational Memoir: A Mirror and a Prayer [highlights Rivera’s road to success]

Host: Tommi A. Vincent

Guests: Gina Rivera

Produced by: Tommi A. Vincent, Dimitri Golden, and Motion Hue Productions

Music By: Stichiz - Big T. Music / Roj & Twinkie


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Joining us at the table, Gina rivera CEO of Phoenix
Salon in Sweets and renowned beauty expert.

Speaker 2 (00:08):
Enjoy our conversation.

Speaker 1 (00:11):
Take your seat, get comfortable, because it's time to stay
a while today I have joining me at the table
the lovely Gena rivera CEO of Phoenix Salon in Sweets
and renowned beauty expert.

Speaker 2 (00:28):
Gina Welcome to the table.

Speaker 3 (00:29):
Thank you so much.

Speaker 1 (00:31):
His so, you and I we had an opportunity to
have some conversation before.

Speaker 2 (00:39):
We took our seats here, and we.

Speaker 1 (00:42):
Talked about the power of the story. So we know
that you are a Your business record speaks for itself.
You are extremely successful and I encourage you to share
aspects of that as you see fitting in this conversation.
But I am really wanting to get in for our
listening audience the who, the how and the why of

your story. I personally have a story and I recognize
the power of that when you deploy the story to
work to your advantage. So can you please tell everyone
who is Gina Verria?

Speaker 3 (01:22):
Well, I have to tell.

Speaker 4 (01:24):
You I was at a very young age. I came
out of the womb kicking and screaming and it was
always my way or the highway. And I didn't even
have very many friends because they say, you're so bossy.
I just wanted to be in control of everything. And

I was quiet rebellious, and I was always coloring outside
the lines.

Speaker 3 (01:54):
I never.

Speaker 4 (01:56):
Felt like I was like everybody else. I was the
youngest of five granddaughters, and I'm the only one that
my grandmother ever spanked.

Speaker 3 (02:08):
So that tells you a lot. Oh yeah, she's great me.
But you know, I was just very.

Speaker 4 (02:18):
Rebellious, and I kind of was on my own own path,
and I wasn't accepted for that because everybody kind of
was going down this normal path of school and friends
and you know whatever, you know, long pony tails, whatever
was in and I, you know, always had short hair,
and I was always different and kind of furthering.

Speaker 3 (02:42):
Down that path. I kind of took that on as
well as a teenager.

Speaker 4 (02:49):
And I was seventeen years old and I went to
a party, a party that a seventeen year old shouldn't
have been at, and there were a lot of drinking
and drugs and smoking, and I was partaking and I
was sitting at a table and around a bunch of
people and there was this man that was sitting across

from me, and we had exchanged some words and he
didn't like what I said, and he jumped over the table,
and before I knew it, I was on my back
and he had both of his hands around my neck
and he was.

Speaker 3 (03:31):
Started to strike and he was went and.

Speaker 4 (03:36):
I can remember freaking out, and as I was losing
my breath and going out, I kept hearing all these
people screaming, seeing get them off of work, get them
off of work, get them off And finally somebody pulled
them off of me. And as I came to, I
got up and I ran out of there and I
went home, and I was so scared to tell my parents.

And I was so shook up because I life last
right before I went through my whole life, and I
was so scared and I didn't want to tell anybody.
And I went home and I packed a bag and
I told my parents I was going to a friend's house.
I dropped out of high school, took a one way
flight to Phoenix, Arizona.

Speaker 5 (04:19):
And let me ask you this, Yes, when you dropped
out of high school, was that the track you were
already on or did that moment with that moment of violence.

Speaker 2 (04:31):
Did that push you in that direction?

Speaker 4 (04:34):
I was headed in that direction because when I was
in school, like I said, I never had a lot
of friends.

Speaker 3 (04:41):
I was made fun of. I was very big, and I.

Speaker 4 (04:46):
You know, was very matured body wise and made fun
of for that, and so I hated school. I didn't
have a lot of friends. I always knew I wanted
to be in hair. Okay, that was my love.

Speaker 3 (04:59):
I mean.

Speaker 4 (05:00):
And I can remember, you know, sitting at my very
first hair show when I was seven years old, and
hair was flying and sheares were shining, the music was blaring,
and I was just like, you know, seven years old,
and I was we were you.

Speaker 1 (05:10):
Doing at a hair show at seven years old?

Speaker 4 (05:14):
So I come from a very long line of hairdressers.
So my mother and father were our hairdressers. As a
matter of fact, my father still does my hair today
and he's eighty two.

Speaker 2 (05:24):
It was going to be so bad.

Speaker 3 (05:26):
I just told you how old he had. He still
does my hair today. I'm his last client standing.

Speaker 4 (05:34):
So I have twenty seven hairdressers in my family alineage
that goes back to nineteen twenty nine. So that's another
thing I came out of the womb with scissors in
my hand. And I always knew that I wanted to
be part of that industry. And I think that that's
why I was so checked out with school because it
was like I didn't want to go to college.

Speaker 3 (05:55):
I didn't want to have all that, you know, I
wanted to be big, I wanted.

Speaker 4 (06:01):
So I go to Arizona after I drop out of
high school, and I did a lot of things I was.

Speaker 2 (06:05):
Not proud of.

Speaker 4 (06:07):
But it was then then I learned to call her
in my life there and I do spell color c
O l O U R because every letter has meant
something significant as to where I'm at today.

Speaker 2 (06:19):
So what what it was?

Speaker 4 (06:21):
Well, start for sees hands, you know, people telling you
you can't. I had got landed in my very first
job right out of cosmetology school.

Speaker 3 (06:31):
I was so excited.

Speaker 4 (06:33):
I was like felt like I was ahead of the
game right because my parents, so I was thought I
was all that and I.

Speaker 5 (06:37):
Was it do it.

Speaker 3 (06:41):
Oh, you didn't have to tell me anything I could
teach you.

Speaker 4 (06:43):
And so I my client sits down, I'm doing her hair.
My manager walks and she said, hey, gee, I want
to talk to you before you leave today, and I
looked at her.

Speaker 3 (06:52):
And I was like, oh my gosh, I'm so excited.

Speaker 4 (06:54):
I'm going to get a rage, you know, I'm going
to go to the next level. And I go to her.

Speaker 3 (06:59):
Office and I sit down, and here she was. She's
just very stoic, you know, professional in hair.

Speaker 4 (07:06):
I was twenty one, but I was still young, you know, new,
you know, first job.

Speaker 3 (07:11):
And she looks at me and she says, Shana, She said,
I know that.

Speaker 4 (07:15):
You come from a long, a long line of hairstylist
and very successful in your family. But she said, I
feel like as a manager, as a friend.

Speaker 3 (07:26):
That you don't have what it takes to make it sure.
And I think you need to find any career. You
don't have it, you can't do it. And I can
remember Tommy's sitting there and I like, are you kidding me?
Like I was like, is she joking? Is she going

to be like, oh, you know.

Speaker 4 (07:48):
Never, I'm joking. You know, you're going to get a
raise or whatever. But this woman was so holy, staring
at me and completely demolishing my dreams and everything I
thought I was. And as she's talking to me, I
honestly did start to doubt myself. Wings of course, she said,
you can't say why have what it takes? And my

like living in this world of fantasy, I mean, are
you kidding me?

Speaker 1 (08:15):

Speaker 3 (08:16):
And I was devastated.

Speaker 4 (08:17):
I was humbled, I was scared, I was young, I
was you know, shaking and crying. And I said that
I went through every emotion. I both broke against book,
a world's record in three seconds. But as she kept
talking to me, I was looking at I said, Gina
that fighter in you. You can either fight and you

can let her words drive me or just kick me
out of the game. And it was that moment that
I decided to fight because I thought, you were you
going to tell me that.

Speaker 3 (08:48):
I'm not going to make it in an industry what
I love.

Speaker 4 (08:51):
And I am so glad and I am so passionate
about the cants in your life and people telling you
you can't and even myself, I was telling myself, I
started to doubt myself. I can't do that, I can't
do this. Maybe you know, but I'll tell you what.
That drove me so much that I say, hurted. Yeah,

I have one of those stories.

Speaker 1 (09:13):
Okay where I so I myself am am a cosmetologist
and I got my license when I was nineteen okay,
nineteen twenty, I got my license. I went to cosmetology
school at a vocational school in Hollywood, Florida, and I
was fresh out of school and I went to a

salon to apply for a job, and it was predominantly
white salon. So I felt like I didn't belong when
I walked in the door because I looked around, I
saw no one but I hair's hair to me. So
it wasn't a matter of can I do it? Of
course I thought I could, and so I had to
demonstrate a color application.

Speaker 2 (09:57):
And so I went through the steps like I knew
in school.

Speaker 1 (10:00):
I parted the hair the four ways and I started
applying the color.

Speaker 2 (10:03):
The woman had gray.

Speaker 1 (10:05):
Roots, and I started in the back and when I finished,
I was sitting down the lobby of the salon and
there was one of their master stylists that was critiquing me,
as well as the salon manager. And the salon manager

came out front and I'm sitting in the lobby of
the salon and she goes, Tommy, her hair was gray,
and you should have started it from the front so
it had more time to process. And so she's talking
and at this point when she goes there, immediately I
go to.

Speaker 2 (10:43):
The space of she's about to tell me I didn't
get the job.

Speaker 1 (10:47):
Like I already, I can hear by her tone and
her kind of trying to coddle me in the moment,
and tears just start streaming down my face. So, first
of all, I am a fighter, so I was so
angry in that moment that her no was impacting me
the way that it was. But in the process of

me recognizing in Noah's coming, I also was processing the
moment of I knew to start in the front, but
because I was nervous, and it was just like I
went into the mode of what was the training in
school gone that way?

Speaker 2 (11:24):
But I boohooed.

Speaker 1 (11:26):
In that lobby and I walked out of there, coming
from a line of family members who do hair as well,
so I'm like, I know how to do hair. I
was the one that everyone came to to do their hair,
and she's telling me I can't. I got in my car,
I sat there and I cried for however long. But
I did feel like, well, maybe I'm not professional enough

for this opportunity and to really be successful in this industry.
In the cant in life. If we don't manage them well,
they will carry over to us the areas of our life.
So in that moment, you knew you had to fight,
but you got the you can't. Did that impact you
any other way as you progress through life working on

your empire that you have today.

Speaker 4 (12:14):
Well, I think about that and I thank her today
because you know, if I would have listened to that,
I would have never went on to build four hundred
Salon locations globally, fifteen thousand Salon professional life lifestyle professionals
work under our brand. And it's like, I don't know

that that would have ever happened had I would have
never done that.

Speaker 3 (12:40):
Had she told me.

Speaker 4 (12:42):
That I can't make it, and I as that little
girl came out in me, that fighter, that rebellious that
you're not going to tell me anything. I'm going to
go prove you wrong. It wasn't even about proven to myself.
I gotten that headspace of you know, later as I
mature that you know, I forgave her for that, but yeah,

it was just getting the cants out of my life
and start telling myself, yes I can't, Yes I can't,
so absolutely yeah.

Speaker 2 (13:14):

Speaker 1 (13:15):
So when you think, and I know you said that
color there's an acronym for that, and I definitely want
you to share what those letters stand for when you
think about that moment, and you talked about how you
were able to draw from what you acquired in the
process of growing up feeling different, knowing there was this

part of you that just couldn't accept what was the
norm and you needed to move forward in life, and
you carry that with you when you think about that.
What would you go back and tell your younger self
when she was younger and in the space of I
don't along.

Speaker 3 (13:56):
Yes you did, Yes you do.

Speaker 4 (14:00):
We're all cut from the same mold, and we all
have a purpose in our life and a reason why
we're here. And I would tell myself when I was
younger to start comparing myself to others. We don't all
have to be the same. We're all going to be different,

and I think that we can me I shouldn't say we.
I got caught up earlier in life thinking oh, I
have to be like them, and I wasn't accepted, and
it kind of was resentful because I was so different
in so many ways. So I would go back and
tell myself, you know no, you have a beautiful soul,

you have a purpose here on this life, and the
Lord once you hear, and you know we're going to
move through this and not.

Speaker 3 (14:49):
Be defeated by those people that are going to try
to stop you.

Speaker 4 (14:53):
And that continues to happen in my adult life.

Speaker 3 (14:56):
You know, there's always going to.

Speaker 4 (14:57):
Be may sayers. You know you can't do it, or
I don't think you should. And so that's when I'm
a tongue.

Speaker 2 (15:05):
So as you're fast forward, here we are today, sitting
in this chair, and you have you are successful. And
not only are you successful in what everyone can see
with Phoenix salons and sweets, there are multi prongs to

this business. Can you share what those prongs are?

Speaker 4 (15:32):
Sure? So kind of this goes into oh, out of
your box. And so I had to push myself out
of my box and get uncomfortable because I think that
when you're uncomfortable as when you grow. And so I
got out of my box and I went out on

a limb and opened up my first salon and continue
to do hair. And then I always say that I'm
the most unselfish, selfish person because everything I do, I
feel like I do it for myself. And so with
that said, I can never find that perfect color line

getting to color in.

Speaker 3 (16:17):
Great coverage, and.

Speaker 4 (16:20):
So I went out and I actually created my own
color line that this distributed distributed throughout professional to guess,
it's a professional color line.

Speaker 3 (16:31):
So that was really exciting, very new for me.

Speaker 4 (16:34):
You know, I wasn't I didn't ever think I ever
wanted to have like a product line color line, but
I did. I got out of my box. I kind
of forced myself forward. And then my newest is that
I'm launching XO XO Gina, which is a cosmetic beauty line,
and I'm starting with a lip portfolio because I, for one,

can never find that perfect lipstick. So I wanted to
courage I know, well, I just made it.

Speaker 3 (17:08):
It's coming your way.

Speaker 4 (17:10):
So I went to Europe and put the best ingredients
in my line.

Speaker 3 (17:14):
But it goes beyond a lipstick.

Speaker 4 (17:16):
It's about empowerment and just like I have done in
my salon suites, and I'm a big advocate for entrepreneurship,
and I think that goes back to when I was little.

Speaker 3 (17:27):
I never wanted anybody to tell me what.

Speaker 4 (17:29):
To do, So you needed to be I just loved
you know, liberating people to own their own business, and
and that's what I've done, and so I'm doing the
same with XO XO Gina and letting you know, creating
designing a portfolio that you can build well through royalties.

Speaker 3 (17:49):
And so.

Speaker 4 (17:52):
What's really fun about it is that again bringing in
people individuals who want to have their own business and
seeing moms or dads or whatever, you know, people that
want to have something. And so I've named each one
of my lipsticks like Confident and Daring and because i
want everybody to pick up that tube and look at

that daydream, believer that shade of that day and imply
it in your life.

Speaker 2 (18:17):

Speaker 1 (18:18):
That's amazing and it's very inspirational for people to hear
that you can start in one place, but that's just
the beginning. We have the power to continue to write
the script of our story so that we can become
whatever in life we desire to be. So that's extremely encouraging.
So before I let you go, can you just tell

us what the other words are that go with the acronym.

Speaker 3 (18:44):
Of color, So cease for cants.

Speaker 4 (18:46):
So you've got to get the cants out of your
life and start telling yourself, your can oh out of
your box. Got to get uncomfortable, to grow scary, But
I always look back and it's not so scary after
you jump in and try something new.

Speaker 3 (19:00):
Al love what you do. That's just you know, when
you love people and you love what.

Speaker 4 (19:05):
You do, I think it creates just a beautiful energy
and draw us people to you. Oh, opportunities, You got
to go out and get your opportunities. Me I tend
to sit back and if I think about it too long,
I won't do it.

Speaker 3 (19:18):
I talk myself out of it.

Speaker 4 (19:19):
So I just got to go for it, go after
those dreams, those opportunities. You unfortunate, there's going to be
unfortunate times in our life. We all have our cross
to bear in one way or another, and it's just
about getting up, get up, keep moving, keep putting one
foot forward.

Speaker 3 (19:36):
In some days it's a bitch. You know, it's hard,
but you've got to keep going.

Speaker 4 (19:42):
And then our relationships, just everything I've built has been awful.

Speaker 3 (19:47):
Relationships and meeting people like you.

Speaker 2 (19:49):
Thank you. I appreciating you.

Speaker 3 (19:51):
Yeah, I appreciate it. I love what you're doing.

Speaker 4 (19:54):
So thank you for letting me be a part of
this because I feel very honored.

Speaker 2 (19:59):
Thank you so so before I let you go.

Speaker 1 (20:01):
Yes, is there anything that we did not discuss that
you would like or you believe would add value.

Speaker 2 (20:10):
To our listening community.

Speaker 4 (20:14):
Yeah, gosh, color your life, Color your life, you know,
the cants out of your boxes, the love, what you
do to get through those unfortunate times, those opportunities, those relationships,
and yeah, just.

Speaker 3 (20:30):
Get up, just get up, keep going, keep moving well.

Speaker 1 (20:35):
I truly appreciate you taking your seat at the stay
a while table.

Speaker 2 (20:40):
We see the table. Oh yeah, but we appreciate you
coming here today, we really do.

Speaker 1 (20:45):
And thank you for sharing your balt since because it
provides our listening audience the opportunity to gLing from your experience,
because you've already paid the price.

Speaker 2 (20:56):
But thank you so much. I really appreciate you. Thank you,
Thank you guy for you to stay wow

Speaker 4 (21:03):
Tell me me gone, stay well, tell me me
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