JESSICA “JAKE” TAFOYA
A Woman With Confidence …
Words By: K.G. Graham
Photos By: Ian Ribail
Purchase Issue 22 of COSIGN Magazine here.
“Your imagination is the highest kite you can fly,” Jessica “Jake” Tafoya tells us during our interview at The Mod Labb in Dallas’ historic Bishop Arts District. Jessica is the owner and founder of The Mod Labb Salon, Body Labb Spa, and is also an award-winning beauty influencer. With the success of her hair salon, Jessica expanded her portfolio in the beauty industry to include a spa, which is an extension of the services she wanted to offer. “At the Body Labb, we do facials, waxing, make up, spray tanning, lashes, the works,” she says.
The Mod Labb and Body Labb had one specific target audience in mind when Jessica’s dream came into fruition. “Women,” she says are the ideal client for her brands. “All women. Moms, young girls, older women, any spectrum of women we love. A lot of women who are coming into the salon aren’t just coming just to get their hair done, they want to feel better about themselves, they want to feel more confident. A woman with confidence can rule the world.”
Coming from humble beginnings, Jessica’s parents were also entrepreneurs and she credits them for a lot of her success. “I took a lot from them and gave it all I got. I started with an assistant who is now one of my master stylists. She’s been with me for almost five years and now I’m at a staff of 17.” Jessica’s hustle was instilled at an early age as she followed her mother’s example. For Jessica, her mother helped break the mold of the typical old school stereotypes of the Latina community. “I would have to say my upbringing was a little bit different than normal Latinas. I feel like some of our culture has been geared towards being a woman, a señora in the kitchen with an apron on cooking tortillas for your man, and my mother did not teach me that way,” she says. “She was a very strong independent woman, she told me if I wanted it, I’d have to go out there and work for it myself.” And that she did.
Enrolling in cosmetology school was only the beginning for Jessica. “I can’t say I got here by myself. I have a really good team of women behind me. I found my place behind the chair at hair school. I didn’t know that I wanted to do hair, I actually thought that I wanted to do make up. I ended up working on a client who came in and wanted a simple color and cut and I turned her around and she got teary-eyed. I thought I screwed up her hair and she was crying ‘cause of happiness,” she says. “I think the feeling I had ‘cause of that, was more or less where I found my purpose.”
Even before she landed her first official salon position at A Touch of Beauty in Irving, Jessica knew she wanted more for herself and for the women who she would soon employ. “I knew in hair school that I wanted to own my own salon and that I wanted to mentor. It wasn’t necessarily the power that came with owning, it was more or less that I wanted to have a team of women under me that I could teach and that I could mold and we could all be successful together,” she says.
As a successful jefa (boss), building a team is one of the most difficult tasks for startups and is a problem many entrepreneurs face. “I look for hunger,” Jessica says about her hiring process. “I want to know they want it just as much as I did when I got out of school. I usually bring girls or guys who are straight out of school, they’re sponges, they want to learn and they’re hungry for it. If I see that fire in them in the interview, I know they’re a good fit for the salon,” she says.
Jessica’s end goal is simple: to run a successful business, continue to mentor enthusiastic beauticians and to continue to support and #COSIGN amazing beauty products that make her job easier and that are environmentally friendly. “I #COSIGN Kevin Murphy, it’s the number one brand I use at The Mod Labb. It’s an organic brand, all about green, and is healthy for the environment. They also have great products for our Latina and ethnic clients with thick, coarse, beautiful hair.”
As a successful salon owner at the age of 29, she says, “The best advice I can give is don’t fear failure. Failure to me is not a stopping point, you just have to reroute. I’m not afraid to fail, I don’t fear failure.”