Leia’ Love’s goal as a professional is to help women feel both beautiful on the outside and strong, healthy and empowered on the inside.
That’s why she not only runs the Leia’ Love Hair & Nail Salon, but also opened a new business next door called S.H.E. Suite, which offers classes on business, personal development and self-care.
Love, 35, is a Barberton native who graduated from Norton High School’s cosmetology program in 2004, when she got her cosmetology license. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in communication at the University of Toledo before further studies at the National Institute of Cosmetology.
When she opened her own salon in 2012, her goal was to create a one-stop shop for women’s beauty needs — everything from hair care, eyebrow enhancement and makeup to waxing and pedicures.
“That’s were we started to become known as ‘the head to toe beauty pro,’ ” Love said.
She opened Leia’ Love Hair Salon in Fairlawn in 2012 and moved to her current location at 2950 W. Market St. Suite K in Fairlawn in 2014. Among her many services, she offers hair loss consultations, eyelash extensions and fashion wigs, which the multitalented Love sews and colors for her clients.
S.H.E. Suite next door is an acronym for Self Health Embraced. There, she offers financial literacy classes as well as yoga classes to support women “who want to conquer life holistically.”
Classes taught by a guest instructor have focused on money management and financial planning for beginners. Other include investing basics for beginners and a class on financial independence/retiring early. (See shesuiteakron.com.)
Love said she learned about building her own credit from her mother. But some women don’t know a lot about finances, saving for retirement or building credit.
Business classes at S.H.E. Suite help provide that education and serve as a tool for women building their own businesses. She plans to expand class offerings and teachers.
S.H.E. Suite also provides private office space that can be rented hourly for entrepreneurs who need a professional space to do everything from a photo shoot to a presentation to a podcast. The small office is equipped with a desk, office chairs and a television with USB hook-ups.
Love talked about the pressure women feel to balance it all and be “wonder woman.”
“Historically, we just haven’t been able to balance it all,” she said of women. “I’m supposed to look good. I’m supposed be at the top of my game for my business and run everything correctly. I’m supposed to be a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a board member and volunteer at the same time. And I’m supposed to do all of that great, and if I don’t, I’m a failure.
“We are natural jugglers but you know what, at same point, a ball’s gonna fall and it’s OK,” Love said. “You’re still amazing and awesome; it just fell, and it needed to fall, probably.”
Women can learn to accept that and slow down a little bit, said Love. That’s where yoga, which helps you become more aware of and in tune with your body, comes in.
“I think a lot of us aren’t in tune with our body,” said Love, whose S.H.E. Suite offers yoga classes five days a week.
Last year, Love served on the governor’s task force for the personal services industry, where she represented beauty salons on a panel of industry professionals to create a plan to safely reopen salons and barber shops after the pandemic shutdown last spring.
Love has been recognized as a business and community leader multiple times in the last six years, including being honored with a Greater Akron Chamber “30 for the Future” award that honors young professionals ages 25 to 39 who are making an impact or difference in their community. She also was recognized by the chamber in 2019 as Minority Business Enterprise to Watch for her business’s “significant growth prospects.”
In 2016, Love was a member of the first class of the Diversity on Board program of Leadership Akron, a board leadership development and education program geared toward minority leaders in the Akron area.
Love is currently a board member of the Greater Akron Chamber and serves on the Leadership Council of the affiliated Women’s Network Leadership Institute. In 2019, she received a Women’s Network Women of Professional Excellence award, which honors professional women who’ve made an impact in their careers and communities while encouraging the success of other women.
That same year, she also was named Summit County Historical Society Woman of the Year in the category of inspiration.
Her Facebook page at Leia’ Love Hair & Nail Salon LLC, where she refers to her clients as “lovely beauties,” is full of uplifting messages. Throughout March, her posts have celebrated Women’s History Month.
A post for International Women’s Day March 8 says, “Behind every great woman is great women.”
Love’s salon employees include another stylist and two nail techs. She also mentors an assistant stylist who’s a graduate of Buchtel High School’s cosmetology program.
Love puts her passions for beauty, education and empowering women to work volunteering for several organizations.
She volunteers for ACCESS homeless shelter for women and children by curating jewelry bags for its big annual fundraiser, which most recently was online in October. She also helps throughout the year by doing drives for donations of African American products for the shelter.
On the education front, Love has served as a Project GRAD mentor, working with seniors at Buchtel to help them stay on track for college readiness.
Her other volunteerism includes teaching beauty classes for Stewart’s Caring Place’s “Love your Look” program, in which she gives skin care, makeup and other beauty tips to women with cancer. The program is virtual now due to COVID-19.
“It basically gives them like two hours to be just a woman, cancer free, playing in makeup,” said Love, who gives the women tips and tricks that including how to put on their eyebrows.
Arts writer Kerry Clawson may be reached at 330-996-3527 or [email protected]
The Beacon Journal is highlighting emerging leaders from newer generations who are making a difference in Summit County neighborhoods, businesses, schools and organizations. Do you know a Change Agent we should feature? Tell us about that person at [email protected] Please include “Change Agents” in the subject line and be sure to share contact information for the individual.