Always wanting to be in the ‘beauty business’, since the 3rd grade, Riawna started cutting hair in the garage when she was 16. After graduating from Oxnard High School, her parents forced her to go to college, which lasted for 2 years, until she made it to Marinello’s School of Beauty, in Henderson NV, circa 2002. After graduating at the top of her class, she wanted to work at “the best salon in LA”, which at that time, in her eyes, was Fred Segal Beauty. It was then that she met her best friend and business partner, Nikki Lee. The assistant program was tough, rough and disciplined; traits which would later help develop the Nine Zero One assistant academy.
The girls left Fred Segal to go work as stylists at Cush Salon, for about a year, and it wasn’t shortly after that Ken Paves recognized their talent in flawless extensions and asked if they would come work from him in 2006. It was a happy partnership between them for a lovely three years, then Riawna and Nikki decided they wanted to grow and create new ideas for their own “home away from home”. They wanted to create a place that was comfortable yet still high class, where anyone with any amount of income or status would be treated equally and feel just as comfortable as the person next to them. They also wanted all the stylists to be equal co-workers, which is the reason why they named the salon the address of the building, Nine Zero One. They wanted a name that meant nothing, either you knew what it was or you didn’t, it wasn’t about the name on the front door, it was about the environment created inside. From stylist to client, they hoped by having a positive, team orientated, beautiful atmosphere, there was no way people wouldn’t want to come and be a part of the team. Riawna and Nikki are very selective about who they hire to be apart of the team. “You can teach anyone how to cut and color hair, but you can’t teach someone how to be a good person.” “We didn’t hire anyone at Nine Zero One who WE personally wouldn’t want to do our hair, because if we don’t want to, then clients aren’t going to want to either.” With a fantastic team together, word of mouth traveled fast and in less than five years, Nine Zero One is one of the top salons in the US.
Riawna is a down to earth yet super honest person. This combination has clients coming from all over the world to have her help create the “best you”. “Just because you see a picture of pretty hair in a magazine that doesn’t mean it’s also the best look for you.” She does both cut and color because “I like to create the whole picture. That would be like telling one artist to draw the picture and another artist to paint it. I wanna create it all.” She considers her self a ‘beauty coach’ always paying attention to skin tone, fashion sense, eyebrow color etc. “it’s not just about the hair, it’s about whether or not the hair compliments everything else that is going on.” Riawna doesn’t take herself very seriously. She is always joking around and laughing too loud, but she takes her craft very seriously. “If YOU don’t look good, then I don’t look good, and if YOU dont know how to style what I just created, then I have to teach you, I want you to look your best and feel your best at ALL times.”