Growing up different in a small town created some rough times for the 2008 OHS graduate but David Soria, owner of the David Allen salon in Oakdale, is proving that different can be fabulous.
Openly gay with an easy smile and a good sense of humor, Soria has always had big dreams and a sense of adventure that bucked convention. He knew at an early age that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hairstylist mother.
“I grew up in a salon,” he said. “And I’ve always enjoyed seeing and touching hair. I wanted to know what I could do with it. In school I was always getting in trouble because I was playing with my friends’ hair. Hair, in general, sparks the gears in my head.”
As soon as he was able, Soria went to beauty college in Modesto and worked toward achieving his goal of opening his own salon, which he did in December 2010.
He’s been licensed for four years but admits he’s been a rogue with scissors for the past seven. He was always the one to experiment and enlist the help of others so he could practice. He worked as a renter in a few salons but in the back of his mind, he always knew the direction he was headed.
“Being my own boss appealed to me because I felt I wouldn’t be able to be myself if I were working for someone else,” he said. “Plus it was my dream to open my own salon.”
Having achieved that milestone, Soria wants to work toward his next goal: opening more salons.
“My dream is to have a number of salons out there. I want to have a well-known, renowned salon in all the big cities,” Soria said. “And someday in New York! They say if you can survive in New York, you’re a champion in the industry.”
Soria also wants to develop his own color line and basically, take over the hair salon world.
“When I get what I want, I always want more,” Soria admitted, laughing. “I’ve always been that way.”
Of course, Soria realized that opening the first salon was a bit more difficult than his mom had made it look when he was a kid.
“There were a lot of surprises. It’s not as simple as opening the doors and doing hair,” he said. “Opening the salon was a challenge but we’re in a routine now and it’s easier. We have our clients and it’s doing great.”
Soria has his mother and his partner, Larry Booker, cutting hair in the salon and his sister, who is also attending beauty college, answering phones — making the salon a family affair.
Although Soria wants to conquer the world, he’s happy to start small for the time being and being able to open a salon in his hometown is a special joy.
“Some of my clients I’ve known since I was little,” he said.
Soria enjoys staying abreast of current trends and is constantly learning new techniques so that his salon is on the cutting edge of what’s trending.
“I know what people want and how they want it,” he said. “I provide that with efficiency and high-quality.”
Soria doesn’t mind being a trend-setter, whether in the salon or in his personal life. He’s suffered adversity, prejudice and cruelty yet with the support of his family, he’s persevered and he doesn’t mind sharing his journey with others.
“Being different in a small town, especially in high school, was hard. Even in elementary school I was teased but I always looked to the future to get through it. It motivated me to be a better person. I always tell people, go around or go over roadblocks. Don’t be scared. Bite the bullet and when you get kicked, jump right back up,” Soria said.
Soria believes his struggle was for a purpose.
“I think being who I am helped me with my career,” he said. “I’m into fashion and hair and that can only help my clients.”
And, thanks to the wise counsel from his mother, he believes, “If people aren’t talking about you, you’re doing something wrong.” He laughed. “There’s never such a thing as bad press.”
Currently, David Allen Salon has an opening for a stylist.
The David Allen Salon is located at 710 E. F St.
For more information or to book an appointment, call 847-1877; you can also go to the website at www.davidallenhair.com