Local Spotlight: Lisa Pirillo of Lambs Eat Ivy Salon
In our daily lives, we often come across people who make Orlando a better city. We especially love meeting fellow citizens who give back and inspire us to live our lives more fully. Back in 2008, we met a salon owner who has built an inspiring business in downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park, while also finding a cool way to support animal rescues in this area. We were lucky enough to grab this busy lady-boss for a quick interview and hope this introduction inspires you to check out her salon. Please meet Lisa Pirillo of Lambs Eat Ivy Salon and Shampooch!
Q: Lisa, we know that you had some fun jobs prior to becoming a hairdresser. Can you tell us about one of your favorite “first jobs” and what led you down the creative path of stylist?
A: Well, as luck would have it, my dad owned an ice cream parlor! How’s that for a kid’s dream? 52 flavors, baby! He promised as soon as I could see over the the counter (I was 5 at when he bought it), I could serve ice cream! So I figured a way to prop my little body on the counter to reach the tubs of ice cream and started scooping by the time I was six! Baby entrepreneur in the making! ... did I mention we had arcade games too? Poor me.
I was still working at the shop well into my teens, but by then the new wave punk rock scene in Orlando was born. THAT’S when I learned about hair color from my sister. She was a hairdresser too! I started cutting and coloring my own hair at 13! I became a barber at 18 as a means to put myself through college, but it was love at first cut. The rest is hairstory.
Q: After moving here at the age of 5, attending Evans High School, basically spending all of your life here in Orlando, you can pretty much consider yourself an Orlando native who has seen a lot of growth and development in this town. Are there any landmarks (restaurants, entertainment, shopping etc) that are now gone, that you miss?
A. Orlando is growing at such a fast pace now I hardly recognize my own city! In a way, I guess I miss when downtown Orlando used to be a place for locals and underground kids like me. It was “our little secret”. Now I (don’t) go down Orange Avenue on the weekends and it’s teeming with all kinds of people. Secret’s out!
I also miss the local music scene... I think that was a casualty when the club culture died here. Bars and restaurants are the “clubs” now. And as much as I love Orlando, we aren’t very good at preserving local landmarks. I’ve seen so many die throughout the years. I hear Colonial Lanes is on the chopping block now. Bums me out.
Q: Please tell our readers about Shampooch!- how you were inspired to organize it, and what you have achieved in the years since it started?
A: SHAMPOOCH! We’re ten years in! Can you believe it? Well if you HAVENT heard, it’s a Thornton Park dog washing fundraiser. I came up with the idea just a few months after I opened Lambs. I knew as a team I wanted us to give something back to help. And my staff and I AND Thornton Park are all animal lovers. If you’re in a position to help, shouldn’t you? Our first year we raised $1,500 to benefit the local SPCA. We were pumped!! 10 years later we’ve raised over $100,000 and assisted 12 rescues, including funds to help build The Harbor House Paws kennel! That’s one helluva “lemonade stand”! Very proud of this project.
Q: When you have free time, what do you like to do- where do you go to blow off some steam, are there any comfort meals you like to eat, are there any activities you enjoy?
A. Speaking of restaurants... Orlando is such a foodie city now! I love it! I love going out for great sushi and seafood. Thankfully my salon is in Thornton Park, so there are plenty of places to grab a cocktail and have dinner after work! That’s if I’m not practicing yoga or out on the boat with my Kat. I prefer to be outside and by the water. I took my shoes off when we moved here, and I’d rather keep them off! I’m also a photographer and Florida is great to play with! Traveling is also in my blood, so trips are always on the horizon.
Q: We love how you always seem to have a “vision” for your clientele. How do you cultivate creativity in your business and keep a fresh perspective on trends and style?
A. Pop culture. Final answer! I’ve always been dialed in to current trends. Magazines and movies were also very influential to me before the birth of music videos. Celebrity stylists pioneer trends. I’m always looking to them for cues.
We also have the internet! Style is all around if you know how to look for it. 80s and 90s trends are strong right now. Fashion, like history, tends to repeat itself. Everything also moves very fast now. We’re a “swipe” culture so stylists have to be on top of what’s current at a rapid rate. Social media helps a great deal with that.
Q: What do you find the most rewarding, and most challenging, aspects of your job?
A. I just recently had an experience with a client turning 60. Her daughter brought her in for a haircut for her birthday. I realized during the consult her hair was very long, and she probably hadn’t really cut her hair for some time. We chatted a bit and she and I came up with a plan to give her a cute, shoulder length style. Something lively and feminine.
So we did. I turned her toward the mirror to see her new self and noticed her daughter was bawling her eyes out. There was a moment happening. The mom then got up and went to comfort her daughter... that’s when I saw her daughter place her hands on her mother’s face and say “I always knew you were in there!” I cried a little too!
I love the creative aspect of my work, but it’s when it becomes about life changing moments, that I find it the most rewarding. The friends I’ve made... you’ve all become my family. We share more with each other than l do my own family! THAT’S the part that i didn’t know as a young stylist that i would cherish the most.
Having these relationships can also be challenging as we take you guys home with us. We legitimately care about each one of you and want you to be happy. That’s why we’re in this. We never just “clock out”. We’re on all the time.
Q: We understand that it can be difficult for creative people to handle the less creative parts of business ownership. And yet, you have become a successful entrepreneur owning your salon Lambs Eat Ivy for the past 20+ years. Did you have any formal business training, or mentorship along the way, that helped you become the lady-boss that you are today?
A: Did I mention I grew up in an ice cream parlor? (*wink) I got my entrepreneurial gene from my dad, my tenacity and fortitude from my mom, and my creativity is a gift from being the youngest of seven kids. You learn how to be entertaining and self-sufficient when you’re the little guy.
I am constantly being mentored. I learn something new every day. I think if you stay dialed in you’ll keep growing. I then learn from you, my Lambs, my peers, my community. It goes beyond just learning how to master the craft, which you’ll never really master if you’re doing it right.
Q: Are there any exciting events coming up in the next 6 months that you are looking forward to?
A: We always have events going on in Thornton Park and Lambs. We host wine walks every month, host workshops via social media, do photo shoots daily (check out our look book on Instagram :) And now, thankfully, we’re in our tenth holiday season. It’s our busy time! I always have something brewing though. I’m just looking forward to celebrating another great year with you guys. Life is good.
Q: Do you have any quick hair insider tips for us?
A. Yes. Do what makes you happy. Don’t wait. Don’t ask for permission... and for crying out loud, don’t do it yourself! We got you.
Thank you Lisa, for your time and talent, for helping to make the City Beautiful, also the City Fabulous. We appreciate that you spared some of your free time to tell us more about yourself on our blog. If you are looking for a change-up in your hair styling routine, she and the very talented stylists at Lambs Eat Ivy have a vision in mind for you. They love all clientele, men/women/children!
To make an appointment for a complementary consultation with a stylist at Lambs Eat Ivy, call (407) 245-7006. The salon is located at 804 E Washington Street Orlando, FL 32801 in Thornton Park, downtown Orlando.