A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA

SACMedia

Versus the Limit Barbershop – a source of second chances

Meet+Brenda+Orellana+-+an+entrepreneur%2C+role+model+and+teacher%2C+understands+the+importance+of+second+chances.
Niko Padilla
Meet Brenda Orellana – an entrepreneur, role model and teacher, understands the importance of second chances.

The smell of aftershave, buzzing, clipping, hot towels, soft leather chairs, massagers, music and a classic vibe is what patrons will find at one of Walnut’s newest barbershops, Versus the Limit.

This barbershop is owned by Brenda Orellana, 36, an ambassador for Johnny B. Hair Care and is located off Amar Road in Walnut, just down the street from Mt. SAC.

Versus the Limit Barbershop opened last February and has been building quite a reputation around town with a five-star rating on Yelp.

Orellana’s goal is to provide top-tier services at an affordable price. “I want to create an experience … I want them to feel absolute luxury,” Orellana said.

The shop offers a number of different services including

  • Haircuts for men and women
  • Beard grooming
  • Hot towel shave
  • Steam hair wash and massage
  • Eyebrow grooming
  • Signature facials
  • Waxing
  • Teeth-whitening
  • Perms
  • Braids

The shop also offers two different package deals that include multiple services at once: the Executive and the Presidential. They currently have six different barbers, cutting with a woman-driven staff.

A woman-driven staff? In a barbershop? Yes, that’s right.

Orellana is not scared to take risks as she hires new and upcoming barbers who graduate from Hacienda La Puente Adult Education School. Orellana is a new barber and a graduate from Hacienda La Puente herself and has been cutting hair for three years now.

They sometimes offer free haircuts if scheduled with one of their newer barbers as a way to build clientele and give newer barbers experience.

Orellana has come far in those three years as she had to play catch up after making some poor decisions earlier in life.

Originally a kindergarten teacher, she felt a higher calling was her purpose and wanted to do more so she decided to become a registered nurse. During her time as a nurse, she went through some rough patches and ended up getting convicted of a felony.

Due to her felony conviction, she lost her medical license and her ability to work with the public.

After hopping from warehouse job to warehouse job, she began to feel unfulfilled with her life.

It’s unfulfilled dreams that keep us alive and changes that symbolize true learning. Orellana realized this and decided to take the initiative to turn her life around to become a barber.

 

A welcoming waiting room always helps with the ambiance and vibe of the barbershop.

 

She attended Hacienda La Puente Barber School which provides one of the more affordable options for barbering school in the state. After graduating, she became a barber instructor for a local shop and began cutting hair out of ashes at her house.

Eventually, she turned it into a small shop of her own. While looking for supplies for her shop, she stumbled upon a shop for sale. Shortly after, it became Versus the Limit Barbershop.

“During that time when I couldn’t get hired, I felt depressed. I felt like it was me versus all the limitations that society was putting on me, that’s why I named it Versus the Limit,” said Orellana when talking about how hard it was starting as a woman barber.

She found that not only was it difficult to be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry as a woman with a conviction. But it did not stop her.

A key component of Versus the Limit is to help new and inexperienced barbers. Her longest employee Brendan Godinez, 20, was only 19 years old when he started at Versus the Limit and has only been cutting hair for about a year. Godinez is her most popular barber as he has gained experience in a short period with building clientele catering to customer service by paying attention to detail in the services he performs.

Godinez is from South Central Los Angeles and got kicked out of barbering school while working for Orellana. After talking with Orellana, he rejoined school and eventually graduated. Orellana’s persistence and caring spirit for her employees are a result of her own career journey.

The majority of women staff of Versus the Limit is breaking down social norms as barbershops are usually male-dominated.

“We don’t get the respect,” Orellana said after reflecting on how starting-out men used to be in her DM’s requesting her to wear revealing outfits while cutting and having to deal with bad interactions.

Orellana believes that she has more women barbers coming to her shop for employment because they feel more comfortable since it’s women-owned as well. She says that this opens her clientele to the LGBTQ+ community as well who might feel uncomfortable going to traditional barbershops.

 

Fatima Munoz, one of the current and short-tenured barbers at the shop, prides herself in always being welcoming to her customers. (Niko Padilla)

 

“Brenda opened up to us… reached out to us once we were ready and graduated,” said Fatima Munoz, one of the newer female barbers at the shop. Munoz has been at the shop since February 2023 which is also around the time when she just graduated.

She explained that Orellana would come to Hacienda La Puente reaching out to new barbers as well as educating them on Johnny B hair products. Munoz specializes in doing braids and usually works the morning shifts opening the shop.

“Being a barber is a trend right now…I don’t think they understand what hustle is,” said Orellana, “I didn’t know what hustle was…You have to put yourself out there.” Orellana takes her newer barbers and students to Mt. SAC to promote the shop and try and get new clients. She teaches them that to get your name out there you have to do it yourself. For barbers, a free haircut is the best thing that you can do as it allows you to show your skill and hopefully gain a returning client in the future through that first cut.

Orellana is an ambassador for Johnny B hair care which is a well-known hair care product in the barber industry. She goes out to conventions and educates people about their hair products along with barbering tips. As a result, Versus the Limit is filled with Johnny B hair care products and is a proud partner.

Versus the Limit Barbershop is open Tuesday through Saturday and is open to appointments and walk-ins. You can get free promotional haircuts from new barbers who are looking for new clients and many other services are available as well.

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About the Contributor
Niko Padilla, Staff Reporter
Niko Padilla is a Staff Reporter.

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