Meet The Team
"Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself from the inside out, that’s when you’re most beautiful.”
Larissa is an experienced veteran in the beauty industry. Her natural gifts and passion were ignited at a young age as she watched her mom work as a Cosmetologist both outside and inside of the home. With a salon at her fingertips, she began experiencing with hair styling techniques. It was common to find her up late at night wrapping her sister’s long hair in tight curls or practicing on a mannequin head. During those formative years, her aptitude and love for transforming hair and people’s appearances become ingrained in her. She knew without a doubt this was her life calling. She began her formal training by enrolling in beauty school as a senior in High School. Upon graduating, she passionately applied and got accepted into a prestigious Advanced Training Program with Gene Juarez where she developed highly specialized color techniques. She went on to work at Gene Juarez Redmond Town location for four years where she developed a very loyal client base.
She continued to improve and expand her skill set by getting trained to become a Balayage Specialist. Balayage is one of her trademark services.
Larissa’s desire to expand her services and career led her to begin leasing a station independently with various salons for the last eight years. She pursued on-going training to fine tune her skills and keep up with the latest trends. As a way to add more value for her clients, she has partnered with local businesses to host fun marketing events showcasing fashion and unique merchandise. She continuously strives to improve her knowledge and expertise, traveling to New York numerous times to collaborate with colleagues on the latest trends. Additionally, she’s trained to become a product educator on top lines, as well as creating videos demonstrating how to perform balayage services for other stylists to learn from.
Opening her own salon is the culmination of a life long passion and dream. She is excited to hand select her favorite tools, products and techniques from over a decade of experience and make it her own by offering a unique, high end experience for her clientele.
FAQ with Larissa
Why did you choose to name your salon Larissa Sofia?
I chose Larissa Sofia as a tribute to my Bulgarian roots and my late father who was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was a fearless entrepreneur with an exceptional work ethic. He influenced my desires to own my own business; I know he would be proud of me for following my dreams and in his footsteps. My logo has personal meaning as well. Each element was lovingly hand drawn by my sister, Natasha. The unique design formed a butterfly where the leaves come together; a ladybug was discreetly placed in the butterfly as a tribute to our dad whose childhood name for me always makes me think of a ladybug. My name and logo is not only beautiful and shabby chic, it represents my style, my culture and special family ties.
Why do you specialize in Balayage?
Balayage is a technique I discovered over a decade ago while at Gene Juarez. At that time it was only available in salons in New York with an average cost of $500 per service.
I love the versatility Balayage offers – not only does it allow me to be artistic & creative, it also is more gentle on the hair. Balayage is known for providing a subtle grow out, which allow for more time between services. It is so rewarding to see my clients’ hair transform from dry and damaged hair to beautiful, shiny hair with added dimension and depth. It’s also an amazing technique to use when performing corrective color services; it allows me to remove old hair color with very little compromise to the integrity and health of the hair. Please see our F & Q page for more info.
Why Did You leave Gene Juarez?
I wouldn’t be the stylist I am today without the valuable training I received at Gene Juarez. I took a huge leap of faith when I chose to branch out on my own. My desire to offer full services and to be more creative with my branding and services is what continues to drive me. My passion for the beauty industry has evolved over the years. I now have the opportunity to teach others and to build an exceptional team.
Why did you pick Sammamish?
I moved to the Issaquah Highlands five years ago. I have been working in Issaquah during this time as well. I have fallen in love with the area, the people and the community. Sammamish is part of that atmosphere and I really wanted to open a salon that was part my neighborhood and community. I’m so excited to create a warm, friendly experience that offers all the things you can find in a high-end salon without the corporate feel.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy being active, especially with my shih-tzu, Rosie – she is my first and only child to date. I value spending time with my family and close friends. I also love to travel during my spare time. I recently went to Iceland last year. I’m a foodie at heart: being Bulgarian and Filipino, I grew up eating an eclectic group of foods (thanks, Mom!).
Love for Larissa
“Almost weekly my hair receives a compliment. With high-lights and low-lights, Larissa makes my blonde hair look so natural. It’s easy to leave a recommendation for her here as I have already recommended her to several friends who were so happy that they are now her regular customers. It’s an added bonus that Larissa is also a super-nice person.” – Christina Hart
"Beauty is being comfortable and confident in your own skin. " Iman
Senior Colorist & Stylist
David is a colorist/stylist with a passion for bringing out the best in others. Known for his expertise in dimensional color, David excels at creating vibrant reds, rich browns, and natural-looking blondes. He particularly enjoys achieving soft, natural grey coverage which delights his clients who leave the salon looking and feeling younger! David believes the hair experience should be fun for both client and stylist.
David trained at the Gene Juarez Academy and Training Salon (where he won the Client Service Award) and he spent over a decade working in some of Chicago’s top salons. He is renowned for creating healthy, beautiful hair for women and subtle color and classic cuts for men. He is also licensed in Keratin Smoothing Treatments.
With a decade of prior experience as a counselor, David delivers great results while providing a warm atmosphere for his clients. His enthusiasm for improvement and change continues outside the salon as well where David is an avid gardener and runner. He lives with his partner and their dog Tucker in Columbia City.
Love for David
“My goodness where to start. I walked in looking like a train wreck my hair being 6 weeks overdue for a cut and color. The salon itself is gorgeous. Comfortable and chic. Then David whisked me to his chair and began his magic. Took his time and listened to my hair issues and wishes and WOW. I have found my new salon. My new color (low and highlights) and soft cut are just what I wanted without knowing it was what I wanted!!! Ample parking (free parking) wide spaces for those with big SUVs and next door to Starbucks. What more do you need. Book David ASAP if you want a fresh, new and fun look.” – Teresa Marshall-Kovach
"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." - Rumi
Senior Hair Colorist
Dimika, a Washington native, has over 15 years of experience in the hair industry. She is a graduate from the Evergreen Beauty College and has completed the Gene Juarez Advanced Training program. After working for over a decade for Gene Juarez, she now works as an independent stylist at Larissa Sofia salon. Dimika’s skills aid her in catering to people of all backgrounds and hair types; specializing in balayages, keratin smoothing treatments and relaxers. In addition, she is excellent at all coloring techniques such as foiling, bleach and tones, and color corrections. Her knowledge and experience coupled with her kind, easy going spirit ensures her clientele feel pampered and renewed.
Dimika lives in Bellevue, with her two daughters and two dogs. She enjoys exploring different hiking trails, traveling, and spending time with family.
Love for Dimika
“Went here for the first time today and loved it! Place is lovely, great decor, accents, lavender diffusers, etc. I couldn’t stop looking at every detail from the chairs to the chandeliers. Was a very calm and relaxing atmosphere. I went to see my long time color expert, Dimika, who is AMAZING! I lost track of her after she left Gene Juarez where I had been seeing her for years. I am just absolutely thrilled to have reunited with her! As always, she did a fabulous job with my color and cut. I’m so happy! Service was great. Perfect easy location right next to a Starbucks and a QFC. Great overall experience. Would highly recommend it!”
– Joann S.
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
Senior Hair Designer
Hannah has been in the beauty industry for six years. After graduating from the Gene Juarez Academy in 2011, she was accepted into the Gene Juarez Advanced Training program, specializing in hair cuts. While attending, she had the opportunity to assist and learn skills from the company’s Creative Director, Christophe Soltane. Hannah worked as a Designer at the Redmond location for over five years until she decided to grow her business independently.
She is an expert at thorough consultations – focusing on her client’s hair texture and density, face shape, as well as lifestyle. Her strengths include long layered cuts, soft textured bobs and styling. Hannah’s friendly, relaxed spirit will make you feel comfortable as she uses her expertise to create/fine tune your perfect style, so you leave the salon feeling refreshed with happy and healthy hair.
Hannah lives in Maple Valley with her husband, Casey, their German Shepherd, Roary, and cat, Olive. She loves animals, movies, art, cooking and wine. When not behind the chair, she enjoys spending time with her family and happy hour with friends.
Love for Hannah
“Hannah has cut my hair for a long time and consistently gives me the best hair cut I have ever had. You will love her and her haircuts! The Salon is beautiful, warm and inviting too!” – Marlene Christian
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love” - Maya Angelou
Framesi Colorist Specialist
Meredith Marie Riddle graduated from Greenwood Academy of Hair, an Aveda Institute, in 2004. Soon after she apprenticed at Napolitano Day Spa in Seattle for a year where she trained under Lorenzo Sumera, a Framesi* educator. After her apprenticeship, she began work at Gina Mary Hair Design, a Framesi-exclusive salon, for five years before she began her time at Maximus Salon in Merrick, New York. There, she gained experience with hair color and product lines from Redken, Joico, Scwartzkopf and Matrix. Upon returning from New York in 2013, she came back to Gina Mary Hair Design for four years and became a Framesi-certified stylist, specializing in color and cuts. Meredith is now apart of the Larissa Sofia team and offers her specialized services to the Sammamish community and its surrounding areas.
In her free time, Meredith can be found in the mountains skiing, long distance bicycling, or spending time with her family.
*Framesi is an Italian color and product company based in Milan, Italy.
Learn more about Framesi
Love for Meredith
“Meredith looks out for the health of my hair while treating it. She knows what looks good on me. I always walk out feeling like I look great after my appointment with Meredith. Been seeing her for countless years and will continue to do so. Not to mention her personality is always so upbeat. She’s a kick.” – Michelle G
“Live the life you love, and love the life you live” - Bob Marley
Junior Hair Colorist
Christine has been on the Larissa Sofia team from inception, starting out as Larissa’s blowout and styling assistant. Training under Larissa, she learned the highly specialized techniques of balayage, highlighting and creating rich, shiny, beautiful dark hair.
She received her training from the Gene Juarez Academy, where her team won first place in the Style Jam Runway Fashion Show for “Best Look,” competition. A Bachelor of Science degree in communications contributes to her above-average interpersonal skills and her ability to understand exactly what her clients need and desire. Her engaging and warm personality makes everyone in her chair feel like an old friend.
Christine is a devoted mom of three active boys. On her off time she is usually cooking or attending her son’s soccer and basketball games.
Love for Christine
“I am so happy to have found this chic new salon! Christine has done both cut and color for me and I couldn’t be happier. After being stuck in somewhat of a ‘hair rut’, I found her. She is not afraid to nudge me toward trendier styles while respecting my desires and limits. Larissa Sofia has a friendly staff, nice decor, and clean facilities.” – Beth
"The future belongs to those who believe in the the beauty of their dreams."
Senior Colorist & Stylist
After working for Gene Juarez Salon for nearly 14 years, Sherry is excited to expand her horizons and join the team at Larissa Sofia Salon.
She specializes in all chemical services such as color, corrective color, highlights, low lights, balayage and keratin smoothing treatment ( express, full keratin). Her longtime passion for hair, makeup, fashion and beauty shines through in every service.
In her down time she loves to spend time with family (son and daughter) and friends.
Love for Sherry
Life is too short to have boring hair
Senior Stylist, Colorist & Updo Artist
Jennica graduated from Lucas Mark Academy in Eastern Washington in 2013. She has been passionate about “all things hair” for as long as she can remember. She is committed to not only creating the perfect style for each guest, but also providing them with the tools and knowledge to re-create the look at home on their own. Her favorite services include men’s cuts, color, balayage, vivid colors, special occasions and bridal styling.
In addition to working behind the chair, Jennica has continuously worked for Salon Centric, a L’oreal professional beauty supply store for the last 5 years. There, she has gained extensive product knowledge in dozens of hair care lines. She regularly attends continuing education classes to stay current on all the latest fashion forward trends and techniques. In 2016, she won the “Matrix Watercolors Creative Hair Color” competition against over 1500 competitors. In September 2017, her work on an A-Line Bob was featured on Latest-hairstyles.com.
Jennica moved to Western Washington a little over a year ago with her husband Chris and Miniature Schnauzer Snickers. In her spare time, she enjoys attending car shows and concerts, cooking, traveling, and trying new restaurants with friends and family.
Love for Jennica
I only trust this woman with my hair! I love what she does! she will be honest with you and help you get what you want at the same time. She’s very personable and is fun to work with!”
“She’s the best! Always listens and takes the time to make sure my hair, and my daughter’s hair is beautiful. She knows what she’s doing.”
"Love is in the hair..."
Master Colorist/Balayage Specialist/Stylist
After finishing cosmetology school in Minneapolis where she grew up, Tammie sought out on a new adventure in Seattle at the age of 19. To expand her skills and knowledge of her craft, Tammie received advanced training at the Gene Juarez Advanced training salon for hair color in 2002. She then went on to work for Gene Juarez salons for over 12 years and was fortunate enough to work alongside some of the very best in the company for over a decade. There she attended continuing education classes in the newest hair coloring techniques while also being able to travel to New York to visit the L’Oréal training academy. Tammie has extensive knowledge in many hair coloring techniques including balayage, ombre, foiling, bleach and tone, and corrective color. Since leaving Gene Juarez, Tammie has attended continuing education classes to sharpen her skills in cutting and styling, being able to confidently complete the perfect look for all of her guests.
Tammie lives locally with her husband, 2 wonderful step children and 3 lovingly boisterous pooches! In her spare you will find her spending time with her family and friends, taking the dogs to the park, going to concerts and movies, cooking, camping and traveling.
Love for Tammie
“Tammie has done my for the last 14 years!! She is AMAZING. She stays current on all the hair trends. We have done everything from foil highlighting, balayage highlights, all over colors and back to highlights. The integrity of hair is very important to her as well. She does a great job of making sure that my hair stays healthy so I can do all the crazy things I want to do to my hair. She is great at product recommendations so I can recreate the style she gave me in the salon easily. I would recommend anyone to see her. She takes the time to listen to what your desired goal for your hair is and is honest with how that goal will be achievable.” – Megan S.
"Love is in the hair..."
Effie, a Washington native, attended the Gene Juarez Advanced Training program in 2004, specializing in hair color after graduating from cosmetology school. Upon completing her advanced training, she went on to work for Gene Juarez Salon in Redmond for over 10 years. Throughout her career, Effie has strived to further her training in advanced services such as keratin smoothing treatments and balayage. Effie has thorough knowledge and experience of all coloring techniques, including foiling, balayage, bleach and tones, and corrective color. She confidently provides excellent service with her many years of experience, whether coloring, styling, or cutting.
Love for Effie
"Your hair is your best accessory “ - Unknown
Hair Stylist/Color Expert/ Special Occasion & Braid Specialist
Connie is a lifelong resident of Issaquah, and even owns the house she grew up in since she was 2 years old. She has watched Issaquah grow from a small town without stoplights with vast farm lands to the busy suburb it is today.
Connie has been doing hair her whole life. But it wasn’t until Jan. 2018 she officially became a licensed cosmetologist. She has always loved doing hair as a hobby, and grew up doing family and friends hair. She married in 1997 and had 3 kids. Both boys serve in the Marine Corp and her daughter attends Issaquah High School.
She tried various careers, but nothing quite seemed to satisfy her creative energies. Her kids never went to a salon to get their hair done, since she always took care of all their haircuts, styles, dying, etc.…
As the kids got older, Connie realized it was her time to achieve her dreams and went to Gene Juarez Academy in Federal Way to earn a Cosmetology License.
She has always loved doing braids and special occasion styles. Always looking for new ideas or latest trends to learn and master!
She has spent the last year training under Larissa as her Associate. Learning the melting techniques of balayage, foiling highlights to create brightness, and the fun of color to accent your natural features. She has a special fondness for doing fun fashion colors for those who like to change it up.
In addition to that she loves cutting men’s styles just as much as women’s. Having 3 men in the house she has had many years of practice cutting various men’s styles.
For examples of Connie’s work check out her Instagram page @bellasconnie