3 O.C. Women From Our Best Of Issue Tell Us What’s Special About Their Work

Meet three women who were featured in our July Best Of Orange County issue.

In 2009, Vickie VelaCambruzzi opened Curls on Top, a salon in Laguna Beach that specializes in cutting and styling curly hair.

Why just curly hair?
Because I saw a tremendous dissatisfaction among the curly clientele. It was apparent that the hair industry was ignoring their needs.

What is your training?
I began my career in 1981, attending the Vidal Sassoon Academy. Twenty-six years later, I traveled to New York to train with Lorraine Massey, author of “Curly Girl: The Handbook” and innovator of the dry curl-by-curl cutting method. Meeting her changed the course of my career; I returned with a passion that has taken on a life of its own.

What are the challenges of making a successful business for a niche clientele? Are there more curly heads out there than we imagine?
(In Massey’s book) she estimates that 65 percent of women have texture in their hair. There is a great amount of consumer spending just on straightening treatments and blowouts for this demographic. My business has been successful because my goal is for every curly girl to love her hair.

998 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949-637-7177, curlsontop.com

Artist and teacher Amy Sargeant of Orange brings her mobile ceramics studio to private parties and public events. Called Curious Clay Society, it’s not just for kids.

How did you get started as a mobile potter?
I was the art education director for a large nonprofit, and I developed a field-trip program for elementary age kids. I drew upon my educational background, my teaching experience, as well as my insight from developing the program … and schools and kids seemed most interested in ceramics, as it was an offering not often found in elementary visual arts programming.

How do adults react to trying out a potter’s wheel?
When I started taking the trailer to kids’ parties, the parents would hover. I would chit chat and ask if they ever tried ceramics, and they would say, “Oh, I took one class when I was in high school, but then that’s it.” I wanted to bring that accessibility back to people who think their creative ship has sailed.

What about the trailer?
I had it custom-designed. The interior has shelving, and I can turn the galley in the back into a gallery to display work or into a cute little bar for Sip-and-Throw events. There’s a solar panel on top of the trailer that powers my battery-operated wheel, so I can take it anywhere. I’ve been really loving it.

To book an event or lesson, curiousclaysociety.com

Marlene Sandoval, granddaughter of founders Gerion and Avela Sandoval, is one of 17 family members (among 30 employees) from three generations who work at the Placentia restaurant.

Tell us about your family.
My grandparents had eight kids. My grandmother and her children are the owners. (Gerion died in 1999.) We serve my grandmother’s recipes. I was 16 when I started working here. Most of us (the cousins) got part-time jobs here while we were going to school, studying for careers.

Did you have another career?
I was a professional soccer player (for 14 years) for the Mexican Women’s National Soccer Team. I played in the 2004 Olympics and the World Cup. I retired (from soccer) last year. Now I’m waitressing.


I guess extended family members enjoy each other’s company?
We don’t just work together. We all live near each other. Our houses are on the street behind the restaurant. We have very loyal customers. Some say things like, “You weren’t even born when we started coming.” I think they like the sense of family.

201 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia, 714-993-7880, elfarolitomex.com

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