EASTPOINTE, Mich. – Aliya Johnson, a Metro Detroit hair stylist and loctician, is on her way to building her own business with the help of a social media post that went viral.
The client that put her on the map isn’t human, but a very cooperative dog.
Johnson always dreamed of having her own salon one day. She currently works out of an Eastpointe barber shop, creating protective hair weaves and twists for people, but at the request of a dog groom who heard of her prowess, Johnson tried her trade on a poodle.
The dog’s name is Miss Eva. Her owner let the pooch’s hair grow out for a unique look and Johnson accepted the ruff challenge.
“I tightened her with a technique called inter-locking,” Johnson said. “I achieved it using a crochet needle.”
Pink, yellow, orange and brown coloring on 80 separate locks and Miss Eva is more than a highly pampered pooch, she’s become a social media rock star.
Johnson’s two and a half hour session with Miss Eva was streamed live on Facebook, where it immediately blew up.
“I got a call from my boyfriend and he was like, ‘You know you’re going viral right now?’” Johnson recalled. “It had been maybe five hours in and it had over half a million views.”
Hounded with interest, they unleashed Miss Eva’s video to Instagram and Tik Tok, which led to an appearance on CNN.
“The feedback I’ve gotten, the amount of support I’ve gotten, people that want me to do their puppies now,” Johnson said. “It’s just crazy.”
In her first foray into poodle primping, she charged a special rate -- it was a house call after all -- and she’s also thankful that Miss Eva’s owner liked her handiwork.
But more than anything, she’s bonded with a special and inspirational friend.
“Your barber is usually your therapist. I felt like she was mine because she was just taking everything I had to offer and I was like, ‘This is crazy getting it done. I’m talking to her and she’s just chillin’,’” Johnson said.
Johnson’s dream to have her own salon mutt have changed. She’s now in search of a space big enough where she can have two sides of her business -- one for people and the other for the poodles.
Miss Eva’s owner was so happy with the work, she set up another appointment in about six weeks where Johnson will do a retwist to tighten the dog’s brightly colored locs.
Johnson has set up a GoFundMe to help finance a space. You can donate here.
More information on Locs By Liya can be found on its official Facebook page here.