Jonathan De Vela, Founder of Lve.Tailored


Jonathan De Vela, a Waterloo alumni, brings us into his world of persevering through the struggles, and gives us a few insights of hope along the way.

Graduated in 2015, Jonathan pursued a degree in Urban Planning. During his time in university, he began cutting hair as a way to save money, not realizing that it would turn into a career a few years later. Upon graduation, the job front for an Urban Planner was difficult, and Jonathan spent many months in pursuit of a career in his studied field. After a few months of defeat, as a way to not lose hope, Jonathan began to dabble in a few personal projects.

In January of 2016, he began cutting hair publicly and felt a calling towards it. During this time, Jonathan recalls that he still did not consider it a career choice until he landed in a job in recruiting that he did not enjoy. After waking up everyday for two months and dreading work, Jonathan looked to other options. He remembers contemplating, if planning jobs are not working out and barbering is doing okay, how does he become successful in this? From there, Jonathan began researching for three months and decided to jump headfirst into the world of barbering.

Landing, what essentially was an audition for a Barber’s assistant job, Jonathan quit his recruiting job, took a chance and went into his new interview. When asked what he wanted out of this opportunity, Jonathan did not hesitate when he spoke, “I just need to learn.” Instead of an assistant, he walked out as a Junior Barber and from there a new journey began.

We had the chance to catch up with Jonathan and to get to know the man behind the barber chair.

We asked, “What was it like transitioning from a degree to a creative path?”

He was candid when speaking as he said,

It was hard to realize and accept that all those 5 years of me doing university, am I really putting that under my belt and tucking that away? In my culture, uncles and aunts kind of look down on barbers, I still get flack saying “Are you sure you wanna be a barber, is this temporary, do you want me to look for jobs for  you? Can you raise a family with this?” And I feed off doubt, I’m very tenacious when it comes to people doubting me...yeah I did do this and I did get that. It fed the fire.

At any given moment, we often compare ourselves to others, and get caught up in the lives of others whether subconsciously or not. Jonathan tells us how he works through those moments of comparison and how he chooses to pursue his calling.

He speaks,

“I learnt to basically celebrate their successes, if you see someone with a family and kids, and has a beautiful car and a beautiful home, rather than spite them and compare yourself to them, and say man I’m never going to get there or he’s the same age, she’s the same age became an important habit that I had to create to be able to say like I’m so happy for them and genuinely say that you’re happy for them and wish them the best because hopefully karma and the universe will turn around and it give it to you. You shouldn’t undermine their successes. Celebrate them and move on with your life”

As the months past, Jonathan created Lve.Tailored, more than a brand, but a way of appreciating life that is up to you to create. Jonathan tells us

“Everyone should be able to do what they want to do, regardless of their past, present or future. There is a choice to do what you want to do.” When people visit Jonathan, he strives to provides more than a haircut and creates a supportive environment. he says, “Loving is loving, living is living, as long as it’s for you and you do it for yourself, and it’s your choices and not someone else's, I think it’s important.”

He understands it is not an easy feat to create or pursue something, especially with the different factors that people can run into. Jonathan, however does provide advice to help break those hesitations down.

He stressed,

“It’s easy to make all those factors like this giant elephant, and you can’t push this elephant out of the room immediately, you have to do it bit by bit. You gotta take it step by step...You don’t have to give up everything to start something. Eventually you’ll get to that point where that 5 hours a day will become 6 hours a day because you learn to eat for 15 minutes, instead of a half an hour. Whatever it may be.”

Jonathan’s journey reiterates trusting the process, and believing in yourself. He admits,

“It’s not going to be easy, and it is going to suck a lot. That’s fine. Understand that the next day is a new day. It’s a fresh new 24 hours, go get it! Go do whatever your thing is. Let it process, don’t lock it up, understand your feelings and use it to fuel your next day...There’s a lot of ‘if only’...but it’s reinforcing yourself to focus on what you’re doing, as cliche as it is, it’s the whole trust the process, because it will eventually pay itself off. Trusting and believing in yourself. Consistently putting in that work and accepting that you will have those struggling days.”

He reminds us that a new journey is not one without struggle, hard work and self-discipline.

We asked him, in all of this what is one thing that you absolutely live by? Without hesitation he expressed,

“Keep going. There’s always a way.’ There is always a way to do something. There’s got to be a different angle so that when you hit a roadblock, take a step back and realize there’s always a way. You will never not find a way.

To learn more about Jonathan, check out @develaa // @lve.tailored //!

Written by: Amanda Monisha

David Luong