After a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, Ed Tavakoli, the beloved founder of Beauty Collection in Sherman Oaks, California, passed away on May 26, 2017.
Tavakoli originally came to the United States from Iran in 1981 when he was 43, starting over with his wife, Janet, and their two sons, Shawn and Marc. He got his start in the beauty business working at Wilshire Beauty Supply’s warehouse, unpacking boxes for $2.50 per hour, seven days a week, taking the bus from Encino to Mid-Wilshire every day, while his wife earned her cosmetology license, putting in long hours as a manicurist.
In 1988, Tavakoli opened Eddie’s Beauty Supply in Van Nuys, California, and in 1992—at his wife’s insistence and using all of his personal credit—he opened Beauty Collection in Sherman Oaks, California. The store quickly became one of the most successful beauty supplies in Los Angeles, and continues to operate successfully after more than 20 years. Beauty Collection was a family business as for many years Janet, Shawn and Marc worked alongside Ed.
“I learned everything about running a business from my father. In the 36 years that my dad has been in the beauty business, he has always been respected, admired and been spoken of with the highest regard. Not because of his successful business, but because of how he treated the people he dealt with—from employees to vendors to customers,” says Shawn Tavakoli, who followed in his father’s footsteps with five Beauty Collection stores in Southern California.
President of Jay Halaby and Associates, Jay Halaby adds, “I met Ed in the early '90s. As a new rep in the streets, I serviced both Eddie's Beauty in Van Nuys as well as the brand new Beauty Collection store in Sherman Oaks. Ed was always kind to me, and always a gentleman. As my business grew, Ed was always there to give me bits of advice and guidance. I will always remember him as one of the original icons of the California beauty store model. I will truly miss him.”
Marc Spilo, CEO of Spilo Worldwide, says, “Ed Tavakoli was truly one of the pioneers of our industry. Ed was a true American success story, coming to America as an immigrant and building a very successful beauty store from scratch. With his beautiful wife Janet, they raised two outstanding sons (one of whom, Shawn, now runs one of the most high-profile and successful businesses in our industry). Ed, a true gentleman, was loved and admired by his industry colleagues. We will all miss his great spirit, his wonderful smile, business acumen and the friendship he showed us all over the years.”
Apart from Ed’s Beauty Collection store in Sherman Oaks, his son Shawn opened a Beauty Collection in Calabasas in 1998 and has since added stores in West Hollywood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach and Marina Del Rey.
A memorial service was held in Los Angeles on June 4.