It’s our honor at Stylie to showcase a few stories of independents that have achieved great things! One of those is our own #Colorjam2017 3rd place winner Kelsey Elliot! We love her independent spirit and hope you are encouraged and motivated by her.
With 10 years in the beauty industry, Kelsey’s journey has not always been the easiest. It’s taken courage, determination and the support of many others to get to where she currently stands. The message of “don’t give up” kept her going and that’s the same message she continues to preach.
How did you get started?
After graduating high school, I figured the next step was automatic…I was going to college. Because everyone goes to college. I started out studying Business Admin looking to do something in Fashion Design. I quickly realized this was not for me but in the process learned about a local Cosmetology school. The day I entered those doors I knew that this was the path for me. With the support of my family, and in a relatively short amount of time, I dropped out of college and started my journey to becoming a hairstylist.
As with many things in life, this decision came with some significant challenges. Shortly after Cosmetology school, while working in salon, I was challenged to pursue my passion in color, by being “kicked out” of my salon. The salon manager explained that I wouldn’t be able to succeed and do what I wanted to do if I remained in my current situation. I needed to pursue my love of color by finding a place that would allow me to grow and do what I loved most.
What were your first jobs?
At the time this was terrifying news, as my family was just beginning and my first child was on the way. The uncertainty of not knowing where to go and the realization that I was about to become a mom was scary. But determined to continue, I found a salon in a little town where I could explore the world of color and utilize my giftedness and creativity. This was a great time of growth for me.
Unfortunately, this chapter ended on a bit of a sour note. After years of hard work, I found myself starting from the beginning once more. The journey always has some peaks and valleys.
Once again, I found myself in a position where the future was unknown. Through the encouragement of my husband, kids and family, I stayed focused on my passion and determined to move forward.
After reaching out to a stylist friend, asking if she knew about any openings for a job, my friend encouraged me to drop off an application. I did and landed a job (I didn’t find out until later that there weren’t any openings, but my friend just had a feeling)! That’s when things took off. In just under two years I was able to go from zero clients to filling my book and being in an environment I loved.
What do you love about your job?
My clients! They have become more than just people I see every few weeks, but true friends that I’m able to invest in daily! By far, my favorite aspect about my job is being able to cater each experience to my clients so that they can leave feeling beautiful! This starts from the time they come in to the time they leave by offering not just the best service, but the best products, the best comfort, and even the best conversation while they are in my chair. I want them feeling their best when they leave.
This kind of investment creates special relationships that you rarely find in any line of work. I have a world traveler client that has come in every three weeks for the last 8 years. On every return, the she comes back with stories and even little gifts from each place she has been. This standing appointment has become such a routine, that the one time she didn’t show up, I called to find out she had some health concerns and had to make a trip to the hospital. So now I am quick to call even if she’s just a little late to make sure she is okay!
Another client came in sad and tired after not being able to spend time with her husband since the birth of their child. I not only wanted her to leave feeling her best, but I wanted her husband to enjoy it too, So, I babysat her kids that night so they could have their first date night out in a long time.
Who has inspired you over the years?
It’s the continuing support of others that has allowed me to continue to pursue my passion and helped me not to give up.
Stephanie Kocielski has been one of my biggest inspirations in the industry. After meeting her at a show and spending ten minutes with her, Stephanie looked at me and said, “you’re going to do this…I know it”! This motivated me to continue to go after what I wanted even when obstacles stood in my way.
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Amazing transformation!! What a fun pallet I got to play with today! She gave me a color scheme and said, "you do what you want to do! I trust you!"Those words are so powerful to me. That we have built a relationship to get to this level of trust. Her first all over color experience! Happy birthday girl! @paulmitchellus @stylistshopconnect @gostylie @pulpriothair @behindthechair_stylist @behindthechair_com @saloncentric #instahair #hairstyles #haircolor #balayage #ombrehair #michiganstylist #michiganhair #hairinspo #waves #hairwaves #love #hairporn #stylist #summer #bright #makeup #mua #beauty #beautylover #beautifulhair #glam #glow #highlight #fashion #rootsmudge #paulmitchell #synchrolift #transformation
What are you doing now?
I am embarking on a new adventure as I have joined Paul Mitchell educators as a color specialist while still working behind the chair. I am thrilled to be able to do what I love, in a position that allows me to still be focused on my family while sharing my passion of creative color with others to help spur them on to achieving their goals.
Having been an independent beauty professional for the past 4 years, I want to pass on the message to those just starting out to never give up your vision and don’t forget yourself and your passion. I love being able to show those around me, especially my kids, that you can work hard and achieve your dream! And in my case you can still be a mom (which is what I live for) and still have a career. This is something I hope to instill in my little ones as I live it out in front of them.
Make sure to follow Kelsey on Instagram