Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Stevens.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Katie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From a small town in Massachusetts, I grew up always knowing I wanted to do something in the beauty industry. My parents took me to church every Sunday when I was little, and I would daydream about how I would redo the church as my salon and have an underground tunnel to my house on the other side. In middle school, I was the girl with pink lipgloss and sparkly blue eyeshadow (its been a learning experience). I was one of the only girls in school who wore makeup and my hair changed daily from every hairstyle you can imagine. My Mom and Dad never let me color my hair during those days but somehow they supported (or just didn’t say anything) all of these looks I rocked. I moved to Arizona during my freshman year of highschool, and although I was uninterested and bored with most of it, I found something to keep me focused my senior year that counted as credits, Cosmetology school. I finished the program within a year and half and began my hair journey.
I started assisting at one of the highest luxury salons, which was the largest salon in North America at the time. It taught me hard work, professionalism, and was the time I truly fell in love with my craft. I became an in-house educator for the salon and was sent to multiple cities around the US for education through Bumble and Bumble, Oribe, and R and Co. After six years with the company and having an urge to build my own brand, I moved on to a salon where I could be my own boss but have the opportunity to work alongside some of the best talents in Arizona, Bespoke Salon owned by Jay Olson. At the height of the Instagram world, I began filming “how to” tutorials on hairstyles and techniques that went viral over several times. My work has been reposted by top accounts including Huda beauty, GHD, IGK, FROMM, AIIR PROFESSIONAL, and many more. Always up for a challenge, after nine years of successfully building the start of my brand working in Arizona, I left to take a risk to start over and move to Los Angeles. I now work at Kelley Baker Beauty in Venice, CA
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh has there been challenges! From beginning till now! My most recent one, moving to LA was one of the most humbling of my career. Once I made the decision I was 100% in on moving, I started taking Instagram more seriously in hopes I could transfer easier. I slowly started building my following by constantly creating content of hair trends and styles I was passionate in. All of which I thought would help me land my “dream job”. It was great because I could use it as my portfolio, with so many pictures and videos that represented my work. But it wasn’t enough. Coming to a new city, where ultimately I knew no-one, salons still doubted I would bring in any clients. So I tried another route, assisted at a high end salon for a few months, but knew in my heart it wasn’t the right fit for me long term. I ended up leaving that salon, and finding a rental opportunity super close to home at Kelley Baker Beauty. The job was three days a week, and the rent was triple what I paid for my chair in Arizona.
Again I had no clients or knew no-one! There were times in the beginning where I literally would have one client a week. I still had my clients in Arizona I traveled back to do every couple weeks, and the girls at the salon were awesome to refer me people here and there. But it still wasn’t consistent enough and I was struggling to pay my rent. Scared and feeling super awkward about it at the time, I started reaching out to TONS of influencers and bloggers I saw lived near me that I thought fit well with my brand. I offered to do their hair in exchange for Instagram posts. Some responded, some didn’t. But the ones that did, really helped my clientele take off. This is where the work I put in on social media became worth it. Once my name was out there, people were confident I could do their hair because of my IG content and that the referral was from someone they trusted. Was it hard working for free? Sure, at first financially, but ultimately it helped me build the strong clientele I have today.
Katie-Leigh Hair – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I specialize in natural color techniques, sun-kissed looks, and healthy blonding. I love doing modern haircuts and working with extensions to help create those looks. What sets me apart from others is my passion and expertise to help enhance a person’s individual style. I love creating looks that work well with a person’s face shape and skin tone. My favorite is getting to know someones personality, what they wear, and how they want to be perceived, to bring the best version I can out of them through hair. I’m most proud of the time I take to listen to what my client wants, but also confident in what my eye thinks will look good on them.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I’d say the proudest moment of my career so far is the present moment. I knew for years I wanted to do hair in Los Angeles. People all around me didn’t understand why I wanted to start over; I was “too nice” for LA; someone I highly respected in the industry told me, “you’ll never make it”. I continued to stay true to my vision, with no connections, and never changed my morality to get where I wanted to be. I struggled A LOT (still do!). But through those hardships came so much growth, and through that growth I learned I wouldnt be here without going through that. I am so grateful for my boyfriend, family, and friends as my constant support system. I have big dreams, and still far from where I want to be, but despite every difficulty so far, I have created my own path, my own journey, and THAT is what I am most proud of.
- Address: 798 Main St. Venice, CA 90403
- Phone: 4138226665
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: katieleighstevens
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