Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Kuhn.
Hi Chelsea, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I always knew cosmetology was a passion. I have been trying to be a “stylist” since I was in elementary school. Making all the styles and “haircuts” every future stylist makes on her dolls… and my siblings and friends. Of course, it usually ended up with me in trouble. My thoughts every time I got in trouble for it? “Worth it.” I went to cosmetology school starting at age 21 with a dream that one day I’d have my own salon and that I’d also be conducting classes at Hair Shows one day.
At age 30, I found out I had cancer and would need surgery. But after the surgery, I would not be able to have any more children. I was about to get married. I told my future husband, “I know you don’t have children of your own. I would completely understand if you want to walk away to carry on your name.” He married me. We went on our honeymoon, and after the honeymoon was my surgery. While on our honeymoon, I realized how short life is. How unhappy I was working at the salon I was working at. My husband encouraged me to take the plunge and start my own salon business. He was right. As soon as we returned from our honeymoon, I put in my 2wks notice to my boss. A week later, I had my cancer surgery. Recovery was 10-12 weeks. Decided during recovery, I would search for salon spaces for sale. We found a “fixer-upper” within budget. It would need a lot of T.L.C. and updating as it looked like 1985 threw up in there. I decided to own a salon that was 100% rental-based. I had three renters right at the beginning. I couldn’t work behind the chair for another couple of months as I was still healing/recovering. Luckily, a lot of my friends and my husband helped with stocking the salon and painting.
My husband and I did the rest when I was recovered. I was so scared. Scared of failing, scared of the investment into an unknown future as a business owner and all that came with it. Every day was another day of learning. Still is! I have now been in business for seven years and I have a fully remodeled and gorgeous salon with every station full, including a nail technician! I am now 37 and have also now been cancer-free for four years. This was one of the best and scariest decisions of my life. I love all of the professionals who work in my salon, and I love all of our clients! It is really like a huge family! We even made it through a pandemic shutdown. My landlord of the building was not able to help with rent assistance while we were in a mandatory shut down. I did not want to charge my stylists rent when they weren’t working to make income. So I paid things out of pocket, rent, utilities, distributors, etc. whole we were not able to work in our salon. I didn’t even get approved for help from the SBA because I was considered a sole proprietary business owner and everyone at my salon was technically a contractor. One of the stylists actually was fortunate enough and generously mailed me checks to help with expenses. We made it! We reopened and are so grateful for eachother. I could not have been luckier to have these salon professionals alongside me. We did it together.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Cancer recovery, remodels, overflowing shampoo bowls, toilet and sinks; needing a plumber ASAP, return of cancer, shoulder surgery because of a torn labrum (from work), flooded salon, the pandemic of 2020. The washing machine breaking during the weekend before Christmas (busiest weekend of the year).
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Hair Essentials?
I am a hairstylist, makeup artist, Brazilian Blowout Certified, and salon owner. I am known for my precision haircuts, makeup applications, formal styles and updos, Brazilian Blowout services and my vivid fashion hair color services!
What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
I have learned how to not let people take advantage of me as a business owner. I have learned to stand firm in my policies and beliefs. I have also taught myself to breathe and clear your mind before acting or responding to negative energy and people. Yoga and Meditation has always played a very important role in my life.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @chelzrakuhn
- Facebook: Chelsea Kuhn