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Cutting a path to success
It started when I was in seventh grade. I was a student manager for my basketball team. Between games one of the players started French braiding another girl’s hair. I was completely checked out from the world as I was mesmerized by what she was doing. She saw my interest and asked if I wanted to try. I jumped right into learning. I remember going home that night knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to become a hairstylist.
Throughout high school, I remember looking at the education requirements for getting into cosmetology school and I set my class schedule accordingly. As my senior year continued, we met with many college recruiters.
I remember meeting with one who said, “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.” This stuck with me. Although my desire was to go to cosmetology school, there was another part of my dream I felt like I could accomplish: owning my own salon. I decided business school would be my first stop.
I attended Central Community College in Hastings and majored in business administration. I completed my general education classes and many entrepreneurship, accounting, marketing and business classes. I was fortunate to be mentored by my entrepreneurship instructor, who allowed me to complete all my work based on my future salon business. I found all of the steps I needed to take to own a business in Nebraska.
I had to write a business plan, which later helped me in hair school and with starting my own salon. She recommended I take an entrepreneurship workshop CCC offered to business owners. During the workshop, I interacted with other people who wanted to start a business or already had a business. I was the youngest in the class, but that didn’t stop me. I still network with the business owners and speakers I met in the workshop.
After graduating with my business administration degree with an emphasis diploma in entrepreneurship, I started hair school at Xenon International Academy in Grand Island. It was the first time I woke up in the morning and couldn’t wait to find out what I was going to learn.
At hair school there is a business class every student has to take. It scratches the surface of how much knowledge one must have to run a business. Having a business degree made this class easy, especially when the final project was writing a business plan and presenting it to the class. I already had it done and I knew that document inside out.
At Xenon, I had the pleasure of getting to know one of my classmates who ended up buying a salon in Aurora straight out of hair school. She asked me to come work with her and the decision was made. I would be a hairstylist in Aurora after completing my cosmetology board exams. Xenon’s education program made taking the state boards a breeze.
I was a booth renter at Eclipse, meaning I “ran” my own business, but I paid the owner of the salon every month to have a chair for me to do appointments. Going straight to a booth rental salon from hair school was a challenge. Since I was new to Aurora, I knew very few people and if I didn’t have any appointments, then I didn’t make any money. Being a hairstylist within a salon with other stylists was a great way to meet people. It forced me to talk and get to know every person who walked in, even if they were not my client.
I continued booth renting at that salon for a little over two years and then my husband and I were presented with an amazing opportunity. We were looking at expanding my husband’s business by buying a building. We found the perfect place that would allow both of us to be in the same location. We ended up going through with the purchase and the rest of my dream fell right into place. I opened Urban Creations, my own salon, in January of 2015.
I have learned many new things about owning a salon in the months since I have been open. It’s a lot of trial and error, paperwork, bookwork and marketing a brand new business in town. The town of Aurora has been accepting to both of our businesses being added to the historic downtown square. I hope to continue to welcome new clients along with continuing to please my existing ones.
About the Author
Kelsey grew up in Bruning. She attended CCC in Hastings and Xenon in Grand Island. She resides with her husband in Aurora where she is a business owner and an active member of the community.
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