I want to tell you the story about a young, single mother trying to make it with nothing more than a high school diploma and no idea what to do with her future. The story of how that young woman, over the course of 15 years, has bought two homes in her name only, financially supported her husband through a four-year degree, and been able to be a present mother and attend all of her two kids’ accomplishments— while working three days a week doing something she loves and has a deep passion for. That young woman now has worked behind stage with top award-winning figures in her industry, has mentored and educated both onstage and in the classroom, has worked behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, and worked behind the chair cultivating a wonderful clientele.
Well, here she is! Hello! My name is Kelli Uphaus, and I have been in the salon industry for 15 years. I was asked to write a little about me, so I’ll start at my beginning in “hair”… I never wanted to be a stylist. To put it mildly, the idea of working in this field was horrifying to me! My father basically shoved me into this industry, and like most challenges I faced in my life, this would prove to be one of those sink-or-swim ideas. I would jump in feetfirst and blind. Thrive or die. Thanks Dad! No, really, I mean it. I give all the credit to my amazing father. I worked for seven years previously in the automotive industry and was pretty set on becoming an auto mechanics teacher. That is, until I discovered that going to school part-time, working full-time, and trying to be a single mother would get me my degree in my mid-30s.
I needed a career that would get me making money, show my ability to work with my hands, and allow me to feel accomplished while also being an available mother! This is where my dad came in. “Be a hairdresser!” he said. “You can make good money, set your own hours, and work around the baby’s schedule!” The look I gave him may have stopped his heart if nasty looks could kill! But I followed his advice. He set me on a path that would actually change my life for the better. But in the beginning, the cosmetology school road, and after, looked like one from a scary movie. You know, the one you are watching while the whole time your brain is screaming “RUN!!” Well, I ran, all right. Right down that road and toward this career. And I haven’t looked back.
Best industry/life advice:
Education and word of mouth are the best ways to build your business