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Rising Stars: Meet Kaylee Wildman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaylee Wildman. 

Hi Kaylee, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I started my journey as a stylist in 2010, on a complete whim. I was attending community college in Iowa and quickly realized I was not meant for traditional schooling. I had no ambition to be or do anything specific. So I decided to go to cosmetology school. Thinking as most people do, that it would just be a placeholder until I figured out what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I soon discovered that I absolutely loved it. I was build for the industry and the industry was a great fit for me. fast forward to 2012, and I started my career at ULTA Beauty as a stylist. In the years I was there I went from being a fresh stylist with zero clientele to being an educator who traveled across the country to facilitate classes for other stylist. I was in salon management, district education, and regional education in between. I became Redken Color Certified and attended Redken Design classes, along with countless other higher educational classes in my time at ULTA. After being with the company for 8 years, in 2020 I decided to leave and start my own salon business, I am able to use all my knowledge, work for myself, and still maintain an amazing clientele. 

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?
Absolutely not. Starting your own business is never smooth. Nor should it be. Anything easy is ever worth doing. After the shutdown, going back to a job where I had to punch in and out, report to higher-ups, and do it all without being able to connect with other stylist around country anymore was not a good time for me. I needed more freedom and opportunities for growth. But how do you leave a company you have been with for so long in the middle of a pandemic? And who in their right mind would? Trying to navigate new licensing, applications, new financial responsibilities, and maintain a clientele is scary enough. Now throw in the fact that you can’t talk to people face to face. Government offices are not open like the used to be. Supply and demand is totally outrageous. And even after navigating through all that and then some, there is still the whole aspect of running a business and trying to make sure you won’t fail. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I would love to say I specialize in one specific thing, “I am a blonding expert.” “I am a texture artist.” or “I specialize in precision cuts.” But honestly (and without sounding like a complete cliché) I have tried to master it all. When I was an educator I had to. I facilitated balayage mastering classes, texture, and curl classes, cutting and grooming classes, I did it all. No one can (or at least should) enter a room full of people with the expectation of education them without being a “master” of it all. However; I can say in the last year that I have been on my own I have tired to find my “thing”, I started to eliminate services that no long brought me joy, and started focusing on ones that did. I love to do vivid color transformations. I enjoy doing “lived in color”. But, I have always said haircutting would be my favorite if I had to pick between that or coloring. There is something about the idea of doing something that is semi-permanent. If you mess up a color, you fix it. You can always go light or darker, or warmer or cooler. But if you are not “on” with your cutting skills or technique…. that’s a different story. 

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
You can never stop learning. Fashion is constantly changing and evolving. Hair is part of fashion. Hair is part of your “trend” or your “brand”. As a stylist, the biggest injustice you can do for your clients is to stop learning and to become complacent. People change their wardrobes all the time, why not their hair. It’s the one accessory you can’t take off. Staying up on the latest trends and technique is so important in our industry. And it’s how we as stylist can measure out worth. I know that I can and will do whatever is in my abilities to make sure my clients have the best of what they want, and because of that, my clients know that I am worth more. 

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