Where Are They Now?
The Beauty-preneur: Kelsey Knutson, 2013 Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education Basic Scholarship Winner
Kelsey Knutson, winner of a Vidal Sassoon Basic scholarship in 2013 is a hairstylist, makeup artist, and owner of The Gather & Co. but she says her role could best be described as a “connector” who loves pouring her passion for beauty into the lives of brides, salon clients and other stylists joining the industry. Below, Kelsey talks about her journey from business consultant to successful business owner and shares some dreams she’s set for her future!”
How did you get your start in the beauty business?
After graduating college I worked as a business consultant, but I always knew that what I really wanted to do was make a difference in people’s lives. I love connecting with people across all the chapters of their lives and working in the beauty industry is a great way to connect.
At first, my parents were a little skeptical about my desire to change career paths. I was leaving a job with a salary and benefits and they had concerns. But winning the scholarship, was validation in their eyes that I was on the right path to a serious career.
How does your work in the bridal business complement your studio/salon work?
As a hairstylist, you become part of a client’s inner circle and get to share in so many different chapters of their life. I’ll work with a bride to plan hair that matches her vision for the wedding and then evolve with her as her life changes and she wants to cut her hair, change her hair for a new career, etc.
What advice do you offer hairstylists just beginning their career journey?
Reach out to those you look up to in a humble way and ask for their help. You can’t just IG them and say, “help me.” I e-mailed hairstylists, salon artists and makeup artists I admired and shared my story, expressing how I wanted to learn and improve. It’s been so rewarding to stay in touch with these generous people and encourage each other as our careers evolve.
What surprised you about working in the beauty industry?
People are sometimes surprised when success doesn’t come easily. You can be wildly successful in this industry but you’ve got to put in the effort and invest in the systems to keep getting better at your business and your craft.
Can you share how you invest in your career?
There is a lot of great business coaching out there in the industry, and it’s important to invest in continuing education. Winning the Beauty Changes Lives scholarship as a student was my first experience investing in this career. You’ve got to just put yourself out there and make an effort. The scholarship was basically free money to help get me where I wanted to go.
What advice do you offer someone just beginning their beauty career journey?
Find a mentor who is willing to share their story and answer your questions. There is no “secret sauce” when it comes to success. Be eager to learn, put in the work and never quit growing.
What goals have you set for the future?
I’m excited about growing the wedding side of my business and merging it with my consulting background. Eventually, I’d like to create a service where I can match a bride with the hairstylist and makeup artist best suited to her budget, desired look and overall vision for her wedding day. I see this as a way I can pour into the success of my clients and the stylists I work with. We do about 20 weddings a year now, but I’m really excited about growing this part of my business in the future.