Student Stories: Kelly S.

May 09 2019

Kelly Schlicklin header

Becoming a successful stylist is about a lot more than just doing hair. At Douglas J Aveda Institute, we pride ourselves on students who have the knowledge to confidently take on the workforce. Since graduating from the cosmetology program at our East Lansing location in 2009, Kelly Schlicklin has done just that.

A Collegiate Background

Before she started at Douglas J Aveda Institute, Kelly was pursuing a business degree at Eastern Michigan University. While she had always loved beauty, her parents wanted her to get a college education. She played softball while attending college, which she loved, but due to surgeries, she was unable to keep playing. It was then that she started to rethink things. “I sort of just went to college because I didn’t know what to do,” she says. “I loved business but realized I wasn’t cut out for corporate America. I couldn’t sit in a cubicle all day.” After three and a half years of school, Kelly decided to quit and find a career she was passionate about.

Kelly Schlicklin

What Douglas J Aveda Institute Did for Kelly

Within 20 minutes of touring our school, Kelly knew she wanted to be there. Our professionalism, career-focused curriculum, and dedication to local communities all stood out to her. She was also drawn to us because we are an Aveda school.

“Aveda has such a good background,” she says. “It’s nice to know that I would be getting the education and product training I needed down the road. I knew that no matter where I went in the world I could have a career because of the Aveda brand.”

During her time at Douglas J Aveda Institute, Kelly was given the tools and opportunities she needed to find her own success. She won the Beacon national student competition and was able to participate in the prestigious North American Hairstyling Awards while she was in school. “Douglas J Aveda Institute [not only] gave me all the tools I needed, but the option to continue learning,” she says. “They taught me you could go above and beyond just styling hair.”

Beauty Meets Business

Kelly’s knowledge of the beauty industry involves a lot more than just techniques and products. Her background in business brought skills to the table that many of her peers did not have. “To make money you need to understand the business of money,” she says. “People want to just do fun things [in beauty] but there are three aspects to hair styling: caring for people, technical skills and business savvy. All three need to be together to be successful.” A huge part of being a stylist is recommending products and teaching a client how to maintain their style. Kelly knows that a huge part of working in business is giving people the tools and information they need to succeed in their own world. In addition to understanding sales and client communication, her business education prepared her to communicate with industry leaders on a professional level.

Woman with long brunette highlighted hair.

The Science of Beauty

Most stylists know that beauty involves some science, though not many are quite as passionate about it as Kelly. “What was a real eye-opener for me is the anatomy behind our hair. [When you deal with hair], you’re dealing with DNA,” she says. “You can find out someone’s history from a strand of hair. I hold that with high respect.” Hair is a delicate, volatile substance. Taking the time to learn the science behind its make-up is essential to Kelly.

“We’re dealing with sensitive stuff, people get attached to their hair,” she says. “If you don’t understand that, you kind of lose the respect for what it really is.”

Kelly’s favorite part about beauty is caring for her clients. That’s why taking time on techniques and mastering concepts like color theory/science, face shape and hair genetics is so important to her.

Shot of a woman in a striped shirt with floral wedding hair.

Kelly’s Advice

Passion and drive are crucial if you want to succeed in the beauty industry. However, continuous learning is just as important.

“Be a sponge. Soak everything up,” Kelly says. “Apply the knowledge you have now and learn more. Don’t be so close-minded or confident in yourself that you lose the chance to learn. Always be open to knowledge.”

Kelly is currently using her knowledge of beauty, science, and business as a stylist at the Douglas J Salon in Wyoming, Michigan. As far as her future goes, she wants to continue learning and experimenting with beauty’s transformative power. She is even considering becoming a doctor of hair to pursue her love of science. The beauty industry is a wonderful place for experimentation, creativity, and growth. It’s a place to test the limits and try new things. “Failure will happen but success will happen more often,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go to the extreme. Thinking that you can achieve greatness is the best attribute when going into beauty. Douglas J Aveda Institute gave that to me.”

Feeling inspired by Kelly’s story? Join the Douglas J Aveda Institute family! Our cosmetology program is designed to help you prepare for a future in the industry. Learn more about beauty education today!

You can follow Kelly on Instagram @kellys_stylist!

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