Today we’d like to introduce you to Lesleigh Kent.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
As a child I was a total “make*a*holic.” I was hooked on the freedom and satisfaction of creating, as well as thrived on the exercise of problem solving to make it all happen. I had believed that, in life, you get a grown up job and do art for fun. But when I found myself in beauty school at 20 years old, I soon realized that was not necessarily how it had to be. I was awakened to a new opportunity to not just create art but create an artistic and successful life. As a stylist I continued to hone my skills and worked as an educator for Paul Mitchell.
I also attended FIDM in Los Angeles and got a degree in Fashion Design. I began practicing and performing tribal fusion belly dance, which quickly developed into a love for costume making. I was parlaying all of my loves and passions into a free-form career. Over the years, I found that what really fed me was not so much working within these industries as much as sharing my work with my clients. So I began my adventure of developing an independent business as a stylist, dancer, custom designer and artisan. My work has become a multi-faceted and individualized sharing of skill. My clientele provides me with a vastly diverse and constant feed of creative challenges. I get the rich opportunity of providing them with solutions and a renewed sense of confidence, ease and beauty.
Has it been a smooth road?
There is nothing smooth about working for yourself. It is definitely a steep and slippery slope. I think the first challenge I had to overcome was one of trust. Not only do you have to believe in yourself but you have to trust the cycles. Even when you’re broke and you don’t have enough appointments, you have to keep out the worry and know that the work is going to come. The next biggest challenge has been to balance the actual work with all of the effort it takes to continue building clientele and a solid web presence, basically to self-promote. I LOVE what I do. I do not love having to constantly document and share all of it. It used to be easier, word of mouth did enough for you. Nowadays with all of the advancements in technology and social media, it’s almost another job to work all the self-promotion angles and make sure people know you’re here and what you do. Its more time on the computer than I had planned to spend.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Simply put, I am a stylist, designer, dancer and artisan. One thing that sets me apart is possessing that versatility. For example, as a wedding stylist, I can offer a bride a cohesive design where I style her from the veil to the train. I can custom make her bridal wear and do her hair and make-up. All of the work I do is my art. I bring all that I know from each medium to the next. I don’t just do a cut and color like a hairdresser.I do it like a sculptor, a painter or a teacher.
When you sit in my chair I am going to apply every talent I have to making your life better and easier. Sometimes that’s advising you on how to alternate services so you can look great and stay within your budget. Sometimes it means advising you on clothing, what works for your body type, what to buy off the rack and what’s worth being custom made. I am not on the side of the “beauty industry” profiting off of peoples insecurities. I know who I am doing this for and it’s my clients. I’m here to benefit and empower them, to bring them lasting ease and a renewed sense of confidence. My clients are constantly amazed by how many things I’m always doing and making. I think they find it inspiring to see me always expressing my creativity. Couple that with the intuitive personal attention that I offer to them, and I find that my clients love that they can trust me completely. They know I have the talent and the interest to offer them the same level of creative devotion that I live through.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think San Diego is both a great city and a terrible city for what I do. The large and diverse populous offers a lot of opportunity. But the expense of living and renting space here is a lot to keep up with. I don’t think in this economy, I would recommend starting from the ground up here. It’s very hard to build a clientele fast enough to support yourself. I was lucky to have started my business when the economy was stronger and the industry was less saturated. I would love to see our city balance its ever growing cost of living with better wages, slower rates of gentrification and a continued support of local and sustainable businesses.
- haircuts start at $35
- hair color starts at $65
- Custom clothing rates subject to negotiation
- Private dance lessons start at $25
- Address: 416 University Ave. suite 200 San Diego 92013
- Website: www.lesleighkent.com
- Phone: 619-997-6997
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/lesleigh_kent_designs/
- Yelp: lesleigh kent at hapenstans salon