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Meet Trailblazer Sara Kelly

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Kelly.

Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve wanted to be a hairstylist for as long as I can remember. In, first grade I would sneak and cut my friend’s hair during class and color my hair with markers. My parents offered to pay for my college education so I did get a degree in Literature & Writing prior to going to beauty school. While in college, I was the receptionist at a salon and I absolutely loved it! I remember seeing the stylist work their magic and wanting to work behind the chair. After having a few office jobs where I was miserable… I decided to make my dreams come true and enrolled in a beauty school in Orange County, CA. I moved back to San Diego and worked in Del Mar for several years before making La Jolla my hopefully forever hair home 4 years ago.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been an easy road building my clientele. There are so many talented stylists in San Diego and a salon on every corner so I had to think what was going to set me apart from everyone else. The first salon I worked at in La Jolla was when everything clicked. I worked with the most talented team and we all worked well together. There was a stylist named Karen who did the most beautiful cuts and another stylist named Sher who I learned how to view color as art. Every stylist who worked there taught me so much and I started taking more classes and became obsessed with this industry. I would sit and wait for walk-ins for hours and would be happy if I would have two clients a week. It took time.

I also worked a little harder on my Instagram account. I’m not a talented photographer and had to learn about lighting and angles. It’s still not a strength of mine.

I had a client who had been traveling across the country to get her hair done because she hadn’t found the stylist for her yet. Her stylist found me on Instagram and this client ended up being my unicorn client who has probably referred close to 20 clients to me and then half of those clients have referred their friends/family to me. I’ve had a few clients like her who I felt really believed in me and if it weren’t for them, I would probably have had to consider doing something else in the industry, other than working behind the chair.

My advice for new stylists is to be humble but don’t be a doormat. I’m always learning/growing but I also have learned the hard way to be constructively truthful to clients so you don’t set yourself up to fail.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hair by SK – what should we know?
There are so many services a hair stylist can do but I’ve found my niche with blonding. I do love my brunettes but traditional highlights is my favorite service to do. I also pride myself in getting every highlight as close to the root as I can. I’m a perfectionist and every client is in my chair for 3 hours or more. I don’t rush and I do every service how I would want someone to do my hair.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
My advice for a young woman just starting out as a hairstylist is to be patient, don’t rush your work, ask for clients to send photos of their current hair and for an inspiration picture, so you can come up with a plan/formula prior to seeing the client. Always have a consultation with every client, even regulars to make sure your clients have been happy with previous appointments. Take classes whenever you can, especially when you feel like you’re in a rut. The view being a hair stylist as your business and treat it as such.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 949-813-3354
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @hairbysk1

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