Q&A with stylist and educator Kelli Mason

When Kelli Mason purchased her salon in Downtown Midland in 2013 she had no idea what the next five years was going to bring. Then, at just 26 years old, she became the youngest downtown business owner and a boss overnight at Lux The Salon. Since then she has evolved into a growing brand of education, hair styling and portfolio work at Kelli Mason hair. life. style.

Mason has gone on to tackle several parts of the industry including working as an educator and curriculum developer. She has also been recognized throughout the industry as well, working with the Beauty Underground Team at New York Fashion Week styling runway looks for John Paul Ataker, Miguel Vieria, Katy Xiomara, Georgine, Francesca Liberatore and Namilia. Mason is a three-time competitor in the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) and was a finalist in the 2017 Behind the Chair Awards in the texture category, selected from over 20,000 applicants.

We sat down with Mason to talk about what drives her to keep improving, her biggest lesson and what she enjoys most when not behind the chair.

Q: What lead you to teaching, training and empowering others?

A: I am obsessed with progression. I am always evolving and creating new concepts that help me to work smarter, more efficiently, and to express my point of view. Eight years ago I went to an academy class for hairdressers in Chicago, I met some of the most incredible educators in the world. I found myself caring less about what I was learning and more about how they were teaching. I knew then I wanted to be able to impact people in that way. My path to becoming a professional hairdresser has been a winding road that ultimately led to me to the life of my dreams. I feel compelled to now share my story to help others on their path if they are ready to take the plunge into finding their true happiness.

Q: You've been downtown for a few years now, what are you most excited about?

A: I am excited to see so much interest in the development of Downtown Midland. When I opened my space five years ago I only wanted to be downtown because I love being able to walk everywhere and go to local shops and events. It is also fun for my guests to be able to come get their hair done and have the same experience.

Mason in her salon in Downtown Midland

Q: You've trained and taught all over, can you tell us a bite about your passion for helping others?

A: I believe sharing our knowledge and wisdom is the most beautiful gift we can give to the world. Through traveling the world I have been able to learn so much from my students and from other leaders in business. I thrive on experiences and have made it my mission to put myself in all sorts of positions to make me so uncomfortable that I have tremendous growth both personally and professionally. Whatever is beneficial for you will be beneficial for those around you. I whole heartedly believe in that. It all starts within us, we have to feed our minds and hearts to be helpful for others.

Q: New York Fashion Week is a BIG DEAL - Can you tell us a bit more about what inspired you to go?

A: One of my dreams has always been to work behind the scenes at NYFW. I had watched it on TV, read about it in magazines and dreamed about it for years!

When I finally stopped thinking it was such a faraway dream because I do not live in the hub of NYC...I actively started pursuing it and have now styled for more than 20 shows, met with designers to create looks, co-lead four shows and styled hair for Taylor Hill, Karli Kloss and Miss Universe. Beyond the incredible hair, supermodels and gorgeous clothing, it fuels you with excitement and lots of creative energy.

Q: Owning your own salon, what are some great partners you've come across?

A: At LUX we use Surface and Eufora, two of the most health conscious professional brands on the market. This is something that is so important to me given that as a stylist I have to be breathing them in and using them on my skin, as well as our guests.

Q: You jumped in to owning your own business in your mid-20s, what has been your biggest lesson?

A: I was 26 when I opened my first brick and mortar salon business, LUX. I have also developed an education company called PIP University, and now I’m working on a new project, Kelli Mason hair.life.style that includes training and teaching other stylists as well. In business, the most important lesson I’ve learned is to always stick to your intuition. If something doesn't seem right, change. If you don't like the way something is coming along, shift. If you have a big dream, follow it. Everything will always be ok, just don't wait too long to make a choice, go for it.

Q: What does someone new starting out in the industry need to keep in mind?

A: Have a clear intention; know exactly why you are opening a business. Dedicate yourself to the business; don't treat it as a hobby. Having a strong support system around you is a must. When times get tough (and they will...trust me!) they will help you persevere and remind you of your intent and giving you some gusto when you may feel alone. Lastly, do it with passion. Pour as much of yourself into it as possible and people will feel that and be drawn to you.

Q: When you're not teaching or styling/coloring for clients, what are some of your favorite activities?

A: I have two beautiful children and a husband, so spending time with them is the best! We love to travel and go on adventures together. Yoga is my favorite. I love snowboarding, spending time at the lake, and going to concerts...and eating really good vegetarian food! My perfect day consists of anything with those activities and a little sunshine.
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