Beauty Launchpad is spotlighting the winners of its Top 20 Salons contest for 2024.
Here, Stevie Kennedy introduces us to Stevie Kennedy House of Curls in Edmond, OK, founded in April 2019.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is the backstory of your salon? What motivated you to start your business?
Stevie Kennedy (SK): I started chasing curls 15 years ago when a client nominated me to attend a Ouidad Curl Certification in New York City, NY. After completing my first day styling as a curl expert, I felt overwhelmed by how many curly clients were in need of a positive salon experience that would cater to their unique hair care needs. My heart ached after listening to some of my newer curly clients that expressed a real sense of fear and anxiety when visiting a new stylist - a stylist that may not truly understand how to treat, care and style their curly hair. Witnessing these reactions, I became determined to create a salon that would embrace individuals with curly hair while providing them with the latest and most dedicated techniques, tailored to their hair type. Stevie Kennedy’s House of Curls is my dream salon and was opened on the heels of me previously operating a larger salon with over 15 booths. When the opportunity became available to pivot my business structure and solve a need, currently unmet in my local community, I took the chance and have never looked back. Stevie Kennedy’s House of Curls is a private boutique experience that provides services specifically to individuals with curly hair. I couldn’t be happier.
BLP: What was the most challenging thing that happened while opening your salon?
SK: The most challenging part of opening a specialized salon is that I had to completely dedicate myself, time and space to curly-haired clients only. I had to have some tough conversations with my existing clients that didn’t have curly hair. I had to let go of treasured relationships that I had built with my straight-haired clients to really focus on what I wanted Stevie Kennedy’s House of Curls to become.
BLP: What is the overall aesthetic of your salon? What inspired you when designing the space?
SK: The salon space consists of two multi-purpose rooms: a waiting room with a color bar, and shampoo and dryer area; and, my private booth with the styling chair and retail section. The salon space benefits from plenty of natural light and feels open due to the large windows and glass dividers. I’ve decorated the space with both professional artwork and personal client photos that celebrate the beauty of curls. Check out my channels and the #OKCCURLS tag for plenty of snaps that feature happy curly clients.
BLP: What services do you provide your clients? Are any of these services signature and/or exclusive to your salon?
SK: I believe that every curl type is unique and beautiful. I offer a range of services specifically tailored to the needs of curly-haired individuals. Cutting services include the Women’s Curl Experience, the Men’s Curl Experience and the Kid’s Curl Experience. My curly coloring services range from full saturation and multi-dimensional to hand-painted balayage techniques. The curl experiences that are offered are a collection of curl techniques that I have learned over the years ranging from Ouidad, Rezo and Deva Curl Certifications.
BLP: What products are used/retailed in your salon? Do you have a personal favorite?
SK: Ouidad products allow me to be committed to using only the highest quality products that are specifically designed for curly hair. These products are formulated for every curl type and allow for easy re-application, so my clients can recreate their styled curls at home after they leave my salon.
BLP: What makes your salon unique and stand out?
SK: Stevie Kennedy’s House of Curls is a haven, dedicated to those blessed with the beauty of curly hair. I understand that curly hair is not just another hair type but a lifestyle that requires a unique haircare approach with specialized techniques. Stevie Kennedy’s House of Curls is more than just a salon – It’s a community that celebrates the beauty of diversity. My styling chair is not just about me providing a service, it's about creating an unforgettable experience. I believe that every client should leave my salon feeling beautiful, confident and empowered.
BLP: What takeaway do you hope clients have after a visit at your salon?
SK: I’m passionate about what I do and dedicated to helping each client embrace their natural curls by teaching them how to maintain and enhance their curls at home. After visiting the salon, I want curly clients to feel understood, accepted and have their curls celebrated. I want clients to run out of the salon with an urgency to show off their curls to their closest friends and family with a huge smile on their face!
BLP: What piece of advice would you give to a new salon owner?
SK: It might sound a little cliche, but honestly it's my truth: Follow your heart and your dreams, no one else's. Do what you love. Do what fills your soul with so much joy that you still get that butterfly-sweaty-palm-excitement when you have a new client in the chair. Dedicate your time, energy and money into what ignites the passion in you! Feed that fire, and never let it burn out.
BLP: What’s next for your salon? Do you have any goals for the year?
SK: I will strive to reach even more curly individuals outside of the salon by continuing to create curl gatherings - fun, educational socials that unite existing and new curly-haired clients; socials that are inclusive of friends and family that want to learn more about curly hair, how to style it and how to love it!