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Ep 7: Taking an Unconventional Path to Success with Kate Lofton

Taking an unconventional road to success with Kate Lofton of Gold Rush Salon | Seriously Creative podcast by Hey Hello Studio


Kate Lofton, owner of Gold Rush Salon, joins us to share her unconventional journey to entrepreneurship.

With over two decades as a stylist, what Kate does goes much deeper than hair. She spends her days crafting an experience that makes women feel good, inside and out.

About the Episode

In this episode, we talk about overcoming the stories we’re all told about what “success” is supposed to look like, what to do when college isn’t the path for you, and how to price your services when you have imposter syndrome.

Kate also shares her journey to sobriety, and we all come clean about the embarrassing beauty trends we succumbed to in the 2000s.

Thank you so much to Kate for coming on the show and sharing your story with us.


Head over to Kate’s website to see her work and view her services.

Connect with Kate

Visit the Gold Rush Salon Website
Follow Gold Rush Salon on Instagram

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Taking an unconventional path to success with Kate Lofton, Gold Rush Salon | Seriously Creative Podcast with Hey Hello Studio

Episode Transcript

Hello and welcome to Seriously Creative. I’m Jess.

And I’m Gwen.

And we are coming to you today from a cute little co-working space because we are in between having to move out of our old studio and moving into our new studio.

By the time you listen to, this’ll probably be into our new studio.

I hope we are.

Supposedly, it’s gonna be by the end of this month.

Crossing our fingers, but we’re having a lot of fun like bouncing around town as we’re in between our studio moves, getting to get out a little bit more.

We have a tendency to be a little bit of home bodies.

I do feel like we spend a lot more money, probably than we normally do, but, well, we’re not spending rent money.

That’s true. So hopefully we will not spend a rent amount in food and coffee.

Well, yes, yes. Obviously we’re spending a little bit of money on the co-working space, but, our goal is to spend slightly less than rent while we’re still getting to experience a little bit more than we usually do.

So we’re really excited about this new space that we’re moving into.

If you’re from Cleveland, it’s in the Bird Town neighborhood of Lakewood, and it’s gonna be a space with a lot of stuff going on. So the Salon Heyday Collective has the whole third floor. There’ll be a ton of stylists and other. Professionals On the first floor, there’s gonna be a a bar with a really exciting concept that I’m not sure if we’re allowed to talk about yet, but stay tuned.

A coffee shop, and then they’re gonna have a co-working space. So in our old studio, we were kind of like in, what you say, like in a, the corner isn’t the right word. We, we had like a secluded space. Yeah. It was secluded. There was like only one other business that used the same entrance as we did. Fun fact, they were a fencing studio.

Yeah. Not like fencing, like putting up fences, like hitting each other with swords. Yeah. . Which just I did not even know was still a thing. And for sure. Yeah, it’s a thing. Well, I wouldn’t have known, like I could sign my kid up for like fencing lessons. It’s funny. I think of it as like something that Richie Rich kids do.

Oh, they fence? I don’t think so, but I don’t know. Like, it seems like a, a thing that you do when you have money. Maybe not like it’s, we’re definitely not in a neighborhood where you’re like, this is something that people with money do. So my thought was like, it’s people who wanna do like World War II reenactments.

Oh, interesting. Yeah. I don’t like me up with that at all. . I guess not. I guess World War II is not the right time period for sorts. Maybe it’s like medieval. Yes. Yes, they do. Like the medieval, medieval laing, LARPing. That’s the word I was looking for. You’re putting all the words in usually, you know, no words.

You’re putting all the words in my, I know. Words today, guys. You’re on fire. Let’s keep this going. I’m definitely the BOGO of today’s offer. I’m, I’m the free one of today’s bo offer. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, please reference episode. Where we talk about how we’re a twofer a and you get, it’s a bogo.

So we were, it was just us in this fencing studio that only if we were there until like five o’clock some days, we would start to hear people like hitting swords against each other. But otherwise it was just us. We didn’t see a lot of other people and like I even would get so tired at like two or three.

And now I feel like since we’re in this space where other people are around, I’m like not getting that mid-afternoon slump that I was getting. Yeah, I think I like, I feed off of the energy around me and I wasn’t giving you enough . I mean, I think we’re both like insulting the other one where it’s like you weren’t giving, you weren’t providing enough energy , but like, it’s really, here’s what I’m gonna need from you

I’m gonna need you to amp it up a little bit more. It’s just hard when the two of you and like, I’m, I’m an introvert, but I also like love being around people and. I think we both kind of thought we’d get a little bit more of that in our old space. I loved it and it was so great for the time period when we had it, but now just what this space is going to allow us to do, like the future of it.

I think also being really excited about hosting events, like being able, yeah, so we have some ideas about some fun hosting events. None of them include. Real pants on. I mean, everybody has to wear some sort of pants, but we’re gonna please wear pants, pro leggings, , yes. But if you are interested in coming to events, if you’re in the Cleveland area, make sure you’re on our list on our newsletter.

If you got an email about this podcast, you’re on our list fy. We’ll be scheduling some stuff hopefully in the new year. Also, if you’re in the Cleveland area and you have an idea for an event that you think we’d be a good. To join forces on Reach out. Yeah. Okay, so let’s talk about today’s guest. We had the pleasure of talking to Kate Lofton, who is a stylist and the founder of Gold Rush Salon, which is in Boulder, Colorado, and she is just such an optimistic.

Inspirational human. Every single time we get the chance to talk with her, we learn something new about her. We feel introspective about ourselves. And this conversation did not disappoint. No, it didn’t. I love that she is always trying to lift other women up, so, Today we talked about what it’s like to have a non-traditional route to success, and also along that journey, what it’s like to fight against the stories that people tell you that you are supposed to, the things that you’re supposed to do.

Even I got caught on one that you had to call me out on. Just Yeah, like, oh yeah, you’re totally right. So just talking about what that means and what that does to you, your mindset. Yeah. And I think if you do follow a less traditional path, or if you’re a creative or if you’re an entrepreneur, there’s so many.

Of us who feel like we are not as legitimate or you know, we don’t have a real job. And I think the more we hear from women who are in that position and are successful and you know, supporting their families, the more normal it will become. And I think that’s good for everyone cuz I think there’s a lot more people out there that probably have hidden passions and creative talents that they could be using to make a living and.

There’s a lot of fear and negative stories around it, so I think we really bashed some of those today. I hope so. Yeah, me too. All right, so enjoy Kate Lofton

there we can. We need one techie in the group, right? Yes, yes. That’s my role. That’s, that’s, I always say for sure every, oh my gosh, what’s it called when you go. You do all the questions at the bar. Trivia, trivia, trivia, trivia. There’s a hairdresser needed in every group. Cause we have like the off questions, like the Beyonce questions and the Oh.

Oh my God, that’s funny. You know, all the random info. Yeah. I don’t know any historical dates. But I know all the random info. I love that. That’s so interesting. You know, I have this theory that this is a very un statement, but with my anecdotal experience, men seem so much better at trivia than women, and I have this theory that it’s because men have good memories.

and women are good at problem solving, so they have like all these facts in their head that they can pull out at any moment, or like movie quotes. We have to flush that stuff out because we have to actually be able to solve problems and react to things which they’re not quite as good at. I might also venture to say that women carry a lot of the mental load of life and men don’t, so they have more brain space for random facts about who knows what.

Right? Then we do . And we know how many rules of toilet paper are left in the house. Exactly. They don’t ex, my gosh, this is it. Okay, so Kate, we love you so, so much. You’re one of the people who have started out as a client and then we’re like, we need to surround ourselves with this human being more often.

What else can we do together? You are such a a light and you are such a connector and we have gotten so many people who have reached out to us and been like, Kate had so many good things to say about you. I wanna find out about your services. Yeah. You really go above and beyond connect people and promote the women that you love.

And I just wanna say that is, So admirable and we just love, love, love you so much. So glad you came into our orbit. I know. Okay, so tell us where your business is today. So today I have my own small salon, which is 21 years in the making. I’ve been. 23 years as a hairdresser. So I’ve been self-employed on and off through the years, but this is the first time I have my own brick and mortar.

That’s all mine, and it is. Very exciting. I think that Covid helped expedite that process, but I think it’s something that I was mulling over and thinking for, honestly, for a really long time, but finally trusted in myself enough to do it, and I absolutely love it. Amazing. It’s so exciting to feel like you want something for so long and then finally to have achieved it and remembering to like not lose sight of that cuz we always jump to the next hurdle, but like to stop and be like, no, I wanted this for a really long time and I made it happen.

Yes, and I’m actually in the process of trying not to jump to the next hurdle and just kind of live in what I’ve created because I am very, what’s next and you know, maybe sometimes to the point that I don’t even enjoy the now. So I’m, I’m definitely working on that and. Every time I walk into my space I show it a little gratitude while I water the plants.

Yeah, I love that vacuum and I thank it and you know, show it some love. That’s great. I think Jess and I could probably use a little, I know of that for sure. So take us back to when you were younger. Is hair and just like beauty in general something you were always interested in or like what were you like as a younger?

Human. So very social. I’m an only child, so younger me was very much more interested in being social than hitting the books. So I, you know, graduated high school by the skin of my teeth, not because. You know, I wasn’t smart, I just wasn’t interested in doing book work. College wasn’t something that I was interested in, so I had to figure something else out.

And I started beauty school with my best friend. She said she was gonna go and I was like, cool, let’s, let’s give that a try. And day one, I knew that I was in the right place with my people. . There were a lot of, I think, stories that I was given that I believed for many, many years about what my future looked like because I didn’t go to college and, you know, my success would be limited.

And where did that come from? Was that like from your parents or just society in general? I think, I think society. And I think society, in all fairness, told my parents the same story. Yeah. You know, and I think that that was really hard for them, that they had a smart, capable kid that didn’t want to follow the path that we were all told we were supposed to follow.

You know, there’s no entrepreneurs in my family, so that they just didn’t understand. What that looked like. They didn’t know how to support me in that, and I think were really, they were nervous for me and I took those stories on. I mean, I never let it stop me, but I definitely, you know, held those stories in my belly and I think that it limited me for a long time.

I feel like that’s so common that there is this, and maybe it’s changing now with like the younger generation, especially with the internet, you can learn so much online, but I, I know when I was growing up, college was the only path. Mm-hmm. , there was no, like, you’re not going to college. So luckily what I wanted to do, I had to go.

But if I wanted to do something different, yeah. I don’t know what that experience would’ve been like. And for sure, our parents went through a generation where, No, keep going. I was gonna say, you didn’t have to go to college. We were told we had to go to college to do what we do. Yeah, you’re right. . So like I, I follow along the same thing like my parent, like that was just the journey you went on.

Like I’m one of six kids and my parents said like, there’s no financial support for you to go to college. But it was just like, well I’m going to college. So I guess I just have to figure out how to take that debt on and pay for it. That is another good point. Yeah. You’re like told you have to go to college and you have to pay for it.

good luck, . Yeah, and I still have debt from it. Yeah. , , yeahs, how many years later? And see I have no debt. Cause I see. Yeah, you took the right path, smarter path that, you know, that was part of my dad’s story too, is that he worked so hard to be able to send me to college financially and then I was like into it.

So he actually, you know, the deal was if you wanna go to beauty school, you have to pay for that because, That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. So it’s interesting. I think he had to kind of process that like I did all the things I was supposed to do as a dad. I saved the money for you to go to college and, and you don’t wanna do that.

Wait, what? You know? Yeah. Did he end up reinvesting that college money into you in some way? I mean, yeah. Over the years, for sure. A couple times I’ve even hit him up like, Hey, what about that college money? Right , he’s like, that’s called the beach house, Kate. Sorry, it’s too late. . And they, you know, eventually they did come around.

They paid off my balance when I completed beauty school. But that’s great. I made the payments all the way through school. So I went to school and, and paid for, you know, at least half of my education. That’s amazing. And then what did you do when you came out of school, like getting started in the industry?

So, especially back then, I think it’s changing a little bit, but Beauty school taught you how to pass the state board. It taught you how to protect clients. It taught you about, you know, diseases and sanitation and, and not really how to be a great hairdresser. So I did Oh, interesting. New year. That’s super interesting.

I think it’s getting better, but you know, I did roller sets on 80 year old women and I rolled perms and you know, it wasn’t modern hair dressing. And by today’s standards it is for sure not modern hair dressing. So I did a two year apprenticeship where I assisted, you know, senior stylists in the salon and mopped the floor.

Ran to get lunch and I traded that work for Education Daily and then we had classes every Monday. So that was the two, two years, which was nice cuz it, it’s in the beginning, it’s weird to touch people and it feels very vulnerable. I think for both of us. You’re, you know, there’s very few people. The first time you meet them, touch you like that, you know, you got your, it’s a good point.

Parents, your spouse, your doctor, but like, who else, you know, gets in there and, and Yeah, it’s really intimate. Yeah. So it’s, you know, it’s so much more than, you know, placing good highlights. It’s how to have a conversation with someone, how to make them feel comfortable, how we feel comfortable. You know, being that close to them.

So it’s nice that that two years kind of eased me into that. So when you say you traded it for education, does that mean that you weren’t getting paid during those two years? I mean, it was minimum wage, which back then was, I don’t know, five bucks an hour, . Right. So not, not a living wage. No, no, no. So did you end up having to work another job because that wasn’t enough to sustain you because at this point you’re an adult, I’m guessing out on the real world, or did you have to like take different roads to kind of support yourself?

Right. I actually am one of the lucky few that almost. My entire career, I have not had to work a second job. There are, I would say, more than half of people in in the industry at different points in their career do have to work more than one job. I usually was able to make it happen. It’s amazing. Yeah.

That’s awesome. So after that apprenticeship, how many salons did you work at? Did you jump around a lot? Were you at one place for, you know, a long time? I actually am. I don’t jump around a lot. I maybe just make the right decision initially. So I worked at that first salon for about five years. So I moved from being an apprentice to being on the floor and taking my own clients, and I was behind the chair as a stylist there for about three years.

And then, you know, at 24 years old, I was ready to take on the world, so I moved into a rental situation. So I was self-employed within a larger salon booth. Rent is the more common term for that. Okay. So I did that at my second salon for three years until I decided to move to New York. Oh, I didn’t know this part.

Yeah. Okay. I was a network educator. I think that’s kind of when my love of sharing started and supporting younger people, or I should say newer stylists. I, I was really passionate about that, so I became an educator and my salon would send me to New York City probably about three times a year to go take classes, and then I would come home and share what I learned with my, and I fell in love with that city.

It lit me up and, oh, you know, I didn’t go to college, so I didn’t have that. Out of my safety bubble experience, and I was really craving that, I think at that point in my life. What time period was this that you lived in New York? 2008 to 2010. So we were just talking about before we got on how there, cuz we worked with you on your copy for your website and you have on there.

I made it through the two thousands as a hairstylist so I can make it through any trend. And I was like, what do you remember about that time? And for me, immediately it goes to like gauchos. Do you remember gauchos? Oh yeah. And then like the spaghetti strap tank top with the belt on top of the tank.

Top . Oh yeah. Or the strapless top. With the belt too. That was, yeah, I did a lot of those. Oh, I loved the tube top back then. Yeah. Tube top. I was like, why can’t I not think of what it was called? What, in that time or maybe even just in the two thousands in general, what? What was the hair like? What were people looking for?

Like I feel like I know that like in the nineties they wanted like the Rachel and now they want balayage, but like what was in between? Do you remember all. Little butterfly clips. Oh, yes, yes. I just got a little bit of sweating. , also the Kelly Clarks and Chunks. Yes. That’s, oh my God, I did them to myself in college.

Yeah. Yeah. I have a little bit of OCD too with foil placement, like I love them to look perfect and everything, so it was like those chunks, like I could lose my mind on making sure that everything was even. Oh my goodness. Yeah, that the dark hair with the bright blonde did that. You did? Oh yeah. Oh God.

I’d love to see some pictures of that. Let, let me find it. Cause I did it for myself too. I’ll post it on this episode. Okay. I’ll, I’ll have to go out and find out. Go to Instagram to see. I’ll find my tube tops and the chunky highlight. Oh, I’ll find a picture of me and my gaos. Right. Kate, we’re gonna need a picture of you from the 2000.

Oh, I have a few. Yeah. So are you ready for that to come back since, I mean, we’re moving through the eighties and nineties now, right? Yeah, I’m, I’m ready for sure. I think I think there’s always a way to put a modern twist on it, but. You know, pretty hair has been in for so long with the balayage and all of that.

I think it’s become a classic. Mm-hmm. . But it’s fun. It’s fun to see something new and you know, it usually takes, what I’ve noticed is it usually takes about two years after the cool kids start doing it for us. You. Normal consumers, normal’s not the right word, but general population Yes. For us to start incorporating it.

Like we need to see it on, you know, the, the cool celebrities for a while before we’re like, okay, I’m gonna try it, you know? Okay. So when the Kardashians start doing the. The thick highlights will know that we’re two, we’re about two years out from, yeah, I don’t think I can do it though, . I I’m too much into this.

Lived in look. Yeah. The lived in look is where it’s at. Yeah. Okay. So as you were working at these other salons, what were you learning about what it’s like to work under another person or even independently, but in an, in somebody else’s space that like shaped how you did things when you started your own business?

I think I’ve been. Lucky that I have worked with some really gracious senior stylists that are so happy to share information and tips and tricks, and I, I think that I haven’t experienced a ton of competition over community. It’s, it’s been quite the opposite in my experience. People have been willing to share and coach.

and, you know, want to see other people succeed on the bigger scale. You know, I’ve seen a lot of people holding information and feeling like it’s, it’s their own and protecting it. And I’ve, I’ve been lucky that that hasn’t been my path. So I think as like a homage to the people that have shared with me, it’s, that’s always just been.

Part of what I do, I believe so much in this industry and, and how it can support women in so many different ways, financially, emotionally, community. I believe in it so much that I, I want people to be successful as they come up and have that mentor. because it’s, it’s different. Like we don’t have books to learn from necessarily.

Mm-hmm. , we learn from people. Yeah, I think that’s true for so many people who are in just creative industries is that you can only read so much until you have to just hands on do it. Cuz it’s not theory, it’s experience that makes it, but I think that that does it connects some dots for me just to know that you.

Had such great mentors and you had so many people who paved the way for you or who were gracious with you. And then that, that is obviously how you pay it forward now, is to help other people and cheer other women on and lift them up. And so that’s such a, a good example of like, Paying it forward. And I, it just, I wish that was out there more cuz you do hear people who are like, oh, I had this terrible experience at a salon, which made me feel like I had to go out on my own versus I learned so much from people that I felt empowered and now I also can support other people for sure.

And I mean, of course in, in a 23 year journey, I also, you know, had people that didn’t believe, And the power of what we do and took advantage of our excitement and doing hair, you know, as all creatives. I think there has been many times I’ve worked for free because I love it and it’s exciting and I didn’t know to.

Ask for my worth, you know? So I think yes, totally. It’s, it’s a combination of the two really, that, that got me here. You know, it’s, I think you guys posted something about how when you’re not for everyone, you know mm-hmm. getting there. I mean that’s, you know, that’s definitely part. Gwen always says, when nobody hates you, nobody loves you.

Mm-hmm. , it’s like you guys stand for something. Yeah. It’s a really scary position to be in, but, and as a human, I don’t like being that person, but as a business, yeah. I want to be that so that the right people want to work with us. Yeah. Kate, what has your journey been with pricing? Because this is something that comes up a lot with any of us who provide a service.

Especially if it’s a service that is, has a creative element to it, then you’re kind of selling yourself a little bit. And it can be, it can take a really long time and a lot of like. Imposter syndrome often to get to a place where you are charging what you actually need to charge to like live. So what has that experience been like for you?

Hmm. That’s for sure the Achilles heel for the creative. Right. I think that my confidence in. Charging my, that term is, I know. So used right now. I know. And we always wanna be like, no, like your worth can’t be put into money. But like, it is such an easy way to explain Yeah. Charging your worth. So I think that my confidence as in my skillset as a hairdresser is directly related to my confidence in charging money.

So I think that when we first start, With any type of artist, like, do you like it? Do you swear I Right , spin a client around and show them the, you know, their hair in the mirror and I wanted them to just fall out the chair. Like, yes. Yeah, the best thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been so beautiful. And you don’t always get that reaction.

So then you walk ’em to the front desk and you’re like, if they don’t love it, is it still. You know, my pricing. And so I think as I’ve become more confident in my skill set, I’ve been more comfortable charging the value accordingly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That, that’s really good because I, I think that’s not always the case.

It’s not always the case that you’re ex. Your level of experience and what you feel comfortable charging are the same. And so then you get into this constantly wanting to either give things away for free or discount people, or you know, when you present a price to somebody and you’re like, you know, if that’s okay.

Is that okay? Like asking for permission. I think sometimes too, it’s like if you’re operating in like a vacuum where you’re. You don’t have like peers to compare yourself to, to be like, am I doing the same level of work that they’re doing and we’re all charging the same amount? When you’re just kinda like, I’m over here and I kind of know what some people charge, but I’m not really sure and I don’t know if I’m on the same level as them or you know, there’s all this comparison.

Comparison game. Yeah. The suites are an interesting concept because I get to chat with people while I have lunch and we really, where I’m at, we really do have a great sense of community. But, and, but I can close my door and have a deep, beautiful, one-on-one conversation with my client and be in total control over my space.

One of the things that I find so appealing about these suites is it’s a very safe way to start your own business. You are not, you know, signing a 10 year lease. You’re not in charge of the air conditioner leaks or the roof caves in. I had a small flood in my salon in January and, and I didn’t have to take care of it, my landlord did.

There’s, it’s a low risk to start a business and be in a community with other people doing the same thing, supporting each other. Traditionally and, and not exclusively, but a lot of the bigger salons are owned and operated by men, a lot of ’em that don’t even do hair. So it’s really difficult to work for someone who doesn’t understand you.

And that’s what I think is so incredible about these spaces is it is, I mean, we have, we have a couple men in. Building, but for the most part, I mean, we probably have, you know, 40 females that have opened a business and, and took the leap and trusted in themselves to, to do it. And I. I’m so inspired by that.

What is that? The male owned salon. When the male doesn’t do hair, you don’t, I don’t, I feel like you don’t see that a lot with women. Like if a woman owns a salon, usually she like a stylist. Is that like a, is that just investors, is it like, why, how, why does that happen? That a dumb question. I think sometimes it’s, no.

I think sometimes it’s definitely, people think it’s a cash grab. Okay. That they don’t really understand the business. I think sometimes it’s a partner of a hairstylist. Oh, in, they’re the business and she’s the talent. You know, there’s definitely, I’ve seen. Quite often. Okay, that makes sense. That’s super interesting.

Yeah, cuz you do see that a lot. And I’ve been to several places before too, and it, or even talking to stylists that they’re like, they don’t under, like the person at the top doesn’t understand what stylists need and it’s like, oh, that’s so weird. For sure. It’s like a very small corporate structure. Yeah.

Is what it sounds like. Would you mind doing us a super quick and helpful favor? Can you pull out your phone, open the Apple Podcast app search for seriously creative and leave us a review for this show. It helps us to reach more people and it honestly just makes us feel super loved. Thank you. You’re the best.

So, I know you have been sober, is it a year now? Yeah, a little over a year. Tell us about that journey. So it’s, it’s interesting. I think that I realized in the last couple years, being in my suite and just growing in my life right now as a woman and a mom and a wife, and all these things. The last couple years have been big growth years for me, and I realized that I’m an introvert who’s good at being extrover.

And I would’ve told you for years I was extroverted. I’m an only child and I, you know, thrive around other people. But that’s all I knew. I worked at that 65 person salon and I loved it and it felt amazing, but I was very depleted at the end of the day. And so, you know, I would have to. Shift into different gears, and all the gears were high gear, you know?

So I think once I got into my suite and my nervous system was operating differently, I realized that I didn’t need that same downshift. And it was, you know, a, a. Conscious decision to continue to, to grow and live my best life, that I just decided that it, you know, none of that was serving me anymore. So it, I didn’t really know what the journey would look like.

I personally, Wasn’t part of a program or anything like that. It’s just a decision that I, I made and it turned out to be really fantastic. So I just decided to ride it out. It’s really allowed me to think more critically and go deeper to, cause there’s, there’s no numb, you know, there’s no, there’s none of.

I know I’ve read too that you know, the more you drink, you sort of it, you have a new high and a new low that’s like established by alcohol. So then when you’re not drinking, you’re high and you’re low. Maybe not your low, but especially your high is lower. So it’s like, it’s like harder to be. The same amount of happy when you’re sober if you’re still drinking, if that makes sense.

And so I have noticed through times when I’ll go and I’ll just like cut out alcohol, that I feel happier during the day than like when I’m not drinking, than I do when I am drinking. Does that make sense? Sure it’s confusing. I think your body even, you know, post drinks is still processing that alcohol, right?

I actually didn’t drink very much. That was not what, how I would choose to do that. Downshift. I smoked pot and living in a state where that is legal and readily available. It was, you know, really easy to over-indulge in that. And I think again, Nervous system was so buzzy after leaving a busy, exciting salon that, you know, in order to be able to slow down and, and go in, I would just, you know, smoke pot.

Yeah. So it’s a full sobriety, but alcohol wasn’t really the thing that I was using to. Change my mood. Yeah, that makes sense. With smoking pot, was it somewhat similar to what Jess was saying, where you kind of were like looking forward to that point in the day? For sure. And that like, so you’re okay. For sure.

Same as same as anything. Food, shopping, any addiction. That’s what I’ve learned in this last year, that anybody’s addiction is their addiction. It’s something, it’s, I don’t know, a dopamine drop or it’s something that makes you feel different. Then you are currently feeling if you feel overwhelmed or if you’re running late and you get anxious or it’s just, it’s changing that feeling and it’s kind of numbing out what doesn’t feel good.

There’s so many different ways, even like they’re small and large, like the coffee thing has been something for me in the last year that was like, I was waking up every morning and like not functioning until I had coffee and then I went on vacation. There wasn’t any coffee around and I was like, I can’t enjoy my vacation cause I don’t have caffeine.

And it’s like I in May just stopped drinking it and we came home from vacation and I was like, oh, it’s kind of cool to wake up in the morning and not need something. Now I miss that like morning cup of coffee. So I, I can’t say that I’m probably not gonna end up going back to it, but it’s good to know what your body feels like on something and off some things you can like make conscious decisions.

I think too, it’s, it’s realizing that as partly it’s ritual, like humans, like ritual, we enjoy knowing what to expect and we enjoy the anticipation of when we get that next, you know, part of our ritual preparing the coffee and. Put it however you like it. You know, it’s a really good point. Yeah. It’s, it’s so much about the anticipating some normalcy or some ritual in your day.

Yeah, I think we, so we’ve been doing that since we’ve been coming to this co-working space. There’s a little coffee shop right outside the door. And so it’s like even I’m not in, in like used to. Drinking coffee, but like you can smell it and like you can see other people sitting with their, there’s a whole half the time you have even to drink your coffee.

I know. just, she gets the coffee and then I’m like, I’m like, are you done? And I go to take it, to throw it away. Like it’s like you drink any bit, I’m just doing, and I told her, I’m like, I’m just having it because it’s here. Yeah, like I never buy coffee, but I never, there is also something so cozy about like it’s a whole thing.

You’re right. It’s a whole ritual. It feels like a treat to me. That’s, yeah, like, and I don’t know if that’s a like similar, like I’m sure that goes into all of it too because I think about, I. Like, I mean, I’ve had, I have two small kids, so I unintentionally or intentionally like did some bouts of sobriety , yes.

But it was like, it wasn’t like a, oh, I’m gonna just like give up all this stuff and like be in the moment. Like it was a different way, like as you were talking about, I’m like, oh, I’ve done that, but not in the same way. But yeah, I had some clarity and I don’t have the ritual, and I’m like, what? What is my ritual?

What is my thing that I used to like downshift or change my mood? That was, I mean, that was a, I remember the first, you know, not great day that I had, and I had been sober for probably like six or eight months, and I mean, that wasn’t my, A bad day in six or eight months, but the first day that I, I really wanted something to, to take me outta that mood, and I felt a little sorry for myself, you know?

Mm-hmm. , I don’t have any, and then I decided to flip that thought and figure out what I do have that can help me move into a different mood. I am this, this sounds. So cliche, but I am using more exercise to that’s great. You know? Yeah. That’s the ultimate, like dopamine. I mean, it’s always like, I don’t wanna go workout and then I come back, I’m like, why don’t I do that all the time?

You feel better every time. Feels so much better. Yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s a little time for me to sneak away and be with myself too. Which, you know, I’ve realized again in the last couple years of being an introvert, like I, I really do recharge when I’m alone and I can go in and with owning a business and being a mom and a wife, I, I really don’t take time between those two.

For myself, I come home from work and I go right into dinner, mom school mode, and then I wake up in the morning and go, you know, so I’m, I’m trying to take a few little pockets of time throughout the day to be with myself, and it’s been, it’s been really. It’s very inspiring. I think it’s really good to hear other people’s stories, making intentional decisions like that and makes you look at yourself and think about what that looks like in your own life.

I think it’s really inspiring. Yes, for sure. I very much resonate with the going from mom to, I mean, not that you don’t as well, Jess, you have Yeah. Come on Gwen. I know, but it’s just like mine’s 11 though. He can pretty much take care of himself at this point, , but I like I am very much in. Space and I’m having with a three year old and almost one year old, I’m having a really hard time making time for myself, and I’m trying to shift my mindset of.

Maybe it’s okay that I’m not making a lot of time for myself right now because the kids need me, but at night my husband makes fun of me because he is like, you take forever, get ready for bed, and I’m like, you know what? That is my 20 to 30 minutes to myself. That is the only time that I don’t feel guilty.

For taking forever to like I bet he takes 20 to 30 minutes every time he goes to the bathroom too, doesn’t he? ? No, he actually doesn’t. Might be like, most husbands just go in and hide and you’re like, what are you doing here? You watching videos in there? No, my husband is very, he’s very lovely and he doesn’t do that.

And he, you know, cooks dinner doesn’t, does all the chores. He like, he, I really do have like a really great partner and he chooses to get up early in the morning to do his time for himself and I’m just like, Sounds awful to me, so I don’t You’re also still nursing at at I am, but like morning is not my time.

It never has been. I don’t care how many I can get up for years at 5:00 AM and I will still be like, I hate life at 5:00 AM Don’t be that morning person. I read all the books to be the morning person, like the Miracle Morning, and I read it at night and then I sleep in until the, you know, Last possible second isn’t even sleeping in according to like teenage Kate, you know?

Right, right. I mean, technically I am a morning person. I’m usually up at 6:00 AM because I have a three year old who thinks 6:00 AM is the perfect time to be up and doing everything. But you know, so like at night and I, that is my time. That has always been like when I recharged, cuz it was like after my day or whatever, and it was like, My space to like wash my face and do a, I don’t care how many step skin care routine.

Like it just, that’s my, that’s my space. I think that’s so good that you realize that and like set that time apart. It’s so important. Its interesting. Set that time aside. Its own. Definitely. It’s interesting. I thought when I was pregnant I was gonna be like, Woohoo. Mom’s weekend girl. And I’m not, I really like my boys and mm-hmm.

I, I get FOMO when I’m not with them, even though I know how important it is to take the time for myself. I still miss them when I’m not with them. So it’s, it’s a very, You know, push and pull inside. It’s, I have to take that time because I’m a better mom and wife when I do, but I miss ’em the whole time I’m doing it.

Mm-hmm. . Yep. Have, have you seen those, those things talking about like, when we take that time for ourselves, we’re also showing our children. That it’s important for them to take time for themselves. So I, I keep thinking about that. I’m like, I’m going to have to do it. I have to take time and that you’re a whole person, like apart from them, which is important.

But you know, I’m still in the, the messy part where I’m like, I’m not the person I was before, obviously, because now I’m a mom and you know, that role has changed me forever and I would never change that. But who am I now? , and I’m not a set, like I’m not a person outside of being a mom. Wait, how do I wanna say this?

It’s not like I’m a different person. I don’t need like an alternate personality outside of my kids, but I do need to figure out what the time and space that I have for myself as a person who’s not having children attached to them 24 7. Mm-hmm. Especially when you’re at that age where they are physically attached to you, they are physically.

I remember sometimes just being like, I need no one to touch me for like 24 hours. . So much clinging. Yes. I’m hard in that. That’s what’s so interesting too about what I do is those are you guys and, and myself. We are the women that sit in my chair. Mm-hmm. and so just listening to each other and understanding each other.

Not that we need it, but giving each other permission. Yes. You know. It’s that type of thing that really lifts us up and makes us feel like we have that community of people who understand us because, you know, it, it does feel different to be, to want to be all of the things. I listen to that in the last episode where you, we want a thriving business and it’s exciting and it’s part of me.

And then the other part of me, you know, wants to be the best possible mom and wife. And it’s, there’s nothing wrong with wanting everything in this life, and we just have to, I think, accept that balance shifts. Mm-hmm. , mm-hmm. in different seasons. I love that idea of having different seasons of life, and you’re not always going to be nailing it on all fronts.

Sometimes it’s time to like, put a little more here, put a little bit more there. But yeah, being able to shift and not feel like a failure in the part that you’re shifting away from is, is just tough. It’s an ongoing. For sure. It’s also like skills are, are really never fully balanced. And anyone that tells you that they are, they’re, they’re telling me their hairdresser, the truth together barely, you know?

Yeah. Just posting on Instagram about how they’re just good at everything. Like that’s, it’s, it’s not real. Yeah, for sure. So the last thing that we wanted to talk about is just a little about the rebranding process that you went through. We loved working with you so much on that, and especially like your personality came out so much on the website.

I know, I’m sure you spent hours and hours like writing all that copy and it probably felt a lot at the time. But what did that do for you in terms of your business, of your confidence? Like how did that process feel and, and how has it affected your business? So when I opened, I got really excited. I designed my first website and it was so exciting.

Again, being creative and, you know, different avenues of that creativity. Like it was really fun to do and I was very proud of it. And it helped my baby business, you know, get on it’s feet. And then I. Realized that as I want this business to grow and as I take it more seriously, I needed some professionals to help, help make that reality visual.

Does that make sense? Mm-hmm. ? Mm-hmm. , and I found you guys through another salon that their. Made sense for a hair salon. Again, it’s hard for people to understand hairstylists, and you guys got it. I scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the page and I found you guys and then found your branding. And your branding really spoke to me.

So and I think when I met you guys, I could just tell that you got it. You got me. And it has taken, really, it has taken my business to the next level. Like I feel, you know, part, I think part of the stories that we talked about earlier that I was given is that. You know, hair stylist, nobody takes us seriously as a business, and I don’t feel that way at all.

When I look at my website and my branding, I feel like you could, you could look at my website and my branding and think that I’m, you know, a super big New York City hair salon that’s got it all dialed in. And then you realize I am a solopreneur and I have a small salon. But it doesn’t, it looks serious, but fun.

Well, I think, I think yes and fun. I think the other thing, well two things. One is that you take your work seriously and you take the environment that you have created really seriously. And I think creating branding that reflects. Makes other people be able to see, cuz people aren’t gonna know about that experience and that great, all that time that you put into your space until they get there.

So you have to get them there. And I think by elevating your branding and making it match the type of experience that you want to provide, then you’re messaging that so that the right people come in on the front end and say, okay, I know what I can expect now. We just talked to somebody Yep. Yesterday actually, who said she’s like, she lives in.

In our area. And she said, I went to a stylist that I, I landed on her website and I was like, oh my God, this girl looks so legit. Like, who designed a website and then scrolled down and saw that it was us. And she’s like, I will not go to a hair stylist who doesn’t have a website. That makes sense because like that’s, that’s a reflection of you, right?

It’s a reflection of the type of experience you’re gonna expect. And so, I think knowing you and, and getting to know how, how you look at your work and how you look at your clients and all that makes me feel like it, it adequately represents you and, and all the love that you put into your business. I, I think part of it too is like going to a stylist or any sort of beauty professional, it’s a very vulnerable thing and you’re committing to spending a, a chunk of money and time and time and.

You wanna know that they take every part of their business seriously. Because, I mean, for me, like if you have like a sloppy website or something like that, it’s like, okay, is your work sloppy? Cuz if you can’t see a. That level of like, that professional, the professionalism, like the taste level, all of that.

It, it, you’re kinda like, Ooh, I’m not, I’m not really sure. And it makes you nervous. So like for you, having your website be a really great representation of you and what you offer helps people feel comfortable before they get in your chair. I think. Especially in the last year with sobriety. But I would say really since I became a mom, I put down a lot of the stories that I was told over the years and I’ve realized like they don’t have to be my stories and what I do is a real career and there is.

You know, I’ve been very successful in it, and just allowing myself to say that and to take myself seriously and to know that I can be creative and good in business. You know, that was another of those, you know, limiting thoughts that people. Put on hairdressers is that, you know, they’re not good at business and they can’t be successful.

And I am equally interested in the business aspect of what I do. The website, building the experience, saving for retirement, budgeting, like all of those things are equally exciting to me as to make people feel good and look good. And I think. Maybe part of me finding you guys was to, was part of that letting go of the, you know, I don’t take myself too seriously cuz I don’t have a real career.

I don’t have a real job. This is very real and you guys helped me tell that story. I love that so much. Yes. I mean, and we have felt the same thing as Vault, and I think it’s probably consistent with a lot of people who are either entrepreneurs or creatives or both. Is that yet, when I worked at a corporation from nine to five and I had a steady paycheck, that was a real job, and now I’m just like freelancing or like.

Doing my own design thing or it it, there is this perception that it’s not real. And I think the way things are moving and like the freelance economy and I mean we’re at our co-working space right now and there’s just like dozens and dozens of people who are running their own businesses and here and creating content and it’s like that is the new norm and starting to give ourselves permission.

Those of us who are doing it and like making a living and supporting our families. Through this. It’s like, yes, that is a real career, even if it traditionally wasn’t. And one of the things we were talking about earlier is like giving people permission to step into that, like step into the future of your business, of your creativity, of your passion.

Like it is possible today to make a business out of your passion and do it the way you wanna do it that fits with your lifestyle and makes you happy. And I think. , I hope with this podcast, the more women we show doing that and feeling confident in it, the more everybody else will feel confident in it because it does.

Mm-hmm. , it does take seeing it in real life and having inspiring people to look at and, and to see yourself in that light as well. Yeah. And you know, it, it makes the world beautiful storytelling that, that you guys do and, and making it look beautiful. The way that, you know, a hairstyle can make you feel inside, like the world needs beauty and I feel like it needs it now more than ever.

It’s. There needs to be balance with analytical jobs and, and beauty jobs. Like we need that balance. Right. We still need all of the analytical people too. We all, we love everyone who, mm-hmm. is analytical and also Yeah. But I love what you said, Kate, about what you’re doing, how it changes what they feel on the inside, even though it’s an, it’s an outward thing.

But yeah, it like, it, it does, it makes a huge difference. It, you know, can boost your confidence like a crazy amount, which does a lot for a person. Well, even inspiration too, I think like when we were talking about Lo or talking to Laura DeFranco, a free period, her saying, you know, writing in a beautiful notebook on your desk like is different than like jotting on a drug store.

Like notepad, like there’s something about I’ve given myself permission to use this, or I feel inspired, or I wanna do something like better with the day, because I’m like, right. It’s like it’s surface level, but it’s not, it’s for sure not, it’s, it’s letting you step into a different version of yourself.

Like it’s giving you the confidence to like, oh, maybe in that notebook you write down a more serious idea, or you take yourself seriously versus in the drugstore in a way. Like, not that you can’t take yourself serious. Yeah, in your pajamas or you know, having crappy hair versus having great hair, but it makes you feel differently about the things that you’re approaching in your life.

Totally. Yeah. So Kate, if you could give one piece of advice to other females that are just starting out, what would it be? I think, I think, you know, it seems like a theme for me in this conversation is write, write your own story. You know, you don’t have to. Just believe the story that you were given. It’s, you can be all of the things, you can be creative and successful.

And I think if you love what you do and you work hard at it, then you know, get out of the way. Everybody. . Yeah. . You know, . I like that we but I think that that’s really, really, Boils down to for me is write your own story. You get to write your own story. You get to decide what your life looks like, and we need everybody.

We need all, all the different things to make the world go round. There’s somebody out there who needs exactly what you do. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Amazing. Kate, thank you so, so much for talking to us. I feel like so reinvigorated and inspired as usual. And if you wanna see Kate’s beautiful website you can find

She’s also on instagram, and if you’re in the Boulder, Colorado area, definitely go see Kate. Check out her beautiful space and get pampered for an afternoon.

That’d be really cool. Thank you very much. I just appreciate you guys. I appreciate how we worked together on my business and I feel really lucky that I met two women that are with me on this journey.

Same right back at you.



All right. Thanks Kate.

Thanks Kate. Bye.

Talk to you soon. Bye. Bye.

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