When ECOHEADS was launched in 2015 one of the first people to give us a call was Kelly Smith from Knoxville, Tennessee. She also fell in love with the ECOHEADS Ping as soon as our color mixer started popping up on social media. But even before then, Kelly was an avid watcher for any innovations developed to make life easier for hairdressers and colorists.
It was habit formed after Kelly, just a few months pregnant, was ordered to bed by her doctor. Six months’ rest or risk losing her baby was the stark warning. It was the third time pregnancy had affected her long-held ambition to make it in hairdressing, but she had no choice but to take to her bed and stay there.
‘I always wanted to be a hairdresser and was studying cosmetology, but when I was just 19 I got pregnant with my first son,’ explains Kelly, a color maestro who has her own Vivid Trendz Studio salon in Knoxville and three fine sons, Keaton, Hayden and Silas. ‘I didn’t get back to beauty school until I was 27. But I’d never lost hope that I would get there.’
For nine years after she earned her license, Kelly threw herself into her career, her hunger for education insatiable. She got a job in a local salon and quickly built up a loyal clientele. She became an avid fan of social media, especially Periscope, and the access it gave her to as much education as she could consume. And she continued to sign up for courses and seminars with Cosmoprof and at SalonCentric.
But then Silas, her third son, came along, the doctor ordered bed rest and any plans Kelly had to work through her pregnancy were dashed.
‘Being forced to give up my job and letting my clients down hit me hard,’ she says. ‘But I decided not to give up. Instead of moping and worrying about the baby, I became even more of a social media enthusiast. I had nothing to share but I could consume, so every day I watched the industry closely, following vloggers and monitoring posts from stylists I admired – people like Tracey Cunningham, Guy Tang and Philip Ring. I kept on learning.’
Kelly was also able to watch as new brands active on social media started taking chunks out of the market dominated by the big manufacturers. She hooked on to Olaplex when it was first released by Dean Christal, Eric Pressly and Craig Hawker and when it was still being made in Dean’s garage. She also noticed Pulp Riot the minute it arrived. And she was a very early adopter of the ECOHEADS showerhead and, more recently, our Ping color mixer.
Unlike with her early pregnancies, Kelly decided not to hold back on her career this time. Just months after Silas was born she was ready to get back to work and make up for time lost. In 2014 she opened Vivid Trendz, where all her clients have color, and began signing up for education seminars. It was Kelly who harassed Cosmoprof into carrying Olaplex, and she introduced it to other hairdressers via social media. Unsurprisingly, she was appointed an Olaplex Advocate nearly two years ago.
‘Every client of mine has Olaplex added because it means I can really push the boundaries without damaging their hair,’ she explains. ‘I can take hair lighter to create the perfect base for a vivid color in one go, something I would never do without the bond protector. And because I’m adding the Olaplex and often using a cocktail of colors to achieve the shade I want, I always use my Ping mixer. It gives me the right consistency every time, so my formulas don’t need to vary, and because it the mix is properly blended, it glides on easier and goes further, saving me time and money.’
Kelly also loves her ECOHEADS showerhead, which removes impurities such as chlorine that can affect her formulas at the rinse stage, causing fade.
‘I might not have seen these innovations had I not been forced to my bed. I also wouldn’t have had the time to watch and rewatch all those amazing stylists sharing their work online,’ says Kelly. ‘It seemed so awful at the time, but it actually has turned out to be an amazing opportunity.’
Follow Kelly on @desighbykellysmith