Get to know featured artist:
Get to know featured artist:
Can you tell us a little more about you and your styling background?
I’ve been a full time freelance bridal/editorial stylist in Chicago for about 4 years. It was definitely an untraditional path to get here with lots of twists and turns.
In my area I was definitely pushed at an early age to go to college, so I went. After graduating with a bachelors in Fashion Merchandising during a rocky economy, college degrees (like mine) weren’t exactly opening tons of doors. I always loved doing hair and decided to enroll in Cosmetology school (Pivot Point) part time while working as an executive assistant for an Engineering firm.
Once I graduated, I found myself feeling lost (again). Although I admired the salon career, I wasn’t sure If I was cut out for it. I loved styling but was not passionate about cut or color. Working in an office every day helped me realize I get stir crazy going to the same place every day so I worried that would translate into the salon. The idea of traveling onsite and styling was what appealed to me. At the time, I didn’t know if going directly into styling was even an option, so I decided to hang on to my corporate job while figuring out what to do.
Although I had no logical plan, I did what I could not to lose touch with the industry by attending classes, trade shows and keeping my product knowledge current. A few years ago, there weren’t many tutorial subscriptions yet, so I would search styles I liked on Pinterest or YouTube and try to duplicate them on my mannequin head. At that time I had absolutely 0 bridal clients, so it was just me, myself and doll head, living on a dream and learning techniques that I hoped to use one day.
By 2017 I started styling for friends’ weddings and eventually had a little side hustle going. Around then, I started posting my work on Instagram which led to my first photo shoot ever. That day was such a game changer for me. It was my little light bulb moment where I could actually visualize myself doing this full time.
From there I started connecting with other industry professionals, doing more weddings and shoots. The photo shoots were a great start for me because it gave me creative freedom to do styles that inspired me such as big braids and loose romantic styles. It helped me build a content base so I could post what I wanted and not necessarily what I was being asked to do by clients.
In late 2017, I put my two weeks in and made the scary leap from 9-5 to full time freelance. This decision came pretty impulsively because, honestly, I couldn’t spend one more day in the office. I hardly had a plan, or steady clientele (which I don’t recommend), but told myself I could always go back if it didn’t work out. The beginning was definitely tough but thanks to social media and the AMAZING wedding Industry professionals in Chicago, things grew quicker than I thought. At the beginning of 2018 I had maybe 10 weddings on schedule, but by the end of 2018 had done nearly 60 weddings and even two films!
What bridal trends are you loving right now?
I love and have always LOVED the soft and effortless styles. Anything imperfect, undone, organic and romantic are my absolute favorites. Whether it’s braids, loose chignons, undone up styles or down styles, I’m here for all the lived-in textures. It’s just what my hands want to do.
What new trends can we expect to see this season?
I’m seeing so much individual style and preferences, so I can’t even pinpoint a trend. I’m looking forward to more brides staying true to their style and seeking out professionals that support that. I’m seeing more stylists sharpening their skills to create an aesthetic and own it. Brides choose specialized gowns, florals, photography and the same translates to hair and makeup.
How do you stay inspired?
So many ways. Scrolling through Instagram for sure. Beyond the Ponytail has always been great for inspo and just learning about all the amazing artists and trends all over the world. I’m also inspired by characters in movies or past fashion icons/ photography. I’m also obsessed with finding different textures to learn and try. Sometimes I’ll stare at an old photo and obsess over how they got a certain texture before certain products existed.
I also do my best to take on creative projects here and there. I love bridal, but sometimes I can get into a creative rut if I’m doing the same styles over and over. Having time to create allows me to expand my skills, put out content that’s different and most importantly, be around other creatives.
What advice would you give to a bridal hairstylist just getting started?
Be a forever student, of course. Also, something that helped me in the beginning was to have a collaborative mindset with not only your clients but the artists you work with. Most industries are smaller than you think and the professionals we meet along the way are everything! I feel so fortunate the Chicago wedding industry is very supportive of one another. I don’t know where I would be without the referrals I’ve gotten from just meeting an artist/professional on set or at a wedding.
Best advice to a bride regarding her hairstyle?
It’s important to hire a hairstylist whose portfolio reflects the vision you are going for. Every stylist has their own touch and specialty. Wedding hair is a collaboration. If you choose a stylist whose work you love, it’s an easy fit, the trust is there, and you can work together to tailor a style specifically for you. Also, book a year or more in advance.
What is the one product/tool you can not live without?
So many! I would say I can’t live without a 1 inch curling iron with a clamp because you can create so many different textures . I love layering light weight products so I can create hold gradually while keeping the styles soft and touchable. My go-tos are Kenra Professional Voluminous Touch Memory spray 12, MoroccanOil Dry Texture Spray, and Sexy Hair Powder Play. I’ll stop there, I could go on, really. It changes with hair type but these are the staples.
Best advice you have ever been given in the hair industry?
Pretty early in my career someone once said to me that I don’t have to be the ‘universal stylist’. When it comes to bridal, it’s ok to develop and stay true to your own aesthetic. It’s impossible to please everyone and learn every style on the planet. Doing styles that inspire you will bring in the clientele that fits you best. It helped me narrow down my goals and not feel obligated to fit in every box or even just one box. It’s always a work in progress as the trends constantly change.
What do you love to do outside of work?
That changes all the time depending on what’s going on in life. I have a great need for simplicity at the moment. Wedding season has been extremely busy and I’m a new mom so I love spending time recharging at home with my husband and baby girl! If I’m not doing that, I love getting together with friends and family cooking big dinners together. Right now, being anywhere relaxing where I can connect with the people I love is seriously all I need at the moment.
Anything that involves the holy trifecta of drawstring pants + take out + a good binge-watch (usually a show with cute hair, outfits and a questionable plot line).