We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristi Salvato and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristi, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After years of providing services for and helping others run their business, and spending my free time marketing, I realized I could do this for myself. The only thing holding me back was me, so I jumped head first into starting my own business. I work just as hard, if not harder, but now I can say it’s mine.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started doing character makeup and special effects makeup right out of high school. It was a fun, creative outlet for me, and I took multiple classes in New York from some extremely talented artists that had been doing fashion and theater makeup for years. I continued doing makeup while in college, and I was asked so many times from people I worked for, “But can you also do hair?” That I decided to drop out and learn the amazing craft of hairstyling as well. That’s when I enrolled in The Artstic Academy of Hair Design.
When I graduated, I didn’t even know how to braid, so I knew this was just the beginning. I worked for salons, learned as much as I could from senior stylists, took classes all over the country, and practiced every technique on mannequins until I felt I mastered it.
I was enthusiastic, and I over worked myself, and eventually developed carpal tunnel. I needed surgery, a lot of time off of work, and that threw a big wrench in my plans. I was devastated, my doctor suggested a different career, but I poured everything into this craft, and I wasn’t ready to throw all of that away.
After months of recovery, I started working as an assistant to ease myself back into the business again. I watched, observed, and learned as much as I could from others more experienced, learned how to better protect my body, and most importantly, learned how to slow down. I experienced my best lesson as a hairstylist. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of others. My injury happened for a reason. I needed that wakeup call. Now, I put both my physical and mental health first, so I can continue to do what I love, and continue to help others.
I now continue to learn, take classes, practice, and do what I love every day. I dont think I’ll be done learning, but I do it for myself as well as my clients. They deserve the best.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m such a homebody, but if my bestie was coming to visit, I’d have to show them around some of my favorite spots as well as some Houston landmarks. I’d start with Space Center Houston, it’s Space City after all, then head back into town to grab some food at one of my favorite spots, Ninfa’s. We could check out The Menil after, then drinks at Blue Bar on the bayou to end the day!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My loving partner, Christian Procel, helped me tremendously during the process of opening up my own business. I was on an emotional roller coaster, there were moments when I questioned every move I made, but he kept me grounded, supported me, and has been my strength and my rock. His love truly makes me feel as if I could do anything. My best friend and fellow hairstylist, Brandi Shoop, also helped guide me, gave me the best advice, and continues to be an amazing support system for me and my business. She’s gone beyond the call of duty for me as a mentor and a friend, and I wouldn’t be where I am without her.