We had the good fortune of connecting with Kayla Derengowski and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kayla, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I first started my career in beauty, the norm wasn’t going out on your own. It was all about finding a salon to work for, getting paid minimum wage for a few years while building your clientele….THEN you MIGHT be able to make it on your own.
After doing this for over half of my career, and experiencing a lot of the negativity the beauty industry can offer, I decided that there had to be something better out there for me. Working in salons where you’re just an employee, a money machine, a number….with little-to-no financial freedom or even the freedom to take certain days off for family endeavors, etc. just wasn’t what I wanted to do for my whole life but my passion to make people feel more comfortable in their skin was still there.
I slowly worked up the chain from hourly, to commission, to running someone else’s salon for them, and finally realized that if I was putting in this much work for everyone else, why couldn’t I do that for ME? So I went on the hunt for small suites to create my own small salon and get that financial and social freedom I always needed and wanted.
What they don’t tell you is…..this is HARD WORK and you lose a lot of clientele when you make this leap so you start from scratch! You make all the decisions when you own your own business and there’s a lot of moving parts. I did so much research and planned until I couldn’t plan anymore!
All in all, it was worth e ery ounce of stress and every late night. In a matter of 6 months, I already was more successful than I EVER was. I wish I made the jump sooner, but timing is everything!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m extremely grateful for my career as a beauty professional. I am a color and Balayage specialist in my area, which definitely allows me to be creative and share with others my….walking art! I pride myself in providing excellent color services for all my guests. I use shadows, light, face shapes, lifestyles, etc, to aid in making big decisions for clients that can change their lives. I have a lot of guests tell me I’m a “mad scientist” behind the chair when it comes to custom color creations I give everyone.
My journey was not easy! I was 17 years old when I started my adventure through the beauty industry. With that, comes it’s own animosity. I had to deal with women so much older than me bully me and do everything in their power to keep me on the bottom of the totem pole. Maybe it was because I was already special coming out of beauty school and already had a good head on my shoulders. I dealt with this in various salons up until I decided to open my own business. I’ve also had to deal with local salon owners who really weren’t there to help you build, they just wanted you to make tons of money for them, and didn’t really care as to how YOU were doing in your personal endeavors. Not only was that a challenge, but being young and….”different looking”..came with its own struggles. BUT I didn’t let that stop me. I kept working hard on my continuing education, and knew I loved doing hair and this is what I was supposed to be doing. I’m glad I didn’t give up because all those struggles allowed me to learn what to do and NOT to do to have a successful business. I honestly wouldn’t change any of it!
The Colour Mill is a homey place, where everyone is accepted and everyone is treated like a friend. Every single one of my clients gets the same respect and my number one goal is to have them walking out feeling happier, and more confident. The best feeling in he world is turning a client around to show them the big reveal, and they look like a totally different person! You can almost see the relief and happiness in their eyes and its the most gratifying feeling in the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, first things first, they need to come to my salon and let me work my magic! After some pampering, we definitely would go to allllll the food stops. Breakfast at Kings Chef downtown, or the Omelette Parlor is always a go to! We have lots of cute mini golf spots as well! If they haven’t seen Manitou Springs or Garden of the God’s, those are beautiful places I would have to show them.
My favorite places here in Colorado are mountain towns like Estes Park, Boulder, Breckenridge….those views are UNBEATABLE. To finish off their week, I would definitely bring them to one of the many hot springs we have in the mountains. So relaxing and beautiful!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I was a commissioned stylist, my first self-employed journey before owning my business, I joined a program that changed my whole career. The program is called “Fill Your Books”. The mentors, Jenna Puzzio and Kory Kahley, are absolutely amazing people and I could not have done it without them.
Their program helps beauty professionals fill their appointment books, how to market properly, figure out their target market and their “why”. It’s definitely blossomed into a community full of people who help each other reach their goals in life. I couldn’t thank them enough, I’m really blessed to have came across their program when I did.