Making Big Asks and Bigger Moves in Your Work & Life | Ep. 38 | Ashley Kirkwood
If you need inspiration and practical advice for negotiating your success in work and life – Ashley Kirkwood has something for you today.
She has gone from working full time at a law firm to creating her own business, Mobile General Counsel and runs a nonprofit with her husband called The Kirkwood Foundation.
I talk with Ashley about everything from starting a side hustle while working full time, building a professional brand at your full time job, negotiating your salary and your success while working for your dreams. We also discuss diversity and how she’s bettering her community through a nonprofit she and her husband founded.
CONNECT WITH ASHLEY
Have you ever wondered if it was ok to care about how you look? To love fashion or make up or investing time and energy in yourself. I’m your host, Haley Williams, and this is Kindled, a podcast where women share stories of motherhood, work and the grace we need for both. Today, we’re going to cover a lot of ground; from how we rightly esteem or outward appearance and beauty to how to follow God’s call on your life. We’re even going to touch on how we as believers enter into spaces that have a lot of secular and worldly voices guiding what they look like. How can we step into those places and live differently? We’re focusing in on the area of beauty, because we are talking with Kelly Stuckey, the owner of Crown Beauty Bar, and Crown Uptown in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Kelly is an entrepreneur, a mama, a wife and she can do her make-up in seven minutes. Yeah, you heard me. And if you’ve seen her photos on Instagram, her make-up looks fab, so we’re going to be announcing at the end of the episode where you can go to watch a video of Kelly doing her standard seven-minute make-up application. This is going to be so awesome. Last thing is if you stick around till the very, very end of the show, I have a special announcement for how you can win a certain amount of money to a certain shopping store that is the Mecca for moms that includes the Starbucks where you push the red cart. I think you know what I’m talking about. Hang in there till the very end of this episode if you want to hear how you can win a gift card to this place that I am hinting at, very obviously. Here’s my conversation with Kelly.
Okay, so Kelly, welcome to Kindled. Thank you for joining us today.
Yes, thank you so much for having me, Haley.
So, I, like most people, probably came across your Instagram account and, you know, started following you and loved all of your beautiful tattoos, loved following your story, loved your rose gold hair, you know, just — Actually, and I do remember I heard you on Jamie Ivey and you talked about launching your business and your salon and being in the beauty industry and just being someone that is a believer in a space that is often not at all spiritual. And so I think it’s just very intriguing that you do what you do, but since I’m giving you your own intro, why don’t you just tell…
I’d love that.
Why don’t you just tell everybody who you are and what you do?
Yes. No, I like that you did that because sometimes that’s the hardest question to answer. “Tell me about yourself.” So yes, I am a salon owner, my husband and I own two salons, Crown Beauty Bar and we opened a second location, about a year and a half ago, called Crown Uptown. I’m a wife, I’m a mom, a business owner and then I recently did this seminar called Identity Mapping and that would tell you, or told me that I am a warrior, a truth teller and an influencer. And I thought those words actually described me pretty well. My weeks look like anything from — or my days kind of vary week to week from doing things with the business, as far as like working with staff, planning education, thinking through marketing. I’m doing here about one day a week and then I’m also working on some personal content and growth for the business, really exploring beauty and how beauty relates to even from a biblical perspective and how we can actually have a new perspective of beauty. So that’s kind of what my days and weeks are like right now.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So you started Crown; when did you first start your salon?
We opened five and a half years ago, in 2013. I was only three years into my career as a hair dresser, but I got to a place in my career pretty quickly, thankfully. The business grew, my clientele grew very fast. I was an independent contractor at a really nice kind of great salon in town. However, everybody there was independent and I craved a lot more unity, a lot more team and that wasn’t something that was really cultivated there as much. And around that time, my husband’s career was kind of — I wouldn’t say it was falling through, but he was a graphic designer and a creative director at a marketing company and that chapter of the business was closing and so we were both trying to figure out where are we going and what are we doing. We started praying through what our next steps were. He started doing some freelance design work and I happened upon a location that had become available, that was a previous salon, but it was huge. It was 5000 square feet. Prior to really exploring actual venues in town to open a salon, I was even toying with the idea of literally getting an air stream and getting it outfitted to just have like a one whole place. But God had other plans, he wanted me in community, he wanted us in community, because what I craved the most was teamwork, collaboration and growth and I find that’s hard to do when you’re doing it by yourself.
Yeah, that’s really cool that — I mean, even how your vision changed because it wasn’t what you needed and God knew that and sort of redirected you.
So you started three years after you kind of were in that career in the whole industry?
That’s pretty early to open your own salon.
It’s very early. I think, when I look back on my history, I can honestly see all the ways that God was preparing us for this career and for this assignment. My dad, who was a small business owner, he owned a photography studio for like 20 years and it was something I started working at when I was 14 years old, so I’ve been around small business. I am the oldest of all my siblings, divorced parents who both remarried and had other children and so it was like — I’ve just have always had to work hard and contribute to the family. I also come from an artistic family. My mom’s an artist.
[over talking 06:44]
There are too many comparisons here. I wasn’t not going to say anything, but I’m also the oldest, parents divorced, I’ve worked in my dad’s small business since I was 12, my mom is an art teacher. Like this is — I was like, “Oh, ok, lots of…”
That just threw me over the edge. Ok, keep talking.
That’s awesome. So I can look back at all of the pieces that came together to prepare us for this, but I didn’t ever really — It’s not like I grew up thinking, “Oh, one day, I want to own my own salon.” In fact, I grew up and was just hard working, wanted to please, my parents wanted to please people, didn’t give a lot of thought to what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I did really start to recognize how much I was falling in love with art and pursued that in college. I got a minor in art, then I went and got a major, majored in interior design. I graduated and went out, worked at an interior design and architecture firm. From there, — That was in 2006, so between 2006 and 2008, 9ish, was me job hopping, me trying to find where do I fit in here? And I didn’t love design. I got a great job at a vendor that were like in Walmart country here, in this part of the country. I’ve got a great job with them, great pay, great benefits, but I didn’t love the work I was doing. I basically just went down this trail where I was trying to find what is it that God has for me to do because I’m not going to work just to make money. And a lot of people around me were like, “You’re so good, you love doing hair and you love doing make up, you just have a natural ability with it. Why don’t you go to beauty school? I think I was probably a little bit too prideful at that point in my life. I was 26 years old, I had been working, I had college degrees and I just thought I can’t go back to starting over, I can’t go back to being in school full time. But I did and I truly felt like that’s what God had for me to do. While I was in school, it was like in the peak of the financial recession and so a lot of people started coming to me to get their hair done and it was just really incredible the way the business grew. My background in art, my background in color really made me feel a lot more confident and I think people trusted that. I love serving people, I love working with them and trying to help them and so I think that came across too so people trusted me quicker.
So, okay, so there’s something I want to ask you about that you were just talking about, was that you knew you weren’t going to just work to make money. That resonates with me a lot because, as an achiever — I’m a three on the Enneagram that — That for me has been my life long struggle of just like finding the thing I’m best at that I know I can be successful and just working my fingers to the bone at that one thing and I had sort of like a shift in my understanding of myself about a year ago and realized what I had been building was not what I loved and what I was really passionate about was this totally other thing, which was actually helping women like me build a business and talking about work, talking about motherhood which is where this probably came out of. And so, I mean, for me, I think maybe some people have that realization a lot earlier on in life, but I had it when I was 29 and realized, “Oh, I am building something that I’m not passionate about” And I wanted and I was capable of doing work to get paid, but I was like, “But I just didn’t love it.” You know? And that was really — For me, it felt like I was totally out of alignment with myself, you know? And that’s not a fun place to be because God gives us skills and interests for a reason and I think, yes, you can be in any work and glorify God. It’s not like the specific work is the only way you can glorify him, but you also have the capacity to take what you are passionate about, the gifts that he’s given you, the skills, the love for art or color or for serving people and find like how those things all kind of where they meet, what’s the center of where all those disciplines or those aspects of your personality, all kind of converge. I think that is the sweet spot, when somebody really finds that, it’s just like, I mean, angels singing, you know? And now that I have found that, I’m excited to wake up every day and do my job or to stay up late or to get up at 5 a.m. so I can do it before the girls wake up. I’m excited about it. So, I don’t know if you would say that you kind of — I don’t know if that’s been your story or not, but that just like kind of, you know, tweaked my attention when you said that.
It definitely has been that, like I want to know that what I’m doing is making a difference and then serving a greater purpose. I never set out to do this, but it’s really amazing to look back on how this job led to this relationship and this relationship led to this one and I can just see the handy work of God woven all throughout. Even when I came up here, when I came to Fayetteville, it’s about an hour away from my home town, I moved up here for college to do interior design and this was back before GPS and cell phones and smartphones and I think — Yeah, I had like a touchpad, like old school cell phone but none of that. So moved up here and I remember asking my dad, “Well, how am I going to find a job and how am I going to — You know, what would you recommend?” Because I had only ever worked for him at his photography studio and his advice was, literally, “We’ll just go up there and drive around and get lost and figure it out.” And that’s what I did and I ended up at a hair salon, had tanning, hair and massage and there was a sign out front that said “Now hiring” and I went in, I applied and got the job. I worked there all through college and that was when I first fell in love with the salon environment. I noticed that the people who were coming in to see us every day were super excited to be there. A lot of times people would come in and they would say — I’d say, “Hey how are you?” And that they would say, “Oh, it’s been the worst day but I’m so thankful I’m here now” And that’s — That’s just a really common thing we hear in the salon. Rarely ever is anyone walking into our business not excited to be there. I mean —
Maybe if they’re getting a body wax or something like that, but generally they’re super excited to be there. And I started just loving that environment and the creative side of it, the relational side of it. While I was in school for interior design there were a few times when I called my parents and said like, “Hey, you know, I think I just want to drop out and go to hair school.” So that was the beginning of when I started seeing like this could be an incredible career.
And unfortunately, my parents didn’t agree, they wanted me to finish school, they thought, ” You know, this will just be so important for you to finish college.” And so that’s what I did and I got out and kind of balanced from job to job.
And then you just — hair salon.
Yeah, and then I did — then I went back and put myself through hair school, but every single job I had came from a relationship that I had made in a previous job.
So it was really me — I still look back five years into running our business, almost 10 years after graduating beauty school and I can still see people who are either clients of our business or they’re still involved in my work life in some sort of way that I met along the way.
Yeah, isn’t that crazy when…?
When you really take a second to just look back at your business and go, “I can’t believe where I am today.” And then like you said, “I didn’t plan it to be this way, I never could have imagined it would have played out the way it has, but I can clearly see the thread all the way through every single thing that” — You know, starting in college, thinking I was going go and do one thing and then getting, you know — whatever that turning point was to where you shifted to something else. For me, it was taking one web design class and then I starting to develop a web design business and, “Okay, I’m not going be a reporter like I once thought and now I’m doing this thing. Oh, and now, okay, now I’m building a bridal business and now I’m selling a bridal business and now I’m doing…” You know, it’s just, like you just could never write it the way that God did and is writing it, but it’s so beautiful to see that common thread and how it kind of weaves its way through everything. I just think that’s one of the coolest things about getting older, is actually looking back at your story and seeing how little you really had to do with it, you know?
Yes, yes. I used to love — I am a four on the Enneagram, which is the romantic, but I have a very strong three-Wing, so I definitely have a strong achiever wing. I love to work hard, I love to meet goals, and set goals and things like that, but I used to live on that hustle, hustle, hustle, just work hard, do it and make it happen. When my husband and I first started dating, he said to me one time, “So you just don’t really take no for an answer, do you?” And I was like, “No, I don’t. Like, if I want something, I’m going to work really hard and I’m going to get it.” And I can look back in that season in my life and I can see a lot of times when I hit a dead end. And then God came in with great mercy and no matter how far off his track and how far or of his path I’d gotten, he had some sort of bridge to get me back on it, because he knew that he had things he wanted to accomplish through us. So I see that so many times in my history and it has really changed. It’s really funny, this morning we were having a staff meeting and I kind of glanced over in the direction of my office and there’s a big print in like a pretty gold glitter frame that says, “Hustle” and thought, “I feel like I could take that down and sell that.” Like, hustle’s great, working hard is great, but if I can’t surrender myself, like almost want to replace it with the word ‘surrender’. Like, if I can’t surrender myself to God, then I’m going to hit another dead end that he’s going to be bailing me out of.
Yeah, oh my gosh, yeah, so true. And I know that I have got to that place too so many times in my life and literally had chills when you were saying like he gets — he finds a bridge to get me back to his ultimate best for me. He is not a God that strong arms you, like he leads you and he walks with you and when you finally decide to look up and actually see him that he’s there, he’s been with you this whole time and you’ve kind of just been like plodding through or trotting through the weeds on your own, thinking, “I just got to get my way out here, I just got to, you know, strong — I’ve just got to like pull myself up by my bootstraps and make it happen.” That’s kind of my, that’s the gospel of the achiever, is like, “I can make it happen and I’m going to work hard enough that everybody’s going to see that I can do this and that…”
That I did this.
You know, yeah, “I did that, look what I made.” And it’s just so funny because yeah, I mean — And sometime he lets things fail just so we have to turn to him and I think…
Yeah, it’s a really cool visual that — Yeah, it is a surrender. You can still work hard as you surrender, you can still give everything, give something your all, but you don’t have to be manufacturing your destiny in a way, like I think that’s what the world preaches a lot of times, is like it’s in your hands, like you can make it happen. Here’s what you can do what I’ve done. Yeah, and God, God’s invitation is very different.
It is different. In fact, one reason why I actually don’t love that term girl boss, that stems from so many different thoughts that I’ve had, but one is almost like I want to be like a god boss. I am a leader, but I truly want my leadership to flow from my relationship with Him and I don’t want my identity as a business owner or as a leader to be rooted in. Well, I’m a girl and I made this happen myself, because I don’t believe I made it happen myself and the other aspect of that is my husband and I do it together, we’re a team and so sometimes women — the term girl boss or someone calls me that or thinks like that, I’m just kind of — It kind of makes my stomach turn.
Yeah, I hate it too.
In a way it’s like, “Oh I don’t really…”
I don’t identify with that because it’s also like…
I don’t identify with it.
To me, it’s actually — it’s not really a compliment. I know people mean that, if they were to say that, they’d be meaning it as a compliment, but…
To me, it actually is like putting this harness on my neck and pulling the weight of all of my identity by my own strength.
Because what happens if I fail? What happens when I fail? Because I will fail because this is — I will mess up at something or something will not go the way I planned or something will catch me by surprise and I’ll — you know, whether it’s at business or life or, “Okay, I can’t do what I thought I could once do.” Well if I’m girl boss, you know, now I’m girl failure.
My identity is completely just all orbiting around myself, I’m at the center of the universe and when I fail, my universe falls apart, so it’s like that is… Gosh please, don’t put that on me, because I don’t want to bury — I don’t want to carry that burden. I can’t carry that, I’m not capable of — Like, that will crush me.
How do I maintain that?
Yeah, I mean, we can probably talk about that all day, but…
I know, [inaudible 21:08] good.
Okay, so you started three years after you got into the hair industry, now you’re what? How many years in? Seven year in?
Five years in. So five to seven years is like when they say your business really starts to kind of hum along, starts to just — You really start to get into the groove of what you’re doing and I have found that to be true for myself. Do you feel like you’re in that space now?
Absolutely, I feel like — My husband and I both agree that we are at a place in the business where there’s about to be some forward growth. We are close to paying off business loans, we’re at a place where, okay, we can look at — This amount of money is about to be freed up, what can we put it in for future growth? And so we just see like the beginning of a new chapter starting and we’re really, really excited about that.
It’s so exciting.
Yes, it is.
Yeah. I kind of love those little, those, I don’t know — It’s helpful to see where you’re at, kind of on that map and not that everybody’s business goes that exact way, because some people become overnight millionaires. Not many, but you know, and then some people experienced huge growth in the beginning and then it slows, but I think most small businesses are following that trajectory of like one to three years it’s like you’re in the start-up phase, three to five, you’re in the hustle and grind phase and then five to seven, you start to really find your niche, get comfortable, settle in, you don’t have to hustle as hard, you can start to enjoy the fruit of some of the work that you’ve already been planting and the harvest starts to come and I think that’s just really — You know, it’s helpful for me because sometimes I’m like, “Where am I in all of this?” You know, and just remember like I’m — In some of my businesses, I’m in that seven year and I’ve actually sold one that I started seven years ago. And then, in the others, in some of the ones that are newer, I still am in the hustle phase, I still am in the one to three. I’m in that, I’m building, I’m building, I’m working really hard and then in one, I’m in the three to five. It’s just really interesting like, it’s just interesting to be kind of at a stage, like all three of those stages because I have three different things that I’m doing and I know it to be true, so it helps me to be patient, you know?
Not be like, “Oh my gosh, I have to be there with my business,” because that’s not how it works.
So let’s shift gears a little bit. So we kind of talked a little bit about beauty when we got started, but I am someone that really enjoys make-up, hair, fashion. I love going to the salon. Like you mentioned earlier, I’m going tomorrow actually and I always am just so excited and looking forward to that time because one, it’s like one of the rare times in my life where I actually sit down, and kind of don’t do anything, like I’m on my phone, maybe I’m doing some social media prep or posting or something, but usually I’m just chatting with my hair person because she’s my friend and it’s just like, I don’t know, it’s obviously a time for self-care and rejuvenation and kind of rest for two hours of your day. But what I am curious about is kind of your perspective as a professional in this industry, on how do you think about that? How do you think about beauty and, you know — I don’t know what terms you use to kind of describe the beauty industry and how do we do that as Christian women who know who we are in Christ but also like to feel good and look good and take care of ourselves. Why does it feel like those things go in opposition? I don’t think they really do, but why do we sometimes feel like they’re in opposition?
I completely agree. So one of the things that I have been wanting to encourage women with is to have fun with beauty and to not make it such an identifier. I don’t feel like there’s a right or wrong way to do it, so I think this day and age with all the social media, with Pinterest, with YouTube, that women can feel a lot of pressure on there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way, to do it. And there’s these trends and this is what you have to do to be in style. And I like to shatter those lies. I like to talk with women about when did you feel confident? What was a hair style or a makeup color or something that you’ve done in the past where you felt really good? And kind of bring it back to them. I also just want to remind women that this is something that’s ornamental, but it shouldn’t be a mask and that it should be something that they can do to have fun, but I shouldn’t feel like pressure. And so, I think there is a lot of women — I mean, there’s times when I myself even feel a little judged because I typically do have my hair and my make-up done and I put some effort and some time into that. For me, it truly is about finding beauty routines that don’t put pressure on me, that I enjoy and are also doing something for my overall benefit as far as the health of my hair, the health of my skin. All the brands we carry at Crown are brands that incorporate good quality ingredients, they are great companies that we are proud to promote. The make-up line we carry is called Jane Iredale and it is actually known and recommended by dermatologists as the skin care makeup and the reason why — There are so many amazing products out there. I feel like there’s so many great brands or so many incredible products and before I became a mom, I loved to experiment and play with those products and like, “Okay, what do I think about this foundation or this lipstick or this hair spray?” things like that. Now, I don’t have time to do that and I want to find things that I know work. It’s like if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I definitely have entered into that season of my routine and of my beauty and my lifestyle to where I know what works, I know that I can do my make-up in seven minutes and be out the door and I also know that if it’s a Saturday night and we have a baby sitter and I want to really explore and kind of play with some different eye shadows, that that’s the time when I could set aside a little extra time and do it, but to not feel pressure. Even though I’m a beauty professional, I feel zero pressure on a day-to-day basis to be in the season of life where I’ve got to always be exploring, always be researching. I’m definitely in a season where I am all about staying healthy, feeling confident and just enhancing the way God made me and that’s something that I just want to re-assure women. Like, as we go through different seasons in life, we’re going to have a different time frame, we’re going to have a different schedule, we’re going to have different interests and define what works for you at that season and to take some of the pressure off, of having to feel like you’ve always got to look a certain way. There’s no way I can can achieve to look like a lot of the bloggers, especially the beauty bloggers we see that have 30 minutes in the morning to do their make-up. That’s not the season of life I’m in.
Yeah, that’s really helpful. I love what you said, that it can be or it is ornamental but it should not be a mask.
That’s really cool.
So I think, like when we think about beauty, there’s so many times, even in scripture, in even the Book of Esther where she talks about getting ready to marry the king and there’s all these rituals and all these things that she goes through to prepare herself for it, but there’s symbolism and it’s also a season of preparation and rest and there was time for that. It’s not like she’s a woman with several kids and all these things she needs to be tending to and taking care of, at that time in her life, it’s a season of preparation, to prepare her for that and so, you just see that time and again that there’s a season for different things.
So I just don’t think that we can compare ourselves with each other. That’s the other thing that we all have to get into check is comparison. What is going on on the inside of us that we can reflect and not try to mask and hide behind and cover?
It’s a good thought that I like to propose to women.
And like what season are you in and what is going to make you feel good and feel, like you said, like you’re preparing for something that is important and special, which is life, which doesn’t mean you have to have your makeup done every day, but whatever it means for you, that makes you — you know, that allows you to both experience rest, experience joy, experience beauty, which is one of the things that it’s like — That’s God’s idea. That wasn’t out idea. We didn’t invent beauty, that was God’s idea. And I think that’s freeing, when you — if you take out the pieces of comparison and ‘I have to look this way’ or ‘I have to do this with my hair every day’, it becomes less of a stress and more of like, “Oh well, I can figure that out for myself. I can decide what makes me feel good, if it’s not about showing up and being better than somebody else, you know?”
Yes, yes, there is a gauge on what is going to make me feel good, make me go a little bit more confident, a little more put together and not ‘How can I look better than her? How can I be the prettiest woman in the room?’ Like, we should never try to strive to be like, look the best.
In comparison to other people, so much as ‘How can I enhance the way I feel?’
Look my best.
My feature and look my best and not inherit to other things.
Yeah, I love that, that’s really helpful.
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Something else that you said. Well, first of all, I would love to know how you did your make up in seven minutes and see your time routine. Maybe you can do a tutorial video for people and we can share it later.
I’ve been wanting to do that.
Oh my gosh, you should totally do that. And I also want to say, I don’t know if you have plans for this in the future, but if you ever create a course or a community or an information product or something around these issues, I will join because I think just to get like, not just the silly things like product recommendations or how to’s or tutorials, because there’s so much out there and you can’t really just go search YouTube and need more and go find a good a good tutorial because you’re like.
They don’t to apply to you. Like, you don’t have the same bone structure, you may not have the same eyes shape.
I may not be doing my eyes like I’m going to go out to a club at 9 am on a Tuesday. It’s like, where is the mom make-up tutorial that makes me look like alive and happy and not miserable?
I think — So when you will get into a groove is when you feel like you like the products that you have, they’re easy to use, you feel knowledgeable on how to use them. And so, one recommendation — I mean, this is a service we offer, we have a couple of different things, we’ve got one like a hair styling instruction appointment, It’s an hour long, it’s $50 and it truly is an hour set aside for you to talk with a stylist about what your day-to-day life like. I don’t know how to curl my hair like this. Can you teach me? Can you give me some pointers on how to make my ponytail look cuter? Little things like that to where it’s actually one-on-one attention. Because typically, if you go in for a haircut or for a color, there’s not a lot of additional time towards teaching someone how to do the finishing work. It truly is about the haircut and the blow dry. And so we also done the same thing with makeup. We actually have a make-up instructional that’s an hour and it’s — There’s two versions. There’s one, like if you were interested in learning about the particular line of makeup we carry, come in and we’ll use that make-up, we’ll kind of teach you some tricks, how this brush is the most effective, here’s a simple daytime look, simple daytime eye. Or we even have an option where you can literally bring your own makeup bag and your own brushes and we will work with you with what you have, because not everyone — you don’t want to have to feel that pressure of, “Okay, if I go in there and I do this and I just want to learn some new eye shadow technique, I don’t want to have to buy every single thing that they are telling you to use.”
Yeah, sure, yeah.
And so, that’d be a great question to ask your local salon or maybe even your local make-up [inaudible 35:31]
Do you offer that virtually by chance?
That would actually be a good idea.
Set up a zoom call and…
[over talking 35:40]
I’m only few hours away, so I think I could make it work if I schedule like a girls weekend around it, but I know not everybody could do that.
Right, right, because like you said, it doesn’t help to get on YouTube and…
No, not really. It’s just overwhelming.
It’s overwhelming and that’s what is going to make it possible for you to get ready in 7 to 10 minutes, is you kind of have — And that’s my typical easy day time thing. I’ve done it so many times, I can just whip right through it.
So easy to use. I even have my makeup organized in an old school caboodle, like a make up crate.
Which are now back in, that’s no old-school anymore.
It’s totally back in.
Yeah, and keep it under my bathroom counter, I pull that up, open it up and everything is kind of organized. I keep my makeup brushes handy and so I may well just to get jump right in and get it done quickly.
That’s really cool. Okay, well, so there’s that, you should do it virtually.
That’s a good idea.
Yeah, because I just think — You know, it’s like it comes down to the practical stuff for moms. Like okay, what? How do you do that? Because I could probably do really crappy make-up in five minutes. I mean, not crappy, but I just, I wouldn’t, I don’t know, I feel like I either I’m kind of doing my every day, which doesn’t feel special to me or I’m doing like all out. So then how can I do — What are… And I also get into a rut with the eye shadow thing and I feel like I’m doing the same thing every day, and then when I bear away from it, I don’t like it and then I just don’t know. It’s one of those little annoying things.
I’ve got three I call my basic eyes that I rotate, depending on what I’m wearing that day. Like if I have in mind what I’m wearing something that’s super neutral, something that has a pop of color, I love to play with rose gold and it’s something that is like a really subtle daytime smoky eye, using soft browns and I know — I’m so comfortable doing them quickly that I can decide that day like, “Okay, I’m going to do that one real quick.” And then, on days when I have a little bit more time to play, then I’ll get other things out and actually get a little more creative and have more fun with it. I think it’s just so important for every woman, if you do like to wear make up or do you like to do your hair to feel confident in like one or two things that you can do well and that you can do fast and the more you do it, the faster you’ll get.
Right, right, and sometimes it’s just like you said, not knowing exactly how to curl your hair, but then once you figure it out you’re like, “Oh, now I get how they do that. The first time I saw someone do a tutorial about curling their hair. I don’t know if this is true or good or not, but at the back, she curled towards the front and at the front she curled towards the back, so that they kind of met in the middle and all kind of — it looked more natural, I guess, and…
[inaudible 38:29] I always do that. So I’m like, “Okay, I learned one thing that I feel like helps me know what I’m doing, instead of just looking like, you know, Goldilocks or something.”
Yeah. Just little things like that I think can make you feel a little more confident in what you’re doing.
So now that we’ve covered that, how is God shaping you and changing you in this season? We haven’t even talked about it, but you have the most adorable little boy, Everett, in the world and I can’t believe he’s two and a half, so that’s crazy. Can you share about him? And I know this episode is taken much more a business direction, but I’d still love to hear about your guys’ life as a family and all that.
Yeah, definitely. So Everett, yes, he’s two and a half. I can’t believe that either, like this time has flown by. He was born with a rare genetic condition that causes dwarfism. He has — the technical term is achondroplasia, it is the most common form of dwarfism, so that means that the cartilage does not convert to bone the way yours and Is does, so they call it a skeletal dysplasia and on average, he will probably grow to be like 3’6, up to like 4′ – 4’8 at the very tallest. So it also causes the most significant difference in the limbs. So like his arms and his legs do not grow as long, his head grows a little bit larger and then his torso is kind of an average size. When I was pregnant, we did not know about it. The condition does not run in our family, so it’s nothing that we have any experience with. So the whole thing came as a really big surprise after he was born, when we were getting discharged from the hospital. Up until this point, I mean, he had been with me for two days and I just thought that he kind of had a big head, but I didn’t notice anything else and the pediatrician who was doing his discharge came to us and had mentioned something about there was some disproportionate limb lengths and kind of started throwing around some terminology that completely went over my head and I immediately kind of just tossed it aside because I thought, “Well, nothing like that runs in our family, so I know he doesn’t have it. We’re fine.” And come to find out that dwarfism, 80% of the time, a child born with it is born to average-height parents and it’s just a genetic mutation that can happen upon conception. With this one, one gene. And so it’s not anything that would have run in our family, but it does tie in to every part of our life and especially in our business. His condition is one that is very visible from an outer appearance and so it definitely is reshaping the way I view beauty and the way I view people. It is causing me to desire more the inside of people and hearing their stories. And one scripture that has just impacted our whole family in a huge way is for Samuel 16-7, to not judge by appearance or height, for the Lord does not see things the way we see them. People judge by outer appearance but the Lord looks at the heart, that has been a verse that has offered a lot of comfort and a lot of strength at times because, of course, you know, as I was in the early days of learning about Everett’s diagnosis and condition, I was really scared about how are people going to perceive him, how is he going to be received by the world? I was actually bullied quite a bit. We moved around a lot when I was young and lots of school. I was a new kid often and so I was bullied quite a bit and I thought, “Oh my goodness.” I was the most average kid in the world, like average height, average build, average looks, average athleticism, everything and I got made fun of. How much harder is this going to be for my son who is going to look different, he’s going to have different abilities. And it really scared me, but I think that with the internet, with social media, with the way community looks so different these days now that education is also so much more prevalent and I feel like parents are teaching their children about differences a lot more and celebrating differences a lot more and we go places and sometimes people notice Everett and a lot of times they don’t and sometimes people will. He does things differently, like he’s two and a half and he walks and runs and he’s all over the place and yet he still has a hard time, like he couldn’t walk up, step up on a curb on his own. He’s still working through how to go up and down steps and things like that and so people will see him and they’ll say, “Oh gosh, how old is he?” And I’ll tell them and you can see the confusion or the curiosity or the thoughts and so I’ve actually started just making my answer, “Well, he’s two-and-a-half but he has a form of dwarfism and so he’s a little bit smaller than average.” So then it just puts it out there and it also opens up the floor for them to ask more questions or –Because I can tell, back when I used to just say his age, the next thing they wanted to ask me was, “Oh, well, is he smaller?” You can just see them try to figure it out.
I feel like that would get really annoying, as the mom, just like — I don’t want to have to explain to you everything about my kid because one, most people you’re not going to form some deep relationship with and…
I don’t know, I mean, I feel like that would be hard to just even want to share that with people. Has that been hard for you to open up? Because you are very open and very — you are an advocate for him and for even that condition with education and awareness. That is very, you know, I think that’s aspirational for me because I feel like my tendency would be almost like, ‘You don’t deserve to know.’
It’s none of your business.
Yeah, exactly. I don’t know, I feel like that would be a hard bridge to kind of cross.
I felt that way at first, especially in the early days. I thought I just want him to be treated the way everyone else is. I want people to see past the outer appearance and I want people to just want to get to know him for who he is. The reality is, we live in a world where the first impression and what we see, like there’s no getting around that and it would be — I think it would be too much of an expectation of me to have of people to think that they’re just going to look past that immediately. I also know that, especially with dwarfism, I know in my own perspective, I’ve never known anybody with it, I never really met anybody with it. Nowadays, there are more realities TV shows and with social media it has changed things, so people may have a little bit more knowledge or awareness of it, but if you think about it, like anything pop culture having to do with dwarfism, they’re either mythical creatures or they’re the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.
Or it’s like in a circus or like an elf, the little person it’s like, “Oh is he Santa’s elf?” You know, things like that. They rarely do see a person with dwarfism just having a normal acting role.
And so, I am very aware of where it fits in society and how people view it and the lack of knowledge or even perspective they have on it. So I think with knowledge and understanding comes a little more power. I would rather the ball be in my court than people be curious and left to their own devices or to their own very limited perspective of it. So one of the things that I’ve, you know, like encouraged parents; if they are out and about with their child and their child notices something different about a person and says, “Oh mommy, why is his head so big?” Or, “What’s wrong with that kid?” Or “Why are they black?” You know, don’t ever shush them, don’t ever say, “Shh, don’t say that” or “we’ll talk about it later” because you’re basically affirming to the child like, “Oh there is something wrong and we can’t talk about it right now.”
Children, they don’t have the vocabulary, they don’t have the tact or even the awareness of being tactful or polite, they’re just curious and so I would rather the parent almost kind of like open the floor to me and give me the opportunity to explain and educate, as opposed to say like, “Oh no, let’s not talk about it.” Because the reality is you get the brief explanation of like, “Oh yeah, Everett has dwarfism, he has a skeletal dysplasia, his bones grow slower, but he loves PJ masks and loves to eat checks and [inaudible 47:55] juice. It’s like we’re actually a lot more alike than we’re different.
And so, the quicker we can kind of get the introduction out of the way about like, “Okay, yeah, we look different and this is why. Let’s get to know each other.” People can kind of move past that. And so that’s one reason why I’ve started advocating and educating. I would love to see Everett grow up in a world where people would see a little person or a person with dwarfism and they would see it and they’d be like, “Oh cool. That person has dwarfism” and be able just to move right on. And that’s why I advocate, is because I do want people to know more about it and not have to — not to feel like a curiosity.
Right, yes, not like — That was really helpful, when you were just like don’t say, “Oh we’ll talk about it later” because that can feel like the polite or the right thing, from the adult’s perspective to do like, “Oh I don’t want to talk about that kid right in front of them.” If there’s something different or you notice something I don’t want to like call it out and make him feel bad, but I think how you said it, to almost invite you to be the one, as the parent, to set that framework or that boundary and to say, “Oh, let me tell you, I’d be happy to tell you” because that’s empowering to you and it’s informative for everybody else. So yeah, I love that.
Exactly. It puts the power and the opportunity into that person’s hands.
Yeah, that’s really, really cool.
So you mentioned that it impacts everything about what you do. So how have you seen his diagnosis and who he is as a person, like not just his diagnosis, but who he is as a person who God made him to be and that there’s nothing like I’ve seen you right before, like God didn’t mess up with — Like there’s nothing out of alignment with him or that is an accident about who he is. How has that changed your business, what you do, how you’re serving clients? I just think that it’s — I don’t know, it obviously has got to affect you as someone in the beauty industry who — the industry that tells us, like we’ve been talking about, like “Here’s how to look, here’s what’s on trend, here’s how to be pretty” I just think that’s interesting.
It has just really showed me that life and people are not one-size-fits-all and that it is our job to get to know a person and what drives them and what inspires them, what they see on themselves that they don’t like. How can I help you like that? How can I help to look more inside the person for the guidance we need to make the right recommendations for their hair cut or for their make-up or for their skin type. It does require looking into them more, as opposed to shoving outside ideas and outside teachings on people. Well, this is the trend, bangs is the trend this season, so you need bangs and and you need bangs. I just have so much more awareness of people and how different they can be, because through Everett, I have formed a whole new community of people, mainly online, mainly through Facebook groups and Instagram, of other families who have children with dwarfism or other disabilities, like I’ve been connected to so many different organizations that create awareness. And so, through that, I’m just seeing people are so unique. I want to celebrate that so much more and I want to make the business more about celebrating diversity and creation and how God loves diversity, how he made diversity and celebrate that more so than applying the same ideas of beauty on to every person.
It kind of is one of those things where it made me practice what I preach. I already had those thoughts, I already had, I felt like that was something in me, but my love for Everett and just how much I see the beauty in him, despite what he looks like to other people, it has made me actually walk that out.
Like it’s actually alive inside me and not just something that I’m — like an idea in my head.
Right, and it sounds so cliché because we hear it all the time, but that beauty coming from the inside out, like when you were talking about the — You can’t take a recommendation from the outside and slap it on someone and say, “Feel beautiful!”
It doesn’t work that way because if they have identity issues and things rooted in lies that they believed their whole lives, it’s not going to be fixed with no matter what hair color you give them or what adorable on-trend make-up look or style you give then, they’re not going to feel beautiful because that beauty, like that exterior facade, cannot create the belief that you are beautiful, like that has to come from somewhere else.
That’s where it becomes a mask and it’s not a genuine reflection of how I’m feeling inside.
Yeah, and just I think…
[inaudible 53:12] inside.
Yeah, it’s like that explains why — I mean, this is just totally random, but there’s this TV show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon, which is really good, if you haven’t seen it, it’s totally, it’s a really cute show. Now, disclaimer, there’s some content that’s not super appropriate, so you just have to use your intuition on that, but it’s interesting. So it’s about this woman in the ’50s and her husband and it’s showing their life and she — You know, I won’t go into the whole show, what happens, but in the ’50s, she actually — this was common, like she went to bed with her make-up on and her hair done and after he fell asleep she would stay awake till he fell asleep and then she would go and take all her make up off with the Pond’s cold cream or whatever or put on her face, sleep with the mask of that on and then before he woke up, she would go in, re-apply her make up, fix her hair before he woke up so that he thought, “Wow, you’re just always beautiful” you know, and never had to see the real her. Now, I don’t know if women really did that in the ’50s or not. I mean, someone who lived through that can let me know, but it just made me realize, like even back to early on, when I was married, I used to remember waking up next to my husband and being self-conscious like, “Oh I wonder how I look, I wonder if my — I wonder if I look bad because I don’t have mascara on” or, you know, what he thinks, which I got over that quickly because he’s an awesome guy and he always thinks I’m beautiful. He he actually doesn’t even notice the difference when I’m wearing make up. He’s like — I’ll go like, “Can you tell a difference?” He’s like, “You put mascara on?” I’m like, “Yeah.” That’s it.
I’ve discovered a whole new — Yes, putting make up on does make you feel more confident and it makes you feel pretty, I mean, absolutely. My new thing though is, at the end of the day, when I get to, I literally will walk out of my son’s bedroom after putting him down, walk straight into my bathroom, remove my makeup, put on my eye cream, put on my toner, my serum and then my moisturizer in and it makes me feel — that makes me feel beautiful, because I’m taking care in my skin, I’m doing some self-care. Even kind of like the ritual of doing it is very relaxing and calming and I know that I am caring for myself in a way that, you know — Sure, I could just get Botox someday or I could just put make-up on every day to hide my wrinkles and things like that, but I feel like I’m caring for it from the onset and that makes me feel beautiful. You know, and instead of maybe Zack telling me I look pretty before bedtime, he tells me I smell good, because my moisturizer smells good, or something like that. He still tells me I’m beautiful, despite…
Yeah, which like — that’s an equally as good of a compliment, in my opinion.
I’m fine with that, that counts.
To see the beauty in that, like when I looked up even — the definition of beauty is what’s pleasing aesthetically to the senses and primarily sight, but to think about beauty as being so much more than just what we see and just like how is it pleasing to all the senses? That’s another filter that I’m running beauty through. I’m not just thinking of the outer appearance of things.
When you said that, I thought of the verse, which I don’t know the actual reference, but may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. Like, may God find what we say and what we dwell on to be beautiful.
That’s exactly what you’re saying, is that it’s not just what you put on your face, it’s what are you carrying in your heart, what are you dwelling on, what are you living in, what are you allowing to shape your thoughts and your days and how you’re living your life, so…
Yeah. So if your beauty routines and your goals are getting in the way of that, that’s when you know you need to step back and re-evaluate the priority and the emphasis that you’re putting on beauty in your life, if it really is getting in the way of your thought life and your priorities throughout the day.
Yeah, that’s helpful. I think I’m going to come back to this and I’m going to need a digital consultation.
And a tutorial and all of the things. But yeah, I just really appreciate you sharing your heart and sharing some about where you’ve come with your business and how you’re doing the beauty industry differently and I think that’s encouraging. There isn’t — For somebody who’s in an industry that they feel like is secular or worldly or voices from the world are the ones shaping it, like you are in an industry like that and you’re doing it differently. You’re not doing it the way everybody else is and that’s really cool.
It’s the best compliment we ever get about our salon and the spaces, is when a client says, “It just feels different there. I feel comfortable, I feel like people care, I feel like everyone in there is happy to see me.” That is still to this day my very favorite compliment about our business, is about the way the space just feels different and the way the team works together and the kindness they experience in the space.
Yeah, that’s so cool. Well, I really appreciate that and thank you for sharing your wisdom.
Yes, thank you so much for having me.
[over talking 58:41]
Yeah, thank you in advance for that make up tutorial too.
We’re going to do it.
We’re going to do it, alright.
I really want to do that.
Okay, good, yeah. I mean, I know people are going to be like, “Well, I’m curious what this seven-minute make up is” And even just having three eyes, I was like “Oh, duh, I could do that.
In my mind, I have a 100 makeup colors or eye-shadow colors and I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know what to do with these” But when you just break it down, it’s easier.
Cool. Okay well thank you and Kelly, where do people connect with you online?
You can find me on Instagram. My handle is @hellokellystuckey. That’s K-E-L-L-Y-S-T-U-C-K-E-Y.
That’s probably going to be the best place. You can also follow Crown Beauty Bar. I have a blog that I haven’t updated in over a year, so I’ll be getting into that someday.
Yeah, well, we can post or you can post your tutorial there whenever you get that.
Perfect. That would reignite it.
Yes, awesome. well I appreciate you and in the time that you took from your preschool of hours, so thank you.
You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me.
Thank you for listening today. I hope this episode inspired and encouraged you. I wanted to give you a heads up that I changed my username on Instagram. So you now have to search haleywilliams.kindled to find me. If you’re already following Kindled, don’t worry, it switched over, you don’t have to go re-follow me, but the reason I want to let you know about that is that if you want to watch that video of Kelly doing her make-up, keep your eyes peeled on Instagram this week. We will be posting it on my account and hers and you can follow Kelly @hellokellystuckey. The last thing that I have for you today is a give-away. That’s right, if you have listened all the way to the end, you are the special winner of an opportunity to win a $50 gift card to Target. How can you win this? Glad you ask. All you got to do is go on to iTunes and give Kindled a rating and review. That’s it. This is a review drive. I need more reviews, I want to hear from you, what you have learned or gained or gleaned from this show, why you love listening and why you tune in each week. So go ahead and go give us a review and to enter, all you have to do is message me on Instagram. So send me a direct message @haleywilliams.kindled, let me know you left your review and you’ll be entered for the drawing. This is going to be going through October 13th, so Saturday, October 13th. So if you’re listening to this episode live, you have a really good shot of getting into this drawing for $50 Target. I mean, what could be easier? Who doesn’t love Target? So go leave a review on Kindled, message me and let me know that you did and I’ll enter you to win the drawing. Alright guys, thanks so much and have an amazing week.
This podcast was edited and produced by Laura Distler.
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