In this newest section of Salon, we connect with hair and beauty influencers from coast to coast.
IG @hairbymisskellyo (Followers: 216K)
Claim to Fame Hairstylist, salon owner and educator for Pulp Riot
Tell us about yourself. How long have you been in the hair industry?
My name is Kelly O’Leary and I am from Winnipeg, Canada. I am very lucky to say that I have been in this amazing industry for 21 years! I took the cosmotology course in Winnipeg, which was an amazing option for a student that just didn’t connect with the high school scene.
It’s been a bit of a long process, honestly. I started my @hairbymisskellyo Instagram account five years ago now. It started as any hair page would, with me trying to find new clients and, at the time, showcase vintage hairstyling, which is a huge passion of mine.
Once I started getting some local interest in that, it’s almost like hitting those cherries on a slot machine. You try new things, you put yourself out there. I started doing photoshoots and chose models that would let me colour their hair. It has obviously grown so much since then but a lot can be said for trying new things, having fun and being yourself.
How have you built your following on social media? What has social media done for you and your career?
Social media has done crazy things. I never thought in a million years that I would be an educator. The friends and family I have met online have opened more doors than I could ever count. I now travel internationally with Pulp Riot, which has been a dream come true. After doing hair behind the chair for so long, to be able to have this new-found passion, so late in my career is a true gift. Even opening our salon, The Sapphire Hair Lounge in Winnipeg, probably wouldn’t have been possible without social media. Building the team has never been easier without such an amazing tool. Plus, it’s free!
What tips do you have for creating and posting content on social media?
I want to see you! There is so much amazing hair on social media. It’s hard to not get overwhelmed by it all. Remember to put your own spin on it and be authentic. That will push you above the crowd. Do great work, have a positive attitude and collaborate with artists around you. If you want to be seen, then you will be seen. It is a lot of hard work but ultimately, worth it!
What do you look for when partnering with brands?
First and foremost, it’s about the people. I associate myself with likeminded people that are nice, humble, positive and look out for the artist. It’s easy to get swept up in the dollars and free product but then get stuck in something you don’t believe in. Or even worse, a company that will take advantage of you then discard you later. This also comes down to keeping yourself authentic. Just say true to your real-life relationships with companies and you will know what to do.
Where would you be (or how would your career be different) without social media?
Without social media, aside from having a lot more free time, I would be doing the same thing I have done for years. Doing hair in my salon, from 9-7PM every day, connecting with my clients. Because, when it all comes down to it, and this all drifts away, isn’t that what it’s always been about? It’s about the clients and the amazing relationships we form with them. We truly are blessed to be a part of this magical industry and I am thankful for that every day of my life!