We had the good fortune of connecting with Amanda Huntington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amanda, why did you pursue a creative career?
I knew from a pretty early age that I was more of a right brained, creative person. Growing up, my imagination seemed a bit more “colorful” if you will. When it came time to decide on a career path, the task seemed more daunting than it should be. After making a few detours, deciding to go to cosmetology school and later becoming a color and blonding specialist, I finally felt like I had found the creative outlet I had been searching for my whole life. I felt whole.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Deciding to actually pursue cosmetology at 27 years old was terrifying. I had been in a corporate job for 3.5 years and done a good enough job to not get terminated. As much as I tried to bring an element of creativity into that corporate world, it just never was enough.
3 months after starting cosmetology school, there was a mutual decision made that I would exit my role in the corporate world. As scared as I was being unemployed, I threw myself into my schooling.
I spent a tremendous amount of time talking with a few of my instructors because I wanted to know everything there was to know about this industry and my craft. The curriculum was the basics. I wanted it all.
Towards the end of my time in school, I knew that I didn’t want to go back into a world of having my professional life dictated by having a boss. I knew that the only way I was going to be truly happy and fulfilled was to do this on my own, self-employed. As someone who is a creative, there are elements of being self-employed that don’t exactly mesh with the right brain personality type. Going into self-employment right out of school was not exactly encouraged. It was looked at as setting yourself up for failure or needing to establish yourself first before you took the risk. But what is life without risk?
As soon as I had become licensed, it was time to embark on a journey that I’ll admit I was under prepared for. However, this point I fell back into my foundation of needing to prove people wrong so I hit the ground running. I needed to make sure that every person who told me I couldn’t do this saw that not only could I do it but I was doing it.
If it weren’t for social media, it would’ve taken me much longer to build my business than it did. But I shared my journey with everyone who was willing to watch. I shared the ups, the downs, the frustrations, the celebrations. I wanted people to become not only invested in my professional life but my personal life. I truly believe if you give someone the opportunity to know you on multiple different levels they’ll want to support you and that meant being in my chair at the salon
What I want people to understand for me personally is while this is my job, my career, my profession, this is so much more than that. My entire professional life revolves around wanting the person in my chair to leave feeling like the absolute best version of themselves possible. While I want people to become invested in me I have become equally as invested in them.
I will say the downside to that is when the professional relationship with a client does have to come to an end, for whatever reason, it is hard to not take it personally.
We were taught in school to separate business and personal when it came to having a client in your chair but I’m not exactly sure I have drawn that line in the sand yet.
I have dedicated and will continue to dedicate as much as my spare time outside of the salon continuing to learn my craft. I stand behind the sentiment of once you stop learning you stop growing and if you stop growing what more is there?
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?
I laugh at the thought of answering this question because I couldn’t be more of an introverted extrovert. I love my friends with my entire being and I love socializing with people close to me but home is where my heart is! The older I get the more of a homebody I become which is comical considering who I was in my early 20s.
The places that I feel the most peace are when I’m around bodies of water. Whether that be the lake, floating down the river, or laying by the beach- the itinerary would revolve around one of those three things.
I think part of that is because we spend so much time caught up in the hustle and bustle of every day life. There’s something about just being still around body of water that re-centers you and calms the soul.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people that I absolutely could not have become who I am without.
My mom has supported every move I’ve made in my life; even the ones she didn’t fully understand or agree with. She has encouraged me to get back up every time I’ve fallen. She sacrificed so much to make sure there was never an opportunity missed that I wanted to explore. She’s truly my backbone.
Two of my best friends: Rachel Weekley and Brittany Taylor. They have both been some of my biggest cheerleaders. Rachel has helped fuel my creativity and Brittany has been the balance of my life. I truly couldn’t imagine my life without them in it.