We had the good fortune of connecting with christina kelly (crook) and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi christina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I worked at a couple of different places after becoming licensed as a hairdresser and I never felt psychologically safe or comfortable. I was struggling to find a space that aligned with my values and felt welcoming and inclusive to my guests. I consistently got feedback from my guests that they felt intimidated or nervous or judged and that’s the exact opposite of what I’m trying to create. I honestly never wanted to be a salon owner. I battle with anxiety and owning a salon is very anxiety-inducing! Managing people is very anxiety-inducing; however, the idea of creating a safe space that aligned with my morals and values and made my clients feel welcomed and appreciated was worth all the stress. Opening my own salon was the best decision I ever made. We have a team of mental health informed, inclusive and kind hairdressers and a clientele that matches our energy. Everyday coming to work feels safe and secure, and we leave the salon at night feeling fulfilled and happy and I genuinely can’t think of a better way to spend the majority of my life.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Hairdressing is a popular career. Everyone has a hairdresser friend, cousin, or sibling. I think what sets me aside from many others when there are so many out there is that i approach hairdressing with a creative eye rather than a technical strategic approach. I don’t read the back of a box and follow the steps one by one, not that there is anything wrong with that; i just approach things more creatively. I believe when you have a firm understanding of the technique is when you can break the rules, in the right way. Theres a hundred ways to do every technique, but instead of following a highlight pattern off a chart, i make it up as i go along. Every single head of hair that i do is different. Every client leaves with a customized color that day. What i did on them the time before, i probably did an entirely different technique the next. My point is, im not a cookie cutter hairdresser. I fall into the smaller category of hair artist. I go to sleep at night picturing different patterns and techniques to try, and thats what my next day of color consists of. Every single day is completely different from the last, and thats what keeps it exciting.

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 would take them to my favorite city in orange county first, laguna beach. Its just so beautiful and although stupidly expensive, it has character and im a sucker for a good beach. Then we’d take the train down to san diego, my second favorite place close by. Wed probably go to the zoo (also a sucker for a good zoo), maybe have some drinks in the downtown area, but wed definitely stay somewhere on the beach with a bitchin pool.

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?
The first person that comes to mind is my therapist, and it sounds so cliche and silly to even mention BUT my relationship with her over the past 7 years has built my self esteem and helped me feel comfortable in my own skin and confident of my decisions. I used to forget my own name in front of a group of people, and now i can teach a class in front of 30 other hairdressers with ease and excitement. I was never good in social settings and let anxiety consume me, and now i manage my mental health beautifully and have a strong support system that i never thought i would have. The second and surely not any less important that comes to mind is my Husband. Although i was pretty much who i am now when i met him, he’s supported me in ways that no one in my life has and encouraged me to be myself and love myself while validating me when i need it and holding me accountable when i need it. It takes a strong partner to be able to call you out on your bullshit so that you trust in them when they’re lifting you up!

Website: www.crookand.co

Instagram: tina_doeshair

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