Kelly Convery is a seasoned hair industry professional, with more than 10 years of industry experience. In 2019, she opened SKC Salon in Edmonton with two other independent stylists, Scirocco and Chelsea; and she welcomed her second daughter into the world. It was a big, and busy, year for Kelly to say the least! We got to know Kelly through our Stylist Spotlight. Check it out below!
Tell us a bit about you and your career! How did you get your start, and what has led you to where you are today?
I've been in this industry for about 12 years, and it’s been amazing! I couldn't have asked for a more fulfilling career choice. To be honest, it kind of happened by accident. My mom was the one who suggested hair school. Two weeks into my schooling I was convinced. I thought this is actually amazing, I haven't looked back since. It has taken a lot of hard work to get me where I am today; our industry isn't easy. You want to please everyone, and sometimes you just aren't the right fit for that specific client, it can be hard not to take it personally or see it as a failure or an, "I’m not good enough" situation. It took me a while to get to the point of realization that, you know what, for every ten you impress there will always be the one that you don't. We are only human at the end of the day.
You salon, SKC, opened in July of this year. As you approach your six month mark, what has been the biggest lesson learned and what has been your favourite part of the experience so far?
Opening SKC was and has been amazing. We have obviously had some learning curves and having just had a baby it was overwhelming at times, but my two partners have made it such a fun experience. When you work closely with like-minded individuals and can still hang out with them outside of the salon and not get tired of one another, I think that says a lot about the relationships. We keep each other accountable and I think that is something that you need when running a business.
How long have you been working with Great Lengths, what was your inspiration to join the GL network?
I’ve been with Great Lengths for about 8 years, and I’ve had them in my hair for about 10. My mentor at the time would always let me watch her client installs, and once she put them in my hair, (regretfully, I had cut my hair into the Victoria Beckham bob at that time) I was immediately hooked. Seeing the look on women’s faces, and how much their confidence sky rocketed once they saw their new look made me realize I NEED to work with this company.
What impact has being a Great Lengths Artist had on you and your business?
Great Lengths has been such an amazing addition to my business. It has created an additional sense of trust with my clientele, as well as within the industry as a whole. Anyone who has heard of Great Lengths knows the training that comes with being able to offer this service. That value on education is a good indicator to people that the brand isn't gimmicky, and it isn’t something that is going to fade out in a year or two. They have been around for a long time, have won countless awards and are the best extensions out there for your hair. And it shows.
What do you love about Great Lengths?
What don't I love is the better question! Having had them in my hair for so long, I feel lost without them (for the whole three days in between applications haha). I love that they are ethically sourced, that is a huge factor for me. I love that the bonds are customizable, that the shades never lose their tones and can be altered so easily. I love them because you can just do so much with them; add length, volume, fix a bad haircut, add colour without actually colouring the client’s hair if their hair is already compromised. Plus, once they are in, they are in. There is no coming in every couple of weeks to tighten them. And last but not least, I love the removal. Once their extensions are removed, I love showing clients just how much their hair has GROWN and that it is still in great condition.
In addition to being a busy stylist, you’re a mom to two daughters, one under the age of one - how do you manage to do it all? Do you have any advice or time management tips for those trying to juggle a number of things on the go?
I have a great support system, my fiancé has been my rock during this whole process, I couldn't have maintained my clientele, opened up a shop, or been the mom I am without him or our family. I’d like to be able to give advice, but I never understood when I asked clients and friends how they did it all, and every response was, "you just do", but I totally get it now. You really just do what you need to do.
You’ve spoken on Instagram about the importance of education, what led you to speak up about the topic?
As cliché as it is, you really don't ever stop learning, and in our industry you need to stay on top of your craft or you will be considered a "dinosaur". I think that sometimes people in our industry get to a place of, "Oh I’m doing so well, I know everything", but realistically you can be replaced very easily. Keeping yourself up to date is important. If you go to a class and take one thing away from it, you’re already ahead. It’s not like our classes are taught in boring locations; we can be in New York, LA, or somewhere cool like that and that just makes the experience and the education that much better.
What is your personal favourite hair trend right now? Why do you love it?
I would say my favourite trend at the moment is going grey, and I don’t mean the artificial grey shades, but the natural growing out grey in between colours. Grey hair always had this stigma of being old and unkempt, and I completely disagree. When I see a woman wearing her natural shade with some pops of colour, the first thing I think is, "Wow, this woman has so much confidence and does not care what people think.” I just love how the stigma of it is changing. It makes me look forward to when my hair goes that route.
Do you have any colour or style predictions for Winter 2019/2020?
What I hope comes back, and think will come back, is old school highlights. We have consistently used balayage and lived-in looks as our safety net (no hate to artists who capitalize on these methods), but I think there are a lot of technical aspects and placement/ positioning that you can’t hide with highlights, as opposed to hair painting.
Do you have a style icon? Or a hair hero?
My style icon is Riawna Capri. I absolutely love everything about her and the 901 Salon. She’s also a Great Lengths artist, so that adds to my love. Everything she does is so natural; it’s like talent and inspiration just ooze out of her hands. And of course, she’s stunning!
If you could pick a celebrity, a public figure, anyone at all - whose hair would you love to work on?
If I could work on anyone’s hair, I would go back in time and do Britney Spears hair after she shaved it and then had countless types of extensions... the images still haunt me. Ha!
What or who do you look to for inspiration?
I look to my peers around me. Social media is all smoke and mirrors, I try not to get too wrapped up in it, so I love watching my colleagues and fellow stylists in our area. And of course, my daughters, they inspire me to be a better person and I feel like they’ve helped me connect on a whole other level, not just with clients but with everyone I encounter.
What personality traits do you feel are most beneficial to your success?
I think being open to criticism, my drive and ambition to continually educate myself and my attention to detail have benefited me. (Especially when it comes to Great Lengths; applications are a very meticulous process!) And, I think a sense of humour is important; two to three hours with one person is a long time, it shouldn't all be serious!
What advice would you offer newly certified stylists to best take advantage of their GL skillset?
Practice with customizing the bond! I find it so satisfying to know that different bond sizes can be used throughout a client’s hair. Knowing that I’ve created different colour, movement and density in different places gives me such a good feeling when I look at the finished result.
Do you have any Great Lengths do's and don’ts?
Clients, DO: Your research on your Artist. The Great Lengths website will show you who is certified in your area. Do research: check their Instagram, read reviews, etc. Every artist specializes in different looks. DON’T: be afraid to ask questions!
What is your favourite part of being a stylist?
As cliché as it sounds,
My favourite part about being a stylist is the relationships you create with your clients; developing that trust, being able to try new things on them, or offer something you know they were nervous to ask for.
And, I love the constant learning, I love being a sponge and watching stylists do their thing. It’s very uplifting and rewarding to see other stylists love something as much as I do.
Do you have a favourite mantra, quote or saying you like to keep in mind?
Work smarter, not harder.
What are your goals and aspirations moving forward?
My goal is to simply live in the moment. I love where I am at right now; I just want to continue at this pace, and to continue to focus on perfecting my craft.