She was in high school when she realized that playing with and doing hair came as natural to her as breathing.
Kathy Simms found herself fixing and doing updos on cheerleaders hair; before games, competitions, dances and proms. She also fixated on teeth, beautiful teeth and not-so-beautiful choppers; when her guidance counselor told her in her junior year of high school of the 9 years of schooling required to be a dentist compared to the 1 year of schooling to become a licensed cosmetologist, Kathy quickly had her answer.
Kathy attended Ravenscroft Beauty School in Indiana and was welcomed into a full Redken salon in a small wealthy town with multi-million-dollar homes on lakes as soon as she was licensed. Many of her guests were summer clients who came to enjoy the summer months in a lake town that afforded indulgences. And Kathy knew how to indulge and give them what they wanted. And more.
At 20 years old, Kathy opened her own salon, determined to have fun and use her creativity to make women feel beautiful. In her early twenties she found herself pleasantly busy. To add fun to her company, Hair Force, Kathy wore flight suits to work most days. Other days she dressed as a Green Beret. Clients loved the fun atmosphere, and were guaranteed to walk out looking their best.
Through her 20’s and 30’s, Kathy was booked up to three months in advance. Her skills with color and Icon Shears was known far and wide.
Then girl meets boy. Boy asks girl to marry him. Career takes a back seat. Three kids and 17 years later, Kathy was ready to get back to her art.
Kathy approached a former Miss Teen USA, Shelly Moore Bartholomew, after noticing her less-than-stellar hair, and offered to color and cut it for free so she could see what her hair ‘could be’. “You gotta let me do your hair. Trust me”, Kathy told her, and Shelly did just that. That bold move catapulted her business and she stayed booked up with word-of-mouth clients.
Today Kathy is a fully booked 58-year-old hairdresser and is not any less passionate about hair and beauty as she was as a junior in high school. She owns her own business and keeps her number of clients to a minimum and takes pride in her work, and truly cares for each client who sits in her chair.
Kathy is a firm believer in taking her time with each client. “It is an art and I treat it as such.” Being meticulous means spending 3 hours on highlights and seeing 2 clients a day. Her specialty is highlights and color these days.
Her technique of choice is foil; believing that balayage, hand painting, comes with a risk of bleeding. To Kathy, using foil, highlighting hair, is the definition of fun.
To talk to this fireball is to believe that she has always had success.
But life happens. A many-years-old marriage to a Grammy winning songwriter ended in a typically-not-so-nice way, leaving her with three kids. A daughter, now 28-years-old, struggles with living and finds everyday a fight for her life. Kathy works her business around her daughter’s care. Love trumps career.
Kathy has branched out and has a t-shirt line (in her free time) with her uber-talented sister. The shirts are called ‘People Gotta’. Some of the sayings on the shirts are People gotta pray. People gotta laugh. People gotta shine. The shirts started as a healing outlet to help deal with alcoholism in the family. The business was born of pain and has been therapeutic for Kathy and her sister. They also promote it on Facebook LIVE, where they have a healthy following and they – and others - enjoy the wittiness of their program.
But her first love?
It is, and will always be hair. Since there is no residual income in her hair world (“No work, no pay”) Kathy has no thoughts of quitting the art of beautifying the world.
One head of hair at a time.