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Check Out Kelli Smith’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelli Smith.

Hi Kelli, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Who I am, and who we (as a salon) are NOT Full Disclosure— we are a salon with PERSONALITY.

In 2015, I decided it was time to open a salon unlike any other in Charleston and pushed the envelope making Johns Island Harlow’s home. Somewhere with personality… and a real-life sense of “real” people.

The moms, teachers, nurses, students, our neighbors, the women and men we stand behind in line at the grocery store. We are about REAL life.

We all have our own personalities and encourage our team to be themselves (along with our guests). We encourage the art and growth as stylists and build a relationship with the guest, catering to them.

As the owner of Harlow, I promote the individuality of what we can all create together as the guest and stylists, for you to feel beautiful. Harlow is an experience because of this. We are not your average salon.

We keep an open vibe and flowing conversation at Harlow. We talk about adult topics, and we make jokes- again, all things that set us apart from anywhere else.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Opening a salon at 25 was 100% a struggle. Can you imagine? It all kind of happened by accident. I wanted to be myself in a very constricting atmosphere.

After all, we are artists. We are human. We, as small business owners, are in the spotlight constantly in small towns… always looking for new and different avenues to be different than the next. And most of us are, not just salons, but businesses in general. We should learn to work together as a community versus competition.

One thing I don’t believe in, personally, is competition… sure some other salon could be SLAYING, and I would cheer for them. But just as the same as stylists, salons are also not cut from the same cloth. We are ALL different. Even in the same salon. To think we all do things the same is laughable.

Would you draw a tree the same as I? No. Not even watching Bob Ross.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As the last question was asked, I/we are different because we are not the typical salon. We work together, instead of against one another. Personally, I specialize in reds, curly hair, dimensional rich colors, and short cuts. I am known for being upfront, forward and honest with my clients and my staff.

You are walking around with my name on your head, why would I want someone unhappy. I pride myself on good communication and timing. I am fast because I value your time. Don’t ask for a full highlight on your lunch break, but I know I am quick, and a massive multitasker.

I am extremely if not MOST proud of my stylists. They are amazing women who are incredibly strong and successful, and if I had any part in that…. that is what I am proud of.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
No reason to rush, it all comes in time.

You get what you give. One year, I was overwhelmed and short-staffed. I turned the ringer off and only responded to people serious enough to text or voicemail. It may seem like a really stupid business move, but I have had those serious clients since.

It helped me realize that the people who want you, will make it happen – and so will I.

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