When Kyss Richard started as a professional hairstylist just out of high school, she knew she had found her perfect career match.
“It was the place that I felt was going to be a solid landing for me — a place where I could be myself, but also feel that I was doing something fulfilling because I was helping others,” she recalls.
Kyss started at Rudy’s Barbershop in the Seattle area only two years later, where she fell in love with perfecting the craft of men’s hairstyling.
“I really wanted to work on beards, skin fades, and things like that,” she explains. “I think men are sometimes a little more daring with their style, and I love how it feels a little more unique to each person.”
Kyss’ passion for uniqueness goes beyond her customer’s taste in a bold hair color or going from a number 5 to a buzzcut. She believes that individuality is deeply important to the artistry of each stylist, which is something that people outside of the beauty industry don’t always appreciate at first glance.
“I feel like a lot of the time stylists are looked at as this one type of person, but we're all very eclectic people,” Kyss says, “Some of us are very artistic and some of us have a Type A personality and are more structured. I think it's more about finding yourself in all of that.”
Communicating the individuality of the artist can become challenging when customers expect the same outcome they received when working with other hairstylists. This is especially prevalent in the modern age of googling celebrity haircuts and pinning beauty blogger hairstyles in Pinterest boards.
“For some reason, people don’t see it as an art form. It's like asking Van Gogh to paint the same painting as Picasso,” Kyss laughs. “You can't just bring in a picture of Brad Pitt and walk out with his exact hair, because you don't have his exact head!”
Beyond her passion for the uniqueness that grows within every stylist as they perfect their craft, Kyss loves that her job helps people — whether it’s building their confidence through transforming their look or simply offering them a listening ear during troubled times.
“I realized that hairdressers are kind of like therapists. People gravitate towards somebody that isn't biased on anything that they're talking about,” she describes.
“It’s pretty cool — I'm able to create relationships with people I never would normally come in contact with, and also might be able to help them out in certain ways that they might not be able to get from their peers, just because I won’t be partial towards anything they say.”
As 2020 quickly approaches, new beginnings are ahead. When Kyss was asked to offer her advice for someone starting off in her position, she thought back to the lessons she learned as a new hairstylist fresh out of high school.
“Keep your mind open. The first few years can be hard, but it's all about finding your confidence, knowing your worth, and really standing your ground if it’s something you love to do.”