2/19/18

Entrepreneurship Conversation 1: Kennedy Layne Salon Owner Kelly Redmon

Huge thank you to Kelly Redmon for allowing us
to take a look into her life and her entrepreneurial journey!




Kelly Redmon has always had a special admiration for the name Kennedy Layne, so when the opportunity arose to name her very own business, Kennedy Layne Salon felt like the perfect fit. Kelly is passionate about growing personally and professionally with her family of stylists and customers and crafting every last detail exactly how she envisions, even down to the name. Kelly's heart and her calendar stay full while she conquers the Ringling-esque balancing act of excelling in all her roles, "Being a mother, a wife, a salon owner, and a hairstylist."

Even as Kelly begins to cut back behind the chair just a bit to introduce some balance into her life, she's not in the least bit concerned with a waning level of service for Kennedy Layne's customers because of her trust in her staff. "I have the greatest group of girls working here -- I am so blessed. So yes, I do feel very confident with them."

Smart Money Seed was fortunate enough to get a peek into Kelly's life and the process by which she has built her dream into reality at the corner of Sandusky and East Mary.

Pursuing Her Passion

Kelly grew up in Bucyrus dreaming of becoming a hairstylist while spending time with her grandmothers getting their hair done on Saturday mornings. Kelly recollects that she "fell in love with the atmosphere. I knew right then it was strong interest at a very elementary age."

Fast forward to high school, and Kelly began seriously planning to pursue this passion over her alternative of attending business school. Kelly's dream ultimately morphed into reality as she earned her cosmetology license from the Tiffin Academy of Hair Design. 

Although Kelly had contemplated pursuing a career in either business or cosmetology, she didn't enter her cosmetology career with an initial goal to conjoin the two as an entrepreneur. "I tossed it around back and forth, but. . . it came later on in life."

Once the entrepreneurial fire was lit within her, Kelly worked quickly and purposefully toward her goal of opening her own salon. The timeframe between deciding to open her own salon and ribbon cutting was astonishingly short. "It was probably two years. By the time I made my mind up, I knew this is what I want to do, and I'm going to do it."

The Planning Period

Kelly's entrepreneurial drive was born during her pursuit of another passion. "I ended up getting my real estate license, and while I was going to school for that, it was almost like something sparked inside of me. And that's when I knew I wanted to open my own salon. So, I was a hairstylist, and I was doing the real estate for about a year. And then I just decided I really want to do this. I wanted my own salon."

Kelly's time in real estate came in handy during her pursuit of a location for her business. Although she hadn't necessarily earmarked the building at 300 North Sandusky from the start, her real estate background helped her identify that location as a valuable purchase in her pursuit of opening Kennedy Layne.

Simply purchasing a location, however, was only the beginning of her struggle in opening the salon. When asked about additional barriers she faced, Kelly cringes and starts to make a fist which I can only assume will be headed for my face in a matter of seconds. While I contemplate jumping under the table versus sacrificing my computer as a shield, Kelly's focus on customer service and professionalism prevails as she cordially answers.

"I just jumped right in, and I had no idea how many hurdles I had to overcome -- it's just endless. We did a complete remodel on the building, and there's a lot of different things you have to go through for permits and things like that I was a little blindsided on."

As I incorrectly assume she had some exposure to permitting issues through her time in real estate, Kelly darts another glare in my direction. (Actually, she just laughed. A satisfying feeling of remembering a struggle that is no more.)

Despite the hurdles faced by Kelly and all entrepreneurs throughout their journeys, Kelly was determined to turn Kennedy Layne into a staple within the Bucyrus community. "Even at the closing table, I was going to do this, and this was going to be successful. My mind was made up. Whatever it took."
Kelly's real estate experience helped her in identifying the
perfect location for Kennedy Layne Salon

Opening Kennedy Layne Salon

As Kelly regains the twinkle of nostalgia in her eye, she remembers Kennedy Layne's humble beginnings filled with long days and late nights of learning how to successfully run a business on the fly while also not cutting back at all from being a hairstylist. "I think in the start of any business, the first year, year and a half, two years, it's pretty crucial. You have to work your butt off. So, that's what I did, and I still am."

Kelly is genuinely grateful for the support from the community during her opening. "It was absolutely amazing. All of the support from the community, our clients, the girls here -- it was so exciting. Energy was through the roof." She especially appreciates the support she received from the Chamber of Commerce, Crawford County Now, WQEL, the Galion Inquirer, and her peers in the Bucyrus business community.

When probed for what she's learned most about herself through this process of becoming and being an entrepreneur, Kelly takes a long pause for reflection. Her answer precisely epitomizes the feelings shared by many entrepreneurs. "I didn't really know that I could do all this. So that makes me happy. I'm proud of myself."

Kelly's lessons haven't stopped there as she's received a heavy dose of real world learning by doing throughout her time thus far as an entrepreneur. "You can go in and think things are going to be a certain way, and you never know what's going to happen -- good or bad. The washing machine might break down or you might lose hot water."

But again, Kelly credits her team for easing her transition from hairstylist to entrepreneur. "I didn't have any management training or skills. But like I said before, I have such a great group that it's made that aspect of the business easy."

This positive and fun dynamic between Kelly and her team shines through from a customer's perspective, to which I have the honor of being exposed about once a month, which creates an extremely comfortable and welcoming experience for Kennedy Layne's customers. Creating this dynamic is a passion of Kelly's and seems to be a driving force behind her entrepreneurial spirit.

"That was my vision, and it makes me so happy to hear you say that as a customer that does come in here. Because that's what I wanted. I wanted that small town feel. I wanted everybody to come in and feel welcome and just kind of at home. And we are like a family here, and I think that shows."

The Future of Kennedy Layne

Kelly's vision for Kennedy Layne is largely focused on growth. When asked about her goals for Kennedy Layne over the next five years, Kelly states she would like to "Keep growing as far as adding different services. We have seven stations here, and for any salon business owner, the goal would be to have every station full every day that we're open. So that's a goal for the next five years or sooner."

Kelly's growth strategy through marketing is focused on Kennedy Layne's Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat (which you can follow @KennedyLayne419) as well as with some of the local media outlets such as WQEL and Crawford County Now. 

If given the opportunity to go back in time and change any part of her own journey or Kennedy Layne's, Kelly would like for things to remain just as they are. 

"I am a strong believer that everything does happen for a reason and when it's supposed to. No, I wouldn't do anything differently because I think every single experience in my life, every person that I've come across has made me who I am today. . . Looking back, I think the foundation for everything was being laid over my life, and I had no clue. But now I look back, and I can see it. . . I can't believe when I just look back and think of how this has all evolved. It's just amazing. Everything is a learning experience -- good or bad -- and you just have to keep growing and keep looking at anything you're unhappy with or any negative experience and turn it into a learning experience. So that's what I try to do."

Kelly is extremely appreciative and complimentary of her staff

Take Kelly's Advice

If you are planning to pursue cosmetology, Kelly recommends to "get as much education as you possibly can, and learn from others. Watching successful people, asking lots of questions, just being well rounded, and having many experiences -- just don't say no to opportunities." Kelly and her team also enjoy hosting students for job shadows.
And if you're somebody thinking about starting your own business, Kelly's advice is simple yet powerful. "Go for it. Absolutely. No regrets. . . All of this has come from hard work, work ethic, and being blessed and surrounded by seven other women who have the same work ethic as I do."

Kelly's journey and success are an inspirational reminder of what a determined person can accomplish when working purposefully and with focus. The positive effects her efforts have had on her customers, her employees, her community, and herself cannot be overstated. Kelly's present and future are bright, and we hope this serves as inspiration to ensure yours are too.


This is the inaugural episode of Smart Money Seed's entrepreneurship series. Our goal is to give you a look into the lives of local entrepreneurs and their journeys to inspire you to make a positive difference in your community. We sincerely appreciate Kelly Redmon's time and willingness to participate in this series as our first featured entrepreneur! 

We believe positivity and determination can go a long way in the success of a community, so if you like this article, we would love it if you could help us and our communities a favor by sharing it with someone you think might enjoy this article and podcast.

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