Note from the KeraGirls: This is part of our series of KC Pro posts that provide career insights and advice from some of Keratin Complex’s most experienced and accomplished stylists.

Alisa Piatt, a 15-year hairstyling vet and a salon owner for eight years, joined the Keratin Complex® Inspiration Team a couple of years ago. In that short time, she has become an invaluable member of the team, traveling throughout the Carolinas to support sales and help grow the territory through education.

“She is a wonderful representative for Keratin Complex,” says Senior National Education Manager Molly Woodruff. “Her enthusiasm and passion for her craft shine through in everything she does. And I swear, it’s contagious!”

To learn more about this passionate advocate, we communicated with Alisa via email about her career and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

‘I love fearless clients—people who are willing to try a completely different look.'

Alisa Piatt Keratin Complex

Hometown: Dayton, OH

Salon name: Element Salon, Garner, NC

Years of experience: 15

Training/education: Central Carolina Community College, Lillington, NC

Hairstyling specialties: all things color

Q&A with Alisa Piatt: Her career

Q. When did you know that you wanted to become a stylist?

A. When I was young, probably 8 or so. I loved playing with hair: my dolls, the neighborhood girls—any hair I could get my hands in made me happy.

Q. Who and/or what inspires you?

A. I respect any and every trending colorist! With the massive audience of social media today, it takes something truly special to go “viral.” The competition is fierce, but I love that it is!

Q. Describe your general career path.

A. I worked as a booth renter for the first seven years of my career and then started my own salon. I’ve yet to look back! Ownership has its challenges, but I stay focused on my future and less on the daily struggles.

Q. What do you love most about working in the salon and/or beauty industry?

A. I love fearless clients—people who are willing to try a completely different look and style and refuse to be kept in a box because of their age or some other factor.

Q. Describe the most thrilling moment of your career.

A. Opening our current salon location! I was able to design every aspect of it from the ground up. Seeing all the years of hard work come to fruition in the perfect location. Every piece fell into place, right down to the staff.

Q. What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

A. Changing people’s opinion of themselves through our industry. With our support and knowledge, we can highlight the best of our clients’ features and help them see that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Q. The least?

A. The grueling hours it takes to be successful. No success comes overnight. I spent a lot of time away from family and friends and missed a lot of events because of my job. But it’s a choice I would make again … and again.

Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?

A. I see my career as an educator advancing with Keratin Complex and I’d like to open a second location!

Q. In 10 years or longer?

A. In 10 years, I hope to see myself with a less active role behind the chair, continuing training and teaching others, all while managing my salon franchise. (A girl has to dream big!)

Alisa Element SalonAlisa does makeup for a member of a bridal party being styled at the salon.

Q&A with Alisa Piatt: Her advice

Q. Describe some of the best and worst decisions you made during the course of your career.

A. I learned very early in my career that I was 150% responsible for my success. You get out of this business what you put into it. I work very hard and I like to believe that my life is a reflection of that effort. I enjoy my free time and do the things that make me happy!

The worst decisions I’ve ever made were when I went against my gut. Intuition is real! Every time I argued my gut, it turned into an expensive lesson!

Q. If you got a do-over, would you do anything differently?

A. I would move to another state! I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest about six years ago. But my business and personal life are so very established, I can’t imagine relocating now.

Q. Have you had mentors? If so, who?

A. One of the first salon owners I ever worked for, Dana Shipp. She had so much valuable behind-the-chair knowledge; it really helped me build my business to learn from her mistakes.

Q. What was the best advice you ever received?

A. Don’t start any habits or hours that you don’t plan on continuing throughout your career. I didn’t necessarily follow that wisdom, but when I changed my availability a few years ago, I was met with resistance from a lot of clients. I had been very accommodating for a long time with my schedule, but it didn’t allow me a lot of free time. I found myself burning out. Most of my clients understood, although there were some that didn’t. But I didn’t take it personally!

Q. What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the industry?

A. And that is what I would tell a new stylist: Don’t take things personally! This business is tough. It takes time to get where you’re going. Be patient with yourself and don’t give up—you’re worth it!

Q. Are there any trends you predict for the future of the salon and/or beauty industry?

A. I see the texture trend continuing and the curls getting a little less loose. I don’t think the vibrancy in color is going anywhere, which excites me: I love seeing all the hues in beauty and fashion!

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

A. Be yourself! You will attract the clientele that will fit your style and talents. Be your own light and shine, baby!