In order to be a successful salon that caters to a large clientele in a bustling Chicago neighborhood like Bucktown, you need a talented and dedicated salon team. The staff at Karen Marie Salon (KMS) is more than just a team that works well with each other and one that is passionately staying true to the KMS Mission Statement. These six women (and one charming young man) each has a story; something unique, humorous or insightful.
Here are their stories…
Ian Ferguson: Front Desk
“I grew up in Indiana and have lived in Chicago now for about 2 ½ – 3 years. I moved here after I graduated from Purdue where I received a Bachelor Degree in Philosophy and a Masters Degree in Communications. I’ve worked here at KMS now for about three months. I got the job here because my friend Mallory works here as the salon’s apprentice. What’s funny is that Mallory and I grew up a block and a half away from each other in the same town in Indiana. We even went to the same school and had never talked. Once we found out that we both had similar interests, we became friends.
I never thought I would be in the beauty industry as a direct route, but I’ve always been really interested in it, especially when a friend of mine started cutting hair. She once said something that was really interesting to me. ‘Think of your hair as a timeline. This part has been with you when you were with your ex-boyfriend, and this part has been with you for another moment in your life.’
I found that to be fascinating to give your hair that kind of value. You don’t really think about your hair in that perspective.”
Jaci Herrera: Stylist/Colorist
“In my spare time, I like to make these scissor cases. I went to the beauty show one year looking for a new case and they were all so ugly, a LOT of black pleather, so I started looking at how they were constructed and I thought to myself, ‘I can so make these.’ I went and got some really creative fabric and made one, brought it to the salon the next day and everyone was like, ‘I want one!’ I make three different sizes that can hold shears or makeup brushes. I call them Headcase.”
Angie Growchowski: Stylist/Colorist
“I was born and raised here in Chicago and never left, even though I wanted to. I wanted to go to New York and do hair there, but I fell in love. So yeah, I stayed in Chicago for love. And even though I’m no longer in love with that person, I love that I never left Chicago. I got in the industry working at Mario Tricoci’s as a receptionist and they were the ones who sent me to attend cosmetology school. I always wanted to be in the beauty industry, even before working at Tricoci’s. When I was a kid, I was always giving my day camp counselors manicures and braiding their hair. Even the camp bus driver used to come to me to give her a manicure. I was probably 9 years old when I was doing that.”
Jessica McClanahan: Stylist/Colorist
“If I had to define my personal style in only three words it would be…witches & cat hair. It’s because I like capes and I always have cat hair on me. And lipstick. There’s always lipstick on everything of mine. If I wasn’t a hairdresser and in the beauty industry I would be an interior decorator. I love decorating houses. I’m really into furniture, like mid-century and Victorian. I live in a big old house and go antiquing a lot. I used to work at a salon down the street and would always walk past here [Karen Marie Salon] to go to the taco place next door. The furniture in here drew me in and it’s what made me want to work here.”
Kelly Jost: Stylist/Colorist
“When I was in high school I decided that I wanted to go to beauty school. I thought I was going to go to art school but realized college wasn’t necessarily what I wanted to do. I knew that I could be creative doing hair and that’s when it hit me that I didn’t have to go to college to find a creative outlet. I’ve been working here for about two years now, and prior to that I was working for a Sassoon salon and wanted a change. I went on Craigslist and saw that Karen Marie Salon was hiring. I looked at the website and drove past the space and I was really impressed. Everything was very welcoming and it was exactly what I was looking for. The biggest thing that I try to bring into the salon with my Sassoon training is the precision technique. I like to create a shape that will last that you can apply any style to it afterward, especially something that the client can create on their own.”
Mallory Thomas: Salon Apprentice
“I graduated cosmetology school January 21, 2015. My favorite thing about being in this industry is working with great people, making lasting relationships and, more importantly, making people feel good. You also get the opportunity to really use a lot of your creativity.
One of the most memorable client interactions I’ve had was with a friend of mine. During a 4+ hour bleach and tone, I said to her, ‘Lately I just feel like I’m falling into things. Not even really making choices and just falling into my life.’ She said to me, ‘Have you ever thought about trying to live more intentionally?’ ‘Am I being intentional with everything I’m doing,’ is something I ask myself every single day. I get bummed out when I’m not, especially when I’ve spent the whole day watching Netflix in my room.”
Tara Bomba: Stylist/Colorist
I got kicked out of beauty school the first time because I was playing in a band and was just never showing up. But then I enrolled in another school, got focused and finished. I’ve lived in Chicago now for 12 years and I moved here out of curiosity because I wanted to get out of Saginaw, Michigan where I’m originally from. I had just started doing hair right before I moved and I was open to whatever. I really fell in love with the city and stayed. I’ve been working here at KMS since September of 2015 and I’m one of the newest staff members. Karen Marie is great. She’s really active in the community and really supportive of the other business in the area. And the staff here is very welcoming and kind. It’s truly a great place to work. This? Oh this my matcha. It’s my green tea matcha and I drink it daily.”