For this month’s I Am Movement Interview Series, PBA talked to member Kollan Kolthoff, from Des Moines, Iowa. As a cosmetology student, Kollan’s point of view provides a unique glimpse into the mind of a professional-in-training. He understands first-hand just how much time and dedication goes into preparing to become a licensed stylist. Kollan will soon leave school with the valuable tools, training, and experience to jump-start a long and successful career.
Why did you decide to start cosmetology school?
I went to a traditional 2 year college, got my degree, and spent some time in the workforce. I wasn’t truly happy and needed to follow my true passion, something that had been with me all my life: hair, makeup, and beauty.
What has been the most important part of your school experience?
I think one of the most important things about my education, even just as important as the technical aspect, are the educators. What’s great about The Aveda Institute-Des Moines, IA, is that they continually push students outside of their comfort zone, encourage us to express ourselves through our work. School has led me to many great experiences, learning opportunities, and has given me the chance to develop myself and my skill set professionally and technically.
What are you learning about the health and safety aspects of pursuing a cosmetology career?
The health and safety of our clients should be a top priority. We deal with chemicals on a daily basis and knowing how to properly apply them is absolutely vital. It is also important that we protect ourselves from disease and these chemicals as well.
What advice can you provide others looking to attend cosmetology school and eventually begin their careers?
While attending the Beacon program in Las Vegas, Larry Curtis, owner of the Taylor Andrews Academy in Utah, said “It’s not how good you are… it’s how good you want to be.” This industry is one of the most rewarding industries in the world and gives us the chance to touch people, touch their lives, and touch their hearts. Schooling and licensing open countless doors to you, so follow your heart and enjoy the ride!
Why is it important to be a licensed professional?
It’s extremely important to be licensed because it shows that you have met the minimum requirements for sanitation, state law, and national law. The minimum requirements that each of us go through to get our license are only the tip of the iceberg, but it is a very important stepping stone into the industry. I am proud of my future license, just as I am proud that I am able to tell everybody in my life that I am a hairstylist and I am a success!
“Schooling and licensing open countless doors to you, so follow your heart and enjoy the ride!” - Kollan Kolthoff
What would the industry look like if licenses were taken away?
The industry would fall apart because anyone would be able to work on hair and open a salon. It would also damage the integrity that our industry has built. Minimum requirements and regulations to get your license, as well as continuing education, are very important to this industry because it protects the consumer. Trends change, information changes, and it is up to us to maintain the standard.
Why do you think it’s important for your clients to know you are licensed (and proud to be)?
The importance of a license is equal to the importance of proper sanitation and shows your clients that you have met the minimum requirements in your state to provide them with services. Would a client feel that you were trustworthy or even safe if the state licensing wasn’t there? Probably not.
What is your favorite thing about working in the beauty industry?
That we are in an industry where we get to touch people. We not only touch their hair, but we also get a unique opportunity to touch their hearts. We are in a position where we get to impact the lives of our clients and we can change their lives just by doing our job.
It’s a privilege to have students like Kollan pave the way for our future industry professionals!
Head over to change.org to sign a petition started by Kollan to protect his state’s licensing and regulation.
For more information on the I Am a Professional. I Am Licensed Movement, please visit probeauty.org/iam. Take a look at last month’s interview with movement member Candice HERE. If you’re an existing movement member and you’d like your story featured in the PBA Blog, click here.
You’ve worked hard for your career, obtained your licensed, and joined the movement–now spread the word! Educate your clients, friends, and encourage fellow licensed stylists to join. Follow the official I Am a Professional. I Am Licensed Instagram account for news and featured photos from fellow members. PBA knows that as a professional, you take pride in your work space. As a member of the movement, your window cling is prominently displayed in your work space, and we’d love to see it. Post it to Instagram and using the hashtag #IAMLICENSED and we’ll feature your image on our feed! Also, be sure to like The Professional Beauty Association on Facebook and stay up to date on all I Am Movement and industry happenings.