July 29, 2019

I Want to go to Trade School

Deciding your future can be tough.  Especially when you’re young. There are so many options, so many schools to choose from.  And from that vantage point, decisions can feel quite overwhelming.  I had the opportunity to talk with one of our Aveda Institute alumni about her road to trade school.

When it comes to college, a four-year degree seems like the obvious choice.  Family members and significant others like the idea, too. Because in the end, you’re going to have a degree that will help open doors.   But what if you already knew what door to open?  What if there was a place that literally handed you the key to that door?

Katelyn Sexton is an alumnus of the Aveda Institute Des Moines.  But before that, she attended and graduated from a 4-year university. Ironically, she always knew that cosmetology was the right path for her but when she told her family, they thought she was too smart for beauty school, that her smarts should propel her to a career that aligned more with her test scores.  But what about her dreams? Her ambitions and her passions? She did what any normal kid would do, she abided, she went to college for four years and got a great education.  But something felt absent. She wasn’t doing the thing she wanted to do most.  With the financial collapse and the recession still looming in the late 2000s, job prospects were few and far between. That was the final push that propelled Katelyn toward the future she always wanted.  She enrolled at the Aveda Institute Des Moines shortly after receiving her 4-year degree, and never looked back.

Cosmetology school was everything she thought it would be, “Some of the friendships I made at the Aveda Institute Des Moines are still so strong. Our class was extremely fortunate because we earned a trip to New York City to partake in classes at the advanced academy. Everything about school was great.”

Katelyn graduated in 2012 and went on to help open multiple salons in both Missouri and Iowa. She recently made the move back to Des Moines where she is killing her game behind the chair.

Because of how relational this industry is, I had to ask about some of her favorite memories from behind the chair. Her recounts were equally hilarious and heart-warming. “I’ve had some memorable clients over the years; some funny (hello… adult film industry award nominee), some somber-like when a client broke down and told me her husband was dying.” Katelyn goes on to add, “the majority of the memories and experiences have been incredible-especially when a client, whose hair I did that day, got engaged THAT NIGHT!  Only because of her new do, OBVI!” 🙂

Her advice to students considering a career in the beauty industry…”DO IT! But be prepared to work really hard, money won’t be flowing in the beginning. Put in hard work and the time and you’ll soon enjoy the fruits of your labor. This industry is amazing and please keep up with new trends and educate, educate, educate, yourself! No one will be able to stop you.”

The Aveda Institute Des Moines changed Katelyn’s life and since becoming a licensed cosmetologist, she’s had the chance to return the favor. ‘The look on someone’s face when you give them a transformation and they smile, it’s a feeling I’ll never ever get over. We really do change lives. Yes, it is just hair, but having someone in your chair gives us a lot of power as to how they view themselves.”

Your passion and your dreams do not have a shelf life, Katelyn’s didn’t.  She’s doing what she always wanted to do. Just like all of us, our dreams can become stagnant and unwavering, but sometimes, sometimes all we need is a little push.

Follow Katelyn’s hair journey @hairxkatelyn

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Taylor Anderson
3 years ago

I like how you mentioned that Katelyn was enjoyed doing beauty school more than getting her degree. I’ve been in college for a few years, but I don’t know what I’m doing, and I don’t really like it. Thanks for the great story about trade school being an option.

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