Hi! I'm Stephanie, a passionate stylist and business-woman of Kemptville.
It was while I was attending Carleton University in 2003/2004 that it became clear to me that I needed to be working with people. I wanted to work with people in a way that didn’t allow for many boundaries, where I could make a difference in those lives I came across.
I was all of 15 years old when I met my soon-to-be mentor, Julia, who would remain a dear friend and confidant until this very day. I found myself on the doorstep to her salon often in the coming years and, by the time I was 19, I made the big (and surprising) decision to leave behind my university studies to focus on hairstyling at Versailles Academy in Ottawa.
I had never assumed I had any special talent when it came to hair. After all, my first love at the time was teaching hence my post-secondary path. Over time I have discovered that my career in hairstyling and owning my own salon has provided me with endless opportunities to enjoy both doing, and teaching hair! It has also provided me with endless learning opportunities over the years; whether it be from famous hair gurus, fellow stylists or those who simply "have a seat" in my chair...... the learning never ends.
I have studied hair and taught hair. I have reviewed curriculum, and collaborated on published work. I’ve been to every wedding venue in the land, and spent many 12-hour days standing in one spot. Together with my clients, I have laughed till it hurts, and cried some days too.
If you would have told me five years ago that I would have chosen to open a ‘brick and mortar’ salon and staffing several stylists, I likely would have laughed. In fact, I know I would have! My goals never included running the biggest salon in town, or to compete for the biggest clientele. I did quickly become addicted to the feeling I had behind the chair though, and that started in my first salon - my dining room. What started out as a ‘side-gig’ for a first-time mom, soon found me searching for a bigger space, soon to be found in our second home. This new space would allow for two chairs, one sink, and the beginning of something great. Within four short years, I would be faced with a choice; start turning people down, or grow.... With little space to expand at home, pressure from a good friend and a significant amount of vintage red, I became the new tenant of 201 Prescott Street. This was the birth of Richardson Hair Design and Kemptville would see its first AVEDA exclusive salon.
Like anything else, this came with its own set of challenges. Living in a more rural area staffing would always pose a challenge, and so you can imagine how thrilled I was to have found senior stylist and Aveda specialist Melanie Leaky early on in my planning stages. Mel has been with me since the planning phases of what is now our home away from home. Not only is she a dedicated, talented stylist but she offers this calming sense of humor to everyone in her chair.
Angeline, another wealth of talent behind the chair, came to me two years ago in search of work closer to home. I had no idea at the time but she would soon become my partner in crime tackling dozens of on-location weddings per season. Again, I find myself lucky to be surrounded by this
accomplished stylist who has challenged and taught me along the way. Additionally, Tara Shaw soon joined our hair family, bringing experience and raw ability to each client she sees. With strong connections to this community Tara was quickly welcomed and sought out! We also have recently welcomed Chantal to the RHD family, knowing that with her positive, team-player attitude she too would be a great fit! And holding this tiny ship together are Kayla and Abby; our assistants/apprentices. Not to be taken for granted, these two are the hard-drive, the heart and soul, of the salon. As first point of contact to our clients these two really do take care of us all.
I don’t doubt as time passes, we will add to our team, and to our client list too, because we recognize that hair is often secondary to what really happens in that magic chair. We are working together to bring out the beauty and confidence in everyone we meet. Once in a while you see it, the face of your client light-up when they see what you’ve seen all along. After all...
“The meaning life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away!"