Where did you get the inspiration to do hair?
So my name is Kelli Ciera. The name of the business Dear Madame CJ Walker, LTD. I’m a fourth generation cosmetologist, my great grandmother and grandfather, my mother and father, were all cosmetologists. It was something I tried to avoid, but I really couldn’t shake it off. So once I turned 18, I started doing hair at the salon.
Where did you the get the inspiration for the name Madame CJ Walker?
I wanted something bigger than myself. Madame CJ Walker is an inspiration to me. She was the first self-made African-American, female millionaire and she lived right here in Colorado.
What are some successes or things you’ve been excited about since starting your business?
We are huge on preserving the integrity of your natural hair, but that doesn’t mean just natural styles. We have somebody here that can cater to a little bit of everything-natural hair, braids, locks, relaxers-we have a stylist who can do it. We’re trying to expand, not just hairstyles but other stylists who are going through the journey of Cosmetology. Once you get out of school, it’s tough to find a position, so we bring graduates here, then train them to start their own business. It’s unrealistic to think the stylists who work in my shop will work at my shop forever. So we teach them how to market, brand, and build an empire. So no matter where they go, they’ll be able to rebuild clientele, because they’ve already been successful doing it. I also enjoy teaching ladies how to take care of their hair. It’s dry in Colorado, so there are specific things we need to do to have healthy hair. So being able to tell clients what products to consider using to figure out what works versus what looks good is also exciting for me.
Can you tell us a little about Colorado’s hair culture?
Colorado is a little slower, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it gives you the room to hone in on your craft and grow without the pressure of trying to compete in the industry itself. We can pay attention and cater to a client’s individual needs well.
What is your specialty when it comes to hair?
I’m still trying to target a specialty because I do a little bit of everything. I’m known most for seamless sew-ins and the silk press, but I’m still trying to figure out just what my thing is. I love the industry, period. As I become more of a veteran in the game, I’m starting to like working with natural hair more.
What are some valuable hair care tips?
Your real hair is something that is never going to go out of style. When it comes to extension services and other services that come and go, it’s all a little trendy. The one thing that remains constant is healthy hair; sometimes extensions can help protect hair. So if I’m constantly working to treat your hair, it makes the need for extensions optional, everybody can benefit from the use of extensions.
What are the top three tips you would give when it comes to caring for natural hair?
Consistency with moisture, especially here in Colorado Springs as the climate is extremely dry. A lot of times the damage we think we see in our hair is a need for moisture. Realizing the balance between moisture and protein is essential. You have to pay attention to your hair. Whatever you’re doing to care for your hair, make sure you’re doing it consistently. If you can’t keep up the consistency, then make sure you find a hair stylist that knows your hair.