“The full look” is my monthly post about the person or people I profiled in my monthly email, redshoes news. In each issue, subscribers get a “‘Sneak’ peek” at someone I think is doing cool things. Below is the entire interview. To subscribe to redshoes news, click here. Thanks for reading!
I met Heather while working at LifeTime Athletic, and later took one of her always-packed fitness classes. I love her style of teaching—she’s casual, funny, and motivating—and how hard she pushes us. Heather is doing some rad things in the fitness industry, including making some new videos and tutorials for her website. I’m excited to introduce you to this inspiring spark plug!
Hey Heather! Tell us about you.
I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, met my husband at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and then moved to Chicago. We now live with our two kids in Minneapolis.
At the University of Michigan, I received a BFA in Dance. I’ve danced since the age of 2, so this was a natural path for me. Upon graduating, I danced a bit professionally, worked as a recruiter, was a paralegal, went to law school for a year…. But while I worked at all of those different jobs, I always taught fitness classes at Crunch and Equinox. Teaching was a side gig, but it always kept me creative, healthy, and happy.
What classes do you teach and where?
I teach Cardio Kickboxing, Barre, Total Body Conditioning, Hot Yoga Sculpt, Core Conditioning, and a combination of everything. Currently, I teach at LifeTime Athletic, Athleta, Lululemon, and area high schools for special events.
You have Type 1 diabetes. Will you tell us about that?
Near the end of my senior year at college, I was experiencing the typical diabetic symptoms—extreme thirst, lethargy, frequent urination, and blurred vision. After a couple of weeks like this, I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was December of 2000. I use an insulin pump to better control my blood sugar levels. It’s a constant struggle and some days are more difficult than others. But in all honesty, I feel fortunate to have a condition that I can (somewhat) control.
How did you get into teaching group fitness?
I’ve been teaching fitness for 13 years. In Chicago, I took a Cardio Kickboxing class (it was my first group fitness class) and the instructor asked me after class if she could train me to teach. It seemed like a fun challenge, so I accepted. I will never forget how much I practiced in front of my closet mirror in my tiny bedroom apartment. My poor roommate probably had nightmares of me counting to eight! Getting into fitness was not a deliberate thing, but in retrospect it was a very natural step for me.
What motivates you to do what you do?
My family motivates me daily—I want to be a good role model to my children. They need to see me be passionate about life, work. And with work they see me taking care of my health. I want them to understand that success isn’t measured by money or stature, but more by what good you are doing in the present and for those around you. My husband motivates me to be the best me I can be and to simply focus on that. He reminds me daily that I am enough, and that I have a responsibility to shine. My students, both in person and those that work out with me through video, motivate and inspire me. Their stories, struggles, triumphs, insecurities, honesty, and feedback make me a better instructor every day.
Challenge is a huge motivator for me. If you tell me it’s not possible, I’ll prove you wrong.
Who’s helped you succeed as a fitness professional?
Katie Haggerty, a fitness leader at LifeTime, has been a mentor to me ever since I moved to Minneapolis. She pushed me outside of my comfort zone and into teaching formats that were new to me. Katie is always challenging me to learn more, share my knowledge with as many people as possible, and never doubt my passion. I would not be where I am today without Katie.
Can you tell us about your fitness videos?
Getting involved with fitness videos was also an organic process that I had not planned. It started when I filmed a couple of fitness videos with LifeTime, then flowed into filming with Fitness on Request, a kiosk-based group fitness program. Soon after that, my other mentor, Patrick Goudeau, called me from L.A. to choreograph and shoot a video with him. He started a series called “Patrick Presents” as a way of endorsing and introducing new faces to the fitness industry. Patrick flew me to L.A. to film Kickbox Burn, and we spent last year presenting at fitness conferences. In retrospect, filming fitness videos totally makes sense for me because it’s consistent with my mission to inspire others through fitness to love their bodies today.
What’s in the near future for you and Heather C Fitness?
In terms of videos, I am currently working on some quick cardio and strength workouts (no equipment needed) that my peeps can download from my website. It’s so exciting to share these workouts because they are actually what I do at home when I can’t get to the gym! I’m also working on filming another cardio kickboxing DVD.
This year I’ve also started training instructors as a Master Instructor at LifeTime, and will also be presenting at conferences.
What would you like to do even further down the road?
It’s funny—with most things in my life, I look ahead and have a plan. With fitness, I’ve really found that I’m best if I just focus on my mission, my students, and my projects. When I am truly in the moment is when new opportunities pop up and the next challenge begins.
Where can people find out more about you or connect with you?
My DVD and future workouts can be found on my website, www.heathercfitnes.com. Class schedules and special events are posted weekly on my Facebook page.
Some of my favorite local small businesses share what they do in this annual Holiday Gift Guide. You can contact the artists and designers directly for more info on them or their work. Enjoy, and thanks for shopping local!
SAIREY GERNES // SGDSTYLE
What: Irely Intimate Apparel is my line of comfortable and pretty knickers with a patented pocket that they roll into, and TowelTopper is a band I designed that wraps around your towel, which secures it to your body.
Online: www.shopirely.com, mytoweltopper.com
Exclusive: Receive 10% off your entire order by entering the code redshoes13 at checkout.
EMILY GRAY KOEHLER – PRINTMAKER
What: Hand-pulled color-reduction woodcuts of the natural world, with an emphasis on the complex nature of human relationships with the environment.
Where: My studio, located at 2168 Third St., Suite 2A, in White Bear Lake, MN. I’ll be hosting some events next month, including the White Bear Lake Holiday Open House on Nov. 7, and the Small Business Saturday Studio Sale from 10-4 on Nov. 30. Visit a working artist studio for handmade holiday gifts, woodcuts, and refreshments.
EMMA HOLCOMB & SARAH MCARDLE // MAI
What: Fashion-forward yoga and activewear/lifestyle apparel that’s perfect for making the transition from the studio to dinner with friends. Our garments are made in St. Paul, MN, and our mantra is “I AM enough.” We believe that who you are is exactly who you should be. We recognize the importance of challenging yourself to become the best you possible, but feel that at the end of the day, it is loving yourself, as you are, that can bring you the most peace.
Online: www.fashionbyMAI.com, etsy.com/shop/MAIyoga
Exclusive: Receive $10 off your first order by using the code RedShoes at checkout in either of the online shops listed above. Offer ends Nov. 11, 2013.
KARIN JACOBSON DESIGN
What: My modern jewelry designs are beautiful and affordable. I use ethically sourced materials whenever possible.
Where: Studio #288 in the Northrup King Building, which will be open during Art Attack from Nov. 1-3. You can also find a list of local shops on my website.
Exclusive: Receive 10% off of in-stock merchandise by letting me know you read about it in redshoes news.
CHRISTY JOHNSON // REDSHOES26
What: State Icons, which are digital illustrations in handmade frames, and mini State Icon ornaments, which are even smaller State Icons in tiny metal canisters with glass lids. They are adorned with sparkly wreaths and ribbon. Aww.
Where: At various art and craft shows nationwide, plus at 19 shops, boutiques, and galleries in the U.S. A list can be found on the Contact page of my website.
Exclusive: Purchase three or more State Icon illustrations in the month of November 2013 and receive a free mini State Icon ornament. Just mention you saw this deal in redshoes news, and tell me which State Icon you’d like in your ornament.
MARY OLSON // MARY OLSON ART
What: Oil and acrylic abstract paintings; mixed-media collage; and one-of-a-kind, handwoven items.
Where: The Orchard Art House in Excelsior, MN, which is open Thursday nights in December for a Holiday Bazaar. My new original framed collages on wood, made from torn sketchbook pages and other paper mixed media, will be available, as will colorful, handwoven, full-sized blankets.
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I thought I knew what “mountain biking” was before I met Nick Ice, but boy was I wrong. Turns out, mountain biking, or downhill biking, or any kind of biking other than the road biking I was familiar with, means you’re a crazy person who hurls him or herself down hills and off jumps, teeters on balance beam-like rails, navigates rocky terrain, and lots, lots more—all on two wheels. Here, the computer programmer by day, adrenaline junkie by night/weekend talks about this “extreme” biking and the trails these guys and girls ride on.
Hey Nick! Tell us about you.
I started my schooling at Dunwoody College of Technology studying Architecture, but when I realized I loved building homes more that designing them, I lost the passion. Later, I took a Computer Programming class at the University of Minnesota and loved it, so I transferred to Brown College. I graduated from there in 2003.
How did you get into biking?
Growing up, I was always on my bike with my friends, building sketchy ramps or jumping stairs, destroying our “awesome” Wal-Mart bikes. I got my first real mountain bike at 13, and my friends and I spent a lot of time in Indian Heights in Rochester, MN, which featured rogue trails in the woods that seemed to change daily. There were a lot of good times had in those woods with friends, painful crashes and all. Then I got a car and started school, and kind of forgot about biking for many years.
In 2008 my friend Curt and I decided to go out mountain biking one day, but I realized my 1993 Giant Rincon was in non-working order. So I went to craigslist and found a nice Specialized Hard Rock, and we went out the next day, with no helmets, of course (I never ride without one now).
Since that day in 2008, I haven’t stopped biking. Today I have five bikes, and each serves a specific type of riding.
How did you get into trail building?
After I fell back in love with biking, I joined the bike club Minnesota Off Road Cyclist (MORC) and saw they did trail work every week on my local trail, Battle Creek. I thought, “What better way to meet some new people and help build trails?” Plus, I wanted to see more jumps and advanced trails, so instead of complaining about it I grabbed a shovel and worked with the trail crew to build new trails and features.
Last year the crew at Battle Creek asked me to be one of the Dirt Bosses since I was out there on non-organized trail days digging and building new stuff. It was kind of a, “We can’t control you, so we might as well promote you.” That, and it allows me to be out there with chainsaws and other equipment whenever they need me.
What goes into building a trail?
The first step is to scout an area you’d like to build a trail or add on to an existing trail. Then you work with the City to get approval, as the majority of trails in the Metro are in county or state parks. After that, you “flag the trail,” or walk the area and flag or tape it to show where you want it to be. Once flagged, it usually has to be looked at by the City/County/State for final approval. After approval you can start cutting the corridor, which is the process of clearing any brush, leaves, and trees (we never remove trees, unless absolutely necessary). The corridor is usually about 5–8 feet wide, depending on the type of trail you’re building. Most single track bike trails are built to about 24–36 inches and over time narrow to 12–18 inches once grass or shrubs grow back in.
Once there’s a corridor cut, you cut the actual trail tread. Depending on the terrain and the City/County you’re in, it’s either done by hand or by machine. The cut trail gets a final finishing, and then features are added.
Two of the best tools are another person’s opinions and eyes. Having multiple people flag and help with the design and features is key. You may miss a creative line, or an issue you don’t see right away. Plus, it’s fun to see others’ visions and learn from each other.
What kinds of trails are there?
There are a bunch of styles, but here are the typical ones:
• Single-track – The most common trails in the Twin Cities, these are used for mountain biking and range from easy to advanced. They’re usually one-ways and 18–24 inches wide.
• Multi-use – Trails used by bikers, hikers, trail runners, and sometimes horse riders. They’re a great use for small areas.
• Downhill (DH) – My favorite style of trail to ride and build. These go down the side of a hill/mountain and can include jumps, drops, rocky sections, doubles, berms, and skinnies.
• Dirt jumps – Jumps that a lot of times are doubles because only hand tools were available to build with, not machinery. They’re usually sculpted better than most people’s lawns. The builders take pride in nice looking jumps. I love it.
• Pump tracks – Usually 24 inches wide or so, and meant to be ridden around with no pedaling, mainly pumping through rollers and bermed corners (a roller is a mound of dirt in a half-oval shape you can pump to keep speed on a trail).
• Flow – Think of these as pump tracks that go downhill. Usually a beginner/intermediate trail with flowing berms, rollers, and smaller jumps. Beginners should be able to ride them, but they allow advanced riders to find creative lines and ride fast.
• 4X – Courses in which four people at a time race down a trail to cross the [finish] line first. We just built one in Cottage Grove, MN.
• Slopestyle – These vary a lot and usually consist of a combination of drops, jumps, hips, and berms. The best example is Crankworx.
What trails have you worked on?
I started at Battle Creek, but then I saw there were a bunch of guys building a downhill trail in Red Wing, MN, with plans to host races on it. I went to their first race, and after that I helped them anytime they headed down. Now there’s a flowy freeride trail at Memorial Park in Red Wing that has some really fun tables, step downs, doubles, and berms. (The best part about building that trail is now I have some of the best friends I could ask for, and I’ve taken lots of biking trips with them out West. We’ll be friends for life.)
After that there was an opportunity to build and hold races at Giants Ridge Ski Resort in Biwabik, MN. We spent many weekends up there laying out and building a new downhill trail. It had the best terrain for this type of trail: It was very rocky and offered lots of natural technical sections. After a ton of hours, we had a legitimate downhill trail that was excellent for hosting downhill races on.
Next, we rebuilt the old dirt jumps and pump track in Eagan, MN, at Lexington. With the help of a mini excavator and skid steer, plus countless hours of shaping, we completed three new pump tracks and a line of dirt jumps. The next summer we came back and modified some of the pump tracks, worked on drainage, and continued to add more jumps.
Last year, downhill bikers in Minnesota got the best news we could hope for: Spirit Mountain in Duluth was going to build downhill trails and run the lifts. Lucky me, MORC was sending a group of Dirt Bosses up there to take part in a Flow Trail school taught by Trail Solutions. I got to spend two days working with professional trail builders, learning how to design and lay out flow trail. It was a great experience, and after the class I went to Duluth multiple times to help the guys finish building the flow trail. As it stands, Spirit Mountain has four trails and runs the lifts Thursday through Sunday. The plan is to have 10–12 trails there. I’m hoping to help build more.
This summer there was an International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) trail day held at Salem Hills bike trail in Inver Grove Heights, MN. Trail days are for people who are interested in learning what goes into building/maintaining bike trails. We showed about 100 people how to fix erosion issues, and the proper ways to build trails.
The latest project is in Cottage Grove, MN. Our friend Chance worked with the City and got the OK to build a bike park there. It includes a 4X course, dirt jumps, and pump tracks. For this project, shovels weren’t going to cut it, so we brought in the big guns: bulldozers, excavators, and skid steers. The 4X course consists of jumps, drops, massive berms, rollers, and space for four racers on the track at a time. In five weeks or so, the course was completed, and there was a party/fundraiser earlier this month to raise money to complete the park. You can look for some additions in the next week or two.
Where do you get ideas for trails?
A lot of times the terrain will give you ideas on how it wants to be sculpted. You may also be riding a trail and like a feature or section of trail, and realize you have an area that would allow you to build something like it, or it at least inspires you for a section. Your fellow trail builders are a great place to get ideas. Like I mentioned before, a group of riders can often make a great piece of trail.
Where are some of your favorites to ride?
Here comes the cliché answer of Whistler Mountain Bike Park in British Columbia. But it truly is the mecca for DH riding. It consists of more than 50 lift-assisted trails with enough variety in terrain and features that you never get bored. It will eat your bike, but man is it worth it. I’ve been lucky to spend nine days there with a great group, and had as much fun as possible on two wheels. I will be back.
Locally, my favorite trail is Battle Creek, partly because it’s my home trail and I dig there, but I feel it has some of the best terrain in the Twin Cities. It’s a great mix of old- and new-style trails. You have the fun, flowy sections, then there are the rutted, rooty, eroded sections that you just don’t see anymore.
My new love has been Spirit Mountain. They’ve gotten off to a great start up there, and with the master plan, plus a Mayor and community behind them, I see it developing into a great bike destination.
What are your future trail building plans?
There have been talks to work at Battle Creek on a couple sections with some machinery, and I would love to get back up to Spirit and help them out.
I’m also taking part in a class with IMBA this weekend on building pump tracks. We’re going to be building a pump track at the Cottage Grove bike park.
Where would you love to build a trail?
I’d like to build a true double black diamond DH trail at Spirit that could be used for hosting races. The nice thing about race courses is you have to change them slightly every year to make them new and fresh. It’s a fun challenge to see how you can change or add to a trail without killing the flow.
What do you wish more people knew about biking?
Lately while commuting to work I’ve noticed how many people are not properly fitted for their bike. I [wish everyone would] at least get their seat elevated to a proper height. I suggest popping into your local bike shop and asking them about getting fitted. Your legs and back will thank you.
Also, I’ve found a lot of people think bike trails are built and maintained by the City, but that isn’t the case. Most of the time—if not all the time—the work is done by the volunteers of the local bike clubs. One thing I’m not a fan of is armchair trail builders. They think they know more and complain about the trails, but they’ve never once picked up a shovel or come out to a [volunteer] trail day. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting constructive criticism and ideas for trails. It’s how we learn. But trail builders get involved because we want to build trails we want to ride. So if you have an idea or concern, please let us know, but try to do so in a way in which we’ll actually want to listen.
How can people get involved?
The easiest is come out and help us dig. Each trail in the Metro has a specific build day each week (they can be found here). No experience is needed. We supply all the tools, teach the proper techniques, and answer questions.
Another option is to donate to MORC via IMBA. This money goes to buying tools, fixing tools, and renting machines. It also helps pay for permits, fees, and insurance as needed. If you’re out biking, hiking, and trail running, and see a trail crew out working, a “Thanks” or high five is always appreciated.
Can we see video of you riding?
Here are links to some videos I’ve taken over the years of the trails in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
• Happy Camper Trail
• Blaster to Smorgasbord Trails
• Upper section of Candy Land Trail
–Red Wing (I’m in the striped shirt)
–Mont Du Lac, WI (Brad Miller is building fun trails here as we speak)
What is your favorite pair of shoes?
It has to be my nasty, stinky FiveTenn Karver DH shoes. When I have these on, I know it’s gonna be a good day riding my bike with the crew.
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I haven’t known Ashley Kilcher long. The owner of the clothing, makeup, and home boutique Roe Wolfe in Minneapolis came as a guest to the HAMMS (Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed) Event this past April, and stopped by my booth. It was funny, because I had been thinking about contacting Roe Wolfe about possibly carrying my work, and there she was, handing me her business card because she wanted my State Icons in her boutique. It’s like she read my mind!
Since that time, my little illustrations have been a smash hit at Roe Wolfe, and through Nov. 1 you can actually find my entire collection—more than 100 State Icons—on the boutique’s gallery wall. Also in that short time, Ashley and I have become not only business partners, but friends. I got much more than I bargained for back in April, and I couldn’t be happier.
Hey Ashley! Tell us about you.
I’m a born and raised Minnesotan, and grew up just outside of the Twin Cities. One of my first jobs in high school was at a hair salon, and I had a manager there who, after work, taught me to cut hair. I went to college for a bit, then decided to go to beauty school. I went to Scot Lewis in Bloomington, and while I was there, I took some makeup workshops from James Ryder. I was invited to his intensive course in Los Angeles, and my love for makeup continued. I worked in a salon for short while after school, and then at MAC Cosmetics. I wanted to get into runway, so I answered an ad for a show. I emailed the lead, asking for an opportunity to assist.
After my husband and I had our first baby, I stayed home and continued to freelance for a few years. Most of my freelance work was in the fashion world, and two years ago, after collaborating with another artist, Roe Wolfe was born. [We opened the shop in Mendota Heights, and it] was a place to center my makeup work and love for fashion.
Tell us about Roe Wolfe.
We moved the boutique from Mendota Heights to Minneapolis this summer, and we’re loving the new location! It’s bigger, and has a brighter feeling. We love having a location where our clients can come in with or without an appointment to check out makeup and clothes. I think we took the best parts of a department store and the best parts of a boutique, and fit them in one place. We are only brick and mortar right now, but we would love to offer an online store in the future.
On the makeup side, we do applications and consultations in-store and on location. We do lots of bridal, corporate, and print work. Roe Wolfe is mostly staffed with makeup artists, and although we have some ladies that can assist, they don’t do full applications yet. Most of the time, if you’re looking to have your makeup done, you’ll be helped by Jacqueline or me. Jacqueline has been with Roe Wolfe from the start, and is an amazing artist.
The other main piece to the store is the clothing. I’ve always been into fashion, and love being able to share that through the store. My favorite brand is the Pendleton Portland Collection. It’s Pendleton’s contemporary brand, and the line is in its third season. The new fall items will be shipping into Roe Wolfe soon.
I’m also in love with the Chicago-based Henry & Belle denim. The jeans feel like butter, and the company gives part of each sale to charity. Roe Wolfe is hosting a Trunk Show with H&B on Aug. 29. Chelsea from zippedblog.com will be there from 4-7pm for a meet & greet and fashion advice. We’re donating 20% of all denim purchases to Make-a-Wish Minnesota.
We love to support local where we can as well. We carry local jewelry designers Via Patina, Larrissa Loden, and Realia by Jen. One great new feature at the store is the large art wall in the back. Every few months we ask an artist to come in and hang their pieces on the wall. [Editor’s note: For the next two months, it’s State Icons by redshoes26 on the wall!]
What’s the best part of being a small business owner?
For me, it’s meeting and networking with other small businesses. It’s so inspiring to hear their stories, as well as their struggles. There are so many great small businesses and brands in Minnesota, and so many are women-owned.
What’s the most challenging?
I think the hardest part is balancing mom-life and work-life. As an entrepreneur, I’m my own boss, but that also means I dedicate loads of time and energy to the store. I’m grateful my girls are proud of the store, and love to come hang out!
And now I have to ask, what are your favorite pair of shoes?
My favorite shoes are my Coclico booties. They have delicious wood soles, and are handmade in Spain. We’ll bring shoes back into Roe Wolfe later this fall, and I can’t wait! We have some cute booties on the way….
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I met Kathryn Hornick through my stylist of many years, Justine Hornick. Both sisters work for Root Salons, and both are incredibly talented. I’ve been a TrendVision model for each of them, most recently for Kathryn.
The younger part of this dynamic duo, Kathryn is so enthusiastic for her profession. Her creativity seems endless, and she’s not afraid to push boundaries. I admire her for that! Read on for more about this brilliant artist.
Hey Kathryn! Tell us about you.
I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was on the edge of town, surrounded by woods on one side and fields on the other. To this day, I first look to nature for inspiration. It’s hard not to when that’s all you really knew.
I started at Aveda Institute Minneapolis in September 2010 and graduated in June 2011. I skipped out of my graduation ceremony that July, when the rest of my classmates finished. Instead, I enrolled at Sassoon Academy Chicago for a four-week intensive program, and then I started working at Root. I’ve now been at Root for two years. I started in our St.Paul salon, assisting my sister, Justine, before assisting the owner, Jim Koktavy. I was an assistant in St. Paul until December 2011, then Root Salons opened its second location in the Linden Hills neighborhood in Minneapolis. I became the first assistant under Jim, and began building my clientele that month.
In what city do you live?
I reside in Minneapolis—I just became a new resident in Uptown, trying out “apartment life” on my own. Besides being a stylist at Root, I am a hostess at Jax Cafe (EDITOR’S NOTE: Beware of music on home page) on the rare days when I’m not traveling and working for Wella Professionals. I’m an Independent Contractor for Wella, and I’m hoping to get more into educating for the company, but as of now, I am assisting backstage at hair shows and events.
How’d you end up at Root?
I was a very fortunate person. Justine was Root’s first assistant when she started, so when I announced that I was also going into hair, Jim held out on hiring a new assistant until I was all done with my schooling. (Connections really are helpful.)
Tell us about your accomplishments.
Some of my accomplishments started when I was in beauty school. Under the mentorship of Justine, I entered America’s Beauty Show’s Student Competition in spring of 2011 under the Wella category. I had to choose a trend from one of the four categories and interpret it in my own way. I used my other sister, Stacey, as a model, and entered two weeks prior to the competition. I ended up being a finalist and competed live in Chicago. We took first place! From there I was able to compete in Wella’s national TrendVision competition in Los Angeles in September 2011. I was able to use the same model and trend, and we walked away with the bronze award.
In 2012, I became a part of Team I.C.A.N. We were a team of five and competed, being fueled by Sebastian, in Orlando, Florida, at BehindTheChair.com’s RAW competition. Competing against seven other manufactures in the U.S., we took first as the youngest, “rawest” team! It was probably one of the greatest experiences I have had thus far. I feel grateful for having been a part of it. As a team, we have had the awesome opportunity of being on two industry magazine covers, and being the featured spread in both (BehindTheChair.com Magazine and FirstChair.com Magazine).
Tell us about TrendVision.
TrendVision is a regional, national, and international competition that’s annually put on by Wella. There are four haute-couture trends released yearly for stylists to interpret in their own way. You choose a trend, find a model, create the look, and shoot with a photographer to submit a photo at the national level, with the hopes of becoming a finalist. You are judged on the overall look, but especially on the hair. If you win at the national level, you’re then a finalist for the international competition and compete against roughly 100 other countries. I was able to compete at the national level as a student, and took third place with the trend “Polaris” in 2011.
Who is your mentor?
I feel very fortunate to have known my mentor since birth! Justine took me under her wing ever since I announced that I planned to follow in her footsteps. It was very helpful to have her to go to, to compare experiences through beauty school, or swap inputs. I couldn’t ask for anyone better; someone who isn’t afraid to tell me how it is or push me past my limits.
Who in the industry do you admire?
Someone who I had admired since beauty school is Stephen Moody. He started his career following in his mother’s footsteps and trained with one of the greatest in the world, Vidal Sassoon. I first met Stephen when I won America’s Beauty Show Student Competition in 2011. I was so nervous and flabbergasted with how humble he was. I was able to take one of his last classes at Sassoon Academy before he left and became the Dean of Education for Wella. Now I get to work with and around Stephen at events for Wella, and I couldn’t feel any more blessed.
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I met Kendra of Ink Orchard at an art show (surprise, surprise!) several years ago and loved not only her work, but her outspoken personality. She’s a force to be reckoned with, and a tenacious business owner that I admire. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have over the years, and even more so during this interview!
Hey Kendra! Tell us about you.
I grew up north of Philadelphia, PA, and moved to Minnesota when I was 16. I was always creative and loved art classes in high school, and a good friend inspired me to go to college for art. I enrolled at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul, and was head over heels for that school. I graduated in 2000 with my BFA and a minor in Printmaking.
Where do you call home these days?
My husband and I bought our first home five years ago in Northeast Minneapolis, and we love it. The name of our house is The Stinging Nettle. We have almost a quarter acre, and there was so much nettle when we first arrived. We try our best to keep just a small patch, but this place is a jungle. Our cats Cricket and Oatmeal love it, too.
Will you describe your work?
My art is mixed-media oil painting and woodcut printmaking. I combine the two mediums, and each piece is one of a kind. I print my hand carved woodcuts onto Mulberry paper or fabric to create lamps, fine art, messenger bags, and more.
Tell us about the process.
I start off sketching a design in my book and then transfer the drawing backwards onto a wood block. Then I carve out all of the negative space. I roll ink onto the carving, and everything that has not been carved away gets printed onto paper or fabric.
Has your process changed over the years?
The process hasn’t changed but I keep adding new products every year.
What has your path been like?
About seven years ago I quit working in the restaurant business and started selling my art at farmers’ markets, boutiques, and art fairs. I needed immediate income and I loved it right away. I wanted to create an affordable, fine art and craft, and my love for printmaking came through.
Now, many years later, my small surface design company, Ink Orchard, is growing more and more every year. I travel so my brand can be seen nationally, and I have more boutiques exhibiting my work. I love creating new designs and testing out different products at the different art events I participate in throughout the year.
What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur?
I have my own groove throughout each day. I really love that.
What other jobs supplement your art work?
I work once a week at Utrecht Art Supplies in downtown Minneapolis. This keeps me experimenting with art materials. I meet so many interesting and talented local artists by working there.
What are the challenges to doing what you do?
I push myself very hard. The to-do lists can be daunting. I have learned to manage my time better and give myself more credit. I know I’m a hard worker and at the end of the day I’m doing my best. I am a tough boss!
What’s some of the best advice you’ve gotten?
Don’t take things personally. Manage your own life, not others’. Be professional.
Who or what inspires you?
Everything. I am amazed every day by the people in my life. I love people who ride the line between being totally healthy and totally bonkers. That kind of balance truly inspires me. [Editor’s note: I love this answer!]
Where can we find your work?
On the Ink Orchard website, and in person at the Casket Arts Building (Studio #411), Gallery 360, Moss Envy, i like you, Krista Artista Gallery, Mill City Farmers’ Market, and Powderhorn Art Fair.
What’s your favorite pair of shoes and/or shoe story?
When I was a teenager I had a pair of blue suede shoes. I really thought that was awesome—Elvis! I also just bought my first pair of cowgirl boots at Ragstock for $20. They are killer and fit perfectly.
What else should we know about you?
I play electric bass for two local country bands, The Beavers and The Changeups (hence needing the boots)!