We first read her story in a local newspaper, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. This Regency grad's work has been highlighted in Modern Salon magazine and on industry websites; she's a platform artist, classroom educator, national award-winning stylist, international competitor, and behind-the-scenes stylist at New York's Fashion Week...all the while, maintaining a full-time position behind the chair. How did it all start for Kelly Mathys and how does she keep it going? We had to know! Check out the story of this over-achiever's career path - amazing!
Name: Kelly Mathys
Graduated from Regency: January 2004
Campus: Maplewood, MN
Regency: Tell us a little bit about your career.
Kelly: I am a stylist at Spalon Montage in Woodbury, MN and a member of the Sebastian Design Team. I do platform work, runways, and teach classes in a classroom environment.
Are you specializing in any one facet of hair? If not, do you have a favorite service you like to perform?
Kelly: I specialize in all aspects of hair, but my favorite service to perform is formal hairstyling. I love creating the perfect look for someone's special day!
Regency: You worked New York's Fashion Week in 2009. How did you get there?
Kelly: I was chosen with eight other Sebastian Design Team members to represent Sebastian Professional at New York Fashion Week! To be successful in this type of setting, you have to be able to create beautiful hairstyles quickly and efficiently, work well under pressure, and work well with a team.
Kelly behind the scenes at New York's Fashion Week
Regency: What was Fashion Week like?
Kelly: It was absolutely incredible and completely unforgettable! It was fast-paced and sometimes chaotic, but the models were stunning! I learned so much from this experience, and am really looking forward to the next time!
Regency: What have been some of your most fun or interesting projects?
So far, I'd have to say that it was the Wella Trend Vision Competition. Out of the four global trends launched by Wella for 2009 (Utopia, Virtual Life, InterseXion and DeLush), I chose to interpret the trend "DeLush". I advertised locally for a model and from the time I found her and began working on ideas to the final level of the competition in Germany, it took about seven months of work! We submitted photos in July 2009 and two months later, I went to New York as a semifinalist to compete live for the national award. I won the gold in the United States and two weeks later, I was in Berlin competing against stylists from about forty other countries in the international competition!
The whole experience provided me with the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing top stylists, some of whom have been my mentors. This was a huge learning and growing experience for me.
Kelly on stage in Berlin as her model is projected onto the big screen
Regency: Now that you have some experience in the industry, is it everything you wanted it to be?
Kelly: This industry is even more than I ever expected it to be. There are so many opportunities that I never knew existed when I first started, and our industry is continuing to grow! It's inspiring to know that there is a big world out there filled with opportunity and motivating to continue to learn from it everyday!
Regency: What's the most valuable thing you learned at Regency?
Kelly: I got a great foundation for building my career, including business building techniques I still stand by and fundamentals for creating beautiful hair. I am still utilizing what I learned at Regency behind the chair on a daily basis. Fundamentals are the cornerstone of great art and successful business, and it's these important building blocks that remind me to stay humble and remember where I come from so I can make my dreams a reality.
Regency: What advice would you give students who are coming (or thinking about coming) to Regency?
Kelly: Work hard and dream big! Remember that everyone has to start at the beginning, so don't quit if something doesn't turn out perfect the first time around (or even the hundredth time around!) Also, the basics are important. When you are doing wet hairstyling like pin curls and finger waves...even though it's not the most fun, it's all part of the important foundation you'll build from.
Regency: What are your future plans?
Kelly: I plan to continue my career at Spalon Montage and advance my career in education with Sebastian. I would like to enter the North American Hairdressing Awards (NAHA) next year, and also enter the Wella Trend Vision competition again. I would love to place in the top three internationally!
Regency: Any parting words?
Kelly: We are in an amazing industry. There is a niche for everyone. The possibilities are endless. Follow your dreams and make it happen!