I'm honored to share my story with you! As we have all started somewhere and evolved to where we are today, it's truly amazing to reflect on the journey. The very essence of what we do, what we believe in, and what we are passionate about all started long ago. Our experiences have molded us into the seasoned person that we see in the mirror today. So, let's be thankful for all of our discoveries as we continue to write new pages.
Thank you to life’s journey.
For giving me passion that fueled me,
and a purpose that centered me.
For God given gifts that made a way,
and a love for people that motivated me.
For wisdom through my heart aches,
and the strength to overcome.
For humility that kept me faithful,
and thankfulness that kept me pure.
Most importantly, for the love of God
that gave me the confidence to know and appreciate myself.
May we all reflect on life's journey and continue learn and appreciate ourselves. This is the very essence of LK. Thank you for being a part of our community, now let's have some fun!
I was raised by amazing parents who not only introduced me to business strategies, but most importantly taught me character and biblical principles. Growing up, I was a busy child from fourth grade girl scouts through sixth grade cheerleading, volunteering for American Red Cross, participating in wheelchair square dancing at the Florida Strawberry Festival, as well as visiting nursing homes often.
I continued participating in sports throughout school with track and field, soccer, and cheerleading. Held positions in many service clubs, including Key Club President my senior year. I structured fund raisers, held meetings, made decisions, and created a union of friendships in a peer pressure environment. To build my resume, I auditioned and became a finalist for pageants like Ms. Florida Strawberry Queen, Ms. Florida, etc. At sixteen, I attended Barbizon Modeling School, which upon completion, I received the advance professional program scholarship. I then became a Barbizon modeling instructor. During this time, I also performed modeling jobs for various clients in the Tampa Bay area. This led to the creation of my own modeling academy. I was a fashion show coordinator for several malls and performed seasonal fashion shows, demonstrations, and mannequin modeling. This gave the opportunity to share my experiences with the models and my students.
At the age of 16, I became a certified aerobics instructor and continued teaching and competing throughout my adult life. I produced my own aerobics and fitness tv show as well as a makeover show titled, "High Jack Hair TV". I performed countless infomercials, along with writing and hosting a radio advice show.
In addition, I also worked in the hospitality industry. I fell in love with the people, the flexibility of my crazy schedule, and the success of the industry. I was employed by the Brinker Corporation and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience. I then pursued to study hospitality brand theories and was intrigued by their level of excellence. During my travels, I continued to explore and learn throughout my life. The hospitality industry became a part of my essence!
After graduating High School, my family moved west. For a brief moment I attended college studying in business, but then realized that my passion was to build my dream. Immediately, I started to build pursue my aspirations.
While working in the modeling industry, I realized my adoration for beauty and fashion. I went to a cosmetology institute and became a certified hairdresser at the age of 20. This was the start of all my travels and training, building knowledge for the industry which fueled my passion.
At 22, I designed my first salon and continued to build my dream. I traveled, trend watched, and trained with the best of the best in the industry from coast to coast. The West coast style was much different than the East coast. It was fascinating learning new techniques, which transpired into creating my own signature style of design. I quickly became well known for my signature blueprint concept, customized style of design and guest super service. I was on fire and this ignited my passion even more.
In the 1990’s, I traveled to New York City for the first time. I instantly fell in love with the it. I was a certified Redken Master Artist and attended several symposiums and classes. It was truly the time of my life!
I began hosting signature hair shows for my communities, bringing the show to the guest. The presentation was not only educational but brought people together. It created a sense of glam and beauty for everyone. We displayed the latest trends, giving the guest an opportunity to be a part of the fashion world. This also helped a great cause, as the admission fee was donated to a local charity.
I opened my second salon in Florida and brought the NYC style with a smile! The 1990’s were truly epic. The amount of knowledge and growth that happened in that decade was the opportunity of a lifetime! I am blessed to have been a part of it!
The 2000s crushed the epic era of the 1990s. Y2k, the turn of the century, the new millennium, all things modern came to life!
There was so much evolution in the 2000s. I continued to write lifestyle columns for several publications, along with our own.
Two additional locations were opened in Florida. The style & lounge concept was birthed as well as a full spa & fitness center. The YAI YAI proudct line also launched offering mineral makeup, hair care, skin care, parfume, body care, and nail care.
Through the years, as people came to know the YAI YAI concept they were amazed by it. Guests and colleagues around the world referred to YAI YAI as, “Unique!” We applied for our first trademark which was approved. This gave us national protection on our name.
I continued my training and acquired many certifications specializing in Sebastian L.A., Sebastian Make-up Artistry, Redken Certified Artist, Redken Master, Redken International Symposiums NYC, International Design & Colour for Jingles International NYC & London, Toni & Guy, Vidal Sassoon, Ruth Roach, Graham Webb London, Tressa, International colorist for Beth Minardi and multiple brands, Chi Certified, Mizani Hair Straightening, Global Keratin, Crew Barbering, Revitalash, Olaplex, Raquel Welch Pieces and Extensions, Hot Heads, Top Secret Pieces and Extensions Certified L.A., Hair Replacement Vendor, Spray Tanning and more. I also had the opportunity to join the Redken Artistic Team NYC and decided to build my own label and expand.
The body blueprint concept had evolved from many years of being on the runway myself and attempting to fitting models with clothing that just did not sculpt the body. With my fashion books in hand, I started to sketch exactly what each body type should be wearing. I discovered that the figure flaws spelled out my family nickname. This is when the YAI YAI blueprint concept emerged. When I attended Mercedes Benzes Fashion Week in Bryant Park, NYC, the fashions were unimaginable. Artsy but not wearable for the average person. I felt a calling to create clothing that makes people feel beautiful, sexy, and unique. Celebrities may fill the room at fashion week, however it's all just a big show. Some of the attendees I met were celebs like, Paris Hilton, Joe Pesci, Bernadette Peters, and others…Star Struck!
The 2010s was a bit diverse. Early 2010s seemed to play catch up after the housing market crashed. It was a time of new beginnings. An era to reinvent and recreate yourself. That's what we did at YAI YAI.
As we continued to evolve, YAI YAI became certified with the Florida Board of Education as an academy for cosmetology and modeling. I persisted to build out the infrastructure of the YAI YAI Corporate Head Quarters to prepare for our national launch. This played a big part of our 2010s mission. We rewrote the entire YAI YAI business plan, perfected all business processes, filed for protection of all of our intellectual property and did a clean sweep throughout the entire brand.
We went through a rebranding process and came up with a fresh new look and applied for additional trademarks. We also proceeded to redesign the YAI YAI product lines with our new image. Our headquarters location received a fresh new look, with modern flare. We remodeled, choosing new colors and textures to be used in our new store build-out. It gave an organic, clean and modern minimalist vibe. It was a big hit!
I traveled to so many places and attended several shows. From Las Vegas to News York City, the runways were hoppin'. From obmre' to balayage, pastels, grey blonds, beach waves to the lob, messy top buns, side braids, ponytails and long bangs, they were all the got to haves of the 2010's!
As we were all super excited to roll over a century, we had no idea that 2020 would bring such bizarre times.
So much travel was booked, and all shows and classes were cancelled. From coast to coast our country experienced a first time ever complete shutdown. This was one of the most difficult times in history.
So many prayers were prayed not only for our country's safety, but for our industry and all others who would suffer from these trying times.
As our cities gradually reopened, as did our salons. The comedy of guests’ comments about having to wait to get their hair done will be forever in our hearts. It was amazing to learn just how incredibly special we are to our guests and how important it is for them to have their salon experience. They simply are not the same without us. This truly brought an additional sense of appreciation to our circle of love.
I think everyone became more thankful for all of their blessings! As we moved past the shut down, we continued to evolve into this new era. We came up with some new programs, offering personalized, private services. We also continued to educate guests on the latest fashions.
We also launched the YAI YAI Wine Club. It is a big hit with guests as they were tired of being cooped up at home and were ready to experience some culture and fun.
Our additional trademarks were approved, and we moved forward with finalizing the design of the new YAI YAI locations and product lines.
We continued to complete my personal brand, finalized the logo, and filed for the trademark. I decided to endorse several of my favorite product lines to display on my LK website. These will vary from beauty, to fashion, to lifestyle products.
In addition, we finished our industry brand, YAI YAI Academy and LK Modeling & Development. This is an educational platform, a store offering the best of the best industry tools, as well as a forum for students and professionals to share in creativity and overall industry knowledge.
We are super excited to finalize our 501(c)(3) not for profit organization, ONE SOCIETY. The trademark was applied for. We are currently building our board of directors and chapter leaders. Feel free to check it us out on Facebook or beonesotiety.org. Last but never least, our Samaritan's Stylist Society, Omega Eta Sigma was finalized and we received the 501(c)(3) status. This is a sister and brotherhood organization that plans to change the world with our gifts, offering style services to the less fortunate, as well as fundraise for scholarships for aspiring hairdressers, network with students and professionals, while having the time of our lives. omegaetasigma.org.
So here is to the rest of 2020, the best is yet to come! Cheers to health and happiness!