June 8, 2017

Graduate Showcase- Ali Harper

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Colby, KS.

What was the defining moment in you choosing to attend cosmetology school?

You know, when I was younger (middle school age) they gave us “career days” each year, where we could go shadow a career we were interested in. I always chose cosmetology. Then, high school came and I was in the art room more often than not. Every elective I could choose was art! I had originally moved to Hays with the plans of going to FHSU to major in photography/art. The first day I had classes, I just felt like I was in the wrong place; like God was calling me to do something else. My sister, Ashley Hille (also a HAHD graduate) and a few other family members and friends encouraged me to give the school a visit. After they gave me a tour, I knew I was in the right spot. From the environment, to the instructors and all the students I saw so happy there, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I am so thankful!

What fears did you have and how did you overcome them?

One of my fears was if I would be able to keep up with the trends, especially living in such a small town with limited resources for education and opportunities to try my hand at them. I quickly got over that fear, simply because I’m constantly learning through social media, in-salon classes or finding my own continuing education to attend. I also found that I DO have those clients already in my chair, eager for the new trend-even in little Colby! My absolute biggest fear was not being able to stand up to the next stylist. I’m always learning and always striving to give my best to each and every client I have. I have learned that while in my own mind that my work may not “stand up” to the next stylist, it is MINE and it does in fact stand up to them. I think learning my self worth was my biggest obstacle and I was the one standing in my way the whole time!

What were some of your favorite aspects of Hays Academy of Hair Design and your time in school?

My absolute favorite was the relationships I formed with some of my closest friends to this day. They are like family. I also love how passionate the instructors were. A few have left, but several are still there, and still so passionate about teaching future professionals. All of them helped shape me into the professional I was then and still help shape me to this day, in one way or another. I never stop learning or growing and it seems like they’re always there to give all of us graduates that nod of approval we need!

Where are you working now?

When I graduated almost 8.5 years ago, I was hired at Uptown Style Salon and Day Spa in Colby, and I am still working there to this day!

Are you happy with your decision to enter this wonderful industry?

ABSOLUTELY. One of the biggest things for me in choosing a career path was if it would be family friendly and have flexible hours that would allow me to raise kids and be a momma without having to put my career aside. My biggest blessing in life is my 15 month old son, Ellis. We struggled to have him for 4 years and he’s a true testimony of many answered prayers. I now work less than 20 hours per week and can be a mom while still being able to have the flexibility to work and do what I love! I also love the creativity I get to use behind the chair. Free hand painting and updos are my absolute favorite things to do. I’m an artist and allowed to use that within this industry so much!

What career goals do you have and what are your plans to achieve them?

My biggest goal in my career is to be the best version of myself for my clients and continuing to learn and grow behind the chair. I learn so much from my peers, sister and continuing education.  

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