CHRISTY PICKELL- Owner & Stylist
Pittsburgh, PA

Simply Captivating Salon



Meet another one of my finds on Instagram! I have been following her work for some time, and when she submitted for this blog feature, of course she was chosen. If you know me, you know that I cannot do upstyles or a wedding style to save my life. And because of it, I really appreciate and admire the hard work and creativity that goes in to it. Christy has been styling hair for weddings and formal events for about 7 years.  "I currently own a one-chair salon, that specializes in bridal and event hair styling. My main business is to travel on-location for weddings and events but I also offer in-salon services." 
I encourage you all to check out her social pages to see some of her work! It truly is incredible. 

1.    What makes you a stand out in the industry? What is your specialty? What makes my salon and services stand out in the industry is the level of service I provide. 
Simply. Beautiful. You is my tagline and the experience I hope my clients have when working with me! 
A passion for styling, a private boutique experience, a customized service, convenience, years of professional experience, top rated/reviewed service, a team approach when working with clients & the glamour of special events have built my business.  Simply Captivating Salon is a unique salon business that specializes in the art of bridal & female hair-styling.

My goal for each of my bridal clients is to make their day as SIMPLE as possible by traveling on-location to their getting-ready venue of choice. I bring all the tools, supplies and equipment I need with me to set up a “mini salon” wherever my client is.

BEAUTIFUL: Every client is beautiful in their own special, unique way. When my brides come to me for their trial (which is included in the bridal package), it gives me a chance to meet them,  and learn who they are.   My main goal for all of my clients is to customize a look to enhance their natural beauty and style for their wedding day, special event or everyday look.

YOU: We all want to feel like ourselves on an important day, but we want to be the BEST version of ourselves. My goal for all my clients is to work with them to achieve this…I want my clients to look back at their wedding or event photos and think “WOW, look at me! I looked amazing but I still felt and looked like myself.”


2.    Why did you become a salon owner? What is your why? In Pennsylvania, a stylist needs to be a salon owner or a salon employee (working for the salon at weddings) in order to legally go on-location to style hair for events.  I wanted to work for myself and legally be able to do what I love, style hair for events on location.  The only way to do that was to own a state licensed salon.  

3.    How did you decide this was the career for you? When did you know this would be your career path? My path to being a salon owner and stylist that specializes in bridal hair and formal styling was a natural progression from an innate passion I had to style hair since I was a little girl!  Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved styling hair. I’d get my Barbie and style her hair all different ways even teaching myself how to do various braids, lol!  I even begged my mom to sit with me while I tried to learn how to use a curling iron when I was 6.  Who knew that my passion for styling would turn into a business and a career?  Prior to opening my own business, I obtained a degree in Public Relations and worked in corporate sales/marketing.  Styling for weddings started as a hobby for friends and family but as time went on, I kept getting more and more requests to style for people outside of that realm.  Eventually, my hobby grew into a business and I went to school to obtain my cosmetology license.

4.    Using only 4 words. Describe the most important attributes of a successful stylist? Professional, Dependable, Genuine, Flexible

5.    What would you tell other stylists that feel like giving up? Have you ever felt like giving up? How did you work through that? What advice do you have for stylists feeling this way? When it comes to upstyling and formal hair, it can be a little overwhelming to be presented a photo from a client and be expected to replicate that look.  Most times, clients come with a completely different texture, density and length than the model in the inspiration photo.  For a stylist that isn’t seasoned in bridal hair styling, going through the anxiety of this process for the first time can be enough for them to decide that they don’t want to style for weddings again!  My advice for these feelings of anxiety and inadequacy (which I’ve had too!) is to practice!  Get your mannequin head out at home or on a break in the break room and practice updos, curling techniques, pinning, braiding & replicating looks.  Ask friends and family to be your models, get familiar with different styling products, hair textures & tools for upstyling.  Create new skills for yourself to be successful…and little by little you will become an expert in upstyling and bridal hair for your salon.  Bridal styling is very profitable and also a way to set yourself apart from other stylists in your area.  

6.    What is your biggest accomplishment? What are you most proud of in your career? My biggest accomplishment, even above having state licensed salon space, was going to school to get my cosmetology license!  I know that’s a little backwards for many cosmetologists.  My career path wasn’t the norm.   After I realized that my hobby grew into something more than a hobby, I wanted a license to go with it. Going to school full-time with two little girls who I stayed home with at the time, was a real challenge for my family.  Learning new skills to cut, color and lighten hair was also something completely out of my comfort zone, but I am so happy to have obtained additional skills that enhance my bridal focused business. 

7.    Can you give some tips on how you utilize social media platforms to grow your business behind the chair? Social media has helped my business grow so much, especially in the bridal industry! I think as a stylist, you really need to figure out what your goal is with social media.  Do you want to grow your page with lots of followers?  Are you looking to create new business by advertising your work and drawing in new customers locally?  Are you looking to drawing in followers around the world for the purpose of educating or competing?  Narrowing my focus has helped me to not compare the number of followers I have with others and just focus on my content.  My main focus at this time is drawing in local clients who are looking for a stylist. I want to provide a variety of photo examples of my work. Candid photos that I take, & professional photos that photographers take.  I feel that it creates a true picture of what I can provide my clients.  Details and the big picture. Promoting other vendors by advertising their businesses with mine on photos and posts has been another great way to network and build working relationships within the wedding industry.  Hash tagging photos draws in potential clients that may be searching for a bridal stylist or even promotes my brand around the world if someone searches my hash tag and likes my work.  I think the main thing is to be consistent and share high quality images.  

8.    What advice would you give to a stylist coming out of school? What should they expect? My advice for a stylist coming out of school is to not be afraid of updos and formal hair styling. It is a very profitable part of the beauty industry. Taking the time to practice and learn the craft will benefit you and your career.  Besides wedding work, styling is the final step to any hair service, perfecting your styling skills with curling irons and the flat iron will add a whole new dimension to your work besides a great blow-out.  Throw a braid in for your client, switch up her look.  Those extra skills will make your work stand out and also put more money in your pocket.  Don’t take shortcuts when doing updos, make sure your styles are secure & balanced… and finally, pay attention to detail!  

Photo Credits: Head shot and salon photo was taken by Steven Dray Photography

Nina Tulio

A few months back I asked a few stylists for some feedback and some insight on what it's like to be a newer stylists in this business. I wanted them to be able to provide other fellow stylists with some great advice and insight on building a business behind the chair. We have all been "new", we have all had a first day behind the chair, and nothing is better than knowing you have the support and encouragement from other stylists that are living, or have lived in your shoes. These 4 awesome stylists are all under 3 years and the industry and have such wonderful advice for all of you that are just getting started. 
As always, we hope this interview will motivate you, inspire you, and encourage you, to continue to share your love and passion for the beauty industry. Be sure to follow them on Instagram and check out their beautiful work!  Enjoy! #stylistssupportingstylists

Jasmine Bumgarner- 1 year in the industry
Utopia Salon and Day Spa
Vancouver, Washington
Insta: @jbumstyles

What is one piece of advice you give to a new stylist just coming out of school?
Be a sponge! Take every opportunity you have to absorb more knowledge. Watch videos, take classes, attend seminars, and shadow more experienced stylists. This has helped me immensely because once you’ve graduated you have the base knowledge but there are tips and tricks that are only learned through years of experience. If you take every opportunity you can to gain more knowledge, there will be nothing you can’t do!

What would you tell a new stylist to look for when choosing their first salon home?
Take it slow! When you graduate it’s easy to get excited and jump on the first opportunity you get, but you should take your time when finding a salon. Make lists of wants and expectations you have for the salon you are looking for. Do research on the places you’re interested in. That means following them on social media, reading reviews, and getting familiar with their mission statements. Go to interviews with prepared questions and don’t be afraid to ask them! It’s also a good idea to shadow a salon for a few days to get an understanding of how the salon runs. It’s okay if a salon is not a good fit, do not get discouraged. After all having a career is about doing something you love, so you should love the work environment as well. Take your time and you will find a salon that brings out the best in you.

Jordan Festger- 1.5 years in the industry
Rooted Salon
Allentown, PA
Insta: @hairbyjo_

How often are you posting on social media to attract new clients? How important is this in our business?
Social media is super important in the hair industry to get your work out there for people to see! I totally recommend using a separate hair account, that way all your posts are strictly hair. When it comes to posting, that depends on how many clients you see a week. For example, you have two days behind the chair and you see six clients through those two days. Spread your work out throughout the week, whether that’s everyday or every other. I think it’s important to have a schedule to consistently post. And if you don’t have a hair picture to post, spread the word about your availability! I have gotten a ton of people who say they see my work on Instagram or saw my website. It totally helps to share your work on a social media platform!

What is the one piece of advice you would give stylists that are feeling discouraged?
Feeling discouraged is totally normal from time to time. So try not to beat yourself up over it! Find the source of the problem and learn from it! One thing I didn’t have in the very very beginning of my career was a mentor and that really helped once I did. I was in a rut feeling alone and that I didn’t have someone to really look up to in the business. Sure I had Instagram hair artists but I didn’t know them on a personal level. Having someone that understands the industry and wants you to succeed just as much as yourself, is so helpful. Another thing for myself is I felt like I lost my talent a little bit. And that happened for me when I felt discouraged, in myself and in my work. So I started going online and watching hair videos and doing online education. Classes can be expensive, so use the tools you have available to you while you save up. Learning more definitely helps you open up your mind to creative techniques and that makes you wanting to do those!

Taylor Baggett- Just about 3 years in the industry
Utopia Salon And Day Spa
Vancouver, Washington
Insta: @Stylist_Taylor_

What is the one piece of advice you would give stylists that are feeling discouraged?
The one piece of advice I would give to a new stylist, is that not everyone will like you. You may be cute and bubbly, but not everyone will like you. When I first started working for my mom just about everyone hated me. They all thought that I got the job handed to me and that I didn't need to prove myself to my mom. Clients won't like you either. To the point where they walk out based off of your appearance. DO NOT conform to them!! Stay true to yourself! One of the best things about this industry is the individuality for each stylist. Just because you can't blend with a person doesn't mean you need to change. The right people will come. Your chair will fill with all your ideal clients. You'll be bringing in the money!

What is the best part of being a hairstylist?
The best part of being a hairstylist is being able to make people feel incredible. Giving people that little breath of fresh air they need. So much of our job is not just being a stylist, its being a person that is impactful. We touch lives, we impact lives, we inspire lives, we make people feel AMAZING! There is no better feeling than knowing you have changed an entire persons day, week, month, etc... in just one appointment. We become a part of people's lives why not impact it positively and help enhance their lives. Nothing makes me happier than knowing I positively impacted my clients day in and outside of hair.

Cynthia Antonioli- 1.5 years in the industry
J. Morgan Salon and Home
Easton, PA

Is this industry everything you thought it would be
It is everything and more! I always loved doing hair growing up, but it is much more than that. It’s growing a relationship with the client sitting in your chair, creating this trust between you and them. And once you finish their hair and they feel so good about themselves their confidence grows and it’s always a beautiful thing to see confidence grow. Seeing the client truly happy it’s the greatest feeling for me as a hairstylist. 

What is one piece of advice you give to a new stylist just coming out of school? 
My advice to you would be, don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Me personally, I am always so determined on trying to be the best I can possibly be and the perfect stylist which isn’t a bad thing but I’ve made mistakes, and will continue to make a few mistakes here and there, but I always beat myself up over it because I was so scared it was going to be the end of my career if I made the smallest mistake and that is not the case. When you find the right salon for you, everyone you work with will be there for you to help you learn and grow as a stylist, and help you if you make a mistake. So don’t be afraid to ask for help either, everyone supports everyone in a salon. 

Nina Tulio