Artist Spotlight: Kendra Alia

Written by Sarah DawsonMar 4, 2024

Read time 5 min

Kendra Alia

Meet Kendra Alia (@iamkendraalia), a powerhouse in the beauty industry who has dedicated the past 11 years to carving out a successful career as an educator, stylist, salon owner and SalonCentric #ItTakesAPro Team Artist. After completing her business and marketing degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Kendra began her journey in the beauty industry by obtaining her cosmetology license from the Aveda Institute, then pursued even further academic endeavors by earning a Masters in Management. Kendra’s academic prowess and determination enabled her to establish the Orlando, FL-based salon Salon Her Inc. Kendra then founded the Salon Hair Institute where she focuses on teaching classes both virtually and in-person. She also conducts classes for major industry brands and hair shows such as “Premiere Orlando,” “The BTC Show,” and “Bronner Brothers.” Read on to learn more about Kendra’s journey in the beauty industry.

SalonCentric: What led you to becoming a salon owner and educator?

Kendra Alia: I always strived to mold myself into the vision of what I wanted to achieve next. It was during my schooling at the Aveda Institute where I was able to experience more aspects of the industry such as participating in fashion shows and talking to salon owners. This inspired my desire to shift into bigger roles and not limit myself to only being behind the chair. 

 SC: What influences your work as a stylist?

KA: My personal style influences my work because it teaches my clients that it is okay to incorporate both personal and professional styles into one look. For example, my style can range from sophisticated and minimalist to funky and fun, which shows them it is possible to step outside the box and look both business savvy and trendy at the same time.

SC: What has been the biggest challenge in your career?

KA: One challenge I faced was learning to create professional boundaries between myself and my clients. I first experienced this  early in my career when a seemingly supportive client uttered a racial slur to me. Although my first thought was to react immediately, I remained calm and explained to her that I will no longer provide services to her or her family. This was challenging because I had to learn to not only keep my composure and always remain professional, but also establish boundaries with my clientele. Some clients may project personal opinions or experiences onto stylists, so I need to protect myself as a stylist in the salon.

SC: How has your career empowered you?

KA: Being a woman in the beauty industry has empowered me because it taught me to stand firm in myself and what I believe in. Sometimes women are not taken seriously, but my career has enabled me to take charge and create a positive space and culture for women. So now when I talk about myself, my business or the professionals around me, I speak confidently because I have proven myself as a successful professional and woman in the industry.

SC: What advice do you have for aspiring or fellow stylists?

KA: I want beauty professionals to understand that education is the only way. No matter what one aspires to in their career, education is just as important as all other aspects of the industry.

SC: Any next steps in your career to share?

KA: I would like to continue developing Salon Her Institute as a main source of education for new beauty professionals and seasoned artist. I also want to expand my salon, Salon Her Inc and extension company Kenlicliq Hair.