We recently realized that some of our newer followers might not know that much about us and Highbrow Hippie so we figured it’s a good time to reintroduce ourselves! Kadi and I have been friends for over 15 years and were both sales associates at the same clothing store in Atlanta, where we attended Spelman College.
Both of us have spent the past two decades in the beauty industry. After finishing at Parsons School of Design in Paris I got my start in beauty working for the worlds only Beauty Futurologist doing trend forecasting. Kadi started her journey at the Aveda Institute in New York where she first fell in love with hair color. In reality our roots in beauty began long before that. Kadi was always doing hair in her dorm room at Spelman and I spent childhood summers in Pittsburgh with my cousin taking trips to Pharmor; the local pharmacy. We’d stock up on Neutrogena and nail polish and spend the afternoon painting our nails with masks on our faces watching The Young and the Restless with my Grandmother.
After not seeing one another for years, one night in 2002 we ran into each other on Madison Avenue. I was working with the beauty trend forecaster and Kadi was assisting at Frederik Fekkai. We discovered we lived around the corner from each other in Brooklyn, made a date the next night and have been drinking and creating together ever since…
Since that time we’ve both gone on to launch businesses in the beauty space – after living in Europe for 4 years, I came back in 2009 and opened WAX, Atlanta’s first all natural waxing studio and then BUFF, it’s first non-toxic nail salon. Kadi made a move to LA from NY where she quickly became one of the most in demand colorists in the city creating enviable shades of color known for their natural look.
We started Highbrow Hippie in 2012 as a lifestyle blog focused on beauty, wellness and living. We both had clients asking us so many questions about what we were wearing, where were we going and our thoughts on various things we decided it would be fun to blog about it. We were really enthusiastic about it at first, posting weekly and writing a lot, but then life kicked in and things slowed.
Between me running WAX and BUFF and Kadi being busy building her clientele, time for blogging moved to the bottom of the list and before we knew it months would pass without a post. Then we ramped up blogging again, only to be slowed down in 2014 when we decided to open a physical location and were approached by an investor. That was a massive project (read more about it here!) and there was barely enough time to manage our day jobs while dedicating time to our potential new space at 1346 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, let alone blog.
So we decided to pause on blogging (hello Instagram!) since part of our launch plan was to redo our website and poured all of our energy into our new opportunity.
Sadly at the end of 2017, our investor decided to sell the building that we had secured, rezoned and designed for her along with the building permit we had secured. To say we were devastated is an understatement, but 8 months later we were finally able to settle with our old investor and now are free to follow the path we set out on 4 years ago, but this time we get to hold the pursestrings and thus make all the decisions ourselves.
It’s been a huge learning experience for both us as. As seasoned entrepreneurs we made sure that we dotted every I and crossed every T, but we learned that people with nothing to lose have a tendency to act that way and that just because someone has money does not mean they should be an investor in your business. In the end, the person who should have been our biggest supporter ended up being our biggest detractor. Only she knows why, I gave up trying to figure out why people do what they do years ago, but bottom line we’re better off without her.
In the meantime, we’re back to blogging again, picking up the pieces of our attempt to work with an investor and going it alone in the meantime. We hope you follow along to see how we navigate living life perfectly undone being entrepreneurs, being besties, being women all while being our Highbrow Hippie selves.