What Is It Like Building An Empire While Raising A Family?

  • Published on:
    August 12, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    8 minutes
Kristie Kesic Women On Topp womenontopp.com building an empire while raising a family

She may be the Boss, but foremost Kristie is a passionate specialist Colour Technician, that lives and breathes colour. Kristie is one of the best and most sort after colourists in Australia. She demonstrates technical excellence within the salon and her industry endeavours and is widely know as the goto blonde and balayage expert.

Working in the salon for 8 years before buying Stelios Papas Toowong 3 years ago, Kristie has built a reputation for outstanding colour knowledge and service. Her loyal clientele is maintained by constantly offering change, based on her unique personalised colour expertise. If you want the perfect blonde hair that is personalised to suit you, then you need to make an appointment with Kristie.

But, during all of this Kristie had a baby and she’s a proud working mum to a 3-year-old boy called Baxter.

I’m building my brand and empire, training and teach as well as raising a family.

Why did you decide to buy Stelios Papas Toowong? 

I had worked in the business for 8 years and had worked my way up from colourist to head colourist to a manager. I had been managing for 3 years before the idea of me buying it was thrown out there. Pretty much I was running it like it was mine anyway so buying it just seemed like the next logical step. Myself and my long-standing colleagues had worked really hard to get the business to where it was and I wanted to be able to take the business in a direction that supported us all, and one that saw us all grow.

How did you make it a success after being the owner of Stelios Papas Toowong? 

It didn’t do it alone. I have a wonderful team right beside me every step of the way. We make it a success together.

Buying an established and an extremely respected and successful salon, there was always that question of how can I better that success that it’s already had. One thing that stuck with me was a handful of people saying I was so lucky to of been able to buy the business. No, I worked my ass off along with my longstanding team to be able to make this happen, luck didn’t make this happen. 

To elevate the success I needed to rebuild and reestablish what was import for this next generation of the salon. I included my team in this process. This is just the way I work, I want them to be involved because without them I don’t have a business. From Redoing policies and procedures, values and education, we reassessed every aspect of the business. 

We work tirelessly on our customer service skills just as much as our technical skills. Our clients are our main priority. 

I also have a business coach Faye Murray. I have been working with Faye for 5 years now and she helps me with everything. I had no business background before I brought this salon. She’s the angel and devil on my shoulder and I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today without her. 

This is still a work in progress and the next year is going to be our most exciting in relation to change and growth within the business and brand. Watch this space.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to buy a business they are working at?

Weigh up the pros and cons of buying the one your working in or starting a new one. If you’r buying the one your working in always expect the unexpected. You can never truly know everything even though you may have worked in the business for a long time.

What is it like building your empire while raising a family? 

A whole lot of craziness. 

I remember having to tell the previous owner ( my boss at the time) I was pregnant when I was 16 weeks. The first thing I said was, but this doesn’t change anything I’m still committed to buying this business. It was a long process. I came back to work full time when my little boy was 8 weeks old and I officially had brought the business when he was 6 months.

Firstly I always say I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if my husband didn’t do what he does. He works full time yet he’s the one that has the days off, hes the one that’s at home when I’m away or when I work late or I have photoshoots and education on. He’s the one that keeps me together ( well most of the time)

In saying that he knew who he married. I’m determined and I have goals and being a stay at home mum or not working as much was never going to be the right thing for me.

Secondly, I also have an amazing support network in my family that is always there to help out when we need.

My little boy is now 3 and a half and he loves my team and my team loves him. I take great pride in knowing that he’s growing up with two parents that work extremely hard and I want to be able to show him that with hard work he can achieve whatever he wants to.

For me, work is the easy part, compared to the adventure that is parenting. I have built a strong team that is so supportive of me and my family. We all have a common goal, yet watching them succeed within their own goals and dreams is what drives me. 

I’m also proud that I work in an industry filled with extremely successful women that have families. They inspire me. Having a family doesn’t limit you in business, I think it drives you more. I have never felt that I cant achieve what my goals are just because I have a family. I hope I inspire others and show them, you can do it all if that’s what you want.

And lastly I would honestly be bored if my life wasn’t this kind of crazy.

What is your recipe development process? Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration is everywhere. For most of my creative work, I have an idea an inspiration and then on the day, it will change because I’ve thought of something different. I love looking at nature, art, fashion. I’m a specialist colour technician so to me literally, colour inspo is everywhere.

What are some hurdles an aspiring business owner might not be aware of?

There are hurdles everywhere. Every business owner in any industry will tell you that. It’s not about focusing on those hurdles, because they will appear, it’s about how you overcome those hurdles.  If you go into business thinking it’s going to be all smooth sailing and you’re going to make all this money quickly you are going to be disappointed. You need to be ok with failing first, because if you don’t fail along the way, how will you ever learn. Look at some of the most successful businesswomen and men in the world, they all had failures before they succeeded. I take inspiration from that.

Where do you get your inspiration for your clients? 

To me when it comes to my clients everything is about personalization. How can I make them the most beautiful version of themselves? So really I look at the individual for a source of inspiration. From that, I adapt trends and techniques to suit that individual.

Would you say you have to have specific potential needs in order to start as an entrepreneur? If so, what are the specific potential needs?

Owning your own business is not for everyone and not everyone has that determination or drive to do so. And that is totally fine. Because if everyone had the skills to do so everyone would have their own business and we wouldn’t have any employees. Owning your own business takes a certain attitude and work ethic that can’t be taught. You can teach business and learn the business but to me, you have to have that certain attitude to succeed. 

I’m a creative but I have a business work ethic like no other. I also know my limitations so I surround myself with people that can help me. My business coach, my team, my industry network. 

If you could go back by ten years, what would be some of the top tips you would give our audience?

10 years ago I was 22 and it was 2009 and my hair was white blonde. My advice would be don’t follow a trend just because it’s a trend, hair extensions aren’t always the best solution and buy that shitty house which you thought was a bad idea, because it would have made you a small fortune.

Share two advice for female entrepreneurs:

  • Back yourself
  • Surround yourself with a network of people you can trust. Ask, questions, listen and share. Knowledge, education, and support is power. It’s how you will grow.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

I failed in thinking I knew better and that I could trust people. What this taught me though, was that I am stronger and smarter than I ever thought I could be. I am thankful for this failure because I grew from it, and it’s made me so much stronger in business and as a person.


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