Kaite Lyn first realized her dream of owning her own salon while completing a project during cosmetology school. She was to create her own salon business model, and she fell in love with the idea. She set a goal that by the time she was 25 years old, she would own her own salon.
She moved to Grand Rapids to work at a salon and fell in love with education; however, she held herself accountable to her goal and continued working to make it happen. A few weeks after her 25th birthday, she opened up Cheeky Strut in Grand Rapids.
Looking back, Kaite Lyn describes her goal as insane: “There have been many times that I have failed, but I am really proud of myself for taking chances.”
Her risks paid off. Since opening in 2009, Cheeky Strut has changed immensely. In fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize it. Kaite Lyn explains, “We first started out with 2,200 square feet, and after the first year and a half, we started to expand. We knocked some walls down and added another 2,000 square feet. Part of my mission statement for Cheeky Strut was that we would continuously evolve and not become comfortable. Whether it is moving furniture around, moving stations around, or even moving stylists from station to station, it’s always different.”
Cheeky Strut places a high emphasis on Instagram. They post often and do a lot of behind-the-scenes stories. They try to be relatable and approachable while showing how skilled their team is. Social media is their main source of marketing, says Kaite Lyn. "We’ve tried other, more traditional, marketing, but we always go back to Instagram and Facebook. It’s the biggest way for us to reach an audience.”
Her biggest tip for stylists wanting to amp up their social media game? Don’t overthink it! “We overthink everything because we’re afraid someone is going to laugh or talk badly about us, or give us negative feedback. Put blinders on, follow your heart, and keep doing it. I will sometimes get hung up on what a caption should be, and the best thing I can do is slow down and ask myself, 'What kind of reactions do I want to get from this picture and what do I want to say in my caption that will engage my audience?’ A lot of stylists make it too complicated, but it should be fun!”
The salon has reached millions of people through viral videos, one of which is about Fluid Hair Painting, which Kaite Lyn came up with herself. It’s a spin-off from balayage that she’s been doing since her early years as a stylist. Their social media success has definitely put them on the map; they have clients that drive in from Chicago and the East side of Michigan, along with requests to fly stylists to them.
The salon’s social media success is definitely something to be proud of, but Kaite Lyn is most proud of her team and the growth she has seen. “We’ve had quite a few salons open up from Cheeky Strut, which I love. I think it’s amazing because people are leaving with the confidence that they are able to do it.”
Kaite Lyn’s next step? To sit back and work on her personal goals while watching her team grow each other and the salon.
Make sure to follow Cheeky Strut on Facebook and Instagram: @cheekystrut
Photo courtesy of Cheeky Strut.