This is uncomfortable for me, but for whatever reason, I find it necessary. Kin Pro really was (and is) a special project for me. Maybe not at first, but the more time I invested, the more I cared. I was fresh off the plane from a 2 year assignment in Japan, blurry-eyed and culture-shocked. Really hadn’t thought beyond moving into our house and getting our belongings shipped back. And, well, Covid. A friend and former coworker approached me about an idea she had. I asked a lot of questions. Her enthusiasm and focus was contagious. “OK, let’s do it!", I said.
Rewind, Just A Little...
I was teaching high school English. But, like with many educators, I needed a break. I made the unpopular decision to leave my teaching job. The amount of time I was spending dealing with adults and not students was too much. What next? I’ve always loved makeup and have done it since I can remember, so thought, I’ll just go randomly apply to a spa/salon in Cincinnati, where I was living. Soon, I was taking makeup classes with the owner (a forever mentor!) and learning everything I could about the industry. General manager, makeup artist, hundreds of product trainings…it was life-changing. I worked with those friends through my wedding, birth of my son. It made the move from Cincinnati that much more heart-breaking.
Then, a move to Michigan (husband’s job…it’s hard to pass up those benefits), a new job at a spa/salon. I didn’t know anyone. Worked my way up to buyer, helped interview countless service providers, spray tanned a ton, a lot of makeup. It was fun and I learned a lot.
Japan, 2 years of going back to teaching English, raising a 5 month old and 4 year old there. Come back early, thanks, Covid…Then, I’m chatting with an old friend about a business opportunity.
As I said, Kin Pro grew into something I had to see succeed. There was also a huge learning curve in the beginning, as I had helped operate businesses, but never owned one. Anyone remember the bamboo rounds we used to personalize with logos? Printed from my upstairs office with the formatting help of my husband. It was so fun, but talk about working harder, not smarter. Some of the first deliveries were piled on my porch; the neighbors, for sure, thought we were joining a cartel.
I’ll never forget sitting on my couch and cold-calling a manufacturer in Korea…led to our first contract. Deciding on a name. Writing countless taglines, translating lots of Korean, creating trainings, hundreds of reels, hiring our first employee, laying every damn plank of flooring in our new space (then subsequent chiropractor visits), thousands of emails (sometimes I can’t remember your names versus your spa names!). I love(d) it. It was exhilarating, both the business growth and my biz partner’s relationship. As with all highs, though, there is a come-down. I’m as shocked as anyone to be where we are now. When a separation seemed imminent, I couldn’t walk away from all our hard work, just to start something new and identical. And, to be clear, none of this was a result of one party choosing to walking away.
So, after lots of tears, sleepless nights, legal…I am now the sole owner. I made many mistakes, still will; but I chalk it to wanting a different path when encountering the fork in the road. The business and dream live on.
Kin Pro will have a different name…but other than the name, not much different. For sure, though, the support, attention to detail, and obsession with modern skincare will remain. A spa, new products, creating a team with a new group of esthis, and the same dumb jokes are in the works. For me, it comes back to teaching, and helping–in whatever little way I can–to navigate this crazy business with integrity and humor.
From 2020 to now, thank you for all the support,