Vain Salon


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Vain Salon

Kelsey O'Neil became inspired by her entrepreneurial grandmother to open her own salon in Duluth, MN.

Vain Salon

Kelsey O’Neil was raised in Marquette, MI, and the Detroit, MI, areas. Her grandmother, who owned a number of small businesses, was a huge influence in her life and inspired Kelsey’s development as a business woman and entrepreneur.

Kelsey gained her fervor for the salon business in high school when she also attended cosmetology school. After graduation, she was hired as an assistant to a stylist for a local salon in Marquette, MI, and later became a full-stylist. She spent much personal time learning about the practice and developing her clientele.

A job change for her boyfriend necessitated a move to Duluth, MN in 2012. Kelsey initially worked two jobs in order to build enough equity to someday start her own salon business. In June 2014, she become aware of the potential sale of The Vain Salon located on Lake Street in Duluth, and began working with the UMD CED.

Kelsey spent much time developing a business plan, preparing budgets and financial projections, researching the potential market, and negotiating with the seller.  In December 2014, a bank approved an acquisition loan and Kelsey became the new owner of Vain Salon. In her first year as the salon owner the business far exceeded initial financial projections.

Vain Salon currently has three other stylists, and Kelsey has become a certified educator and Master Stylist for TIGI (an international retail haircare brand owned by Unilever). As a certified TIGI educator, Kelsey travels periodically around the U.S. providing haircare insights and guidance to other salon owners and stylists. Kelsey is extremely passionate about education and never stops learning. Her strong work ethic, can-do attitude, and dedication to her clients exemplify her as a true Duluthian entrepreneur.