Local hairstylist opens new clothing store

Someone could now, theoretically, get a dramatically different hairstyle in west Dickinson one day, and then the very next day, find in a downtown Dickinson clothing store, that same hairstylist — who could then help pick out new clothes to match the new hair.

That’s because hairstylist Kelli Wojahn, 30, of Dickinson, now has two hats.

As well as racks of clothing, shoes and accessories.

Part of the week, she’s a hair stylist at Euphoria Spa & Salon. But much of the other half, she watches over her new women’s clothing store, which she named Loom.

The store opened July 2 at 37 First St. West, the former office for Allstate Insurance location.

Both things are what she always wanted to do — and she has experience in both.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m coming to work,” she said about her now two professions.

Wojahn, who lived a number of years in Seattle, managed a couple of chain stores, Forever 21 and The Children’s Place, before attending cosmetology school to get those skills, too.

She’s still passionate about hairstyling — she goes to hair shows throughout the country to keep up with new techniques — but has been hampered by a wrist surgery, with another one scheduled.

Wojahn said in preparation of knowing that someday she’ll no longer be able to do hairstyling, she has decided to start her own business, which had been another aspiration of hers.

She didn’t want to be a salon owner for various reasons, including dealing with layers of department of health regulations. So, she turned to another passion — fashion.

Wojahn, who notes that she has been told through the years she’s unique — in a good way — said one of her goals at Loom is to “expand people’s idea of fashion … but still being within their comfort zone.”

“I dress different, like different things. … I’ve always been someone who sets my own rules,” she said.

In the room where she rings up sales at Loom, the back wall has new paint, per her directions: thick horizontal black and whites stripes. And mounted to the wall is a mustard-colored Loom sign peppered with lightbulbs. Her scissors in the hold-all jar are black-and-white striped, too. And so is her phone. But there are other colors. The racks of clothes are various summer colors reflecting current trends, “prints, bold colors, loose, flowing fabrics,” she said. Things for everyday and more formal events.

“(People are) getting away from T-shirts and jeans,” she said.

She didn’t name the store “Loom” because of a reference to weaving and fabrics.

“I hadn’t even thought of that,” she said.

It’s a name she made up, the squishing together of her two daughters’ nicknames, “Lexie Loo” and “Miley Moo,” she said.

When someone mentioned the word’s meaning, it made it that much better, she said.

Wojahn came back to Dickinson after having her first daughter, to raise her near family.

She spent much of her childhood in the Seattle area, where a set of grandparents were hairstylists and co-owners of their own shop — and her inspiration.

She remembers telling her best friend in first grade about wanting to be a hairstylist. Another memory is frequently playing store, ringing up supposed purchases with a sister as they pretended to be store owners.

Her parents moved to Dickinson when she was about to enter high school, and she went to Dickinson High School, graduating in 2003 — and then almost immediately returned to Seattle, where she worked briefly as a retail salesperson at Forever 21 before being promoted into management after about three months.

In 2007, after becoming a mom, they decided to move to Dickinson to be near family and the better economy. For awhile, she worked at a mall clothing store, and after that, at another store as a visual merchandiser, in charge of displays and changing them.

She also worked as a bank teller for awhile. She said she then finally decided to go to cosmetology school.

“Life is going and going, and you realize you’re haven’t done what you were going to do,” she said.

So she applied and was accepted to a school in Bismarck. Three months before going to the nearly year-long program, her boyfriend and father of her two daughters died at age 28.

Still, she decided to proceed as planned and moved with her daughters to Bismarck, going to school and working.

“You can sit and dwell or move on with life and make the most of it,” she said.

When the cosmetology students were assigned a paper to write about a mentor, a fellow student chose Wojahn as a subject. She wrote about her positive attitude, despite the challenges she had been through.

After graduation, she worked in Bismarck, but wanting to spend more time with her daughters, she accepted a position in Dickinson at Euphoria and has been there for more than three years.

She said hairstyling is often not as glamorous as some people may think — hair coloring is dirty work.

But, “everyday is positive,” she said.

She likes to help people who are going through big changes: There was the client she could relate to who had a similar life story involving the death of a loved one. In the clothing business, it’s about the enjoyment of seeing someone’s excitement about getting something new or helping that person who has lost 50 pounds find a new wardrobe.

She said her two interests meet.

“Hair and fashion coincides,” she said. “If fashion is vintage, hair will definitely be. … They definitely go together.”

Wojahn decided last year to proceed with trying to open her own business and knew she wanted to be downtown.

“I think Dickinson’s downtown has a lot of potential,” she said.

She said the space she eventually found was perfect for what she wanted and that downtown businesses have been incredibly supportive.

Her first customer, who owns a shop near hers, has purchased several items. Also, supposed competitors — owners of other clothing stores — have directed customers to her.

Wojahn said she thinks the popularity of boutique shops is on the rise, places that have unique things and don’t just keep restocking the same items.

She buys quality, but affordable clothing so someone doesn’t have to feel guilty about getting a couple pieces. And she doesn’t want someone who wears a “plus,” size to have just a few things to look at, so has a good supply of those sizes.

For items that don’t sell or get damaged, which her mom will restore, Wojahn said she plans to get involved in donating clothes to a group that will provide those to teen girls who normally don’t have the means to buy new clothes.

The store was a family-and-friend effort. It included her dad building the fitting rooms, a friend’s husband putting in flooring, and her boyfriend hanging fixtures, among many other tasks.

Her daughters, Alexis, 8, and Miley, 6, were also involved.

Even before Loom opened, Miley had an opinion about the store’s future.

While helping mom hang the new clothes on hangers and assessing the inventory, she suddenly said: “I think people are really going to want to shop here,” Wojahn related.

Wojahn works at Euphoria Monday through Wednesday.

Her Loom hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

 

[“source – thedickinsonpress.com”]