ST. PETERSBURG – Hair salon owner and stylist Kenyatta Killins said she created her new salon, Meraki Beauti, with creativity, soul and love. “Meraki” is a Greek word meaning to put love into what you do, and with her intimate shop located at 4156 5th Ave. N, that is what she aims to do.
A few years ago Killins was at a turning point in her life. The Boca Ciega High School graduate had enjoyed a successful career as a licensed title examiner and notary; however, because of the volatility of the real estate market, work was hard to find. Since she had styled her family and friends hair for years and felt she had a flair for it, Killins embarked on a new career as a hairstylist.
“I wanted to be self-employed,” stated Killins. “I had found my niche. With my personality I think I can do anything I set my mind to do and I want that to be my legacy to my children. I want my kids to know it’s not how you start but how you finish.”
So with the support from her loving husband Eric, a driver with the Tampa Sanitation Department, Killins enrolled at the American Institute of Beauty and graduated in 2009. The mother of three worked for several years in different salons until last December when she opened Meraki Beauti.
The intensive yearlong cosmetology course was expansive and included the introduction to diverse ethnic hair types, different techniques of style, cutting, hair coloring, facials, pedicures and manicures. It also included the study of skin diseases and disorders of the skin.
Killins continues to attend classes and workshops, including World Natural Hair Health and Beauty Show, Premiere Orlando Hair and Nail Beauty trade show, Mainstream Hair and Beauty expo and the Bronner Brothers Hair Show.
“I enjoy the classes,” she said. “I like to know new techniques and trends. My clients challenge me and keep me out of a rut.”
She hopes to learn eyebrow tattooing, henna coloring for the brown and lash enhancements so she can add those procedures to the list of services that she can offer to her growing clientele.
“I love that I can impact how other people feel about their appearances,” Killins explained.
She specializes in all hair types, damaged, natural and relaxed hair and one of her specialties will be working with clients who have alopecia. Her shop is equipped with two separate design rooms to provide total privacy and discretion for her customers.
In the future, Killins would like to establish a non-profit organization that would give less fortunate girls and women free hair services. She plans to call it Sisters United as One.
“It makes me feel good as a person,” she said. “I’m a giver.”
Killins has concerns of fellow entrepreneurs not coming together to bring more economic development to the community and not sharing information.
“I wish we could work better together both as a city and as a people,” she stated. “We don’t have to be greedy there’s enough [business] to go around. I would like hairstylist to come together to share knowledge. Imagine what we could learn from one another.”
If you are interested in working in a creative and loving environment or looking for a new hairstylist, give Killins a call at (727) 623-3903.