If you’ve seen photos pop up on your Instagram feed of candy-colored hair, mimicking unicorn manes and mermaid tails, there’s a good chance they were posted by @kenziethehairfairy. This 23-year-old Detroit native works at Hair Klaudt in Plaza Midwood and has racked up more than 20K Instagram followers, with her bright and fun photos of rainbow tresses.
Kenzie Veurink has been an independent hairstylist since she was 17 years old, and has dabbled in styling photoshoots, running a fashion blog and even acting in an indie horror film. We caught up with her to talk about her business, her Instagram strategy and how she prevents social media burnout.
Where did your Instagram name “Kenzie the Hair Fairy” come from?
My original handle was “@KenzietheHappyFairy,” which came from my name being Kenzie and, in general, being a happy person with an adoration for fairies. About a year ago, I decided to make my Instagram more focused on my career as a hairstylist, and less focused on my personal life, so I made the switch to “hair fairy.”
What are your top three favorite hair colors you’ve done, and why?
I love this first one because that chartreuse color is so unique. Not many people ask for it even though it’s so incredibly lovely.
This pretty color melt makes me happy. The colors are just sweet like candy and my client just let me do whatever I wanted, so that’s always fun.
I love how bold this one is. Not many people want to rock such drastic colors, even though they can! I have people saying, “I wish I could pull that off” almost every day. YOU CAN! Just gotta do it! That’s why I love this, she just did it. She wanted orange and green and I was like, YES THIS IS AMAZING, YOU ARE AMAZING.
Do you use a special technique to achieve these gorgeous colors? Where did you learn how to do it?
I love fun colors the most. There are special techniques every artist uses to create. I learned mine from trial and error, taking classes from other stylists and watching lots of videos. I’m always trying to learn and expand my knowledge of my craft.
How did you grow such a large following on Instagram? What’s your strategy?
I honestly have no idea how it happened. My ex-husband (@slootattoos) and I both started gaining traction a few years ago. I don’t really have much of a strategy other than being true to myself. I think people like to see genuineness. Lately I just like to have a pretty feed and follow some kind of pattern. I use hashtags occasionally like #charlottehair and what not, but I’m not sure if that makes a huge difference.
Has Instagram been a successful tool to bring in new business?
I’m extremely grateful for what Instagram has done for my career. Most of my clients come from Instagram and I wouldn’t be here without the free advertising. It’s an amazing tool for small businesses and artists.
However, as grateful as I am for the opportunities and for the things Instagram has done for me, it’s a double-edged sword. The bigger you get on Instagram, the more flack you catch on Instagram. I’ve had to deal with so much negativity, so much judgement, so many people thinking they know everything about me because they follow me through a tiny screen.
How do you prevent social media burnout when you use it for your job?
My goal is to simply use Instagram to maintain a solid career and client base, and that’s it. If my likes and followers never increase, it wouldn’t bother me in the least. As long as people find their way to my chair, I’ll be happy.
Since my career is in a good place, I’m trying to focus on other aspects of my life. I’m working on being healthier, journaling more and making art in other ways, like painting. I’m trying to enjoy genuine friendships, as opposed to a follower number. It’s a hard habit to break, not getting my phone out to Snapchat or to Instagram every second, but overall, I’m working on being present instead of seeing the world through a screen.
What advice would you give someone who is experiencing similar frustrations with social media?
Be true to you. Wear what you want, say what you want, and do what you want. Don’t get upset if a picture only gets 10 likes. Who cares? When I’m old and looking back on life, I’m going to remember the sunsets and the laughs, not the numbers on my computer screen. Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to remember your number of likes — that’s cool too. This is just where I’m at in my journey right now and it’s been my favorite chapter yet.
What are you doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I love to hang out with my dogs (@potatosaladthepoms). We go hiking and play in the yard. I love to dance and I’m learning to cook. Lately my favorite hobby has been jigsaw puzzles.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite part of my job is making people feel good about themselves. Self-confidence is an incredibly amazing thing. I try to find beauty in everyone I meet, client or not. So, when I get the chance to help them see that beauty within themselves, it’s incredible. This world is a crazy place and if I can help someone just a little bit, from a haircut to taking the time to really listen to someone, I’m more than happy to do so. That’s my favorite part. Don’t get me wrong, I love making colorful fairy hair, but making someone colorful on the inside, too — that’s the best.
Photos: Kenzie Veurink