This past year has been, to put it lightly, a whirlwind. The pandemic has exposed so many cracks and crevices in our social norms, our leadership, and ourselves, it’s not surprising many people have made drastic changes in their lives. Some of us started paths to healthier lifestyles or are breaking out into new career fields. We have, in many ways, metamorphosed. While the isolation that comes with a global pandemic wasn’t exactly the cocoon I was looking for, I am definitely coming out of this a better person. I have, like so many of us, transformed.
You should take note, however, that something else has emerged from its cocoon, and the result is unspeakably beautiful.
Jocelyn Travers and Kerri Micheletti are not new to the hairstyling scene, but their brand and image is completely new to me, and likely you as well. Our Zoom conversation was alive with heart, soul, and sass. Jocelyn and Kerri play off each other like ping pong balls, batted by the paddle that was 2020, bouncing dreams. They describe themselves as yin and yang-I had no idea how true that was going to prove to be! Kerri is strong, fierce and joyful; the sun personified. Her passion spills into every word, her animated hands are individual rays of light. Jocelyn, while appearing quieter, reminds me more of the moon. Cool and calm, but brimming with hunger. She is a powerful woman, unapologetically taking her space in the world, an admirable trait. Combine the two? The world needs to prepare itself, because SHED is already here.
When I asked them to tell me how they came to open SHED, both women had a lot to say.
“Oh boy!” Jocelyn is already laughing; her voice is thick with joy. “It was always a dream that we would talk about after work when we’d be making dinner together here, in this exact room….There was not even, like…”
At this, Kerri cuts in: “A plan!”
Jocelyn and Kerri are not joking when they describe themselves as yin and yang. They are completing each other’s sentences, reassuring each other and encouraging each other throughout the entirety of our interview, and it’s undeniable how strong their bond is. Like a nautical knot, intertwined with intention and intensity, their grip on their world tightens with every breath. The longer we speak, the more I am convinced these two women have this strange, unmatched ability to know me better than I know myself – as long as I am sitting in their chair. Having had my hair cut by Jocelyn before, this was not entirely a surprise to me. In October of last year, Jocelyn stole two things from me: Ten inches of my hair, and my heart. I will never go to anyone else, and I mean that sincerely.
Both Jocelyn and Kerri are excellent stylists. What makes this duo so irresistible is the energy they give off when they’re together. It’s hard to resist their joy. I felt nothing but positivity and excitement listening to them speak to their work. As Kerri put it, “We share passion for our craft… [Jocelyn’s] super talented…I would not have been able to do it without her.”
Jocelyn allows no space for self doubt. “No, you would’ve, you would’ve!”
Apparently the only fresh “after” photo I have is one from the Boston Herald. Bae caught me protesting. But look how beautiful she made me!
Jocelyn and Kerri redefine art in the salon. They set atop a pedestal the needs of their clients, a promise of empathy that takes your experience to new heights and challenges conventional beauty standards that typically only prompt for a simple explanation of ‘what’, disregarding the journey of ‘why’. Neither one of these women are willing to lose the ‘why’ for the ‘what,’ and that’s a value that truly makes SHED stand out. But before we get to the why, let’s take a closer look at the what.
BETTER OFF SHED
Opening their own salon had been a long time dream for Jocelyn and Kerri, but it wasn’t until the pandemic they were allowed the space and time to breathe life into the idea.
Rather than setting these two women back, the pandemic was a propeller forward to their end game. On the origins of the space they’ve acquired, Jocelyn remembers her thought process. When Kerri asked her to come and visit the space, she couldn’t say no. “It’s quarantine, I haven’t left my apartment in like 3 weeks, I’ll come with you!…Once we went to go see the space we were just like, so excited…If it wasn’t for the pandemic I don’t think that this would even have come about.”
Kerri was quick to jump in and expand on this. “I think that the thing that really ignited the fire is the uncertainty of not knowing.” Ah, yes, the thrill of a big risk; I know it well. And while a lot of the unknowns had to do with CDC guidelines for operating during Covid-19: occupancy requirements, PPE, and appropriate distancing measures, these two stylists had some pretty impressive curve balls thrown at them even without considering the global pandemic.
Jocelyn may have understated it when she said: “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into!”
Whether it was navigating the red tape required to open up shop, ordering the wrong sinks, or overpaying for permits, these ladies took everything in stride and kept working towards their dream. They were certainly asked to take quite a bit in stride.
COMING IN HOT
The night before they were set to sign their lease for their new space, it caught fire. I will say it again: their new space caught fire. This is the wrench of all wrenches. This wasn’t even a wrench, this was the whole toolbox! You might take it as a sign from the universe that maybe this was not to be. Perhaps the fire was the universe’s way of saying, “not yet, not now.”
Well, the message was received loud and clear. The property owner happened to have a different space available. Jocelyn told me, “When we stepped into that place there was such a vision of what we could do with it; it was much bigger…We thought [the fire] was a derailing but in the end it was so much better than what we thought was going to happen before.”
Kerri was also pleased with the square footage. “Just so much potential…Let’s just say the universe kind of was favoring I think Jocelyn and I a bit more.”
The only better feeling than the thrill of a big risk is the feeling you get when that big risk pays off. And the payoff was sweet for these women. Quite literally, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, so too does SHED. Having scored a larger space than originally anticipated, they set to work on setting the mood of their salon.
Jocelyn and Kerri have curated a space that absolutely represents the culture they are cultivating; one of mindfulness and peace, resurrection and rebirth. And to that end, let’s get to the ‘why.’
TRANSFORMATION WITH INTENT
When I visited SHED’s website and read about their core values, I was immediately looking to book an appointment. I was so drawn to their mission; it was somehow all inclusive while also catering specifically to me.
Kerri is ready to speak to this. “Basically, you know, really understanding the reasons as to why we want to do something, and making sure it’s purposeful and it’s going to lead…both of us in a direction of creativity where the fluidity of what it is we’re trying to build and structure… has that purpose.” She gets more specific, adding, “They’ll come in for a haircut, or a hair color, and the way [I] look at [the craft] is that it is a passion. I like to know my clients’ backgrounds and their stories. When somebody comes in with hair down to their knees and they’re like ‘I want a pixie,’ I’m like ‘what are you going through?’”
Okay, at this point, I have to admit we are all laughing. That kind of story rings true for all of us to some extent. Jocelyn adds through her laughter, “There’s always a story!”
And to that end, again, these women are living their truths. Kerri stands by her philosophy. “I want somebody to really want it, and I want that to be a shared vision, and I want to see it come to life.” Hearing Kerri speak to her art lit a fire within me. “Traditionally, cutting hair used to mean actually letting go of something, hence the name SHED. Shed for us is the act of letting go and coming into the new. Snakes shed their skin, we shed our hair so we can have new growth and purpose.”
Jocelyn is quick to agree. “I love…somebody just completely transforming themselves and just feeling good when they walk out that door…it’s absolutely everything in the name.”
There is so much more to what they do than just cutting your hair. Beyond the physical result, you have to consider the emotional benefits that come with higher self esteem, higher confidence, and the sense of a clean slate. Jocelyn and Kerri are here to make sure you feel the same way.
Kerri very eloquently summed up what it is they do: “We are day makers.”
Day makers. Sit with this. It’s very true. As human beings, we share a lot of the same physical components. What are our biggest identifiers? Our first names, and how we choose to present ourselves. Jocelyn and Kerri are in the business of humanity, empathy, and self discovery.
To this point, we touch on the intimacy shared between stylist and client. “It’s an emotional thing.. When someone sits in your chair you’re touching them and you’re talking about their personal life, and I think most people tell their hairdressers things they wouldn’t necessarily tell their best friends.” Jocelyn continued, telling me “I just genuinely want you to love your hair as much as I do.”
Knowing that my stylist has my best interests at heart is such a comfort; I’m sure we all have our horror stories. I once asked for long side bangs (this was 2007, don’t get on my case) and ended up with blunt kitten bangs. After that incident, I didn’t go to another salon for over ten years. Jocelyn was the first woman to cut my hair after KittenBangsGate, and through her skills as a stylist and, more importantly, her innate ability to make me feel comfortable, I had regained my trust in she who holds the shears.
GROWING IT OUT
Staying on the yin and yang theme, Kerri and Jocelyn have very different marketing techniques, and combining their strengths has been excellent for their business. For Kerri, it’s all word of mouth, which is always good news if you’re in the business of making people feel good about themselves. “I’ve been in the industry almost 20 years. With that being said, I have a really large network of people, especially in Rhode Island. I’ve built that network, and now…it’s constantly blooming.” Kerri tells me how she’ll give her card out anywhere – the grocery store, the gas station, wherever she can put herself out there.
“The biggest thing is social media, which is really hard for me to get a hold of,” Jocelyn tells me regarding her social media campaigns. “It’s a huge part of this world, especially in the beauty industry…Most of my marketing is through social media. I can’t tell you how many messages I get a week just on Instagram.” Jocelyn tried to tell me she struggles sometimes with crafting her posts, but Kerri is quick to remove any self doubt.
“She’s not giving herself enough credit! She kills it, nails it!” Again, their chemistry is absolutely infectious. Neither one of these women leave any room for the other to feel any self doubt, constantly building each other up and encouraging one another. The world needs more Kerris, more Jocelyns. But, since we only have one of each right now, let’s not take them for granted.
“We don’t do anything like groupon, we don’t do articles in newspapers…We’re in a business that’s very personal,” says Kerri. “The minute you make contact with someone, that’s when that reporte starts to be built. If you’re flipping through a magazine and you see an article, you’re gonna be looking at like a 20% off. We’re artists- it’s not that we’re not looking to give people deals, but we give people deals in different ways. I don’t want people to just come to our salon because there’s a 50% off on groupon…As people with integrity with transforming…It’s an art…That’s what we wanted to cultivate, a sense of community.”
It’s a very special, almost sacred feeling, isn’t it? That feeling you get when you know you are right where you are supposed to be. Jocelyn and Kerri are right where they are supposed to be. Building their business from the ground up, building a community with the common denominator of self love and self expression, throwing themselves to the wolves. It’s beautiful – it’s the only valid beauty standard out there. The beauty of honest self expression. The beauty of living your truth. These women are living theirs.
START YOUR ENGINES
There has been a transformation in Providence RI. Out of the cocoon, through fire and flame, Jocelyn and Kerri have staked their claim in the beauty world – And they haven’t even shaken off their new wings yet. Fresh, fierce, and hungry, this duo is reshaping our view of visiting a salon.
“We have so much more going on inside of our heads with what this is gonna be. It’s just the beginning.” Kerri tells me about so many incredible ideas she and Jocelyn have up their sleeves, and I cannot wait to see what they do. I cannot wait for you to see what they do. They’re constantly brainstorming new ideas in their journey to forge this community.
“Like Pringles right? We just popped open the clear lid and we still have that huge tube to go down. Once you pop you don’t stop!” Kerri’s eyes are alight with excitement.
Jocelyn ads, laughing, “And the crumbs are the best!”
Yin and yang. I am so excited to experience everything SHED has to offer as they grow their business. Get ready, folks. The lid’s off.