Katie Steller is one steller entrepreneur who owns her own hair salon. But she also touches many lives way beyond the confines of the four walls of her Minneapolis, Minnesota studio.
At least once per week, Katie wheels out her now-famous roaming red chair and takes it around the city in the back of her SUV and asks homeless people if they would like for her to give them a free hair cut.
But her contribution goes way beyond just cutting people’s hair. Katie says she wants to go out into her community with the hope of inspiring others to help those in need.
“If fear is contagious, why can’t kindness be,” Katie says.
Katie, along with her assistant, Emily Lall, stops for anybody holding a sign asking for help and asks if they would like a free haircut.
“I could technically cut somebody’s hair on a folding chair or on a curb or wherever, like I don’t need that chair,” Katie says, according to Kare 11 News.
“But it’s not about what’s easy, it’s about really showing value to people.”
Katie started giving out free haircuts to the homeless back in 2013, but she had to take a break to build up her salon business, Steller Hair Company.
Now her red chair’s back in action, but this time, Katie has help from her salon employees as well as some kind volunteers. She also gives out a few essential items folks need, such as sanitary napkins, food, and water.
“It’s looking at what skill do I have, what gift do I have, and how could that benefit somebody else,” Katie says.
She also stated that she wants everyone to feel good about themselves; and notes that they then can be inspired to go out and do great things for others.
The feeling of being unhappy with your self-image is something Katie’s all-too-familiar with. A few years ago, when she was just 11-years-old, Katie was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Then when she was 18, she had to have her entire large intestine removed.
After the operation, Katie’s hair began falling out as a side effect.
“When you start to lose it, you’re like, wait, I didn’t realize what a big part of my identity that was,” Katie tells Kare 11.
“That’s probably my main motivator. I mean, I don’t do hair because I’m naturally good at it, I’m good at it because I saw it as a way and a vessel to connect and care for people.”