When you first meet this local businesswoman, you notice that she wears a dainty golden arrow necklace and has a corresponding arrow tattoo on the inside of her left wrist. When asked about the significance of the arrows, she mentions a quote:
“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.” — Author unknown
Shannon Kessler, owner of Primp Style Lounge, uses these arrows to metaphorically propel her through her days. Her career path has always shown a propensity for taking risks and opening businesses on her own — the Primp business is her third business endeavor. Her first was an all-star cheerleading business in Northern Virginia. Then after moving here and getting married, she opened a wardrobe consulting business. In 2014, she opened Primp, a blow-dry bar, which was the first of its kind here in Louisville, just providing the salon “finishing touches.” In 2016, she opened up a second location of Primp in Middletown and now oversees both. In addition to running her own business, she is the stylist for StyleBlueprint’s monthly “What to Wear” articles, effortlessly finding the perfect outfits for each occasion at a local boutique in town – she truly has “the eye,” and you can see it in everything she touches. We’re so excited to introduce you to this week’s FACE of Louisville, Shannon Kessler!
Tell us about your most current venture, Primp Style Lounge?
Primp is my vision of a style oasis. When I started Primp in 2014, Louisville did not have a place for women to get a great blowout, professional makeup and wardrobe advice in one convenient location. Our mission at Primp is to increase confidence through a positive self-image. We all know the power of a good hair day, and at Primp, we strive to create that feeling in every service.
How did your previous business endeavors lead you to where you are now?
I was a wardrobe consultant prior to Primp. So when I decided to open a blowout bar, I knew personal styling would be a natural fit. Prior to that I was in the all-star cheerleading industry for 10 years. I have always loved helping people find what makes them shine.
You are a great stylist for StyleBlueprint’s What to Wear fashion articles. What do you love about styling outfits, and how does it come so naturally to you?
Thank you! I love styling photo shoots! Whether it’s editorial or a family photo shoot, I really enjoy putting looks together that are visually pleasing and complementary to the people wearing the clothes. When I look at colors and patterns, it just makes sense. I get energized by creating ensembles — it feels right. I specialize in helping women and men shop their own closets. I love to use clothes they already own to streamline their personal style. The best compliment someone can pay me is when I put together an outfit they love and they say, “I would have never thought to do this!” That’s when I know I have done my job.
Since you make people pretty all the time, what do you do to make yourself feel pretty? Do you feel pressure to always look fixed and done?
I love to get a blowout and have my makeup done. I have a signature look at Primp that is now called “The Shannon.” It’s a tousled, textured, beachy wave. It’s an easy style to maintain because the more you mess it up the better it looks. I am also a big fan of facials and healthy skin. I receive regular acupuncture and cupping treatments to keep myself balanced and rejuvenated.
When I first started Primp, I felt a lot of pressure to always be polished and put together. But now I feel more comfortable being real. That doesn’t always translate to having my hair fixed and makeup done. It means prioritizing my time to complete the task at hand.
What is the most challenging part of your job? The most rewarding?
The most challenging part of my job is managing expectations. When a guest wants a certain look but may not have the type of hair or features that are required for that specific look, you have to know how to create a realistic approach to creating what they want. For example if someone really loves a long, flowing, thick braid but has thin, shoulder-length hair, you have to find a way to come to an agreement about the outcome. Are they willing to add extensions, or can you create a better suited look for their hair type?
The most rewarding part of my job is the authentic smile I get when I help someone feel like the best version of his or herself. Nothing is more beautiful than a confident smile.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I would love to be the voice of a cartoon character or host a talk show.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I do NOT like to dance. I was in competitive cheerleading for years, and yet I hate to dance.
What are three words that describe you?
Vibrant, ambitious, friendly
What advice do you treasure?
I get asked often, “How do you balance it all?” I don’t search for balance as much as I try to make it a work-life blend. If I choose to clock more mom hours, then I stand behind that decision and dial down on my business that day. If it’s a boss day, then I stand in that choice and make the most of my time away from my family. It doesn’t always create “balance,” and that’s okay. I am learning that balance is just a moment, but living in your choices creates clarity in your beautiful, messy life.
Fill in the blank. You’ll never see me without my _________.
Nails polished. I love quirky nail art and polished toes.
Where can we find you hanging out around town?
I joke that the Primp mobile office is at Heine Brothers in Northfield. I am there at least four days a week, and it’s where I hold 95% of my meetings. I am a big fan of hot yoga, and my favorite studio is Bend and Zen Hot Yoga. Since I am always shopping for clients, I visit local boutiques every week.
If you had to choose just one … what’s your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Shop local! We have some of the best little boutiques and unique gift shops in the South. I love supporting my fellow small business owners.
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Creating a podcast with my best friend, practicing all the yoga and learning how to live a more plant-based lifestyle. I really love to cook, so this is fun to be creative with new recipes.
To be inspired by other great women in Louisville, check out our other FACES of Louisville here.