Kenna Ehman is one of the owners of Kenna Kunijo, a high-end salon with a everyone’s welcome vibe located on Camden Street in SouthEnd. She’s a premier stylist with a heart of gold. Kenna travels the country making brides perfect for their wedding days, while also training other stylists about how to identify and assist human trafficking victims.
She’s also one of the few people I trust to touch my hair and one of my favorite people in the world. I love getting to share her with you all.
So, Kenna, where did you grow up?
In St. John’s, MI, a tiny little farm town north of Lansing. It’s truly a one stoplight town.
Then, what brought you to Charlotte?
My mom’s ministry with Proverbs 31, which is based in Charlotte.
What made you stay in Charlotte?
To me, Charlotte was a big city and I’m such a city girl. I loved the people, especially the ones who I was working for and living with when I first moved here.
I’m now a business owner, hair stylist, and make-up artist. Since I own a business here, I plan to stay for a while!
How did you get into styling hair?
Honestly, I wanted to do theatre full time and realized that wasn’t something I could do forever. As I thought about it more, I loved when I got to do hair and makeup for shows. I thought, “why not go to hair school and make a career of what I loved most about the theatre?”
I went to Trinity Academy while working at Chick-Fil-A. I did “kitchen hair” aka hair in the kitchen for people and nannied. When I got out of hair school, I interviewed with a lot of salons and didn’t love any of them. I wanted to find a salon that was the Chick-Fil-A of the salon world (the best of the best). So, I waited until I found the right fit.
It took about a year…
Then, heard that Modern was hiring. I knew if I got the job, it was going to be really hard work but would pay off. I got the job and went through the training program. I will say, going through another training program even though I had finished hair school did not make sense at the time. Now, I’m so grateful. I realized the best stylists go through training at the salons where they will be working.
Well, now I’m sitting here in a salon that bears your name. You’re no longer working for anyone else. What made you step out on your own?
I wanted more flexibility and freedom in my schedule to travel with my mom and Lysa (Terkeurst) to do hair and makeup for shoots for Proverbs 31. I had grown as much as she could at the other locations where I’d worked. My goal was always to open my own business.
Having Kenna Kunijo allows my business partner and me to provide the customer service and excellence of other places where we have been. We also want to invest in the next generation of stylists and give back to the community.
What makes Kenna Kunijo different?
When people come in here, they can tell it’s a different kind of salon. We’ve been able to give a high-end service and feel with the comfort and coziness of your neighborhood salon. We have a close knit team. Our clients know it’s a training facility so we have new summer interns and we have assistants.
Plus, our clients know we are involved with anti-human trafficking. We’ve actually had clients tell us they feel like they’re giving back to the community when they come to us.
What do you with anti-human trafficking?
I’ve been involved with Lily Pad Haven for about five years. What we specifically do is provide services for any of the guests staying in one their five safe houses. Whatever they need, we’re there. We offer them complimentary services. We also host a lot of charity events and girls’ night out for Lily Pad Haven to raise money for the organization.
When people think of Kenna Ehman, what do you want them to think?
For me, I want them to think of someone who is a hard worker and does great hair. But more than that, I want them to think of me as someone who gives back to the community. If you can give someone a cut and color at her lowest point, why would you not do that? For us, it’s an hour of our time, but for them it could change their lives.
All very true. You guys do amazing work! So, what’s your favorite?
Coffee: Not Just Coffee
Sports team: Michigan State
TV show: Friends
Movie: The Greatest Showman
Place to work out: Arrichion (that is not even a question)
App: First Five (devotional)
New thing in CLT: Scooters
Old thing in CLT: Atherton Mill