Cosmetology, Confidence and Tattoos, oh yes, Tatoos! A conversation with Kate Ambers, founder of @souldresserretreats.



Chris Sulimay: Boom!


John Palmieri: [incomprehensible]


Chris Sulimay: That was me. So- [laughter]


John Palmieri: You know, I’m worried about your claps they’re getting lame as time goes by.


Chris Sulimay: It’s the truth, it’s the truth.


John Palmieri: You’re supposed to get better with practice.


Chris Sulimay: I know, I know.


John Palmieri: Come on.


Chris Sulimay: So, hey, everybody. Welcome to the Shop Talk podcast brought to you by 124Go. I’m your co-host Chris Sulimay [00:00:30] and I’m sitting here with my great friend, Mr.-

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John Palmieri: John Palmieri.


Chris Sulimay: And we have an amazing guest with us today, Kate Ambers. So this is really actually interesting, John, as we roll into this podcast, because the first podcast you and I ever did, we were at Modern Salon Digital Summit, and Corey and Tony pulled us on to an episode of @Hairdustry. It was interesting because we had just met at that show. That’s kind of what happened this weekend, we were in a class [00:01:00] yesterday, we were sitting in Nina Kovner’s class learning some social media skills. And I happened to sit next to this lady who was super interested in the class as well.  We got to chatting a little bit and realized that she’s got a mission that we think is really- needs to be heard.


John Palmieri: Yeah, and something we want to share.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, we want to share it out and so, met up with Kate. We talked about doing a podcast and here we sit still at the Thrive Hair Convention in-


John Palmieri: Seattle.


Chris Sulimay: Seattle. So [00:01:30] welcome, Kate.


Kate Ambers: Thank you. I am very honored to be here.


John Palmieri: Thanks.


Kate Ambers: And then you asked me to be on the podcast. This event is amazing and this is why I come to these events is to make this connections, to meet people like yourselves. And I love the aftermath of these events too, like staying connected, seeing what we’re doing on Instagram. And it was funny because we met in a social media class. That’s actually my favorite part about social media now. I used to have a problem with it because I think we are all [00:02:00] a little over it sometimes. We need like a social media diet. But I’ve really come into a relationship with it because of that, making these connections with people who aren’t in your neighborhood and staying connected with them throughout.


Chris Sulimay: Well, what was funny- and John was in a  different class. We got chatting for a second, found out Kate lives in Sacramento. I’ve a great friend named Alleana who lives in Sacramento. We snapped a picture, you sent it to Alleana. And then a few minutes after that, we got talking again [00:02:30] and both realized that she, Kate, knows Missy from So You’re a Hairstylist who we just recently interviewed. So I snapped a picture and sent it to her. So that just goes to show the community that we live in and it’s really great. But Kate has a great message to share, John. So how do you want to start this thing out?


John Palmieri: Well, I’d start off with my favorite question which is, why hairdressing? How did this happen?


Kate Ambers: Ohh, why hairdressing? Well it’s funny, my original reason was, when I was younger, I always [00:03:00] knew I wanted- I told my mom, I’m going to be in a  career that I can have tattoos and I’m going to be and I will never wear a unif-


John Palmieri: How old were you at this time?


Kate Ambers: Fifteen!


John Palmieri: And at that time, you decided [laughter]..


Kate Ambers: I told my mom, yeah. I said, “Mom, I want a job that I can have tattoos and I don’t want to wear a uniform.” She worked in a very corp- we lived in Silicon Valley. So she worked in a very corporate world and I loved the structure of a corporate world but hated that I couldn’t be my funky weird self. [00:03:30] And I started as a hairdresser, no, I’m sorry, I started working in a salon at fifteen just as a receptionist sweeping the floor, and I’m watching this artist cut hair and I’m like, oh, just glazed, my eyes glazed over and I’m like  “this is what I want to do.”


Chris Sulimay: Now, you started working in like, somebody else’s sal- you just-


Kate Ambers: Yeah, just a  salon when I was a teenager and it was a receptionist position. And I thought, “Oh, my gosh, this is cool.” And at sixteen I needed-


John Palmieri: I needed a job.


Kate Ambers: I just needed a job, yeah. I fell [00:04:00] in love with it, studied every single movement and cut that they would do. And I’d go home and tell my friends, “Let me cut your hair.”


John Palmieri: [laughter]


Kate Ambers: And I didn’t know how to [incomprehensible] my shears. So I was like, reaping hair out. I didn’t know how to make a clean line. So finally, after years, I went to cosmetology school and fell in love with it, and just took off from there. And then probably about four years into my career, I found out that my grandmother, whom I’ve never met, she passed away before I was born, [00:04:30] but I guess I look like her, I act like her, she was a hairdresser. So my grandfather comes to me and he gives me her cosmetology license. And then I’m like, “I had no idea.” And what are the chances I went down the same path. Why hairdressing? Because I just-


Chris Sulimay: It’s just in you.


Kate Ambers: Yeah, it was in my blood.


John Palmieri: How old were you when you get your first tattoo?


Kate Ambers: It’s like the day one of being eighteen. [laughter]


John Palmieri: [laughter]


Kate Ambers: Like the second I could get one, I got one.


Chris Sulimay: That’s awesome, that’s awesome. [00:05:00] God, you just took that in so many different directions that we can go. I mean, think one of the first places I want to go and I can see your wheels turning as well is I want to just hang out on the journey for a second. So this morning we got a chance to sit with Tim Hartley and we talked a lot about his origin story. But then we also got him to a reflective conversation about how long until somebody really starts to grow up in the industry. And so since you don’t know us [00:05:30] that well, we work with 130 stylists, the group that we work with has a cosmetology school. And so we’ll take kids out of that cosmetology school, adults, I should be saying. But new professionals out of that cosmetology school, take them through our training program and then start to put them on the floor. And there’s almost this- it’s not impatient, it’s almost this, “I should already be good at this.” But you just kind of shared about like at, “At fifteen I started to see this stuff.” And then you used the words, [00:06:00] I’m not putting words into your mouth, “years.” “I studied this stuff for years.” When did you- now that you’ve been around for- and how many years have you been in the industry? [crosstalk] Not that it matters but I’m curious, yeah.


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] Well, I’ve been in the industry, for probably, 16 or 17 years.


Chris Sulimay: Okay, great.


Kate Ambers: I was 15,  I’m going to be 33 in a few months.


Chris Sulimay: So now you’re 16, 17 years in, when you’re looking back, when do you think you hit a  maturity level of like, “I’m starting to really get this thing. Not that I have a knack for it. Not that I’m [00:06:30] enjoying it but like”-


John Palmieri: I’m getting good at it?


Chris Sulimay: “I’m getting good at this.”


Kate Ambers: See, it’s interesting because- so I started cutting hair not profe- not legally… I think a lot of us started cutting hair before we actually got our license. And so cutting came very naturally to me. Color, on the other hand, was so hard. I was in cosmetology school- now remember, I didn’t go to cosmetology school until I was about 23. So it was like, way later than I actually went. So by the time I graduated, I [00:07:00] felt I was way behind the rest. Because I’m going to school with people who are straight out of high school.


Chris Sulimay: 18, right.


Kate Ambers: But my cutting skills were so- I picked it up so quickly but was way behind in color. So I would take color classes, color classes, so I can relate to, “I need to be at this level.” And it’s interesting I’ve read a lot of books but if you’ve read the 10,000-Hour Rule, and so I just wanted to be the best or straight out the gate. And I understand [00:07:30] that, we don’t- it’s uncomf-


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] But now looking back, when did you- what if you’re-


Kate Ambers: 10,000 hours. At five years, it was really like, boom, I started feeling a little bit more comfortable.


John Palmieri: Do you say that because you can remember that it was that period of time or when you reflect back after you read Malcolm Gladwell’s book?


Kate Ambers: No [laughter]. So it was interesting-


John Palmieri: “Oh, yeah, it was about five years.”


Kate Ambers: Yeah. [laughter]. No, no, no. I had read that book after. But I got to this point where it was a shift in not needing to be good [00:08:00] or, “Oh, now I’m ‘good’.” It was confidence. I hit a day where I thought I’m confident, I know what I’m worth. I know that I can charge more. I know that, go to someone else and watch and see what happens. And I knew the education that I have been taking. I knew my passion. I knew that I was at a certain level and that there’s no [00:08:30] amount of time. This is different for anyone but it was just the confidence, it was the practice. I had that under my- I made enough mistakes that I knew how to correct it. And there’s something that kids- no, adults, or new hairdressers, you just can’t buy that. You can’t go and pay for some huge class and get that overnight. That’s just something that comes with experience.


John Palmieri: It’s funny because I reflect back at the time when I was in the salon [00:09:00] and I forgot who- how the conversation came up but I was talking with one of our colorists. And to your point, they said something about, “Well, how do you know what to do?” And I was like, “Well, sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But here’s the thing, if I screw it up, I know how to fix it.”


Kate Ambers: Exactly.


John Palmieri: And I think that’s the cool part, right? You kind of get to that point where you can take chances, you can be adventurous. Because you know what, no matter what happens, I know how to fix it.


Kate Ambers: Absolutely.


John Palmieri: It’s going to be okay.


Kate Ambers: Yeah. And that’s because of all of those “mistakes” or “discoveries.”


John Palmieri: Right, [00:09:30] okay.


Chris Sulimay: Absolutely.


John Palmieri: Because of the conversation I was having with Tim earlier today, I got this stuck in my head, I’m kind of using it all day. It’s called, the Poetry of Change. I love that phrase. And so I’m going to take it to ask more questions for you.

So somewhere along the line, there comes an opportunity for you to change directions in your career, right? I’m going to use the Poetry of Change that Mr. Hartley used [incomprehensible]. And you kind of gone down a different road now [00:10:00] with your career. Hairdressing for quite a period of time. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now and what was the change, what was the moment that said, “You know what, I’m going to go down this road now.”


Kate Ambers: Yeah. So about a year ago, I created a business called Souldresser Retreats. It’s a wellness business, a wellness and empowerment company for hairdressers. And it’s three parts: Wellness, personal development and [00:10:30] business development.

And I realized- well, it’s kind of two parts, I went on a retreat to India and it started this spiritual journey for me. And I realized that I had a lot of mental blockages and limiting about myself and my career that were stopping me from getting to the next level and elevating myself at where I was. And I knew I wanted to take my career [00:11:00] to the next level but I knew from day one I did not want to own a salon. But where do you go, if… What’s the next level?


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] What’s the next level?


Kate Ambers: Yeah. So I take this retreat to India and it starts this amazing relationship with yoga and my personal growth and connecting with myself. So I had these two worlds, I had this yoga wellness world and I then had my hairdressing world, and I didn’t [00:11:30] feel like they connected.


Chris Sulimay: Combined.


Kate Ambers: Yeah. And then I started noticing that there was a little bit of overlapping things to Instagram. I realized there’s a lot of other hairdressers who are conscious and want wellness. And then the second part was I started going to a lot of classes and getting to know a lot of [00:12:00] salon owners, and they were all burned out. In about every three years, they just wanted to throw their hands up and quit, and I started paying attention to this. And I thought, “Man, what I can do for these salon owners that just want to set their salon on fire every three years?” [laughter]


John Palmieri: Right. And they want to stand outside to watch it burn. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: Yeah, [laughter]. So I’m like-


John Palmieri: Maybe toast some marshmallow, drink some Kool-Aid.


Kate Ambers: I just thought, “What I can do to help?” And I was with some of my friends and they host yoga retreats. And we’re all talking about their experiences hosting yoga retreats and they became my mentors. And my good friend, [00:12:30] Christina Kennedy, kind of said, “Hairdressers need to go on a retreat.” And I thought, “That’s it, I want to create a retreat that’s specifically for hairdressers.” Which I wonder now if she wanted them to go on on her retreat. [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Probably.


Kate Ambers: [laughter] [crosstalk] And now I’m just like so over the clientele in her market. She has been such a  great mentor for me and has taught me how to host retreats, how to market them, and now that’s what I do. So I just literally [00:13:00] got back about three or four weeks ago from Costa Rica. I took nine hairdressers into the jungle and we did personal growth, wellness, how to eat healthy, how to take care of your body because they’re standing up for 30 years. And business development, how to let go of those limiting beliefs and really elevate your career. Let go of your personal stuff so that you can really put it into your energy and into your business. So that’s what I’m doing.


John Palmieri: So you go on these retreats, right? [00:13:30] And there’s a host of different avenues to hairdressing, your personal development, business development, and your own personal well being, and the health. When you’re going to the process, talk a little bit about the change you see in people. I mean, because I know you’ve been doing this and you see people going through the change, and hopefully, they come back a little different than they left. Talk a little bit about that.


Kate Ambers: That is so funny because I literally, while you guys were at lunch, just posted about that. And after our class [00:14:00] yesterday, I talked about the change that I saw from my attendees and the way that they left. And coming in, I had a few people- and the beautiful thing about this is I get to give an experience to someone who may not have ever travelled internationally before. And we had about three people who had never been out of the country. So to watch them kind of with new eyes and then leave with the confidence of, “I’m a world traveller.” That was really little cool. [00:14:30]


John Palmieri: Is there a part- I’m kind of digressing here a little bit. Are all your trips international?


Kate Ambers: No. So the large ones are. And then I also do shorter domestic retreats as well.


John Palmieri: Is there something of value to your program that you feel international travel adds that domestic travel does not?


Kate Ambers: I do, because I think that’s part of the personal growth. Because travelling- and also stepping out of your comfort zone. So it goes hand in hand. Because we talked about that in hairdressing, like stepping out of that comfort zone, breaking your fears, [00:15:00] and getting into an environment that is foreign to you, does that. If forces-


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] The food, the language, the customs, the culture, everything, right?


Kate Ambers: It forces you to get out of your comfort zone. And then you’re automatically in a state of vulnerability and your guard is, hopefully, a little bit down. And that really helps with the personal growth and the other components.


John Palmieri: All right. So back to the part about the change. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: Yeah. So watching the people [laughter]- thanks. [00:15:30] Really, I see people- I see people progressively bring down their guard. So watching them come in with hairdressers, they’re not really wanting to talk to each other just yet. They’re like, we’re all a little competitive at first. And then that kinds of come down and I see them soften. And then I see them kind of let go of a lot of personal stuff as we work through the workshops.

I get to see them create connections. So now they’re like all best friends [00:16:00] by the time they leave. And then everyone’s leaving lighter and much more confident and ready to take on the next challenge. And I actually came to Thrive with two of my attendees from my last retreat. And we were talking about how- and now they’re off doing amazing things. They took challenges. They kind of broke through their comfort zone to do whatever they might have been on the fence about, they’re now doing it. And one of my attendees is now actually working with [00:16:30] Sally Rogerson on her new academy.


John Palmieri: That’s great!


Chris Sulimay: That’s awesome.


Kate Ambers: So it’s been fun watching them really dive into something that maybe they would not have dived into before.


Chris Sulimay: I’m really enjoying sitting, kind of listening to this and just sitting back more as a an attendee and listening to you. Anybody that knows me well, I mean, John knows me well, right? So where am I at 6- Why do you not call me at 6 o’clock on any weekday?


John Palmieri: Because you’re at yoga at 6 o’clock. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: I love it.


Chris Sulimay: And so like this is [00:17:00] a subject that I didn’t even know that we’re going to be having this discussion when we sat down. I had followed your page a while back. I probably unfollowed one- you know how you go through your followers, people you’re following them every now and then and like, “Okay, I don’t really know this person. I don’t really-” And then when I just re-looked at it, I knew exactly- I’ve seen your postings come through. And we talk a lot- when I say, we, I mean the industry. We talk a lot about the what to do, [00:17:30] do this… But there’s a piece of it- and I learned this in corporate. Running education teams in corporate, what I learned was, many of my conversations with the educators would be more about, start saying “no” rather than how many things can you say “yes” to. It was more about how many things to say “no” to. Amber Skrzypnek, who we just interviewed recently on a podcast- I was a technical director before [00:18:00] she was. She was one of the busiest educators inside of that world, she was the busiest educator inside that world. Maybe she and George probably neck to neck. The conversations I was constantly having with Amber was, “Amber, book your vacation. Stop saying yes to everything. Slow down.” And she was caught and she admittedly would say this, and you know I’m sure she’ll  enjoy hearing this again, she was caught in [00:18:30] his cycle of, “I have to say yes everything. I have to do this, yada yada yada.” And we build this momentum on top of ourselves. And the only thing that can happen to a hairdresser that says yes to every client, “Yes, I’ll squeeze you in. Yes, I’ll stay late. Yes, I’ll work on a Saturday. Yes, I’ll blah blah blah.” The only thing that can happen for them good is they’re going to break down. That’s the only thing that’s going to happen.


Kate Ambers: Yeah, total burnout.


Chris Sulimay: And most of us, I mean, another [00:19:00] part of hairdressing that’s a part of our culture is eating. So we as hairdressers like to eat.


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] All that goes with- Theory we’ve had all week here the one greatest human superpower, right?


Chris Sulimay: Right. Which might- So I have this theory this week that I’m kicking around, John and I always have these theories, right?


John Palmieri: Some of them are absolutely-


Chris Sulimay: It’s ludicrous.


John Palmieri: Ludicrous..


Chris Sulimay: Right, ludicrous.


John Palmieri: Yeah.


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: But I theorized the other morning that the greatest human superpower, the thing that makes us probably the strongest that we can be [00:19:30] is the ability to resist, the compulsion to take an action, the ability-


John Palmieri: Restraint, I think is the word you use.


Chris Sulimay: Restraint is the word I use. Just to go-


John Palmieri: Is a superpower.


Chris Sulimay: I’m either like, “I’m not going to do that. That’s not good for me.” It’s not- I shouldn’t pick that piece of food up. I shouldn’t pick this relationship up. I shouldn’t say yes to this.”


Kate Ambers: And it’s a muscle.


Chris Sulimay: It’s a muscle.


Kate Ambers: You have to practice.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah.


John Palmieri: You know what, [00:20:00] this is going to go way up.


Chris Sulimay: We’re going to get weird?


John Palmieri: We’re going to get weird.


Kate Ambers: Oh, yeah!


Chris Sulimay: Let’s get weird. Let’s get weird. [laughter]


John Palmieri: So we’ve been talking to some old school hairdressers. We talked to TIm, right? We talked to Sally, and I mean old school with respect because I want to be that good, right? Who did everything, worked their butts off. Tim said he’d cut hair in the pub. I remember cutting hair in a bar, I just did it.


Chris Sulimay:  I was just drunk the whole time.


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


John Palmieri: Probably did some of your best work ever, right? [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Yeah.[laughter]


John Palmieri: [00:20:30] But there is this idea that you want to get involved, get your hands in, you are going to do it for free, you are going to volunteer, you’re going to watch, you’re going to hassle.


Chris Sulimay: Hassle.


John Palmieri: We’re a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, you know hassle hassle, hassle. On the other side of that equation, we’re hearing, and rightly so, you can’t say yes to everything. You’re going to practice your restraint, you’re going to burn yourself out especially by the time when your 30 because that’s not that far away for none of us. [00:21:00]


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


John Palmieri: But how do you- so there’s the dilemma, right? So you know what, I’m going to let you talk about this.


Kate Ambers: [laughter] Yeah!


Chris Sulimay: Yes, they don’t want to hear us talk. [laughter]


John Palmieri: Aside from that, from here on, I have no idea what to say. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, we’re repeating. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: It’s all I’ve got. This is where the podcast ends.


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] So make me look good, make me look- make me really good. Make me look smart. [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Teach us balance. Teach us balance so great.


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] Yeah, this is actually [crosstalk] okay. So, yes, balance, this is actually what I’m going into.


Kate Ambers: [laughter] So this is actually a huge chunk of the [00:21:30] workshop that I teach. And it’s- So I love Gary V., I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins. I just- to his-


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] I went to  Fiji years ago, did the 7-day-


Kate Ambers: [incomprehensible]


Kate Ambers: I saw Tony last year.


Chris Sulimay: But I didn’t to go to India. So you’ve got me-


John Palmieri: [laughter]


Kate Ambers: [laughter] So you know I love the Go-Getter. The 10X Rule Grant Cardone, come in early, staying late, and there is a space for that. And I think that there’s such a need [00:22:00] for that but here’s where it comes into balance. And I love energy, I love quantum physics. And I’ll get a little woohoo but real quick. I’m not going to go too crazy.


John Palmieri: I know how to do it. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: Okay, cool, thank you. Masculine and feminine energy. And those two-


Chris Sulimay: That’s a big and Tony’s huge on…


Kate Ambers: Yes. And when they are in balance and the harmonization of the two, that is where success lies. And you- [00:22:30] so, yes. Say yes, but equally, say no. So you have to keep the two in balance.

And so feminine energy is receiving, masculine energy is giving. And if you think about nature, I’m not talking about gender roles, I’m not talking about anything like that. I’m just simply talking about in biology. The masculine typically is the giver and the feminine is usually the receiver, and again not gender roles that’s how it is in nature. [00:23:00]


Chris Sulimay: I wish you told some of my ex-girlfriends that. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


John Palmieri: [laughter] Maybe- I know we said we’re going to get weird but that was a little bit more than anyone bargained for [laiughter].


Kate Ambers: And again, like I was saying, no gender roles but just energetically. And so I think no matter what sex you are or what you identify as, I think, [00:23:30] that we’re talking specifically energetically.


Chris Sulimay: And balancing your energies, right.


Kate Ambers: And so balancing the feminine and masculine. And so remembering when to give, which just work, work, work, give that energy. And when to surrender and receive, let someone give to you, how do you fill your cup, when do you say no, when do you pull back, when do you retreat. So when- and that again comes with experience, right?


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, totally. And everybody has a different level of tolerance on that.


Kate Ambers: Yes. And some people don’t [00:24:00] get to- or find that balance. And then are- So I really I work with people to create boundaries, to know when you’re finding the signs of burnout, and predicting them, and knowing when it’s going to happen before it happens so that you know when to pull back and refill your cup.


Chris Sulimay: Show me a miserable person who’s burned out and I’ll show you somebody who hasn’t been- and we talked about this earlier, hasn’t been able to listen to themselves won’t be true to themselves in the way [00:24:30] that they’ve pushed themselves so far to doing things that they wished they wouldn’t have done. It’s like, “God, I wish I would just planned this differently.” And now they’ve gotten so used to operating in that space that they’re literally burnt to a crisp, and they have no idea it’s happening.

And you were talking about beliefs earlier, and we just met so you don’t know, I wrote a book called “Shop Talk” which is what this thing is named after. And the first part [00:25:00] of that book is about beliefs. And I talk with students- lately I get to talk with students every now and again in the school. And I’ve realized, I’m starting to pull back on going so 90 miles an hour with that talk with students. Because I’ve realized, unless you’ve had, for some people, a couple of like breakdowns, it’s really hard to have that breakthrough.

Like, until [00:25:30] you’ve had the problem of, “Oh my God, I’m so burnt out,” all you can really think in the beginning of your career is, “I can’t wait to get that busy.” Right? “I can’t wait to get that busy.”


So I can’t explain to you the set of beliefs or ideas around building a boundary and saying no if you haven’t had the line crossed enough times yet to where your toes are starting to… Somebody stepped on your toes a few times. And so in such a – it seems like an esoteric subject but the reality is with experience, [00:26:00] some people take those warning signs like, “Oh my God, my shoulders are killing me. My legs are killing me.” And instead of doing good for themselves, they go home and they self-medicate. And then- nothing wrong with it, I mean, we all do what we do, right? That’s not passing judgment. But instead, what I should have done was made a choice to do something that looks a little less culturally cool. But that’s a little bit more kind of fills my cup. And it’s funny because I used that same language actually. Recently, [00:26:30] I was hitting back and forth with one of the co-founders of the business of balayage and she had done a post about how do you fill your cup. And I’ve kind of talked about, I know sometimes if I’m not feeling fulfilled, maybe it’s time for me to get more involved.

And if I’m really involved and I’m not feeling fulfilled, maybe it’s time for me to go back to reservoir and like refill. And this is something that’s not professionally cool to talk about, [00:27:00] most people don’t know how to coach through it because it’s more like personal development rather than professional development. But at the end of the day, here’s the deal, this thing is a marathon. Like, I’m all ready and I know you’re going to say, I look young, I get it. I know what you’re thinking.” [laughter]


Kate Ambers: [laughter] You both are babies.


Chris Sulimay: But I’m already 30 years into the industry, right?


John Palmieri: You look young.


Chris Sulimay: I look young except for a few- right?


John Palmieri: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Unless you saw me in person. But, [00:27:30] here’s the reality, 30 years, I can tell you sitting here, I’ve at least got another, I mean, unless I get hit by a truck, 25 years left without even- without a blink. So when you’re 20, you don’t even know that you could be 50 years, if you fall in love with it and if you like want to do it, you could be 50 years inside of this thing. So you’d better like start to take some of this stuff seriously. I can’t wait to go on one of your retreats.


Kate Ambers: And I also think [00:28:00] as well that- and that’s why I kind of incorporate so many different components because I don’t think it’s just like knowing when to say-


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] It’s not one thing, it’s not magical.


Kate Ambers: It’s not. You kind of have to touch on all of these topics because I also think talking about beliefs, it’s also about negative beliefs and limiting beliefs. Because a lot of hairdressers, A. don’t charge enough, right? So they’re doing like $12 haircuts. And they have to do 50 of them a day in order to make any sort of income [00:28:30] but that’s because they don’t know that they’re worth more.


Chris Sulimay: Well, they don’t even know it’s a thing, right?


Kate Ambers: Right. And so that’s what I also breakthrough or- I also-


John Palmieri: Let’s talk about that for a little bit if we could, is that all right?


Kate Ambers: Yeah.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah.


John Palmieri: So here’s the thing, we’re talking about limiting beliefs. How long is your retreat, generally speaking? How long do you go away for?


Kate Ambers: It’s about seven days.


John Palmieri: All right. So you’re gone for a week. You realized that limiting beliefs are keeping us from doing things. How do you get people, I’m trying to formulate the question as I’m saying it. [00:29:00] How do you get people- how do you help people-


Chris Sulimay: To see-


John Palmieri: –to see what your limiting beliefs are? And maybe it’s easy to intellectualize them, “Oh, I’m-” whatever. But I’m going to change. Because here’s the thing, I think, we all talked about change here. I’ve been talking about going to the gym now for a couple of years and I still haven’t gone. How does that work? Like, walk me through the process and I realize we don’t have a weekWalk me through [00:29:30] the process for people- how do you recognize what your limiting beliefs are and how do you get to the point that you now overcome them, and you no longer have to pull you back, how does that happen?


Kate Ambers: So I think the very first step is becoming aware. So I just get people to be aware that there’s this inner dialogue. A lot of people just have all these thoughts and they don’t think twice about it. They don’t even know they have limiting beliefs. And so the first thing is I just let people know, “Hey, you’ve got an inner dialogue in your head. [00:30:00] You talk to yourself. And you’re not crazy, you’re human. That’s normal.”

So, one is just allowing them to bring their attention to it. And then they start paying attention and then we go over them. And I say like, “What are some goals that you want?” And they’ll say, “Oh, I want to be the owner of a salon.” “Okay, well, why don’t you?” And then, boom, they just start coming out. “Oh, well, it’s too much money.” Or “Oh, I could never do that, I don’t have enough experience.” Boom, boom, all limiting beliefs. Every reason that you just said [00:30:30] is bullshit because you know that you could own a salon. There’s no reason why you’re any different than anybody else. So all of those limitations and glass ceiling, you’re your own blockage. You’re standing in your own way. There’s no other- so taking responsibility and then kind of like what Chris said, it’s that breaking point. So I just let them be aware of it and then let release the control. Because I want to control when they’re going to have the breakthrough, when they create the change. But it’s really just when they want to [00:31:00] change, when they’ve crossed the line and they’ve have their toes stepped on like you said.

But too many times, they’re like, “I’m done! I’m sick of feeling this way. Now, I know that there’s this inner dialogue. I’m going to start changing it.” And-


John Palmieri: That’s a level of confidence, right?


Kate Ambers: I think it’s a level of awareness that if you hear that voice enough times-


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] All right. So let’s talk about that.


Kate Ambers: -saying that you can’t do something, one day you’re going to wake up and say, “No.”


Chris Sulimay: “I’m done.”


Kate Ambers: “Screw that. I am going to do it.” And that’s that changed, and so-


John Palmieri: I guess I want to know more about that. And I guess, probably be digging deeper [00:31:30] than-


John Palmieri: How do we go from- and I’m asking because there are people online who want to hear this. How do you go-


Chris Sulimay: Right. I want to know how it came in you? Because it might- it might be a [incomprehensible] [crosstalk]


John Palmieri: How do you go from awareness to confidence to act?


Kate Ambers: Okay. So the next step that we do is- the first step is becoming aware [chuckle]. And so one of my activities is, and I cannot take credit for this, I borrowed it from somebody else.


Chris Sulimay: None of us can take credit.


Kate Ambers: I call it, F off Becky. Because here’s the thing, these negative beliefs are never going to go away. [00:32:00] That’s the thing, I think people are just- assumed, “Oh, I’m going to-”


Chris Sulimay: They get quieter, right. They get quieter.


Kate Ambers: Yeah, we just turned it off for a while. And so what I have everyone do is I have them create an alter ego. And this helped me. And so I named mine, Becky. And when I hear Becky saying, “Oh, I can’t do that.” Or, “There’s no way I can-” And it can- it doesn’t have to be in the industry. Maybe it’s just like my personal appearance or something that I can eat.


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] Oh, we have this tuff all the time. We have this stuff all-


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] Or like going to the gym, right? Like going to the gym.


Chris Sulimay: This is always with us.


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] Always. This is this inner dialogue [00:32:30] that never leaves us. But I created an alter ego. I called her Becky. And when I think she’s saying something that’s BS, I just say, F off. And I immediately turn the voice down and I flip whatever I’m saying around, and I say the opposite.

Again, we do this in the workshop where I say, “Okay, why do you want to be that salon owner?” Or “Why can’t you be that salon owner? What’s stopping you?” They come up with all the reasons and then we turn the page and we rewrite them. So we flip it and reverse this. So if you say, “I don’t have enough money.” Then we say, [00:33:00] “I will find a way to get enough money to open a salon.” And then I say now,  “Put that in a place and repeat it daily.” And so it’s about daily rituals as well. Tony Robbins talks about that all the time.


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] And lots of people do, right? He’s not even [incomprehensible] enough, right?


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] No, he didn’t create it, he didn’t create the wheel. But these are the things that we start implementing little changes everyday. And so being aware, flipping it and reversing it, turning the noise or the volume down on it. And then really after [00:33:30] awareness and just kind of practicing it over and over, you start to like, you were saying, the restraint. You now start believing them even if they come up, you don’t have to believe in them or give them that energy. But it’s the awareness that they’re there in order to now restrain and go for the banana instead of the cookie.


Chris Sulimay: Sure.


John Palmieri: I’m trying to think what I’m going to name my alter ego.


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Yeah? [laughter]


Kate Ambers: Yeah. [laughter] what do you think- anything coming up? [00:34:00]


John Palmieri: You know, there’s a couple but then you’d have to know the backstory, it’s probably not appropriate. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: I was going to say, it’s like an ex? Is it like- [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: I’ll tell you this-


Kate Ambers: Is it an old teacher that pissed you off?


John Palmieri: [laughter] [crosstalk] I got a couple that pops at the back of my head that I’m saving for later.


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] I’ve seen you-


John Palmieri: You know what, you’re going to be [incomprehensible] [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: They’re going to have to be. And you have more than just one. Because I have seen you in beast mode, on spring mode-


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] Maybe you’ve got multiple mode.


Chris Sulimay: Maybe an ice cream alter ego. How about that?


John Palmieri: That’s my, you know what, that’s my favorite person.


Chris Sulimay: [laughter]


John Palmieri: You know what, that’s my favorite person. That’s my favorite person [00:34:30] “Where’s John? Here’s buying ice cream over Publix.”


Chris Sulimay: You know, I’ll tell you, we’re 34 minutes into this discussion-


John Palmieri: You know what, this is really sad. We could be here for a long time.


Chris Sulimay: [crosstalk] We could be here for a long time.


John Palmieri: Because not only is this interesting but I think this has some parallels for you and your podcast, right?


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, yeah. I was actually thinking a few minutes ago, I’ve never met the female version of me.


John Palmieri: I might actually have to- I was just going to say- There’s no more room left for me in this podcast. [laughter]


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: There are 100% is. [00:35:00] But if- so I wanted to- I wanted to kind of, number one, why don’t we do this, because we’ve talked about some really interesting stuff. And I think that if you’ve listened this long it’s because you’ve made some connections around the fact that, “Hey, I’m interested in this, wow wellbeing, this is a thing. This is way different than a typical business hairdresser for- business seminar for hairdressers.” So when do the- what are the retreat’s called [00:35:30] again?


John Palmieri: Are we are going to do a  shameless plug?


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, let’s do a shameless plug.


Kate Ambers: Let’s do it. Shameless plug.


Chris Sulimay: So tell us about your retreats. When do they happen? How do we get ahold of you? So talk a little about the retreat itself. Give us a little bit of  mini commercial if you will.


Kate Ambers: The retreat’s are about- well, I have different retreats. So I have kind of day retreats.


Chris Sulimay: Do you have anything coming up or what’s-


Kate Ambers: As of right now, we are doing Bali next year for 2020. So that would be a week-long retreat in Bali. The dates are not finalized [00:36:00] but it’s going to be in the spring of 2020.


Chris Sulimay: And obviously, you’re planning this year out. So conceptually speaking, what could somebody expect in a retreat like that since you do different ones..


Kate Ambers: So that’ll be similar. They all have similar curriculum. They will always include wellness, adventure, personal growth and business development. So the curriculum doesn’t change too much, just the location and the adventure changes. [00:36:30] And they kind of adapt a little bit as I adapt and the business adapts in the company. But it’s Souldresser Retreats.


John Palmieri: Do you have a website?


Kate Ambers:


Chris Sulimay: The same on Instagram?


Kate Ambers: Same @souldresserretreats, that’s it. And you can find me on any social media platform, on Facebook, on Instagram, and it’s all the same souldresserretreats. So, yeah.


Chris Sulimay: Fantastic.


John Palmieri: One question, so one of the things that I think [00:37:00] Chris and I, one of the impetus is, for starting a podcast, is watching the industry change. This has less to do I think, particularly with you,  I mean, you’re young, right? Where a lot of education has gone from inner fractured and independence. We’re here at the independent event, it’s Thrive Sessions in Seattle.


Chris Sulimay: We’re also hosting an independent company as well.


John Palmieri: We have an independent company as well. Talk a little about that and the change that you see or what- just what stands out to you [00:37:30] as you watch the industry change more towards this independent lifestyle, talk a little about it. Like, what are the little buttons for you that you go, “Ohh.”


Kate Ambers: Yeah. I see three different things happening. I see like you said, the industry going more independent, stylists breaking away from big brands and creating their own entrepreneurial endeavours. And I also see more women in the industry coming up. I think not to [00:38:00] create any ruckus or ruffle any feathers, but it was a man’s industry but predominantly women. But people at the top were always men.

So I’m starting to see women hold some ranks and build some brands and do very well, high in education. And so I would like to see a little bit more females in corporate positions but it’s happening slowly. And it’s been really fun to watch. And then, I see this organic and [00:38:30] conscious kind of  development in our industry. So, brands going more cleaner, more organic, I mean, [Incomprehensible] here and they’re completely vegan. And so watching this conscious awareness not only in ingredients and products, but also an organic, holistic, conscious, spiritual kind of approach to hairdressing. I’m watching a lot of intuitive cutting [00:39:00] or wellness haircuts. Now, I’m seeing reiki in the salons, energy and yoga.


Chris Sulimay: I saw some reiki on your page.


Kate Ambers: Yeah. And other salons, it’s been really fun watching hairdressers become more just conscious and aware of not only themselves and energy but also the environment. So those are the things I’m starting to see change which is all positive [00:39:30] and really really exciting to watch. I’m so glad that I’m in our industry at this time.


Chris Sulimay: At this time, yeah. Same, same. So, well, I’ll tell you, we’ve covered a lot. We’re going to start to wrap this up.


Kate Ambers: [laughter] We’re going to need a notebook.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, well, we typically do.


John Palmieri: Should we break up the yoga mat?


Kate Ambers: [laughter] Oh, you didn’t bring one? I brought one.


John Palmieri: Here we go. Chris has got one. [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: Yeah. Probably not [incomprehensible]. What we typically do is just kind of like, is there anything you feel like we left on the table, anything you want to say to a new person [00:40:00] coming into the industry, or something, your target audience, just kind of?


Kate Ambers: No. Just stay authentic to yourself. Try not to be anybody else.


John Palmieri: You know, your mother shows up a lot in a  podcast.


Chris Sulimay: Everywhere. Yeah, she does.


Kate Ambers: [laughter]


John Palmieri: And everytime we talked to somebody, his mother shows up.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, yeah. Well, I’ll tell the story since you’ve said it.


John Palmieri: I did bring it up.


Chris Sulimay: Now, this is really long, if you’re sitting in your car, I apologize.


John Palmieri: [laughter]


Chris Sulimay: It’s a really good story because about a  month before my mom died, we had one of those conversations [00:40:30] where, we knew it’s coming blah blah blah, so we had enough time to talk. And she was an amazing woman. And not amazing because she was a CEO of a company, she didn’t do anything like that. But amazing because she raised seven kids. She gave us nearly everything we wanted and did it without ever asking anything from anybody. It was incredible. So I was- we were having one of those discussions where I said to her, “How do I do this once you’re gone?” [00:41:00] I was like 36 years old at the time. It just kind of came out in conversation. [chuckle] I’m expecting this long drawn out or something-


John Palmieri: Grandiose statement.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah. She just said- she sat for a second, quietly, and then she looked at me, and she said, “You just have to be true to yourself.” And I didn’t really- since that time, I’m 45 now. So then since that time, I’ve had nine years to reflect on what she could have possibly meant. [00:41:30] And in looking back, it meant almost changing everything I’ve ever done. Because up until that point, I really operated through the lens of what other people expect from me to do. So I’ve realized a lot of what I was doing in the salon. I’ve owned a salon five years longer than I even wanted to because other people-


John Palmieri: Expected that.


Chris Sulimay: Oh, man- yeah, they’re doing this or where they are going to work. And it was like, none of that was true. [00:42:00] It was like, within a year and a half I’d sold the salon. I moved- I was working with a  different- it was like, all the stuff. And so that one little nugget that you just shared, if you’re listening, what I would say is, don’t take that as a surface level be true yourself, because people can say that all-


Kate Ambers: It’s so cliche.


Chris Sulimay: Yeah, it’s super cliche. But when you can really look at that under a light for a long time, get some quiet space-


Kate Ambers: [crosstalk] I was just going to say meditation. So we teach a huge [00:42:30] like, a lot of meditation, and that is for that purpose. Because once you quiet the noise around you, you’re able to hear. So I’m a big fan of Eckhart Tolle. And he wrote The Power of Now. But he says, and you can take this however you want, but he says, “Stillness is the language in which God speaks.” And whatever G-O-D means to you, it’s just that in stillness is when we hear our [00:43:00] deepest truths. And so when we quiet the noise and not live our life for other people, or what other people have told us to do, or believe that we should be doing, or how to make money, if once we quiet all that down and listen to what our heart wants and what our mind wants and what we are really good at then we are being authentic to ourselves.


John Palmieri: And you know, if there’s one thing about our industry, and I love ths industry, we are not a still industry, are we?


Kate Ambers: No.


John Palmieri: So when you’re trying to listen to that stillness, [00:43:30] it’s almost like our industry, which I adore and I know you do. And I know you do because you’re obviously trying to help people through the avenues that you created. We are not a still industry, probably really hard to hear that voice. Because it’s not how this industry works.


Chris Sulimay: John, give us some closing thoughts.


John Palmieri: You know, I’m just going to say that I’m grateful today. I’m grateful because we have-


Kate Ambers: Hmm, that’s my favorite word.


John Palmieri: Is it? That was one of my-


Chris Sulimay: That’s was John’s superpower theory.


John Palmieri: That’s my superpower [00:44:00] theory. We’ll talk about this later.


Kate Ambers: [laughter] Podcast number 75.


John Palmieri: Yeah, podcast number 75. But we got to meet with Mr. Tim Hartley this morning which was amazing. And there’s a couple of phrases he put in my head that I can’t get out. This was a blessing because this was a great surprise. I mean, I was excited for this podcast with you. But it’s touched in some deeper topics that I didn’t think- I didn’t know we’re going to be talking. So thank you, we’re grateful for this time with you.


Kate Ambers: Well, [00:44:30] thank you. I wasn’t expecting this. I came to Thrive, I thought, oh, I’ll hang out, and take some classes and so I’m completely honored. So thank you guys. And then shout out to your mom because she was definitely here with us.


Chris Sulimay: Oh, she was amazing. Thanks, Rita.


John Palmieri: But the gratitude part- because I believe the gratitude is a superpower. So here’s an opportunity.


Chris Sulimay: If you like what you heard today.


John Palmieri: Yeah, if you want to show your gratitude, okay? Here’s what you need to do.


Chris Sulimay: Give us a wicked good review.


John Palmieri: [crosstalk] GIve us a wicked good five-star review. Five.


Chris Sulimay: Five. What does it mean in French? [00:45:00]


John Palmieri: It means wickeed.


Chris Sulimay:  Wickeed [laughter]


John Palmieri: Wickede is how to say it in French. But for those of you in middle America who don’t speak any French, that means five stars.


Chris Sulimay: Five stars, that’s the way we like it. And also if you’re an Instagrammer, please follow us on Instagram. You can find us or connect with us @124.Go on Instagram. And we’ve been sprinkling some content on YouTube. And we got-


John Palmieri: A website coming up.


Chris Sulimay: So on YouTube, it’s 124Go [00:45:30] Salon Education. 124Go is all one word compiled together. And then, we launching our website within the next couple of weeks. We’re shooting for first week of April, we think it might happen.


John Palmieri:


Chris Sulimay: Love it. Again, thank you so much for listening. We really appreciate you. Hope you- I’m sure you got some great nuggets out of this. This is one you’ll probably want to listen to it again. So anyway, thanks until next time. Bye, everybody. [00:46:00]