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Conversations with Hilary Bilstad-Nelson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hilary Bilstad-Nelson.

Hi Hilary, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
Dreaming big was something that came very natural for me at a very young age. I came from a small town called Cheyenne, Wyoming. Growing up I knew I always wanted to do hair. I will never forget doing a career project in grade school and presenting my dream job of being a hairstylist to my class, unfortunately my teacher told me that wasn’t a career at all. If you know me then you know that negativity only pushed me to be stronger. Thankfully at the age of 16, my mom and her friend took me to LA and I was able to meet Celebrity Makeup Artist, Jillian Dempsey, who inspired me to follow my dreams. Jillian’s success and hard work really showed me that there are countless opportunities in the beauty industry. I spent an unforgettable weekend with her and her husband, actor Patrick Dempsey, who told me I should move to New York City with one suitcase ( I knew I couldn’t possibly just take one suitcase…) and go to Cosmetology school to pursue my dreams.

At 17 years of age, I did just that. I made the move to NYC studying and receiving and early education in cosmetology from the Aveda Institute (2003). By 2004, I embarked on what would be an intensive, fulfilling career at ARROJO as one of their first formal apprentices. This was an intensive four-year hands-on education in the craft of classic precision based scissor cutting as well as a revolutionary straight edge razor cutting technique. This education of distinction gave me a master skillset and afforded me numerous platforms such as master educator for Arrojo, Wella, Masters of Beauty, and Goldwell. I was able to travel around the world teaching what I loved. Throughout my career in NYC, I was praised in Timeout New York for “Best Mens Haircuts”, as well as graced countless sets, celebrity photoshoots, and stages. Most notably as a personal hairstylist to Carole Radzwill, on Bravos Real Housewives of New York City. One of my biggest accomplishments was creating a fundraiser for the Michael J. Fox Foundation called “Primping for Parkinson’s”. This cause is something very dear to me because my mother suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. Through the support of my friends, family, coworkers and clients, I raised close to $80,000 and was awarded MVP that year from the Fox Foundation!

After an incredible 18 years in New York City and building my own brand and business as an independent stylist for the last five years, my family and I decided to relocate to the Twin Cities to be closer to family. I am currently an independent cutting specialist at an amazing salon in Minneapolis called Sloanes Beauty Bar. I also have become a Global Educator for product company based out of the Minneapolis called Intelligent.

Needless to say, being a hairstylist is definitely a career, and a very rewarding one at that. Even though I have had a lot of accomplishments throughout my career, I simply became a hairstylist because I truly love making people feel good about themselves. I love seeing a client get up from my chair and have a little more pep in their step from when they walked in. We wear our hair everyday, so my job is to execute and amazing hairstyle for my clients to look and feel their best. I’m super excited to be embarking on this new journey here and ready for the next set of opportunities this wonderful industry has to offer.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I worked extremely hard to get where I am at today. Moving to New York at such a young age took a lot of drive and determination. Everyone moves to NYC to be the best. You are in a pool of competition and hustlers, and it’s not the best that survive, but it’s the best that keep up.

I knew I wanted to be the best at my craft. In the very beginning of my career, I had to find 3 hair models a week for 4 years. At the time I didn’t know anyone. So I would go out on the streets of NYC and ask people to cut their hair. I look back on it now thinking how much that really shaped me into the stylist I am today. It’s crazy how much things have changed with social media!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Hairstylist that specializes in cutting hair.

What matters most to you? Why?
Even though I have had a lot of accomplishments throughout my career, I simply became a hairstylist because I truly love making people feel good about themselves. I love seeing a client get up from my chair and have a little more pep in their step from when they walked in. We wear our hair everyday, so my job is to execute and amazing hairstyle for my clients to look and feel their best. As stylists, we have such a unique way that we get to interact with our clients. With touch, we build trust.

Pricing:

  • Women’s Haircuts $150
  • Men’s Haircuts $125

Contact Info:

  • Email: hilarybilstad@gmail.com
  • Website: Hilarybilstadhair.com
  • Instagram: @hilarybilstadhair
  • Facebook: Hilary Bilstad Hair


Image Credits

Wolfskull Creative
Jen Kelly Photography
Debbie Miracolo

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