Amy Harper talks hair, pottery, and mental health in The Pitch Questionnaire
Amy Harper has been a practicing licensed cosmetologist since the age of 18. Now, at 24 years old, Harper runs a hair salon, pottery studio, and artist co-op space all in the comfort of her duplex in the Westside.
Here, the walls are covered in work from various local artists hoping to showcase their talent to Harper’s clients. In the center, a salon chair sits under the studio lights, and a pottery wheel can be spotted next to an array of pots, vases, and other ceramic goodies available for purchase. Jacks Studio, a mecca for Kansas City creatives, seems to have a little bit of something for everyone.
The artist, animal lover, and mental health advocate opens up about matters ranging from personal struggles to business aspirations in The Pitch Questionnaire.
Westside KC, MO
What do you think KC needs more of?
I think KC needs better roads and more twinkly lights. Everywhere.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve received is to wake up every morning and ask myself, “What would the person I want to be, do?”
Then I’d do that. I ask myself that in almost every situation.
If you could tell your younger self something, what would it be?
I would tell her to fight like hell. I don’t think I ever really believed in myself as a kid. So I would tell her to hold on for the ride and be a little kinder to herself because it will work out.
What does a perfect day in Kansas City look like to you?
Waking up with the sun shining on my face through my rainbow windows. It’s a perfect vibe. Then, I’d have a cup of coffee. If it’s the weekend, I’d definitely hit the farmers market with my Frenchie, Pete. Spending some time with friends or family, maybe doing some pottery or anything creative. If it’s creative, I’m there.
Now a perfect workday would look a little different. I’d wanna see all of my favorite clients, catch up with them, and do a fun color, maybe. Honestly, I love my job, so most days are perfect.
What is the thing you’re most proud of about your life?
I’m most proud of waking up every day and feeling happy about what I’ve created.
Tell us about something that matters to you.
I always try to be transparent about my mental health. Some days I’m not okay, and I need extra support. So, in turn, I want the people around me to know that they can come to me too. It makes me really happy to see that society is talking more about mental health and realizing that it’s okay not to be okay all of the time. I encourage everyone to be more open about how they are feeling so that maybe we can all relate to each other more and help one another out when it’s needed.
How long have you been a hairstylist?
I’ve been a licensed cosmetologist for five and a half years now.
What inspired you to branch off and create your own salon?
I’ve always known I wanted to have my own salon. The salon where I had been working for four years closed, and I knew it was time to do my own thing. I wanted to be in control of how I worked, lived, and who my clients were. Freedom is really what inspired me to create what I have now.
When did you start making pottery and teaching classes?
I started doing pottery when I was about 14 or 15, and I immediately fell in love with it after taking some classes in high school. I went on a sort of hiatus after that because I had nowhere to do pottery, but in the last couple of years, I’ve had my own place to do it. I’ve been teaching classes of my own for about two and a half years now.
What is your favorite thing about what you do?
My favorite thing is building relationships with the people I meet over time. I love getting to know them, knowing what’s going on in their lives, and mostly making them feel good. When I know that someone is not feeling great or is going through a hard time, I love being able to give them that time just to sit down, relax, and leave feeling good. Having that ability feels incredible and it makes me happy to see others happy. I’m also naturally a people pleaser.
You’re running Jacks all by yourself. Is that difficult?
Doing the backend stuff, the not-so-fun stuff, is definitely hard by myself. I didn’t go to school for any of that, so I’ve had to teach myself and reach out for help from others who are more knowledgeable about business. Besides that, I love being in charge of creativity, my hours, and everything else.
What motivates you?
Honestly, because of the mental health struggles I’ve dealt with over the course of my life, I wasn’t entirely sure I would be here at this age. So, every year, I am so proud that I’m working closer to a life I never thought I would have. What motivates me is being able to help others around me and make them feel good.
More than anything, I’m excited to meet more clients and build meaningful connections with them.