What's better than starting out your week with some inspirational talk from a local Chicago owned business run by a sweet & sincere woman with an electric personality that you wish you could spend all your time around? Probably nothing, right? That's why I'm so excited to bring you all this new feature with Kayla Consolo of Deco Adamo - an on-site beauty company that tailors experiences to their unique clients for the big days. I got to hangout with the lovely Kayla and her kind fiancé Tony (plus their big pup), talk to her about the business and her trajectory as a creative, and finally hear the story about the name Deco Adamo. ;) Thanks so much Kayla + Tony for giving me your time and letting me into your beautiful world!
Q. So what exactly do you do?
Deco Adamo is a mobile beauty company, offering on-site beauty services in the Chicagoland area. But we don’t just offer hair and makeup for weddings, we also offer extension services, cut and color, and are hoping to expand to offer even more in home beauty services such as waxing, facials, and spa treatments. We’re very expansive, Monday through Thursday we’re basically with clients for cut and color most of the time or extensions, and then Friday through Sunday is our wedding glam time!
Q. How did you get to being an on-site beauty company?
I’ve personally been a makeup artist for ten years now and a hairstylist for about five. I was always an artist growing up - whether that be paint and canvas or pen and paper, I was constantly doodling. In sixth grade my mom got me this makeup kit that had every skin tone and every color of eye shadow. One day I had my friends over and gave them makeovers, of course playing around with crazy colored eye shadows and glitter, haha. Slowly that expanded into me doing everyone’s makeup for proms, homecomings, parties and dances. It evolved from being this craft that I liked to do for fun, to a lucrative side hustle. It was after I left college that I decided to move to the city and was like, LET’S GO MAKE THIS HAPPEN! I decided to take the plunge and turn it into my career.
Q. Has it always been something you wanted to pursue or was there an alternative that you considered?
I come from a fairly pretentious neighborhood where everyone I grew up with went to med school or law school, so I did try to approach a different path and go to college. It was not for me. I am an extremely creative and passionate person, and studying things that did not interest gave me no drive. My family has always been supportive of my decisions. Being creatives as well, when I told them I was done with school and that I really just wanted to pursue hair and makeup, they were completely on board. Of course I thought about an alternative path, but I’m so happy I didn’t go that route and followed my passion.
Q. Why did you choose Chicago for on-site beauty?
Aside from the fact that it is a huge city with so many opportunities, it’s my home city. When I was younger I was here all the time! I would take the metra out here constantly for both work and play! It was just the perfect city. On top of that, I think that Chicago is a great city for entrepreneurs! There is a lot of support for young entrepreneurs, or millennials so to say. We are also a very artistic city, and it seems that Chicago does a great job of supporting artist and providing lots of work for them. I had a great network already coming straight out of school of vendors and clients that I knew, so the opportunities were endless. I think Nichole actually mentioned it in her interview, but there are over 60,000 weddings a year and that’s just weddings! I mean we offer so many other services outside of weddings, there’s really enough work to go around for everyone and so much support.
Q. Are you connected to a creative community in Chicago and do you feel it’s helped your career?
Absolutely. I think that without your peers you are nothing. Nichole and I met through our husbands, but we connected so much just by being in the same creative industry as each other. I don't think that I would be anywhere near where I am today without that type of connection that we all make with each other. I started my own business based off the inspiration of my boss who owned a salon. I admired the way that she ran her company, managed her employees and she coached me into the right direction. Most of the vendors that I’ve worked with I end up becoming great friends with, and I think it’s so important to have that community aspect. We’re not like normal entrepreneurs - we’re creative souls, and it’s a totally different type of career than someone who’s running a multimillion dollar corporate company. Our companies are all based off of passion, and it’s definitely helped having that close knit group of people that you can bounce ideas off of and ask advice from. You mentioned The Rising Tide Society earlier, that is SUCH a wonderful community. I’ve never been to a meeting but I’ve asked a few question on their groups and all the response has been so informative. So not only is a local creative community so impactful on our careers, but also online creative communities too! We live in an era where there is support that can come from every angle.
Q. So Deco Adamo, tell me about the name.
That’s my favorite story, because everyone asks “What does it mean?” “Where did I come up with that.” Naming my business was by far the hardest part of the launch. It took me three months of back and forth, bouncing ideas off of everyone around, trial and error, and I wouldn’t sign the paperwork until I had a really good name. Something that was mysterious enough to make you want to learn more, but sounded beautiful rolling off the tongue. So this one night my Fiance, Tony and I were at a sushi restaurant and I was just sitting there looking at these list of Latin words that I’d compiled together. (Another aspect that was important to me was that it was either Italian or Latin, something that went back to my roots and was relatable to us.) I was playing around with doodling in my soy sauce, and ended up spelling out Deco Adamo through the soy sauce. I bounced the idea off of my Fiance, and we looked up what it meant. The latin prefix Deco stands for elegance, art, beauty, charm- it’s got so many different meanings to it which depends on how it’s used. And then Adamo is falling in love or loving passionately. I felt like the kind of vibe I wanted to put out there was all about the beauty behind falling in love, and it shouldn’t just be based on the beauty itself. So it clicked right away and we went home and signed the paperwork.
Q. How did you decide to want to start your own business?
I’ve always been someone who had never pictured themselves working a 9-5 in a cubicle, doing the same things day in and day out. I’m a free spirit. I wanted to do my own thing my own way. I mentioned earlier that my previous boss who’s a salon owner, she owns Solo Salon in the West Loop, was a huge inspiration to me. I was always so impressed by how she made her employees feel so valued, and ran this beautiful salon with such great moral behind it. I remember observing how she ran her business and thinking I wanna be just like her one day! One day, I was actually talking to her and she basically was like well why don’t you start hiring artists to work for you? I came home and mentioned the idea to Tony. He thought it was great and perfect and that I should pursue it! He pushed me and supported me to start my beauty school education, then supported me in the chaos of actually starting up a business. So he’s been there every step of the way to help me make all of the correct decisions. Same with my family, they’ve just been so supportive, like everyone has been completely on board with me. I’m so lucky for the support I’ve had because I know there are plenty of people out there who have to do it without any support. Coming from having no business background, the support that I received from my friends, family and Tony were beyond impactful. They helped guide me into making the right moves and decisions the whole time. It’s been a fun journey and I would not have it any other way.
Q. What’s your favorite part about running your own business?
I wouldn’t say it’s solely the hair and makeup because obviously I love that, it’s my craft. I would say it's the relationships that you build with everybody around you. Nobody is gonna care as much about your business as you do as the owner, so you go out of your way to make special connections with both your peers and your clients. I would say my top favorite thing is being such a huge part of that person's day, especially for weddings. We’re with them through that whole nervous breakdown that they’re going through before they walk down the aisle, the excitement that they’re feeling with their friends while hanging out and laughing… Most importantly, we are there to make sure that they not only look their best on their wedding day, but feel their best! It’s the most relaxing but also anxiety driven part of the day and we’re there for all of it. I just think that playing that role in their day is the most rewarding part of my job.