Katie Steller is motivated by her being unhappy with her self-image, and it led her to give back to the community.
Katie had ulcerative colitis when she’s 11, and the doctors removed her large intestine when she’s 18. She lost all her hair due to the side effect of this medical procedure. She struggled with self-image and began to develop empathy for those like her.
Today Katie is a successful entrepreneur and owns a hair salon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her work is beyond the four walls of the salon. Once or twice a week, Katie roams in the city with her popular red chair that she carries in her SUV. She looks for homeless individuals who might need or want a haircut.
Katie’s free haircuts for homeless first started in 2013. Back then, she needed to close her salon to do that. But now, Katie is getting help from her employees, and some people volunteered to her. Emily Lall, Katie’s assistant, accompanies the stylist as they hold a sign telling people they’re offering free haircut.
Katie says, “If fear is contagious, why can’t kindness be.”
During an interview with Kare 11 News, Katie said, “I could technically cut somebody’s hair on a folding chair or on a curb or wherever like I don’t need that chair. But it’s not about what’s easy. It’s about really showing value to people”.
Katie also offers essential items to the homeless, such as water, food, and sanitary napkins.
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Barbers and Stylists unite! I didn’t know what to expect from today, since up until now #theredchairproject has been more of a solo-stylist venture (NOT because I’m possessive, more so because this whole thing has had zero structure). When @henrytribes reached out to me six weeks ago about joining forces to connect with people in the Spring Lake Park community, and give rad cuts, I knew I wanted to make it happen. Today, @stellerkindnessproject @henrytribes @nubiancuts and @lifeoflall set up a couple red chairs in the local @walmart parking lot. We had the opportunity to give new styles to six amazing people, and connect beyond just hair. I don’t know where this project is going, but I know where it’s been. This impulsive side project has already been beyond anything I could’ve planned, in the best ways possible. Also, looking for a barber? Support the crew over at @tribesbarberstudios ❤️ #theredchairproject #stellerkindnessproject #stellerhairco #tribesbarberstudios #hairatheart #barber #hairstylist
Katie wants people to feel good about themselves. Because if they feel great about how they look, then they’ll be inspired to help other people too.
Katie knows the help she offers to other people is just minor. However, she believes, “if we want macro changes, we have to start on a micro level.”