When hairstylist Katie Steller started her hair salon, she bought 11 red executive salon seats. 10 remained stationery in her Minneapolis hair studio, and one she keeps in her car for a special reason.
At least once every week, Katie grabs her mobile red salon chair and hauls it around town in the back of her SUV as she invites homeless people to take a street-side seat in her mobile salon chair for a free haircut.
“I could technically cut somebody’s hair on a folding chair or on a curb or wherever, like I don’t need that chair,” Katie says. “But it’s not about what’s easy, it’s about really showing value to people.”
Katie and her assistant, Emily Lall, drive around and whenever they see a homeless person they ask if they would like a free haircut. “If fear is contagious, why can’t kindness be,” Katie says.
With the help of her salon employees and volunteers, Katie also gives essentials to needy people. “It’s looking at what skill do I have, what gift do I have, and how could that benefit somebody else,” Katie says.
Katie wants everybody to feel good about themselves and their appearance, a feeling she knows all too well. You see, Katie was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was 11 years old and had to have her entire large intestine removed when she was 18.
As a side effect of the condition, Katie’s hair began to fall out. “I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was 11 years old. When I was 18, they actually removed my entire large intestine.” she says.
“When you start to lose it, you’re like, wait, I didn’t realize what a big part of my identity that was. That’s probably my main motivator. I mean, I don’t do hair because I’m naturally good at it, I’m good at it because I saw it as a way and a vessel to connect and care for people.” Katie revealed to Kare 11.
Katie says she is aware of her limitations. “I’m not claiming to know all the answers, I’m a hair stylist, I’m just using my skill.” She explained.
“When you have the ability to give, it’s a responsibility to give,” Katie says.
Katie also runs the Steller Kindness Project. The foundation hopes to give a platform, and create opportunities, for people who want to show up, and give back. You can find out more about Katie’s kindness project in the video below.
Please remember to share Katie’s story to inspire others to spread kindness and compassion in whichever way the can.