In the heart of West Hollywood sits Kimble Hair Studio and Extension Bar. Here, owner Kim Kimble has her own line of hair care products, provides educational classes and—oh yeah—she does Beyoncé's hair!
For the last 14 years Kim has worked with the singer on numerous ad campaigns, music videos and films. She also has done hair for other talented stars like Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland and Whitney Houston.
She also had a reality TV show called L.A. Hair on WEtv for three seasons. But despite the fame and the high-profile clients, the stylist is simply all about doing great hair.
Tell us a little bit about how you started doing hair.
I'm a third generation hairstylist and grew up in a hair salon. I was a shampoo girl for my mom in her salon, I watched my grandmother do hair and I got a little bit from both of them. My mother was the stylist, and my grandmother was more into health and healthy hair and conditioning treatments and all that good stuff.
What about doing hair made you join the family business?
One of the things I really love is how people feel after they get their hair done. That's where my love for hair came from, watching my clients really feeling themselves. The process is so amazing and that really struck something in me because I just love seeing people happy and love how they look.
But, seriously, everyone is dying to know what it's like working with your biggest client...Miss Piggy!
Oh, she's fantastic. She's an icon to me and she was becoming quite the fashionista by the time I worked with her. It was just great! Well, because I grew up with her as a kid, I was a little star struck actually, to be honest with you. "Oh my God, she's here," I thought and then she's fabulous on top of it! Then she let me have it. She was probably my most difficult client I have to say. It was great—I can't even lie—it was just fantastic. It was an honor. I was just so excited. She was going to the Oscars—and Miss Piggy had a decent budget!
Speaking of which, how do you turn it around when you're not clicking with a client?
Well that's where your most patient listening skills set in because you really have to hear what this person is wanting and what they want to do. Sometimes if people are upset or they're not happy about something, it can be hard for them to articulate what they want. So you just have to be patient to find out what it is that they want to change about it so that they're comfortable.
You've worked with Beyoncé, you've worked with big designers, you've worked with photographer Annie Leibovitz—what is it about owning your own salon that still keeps your attention?
I just love the salon life. It's where I started; it's my roots. It's a great place to learn and educate. I like to see what other people are doing. We learn and teach each other at the salon. We have classes every month and a different stylist will showcase something, and I just feel that it's a great environment to learn in.
Were you ever scared or did you ever doubt that big things were going to happen for your career?
You know the phrase, "When preparation meets opportunity?" You always have to be ready for something. When you get your mind set in preparing for something, you don't have time to doubt.
I'm a born-again Christian, and my pastor had been preaching a lot of things about having faith and believing and asking God for what you want. So I did that but it's not going to just happen. I put the work in. I earned it. I had to learn as much as I could learn.
What are some misconceptions about your career that you've come across from people?
I think that some people think that it's easy, but it's not easy and it didn't just happen overnight. It was years of training and classes and experimenting and working. It took me 20 years to get to where I'm at right now. People don't see the blood, sweat and tears, the bags that I have to schlep around, the over-preparing or that I have a team helping me prepare for things on the level that I like to do because I'm just not easy like that. I like to do things extra.
Whose work inspires you right now and why?
I have to say that I love Vidal Sassoon, even though he is way beyond my peer. He's inspired me for so many years on so many different things. I also love the creative stylist like Chuck Amos, Odile, Orlando Pita, and Serge Normant. Their work is just impeccable. I just love fashion, and these people work a lot in fashion. They all have their niche and this creativity that inspires me to take those risks and chances and to develop new styles and new things.
With a busy schedule, how do you stay current on trends?
I don't get a lot of sleep. I research—you have to research these things. I really try to create my own trends. That's where I thrive because after I'm into a trend for a while, I get kind of over it. It's also so great to work around the youth because they always know about the latest and the greatest.
What is your favorite medium to work for? Film, photo, runway, etc.?
I mean they're all kind of pretty amazing when you have the right client and the right opportunity to do new things.
What is your favorite part of the hair styling process?
I like all of it—I like experimenting and getting into something new. I love my hair flat ironed. I love it curly and I usually like it down. I like long and luxurious hair. Short hair doesn't really work on me. I love it on other people but on me, long. I love to throw in a little color, like right now I've got a little blue in my hair. I'm pretty giddy over that. I'm not really stuck on doing one thing when it comes to me.
What are your goals for the future?
I want to really build my brand and expand and build a strong educational platform. I want to have a hair empire.