“You mess things up and then do it better next time,” said Kelly Henderson, recounting her trials and tribulations from the beginning of her career as a hair, makeup and wardrobe stylist to country music’s finest.
Graduating from Louisiana State University, she packed her bags and moved to Nashville for a public relations job – quickly finding the idea of sitting at a desk each day entirely unfulfilling .
In a matter of months, though, a colleague suggested she try her luck doing freelance makeup, hair and wardrobe styling. Henderson soon left her PR job to assist on every styling job possible.
“My parents were freaking out at the idea of me being a freelance makeup artist,” she recalls.
But her parents didn’t need to worry for long.
Within eight months of assisting gigs, Henderson booked enough of her own clients, a list which now includes country superstars Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean, to thrive as a freelance stylist.
“It’s funny because I never use my PR degree. Or not how imagined I would use it,” she said.
And while she may not work as a publicist, she still deals with those in the public eye.
Henderson splits time traveling across the country with clients and booking jobs in Nashville and L.A. to style for photo shoots and local appearances.
This past February, Bentley’s schedule required Henderson to fly back and forth across the country multiple times within just a week.
“He did the Superbowl, ‘Ellen,’ ‘Letterman’ and the GRAMMYs all in one week,” she said. “We were flying from Arizona to Los Angeles to New York and back to Los Angeles.”
When in Nashville, she styles for commercials and catalogs as well as works with clients including Bentley, Aldean, The Fray and radio personality Bobby Bones, among others.
“Even days in Nashville aren’t normal anymore,” said Henderson.
And her days in Nashville are becoming fewer with each new job. From commitments with Bentley to styling for award shows across the country, the traveling never seems to stop.
And neither does the attention she’s getting for her clients.
“Bobby made GQ’s best dressed list from the iHeartAwards when Kelly styled him,” said Bones’ assistant Sarah Bertolino.
But as exhausted as Henderson feels after countless hours in the air combined with hectic schedules and never-ending workflow, she still finds joy and excitement in the big moments.
“When Beyonce walks by you at the GRAMMYs and you’re sitting at a table with Iggy Azalea… wow,” said Henderson.
“The crazy things I do have become semi-normal,” said Henderson. “But national events are huge. I’m like, ‘am I really getting paid for this?”
And while she loves styling celebrities, Henderson wanted more.
Over the past few years, she found comfort in taking chances and making a career out of whatever she loves to do. She was feeling restless.
So she started a blog combining her love for fashion with writing. And her best friend.
Henderson recalls first meeting April Bermudez, co-owner of their fashion and lifestyle blog Velvet’s Edge, at a local bar.
“I was with my boyfriend at the time and in walks this girl in tennis shoes and I just remember thinking, ‘who is that? I want to be friends with her,’” says Henderson.
Bermudez already owned an interior design business, April Dawn Designs, which she still owns and runs today alongside the blog.
Velvet’s Edge came to fruition when both Bermudez and Henderson went through breakups around the same time. The fashion blog became a creative outlet for Henderson, who has come to expect the unexpected.
Within a few months of launching, Velvet’s Edge began to gain traction.
Henderson and Bremudez write about and style different looks throughout the week, showing readers and fans how they wear the latest styles. They focus on giving readers a glimpses on how to wear top trends in daily life.
“We’re just along for the ride,” said Henderson. “But the blog’s success surprised us.”
The blog gained readers and fans quickly, and in less than a year Henderson and Bremudez signed with an agent to take the blog to the next level through promotion and monetizing, allowing Henderson and Bremudez to add another passion-made-job to their list.
“Nashville has shown me all these new opportunities,” said Henderson, “I’ve learned to never rule anything out as a job.”
And with a track record like Henderson’s, there’s a lot more to expect in the future.
“As a girl, its kind of cool for me to be able to have my own thing,” she said. “Being able to be an independent woman with my own passions, careers and dreams… I’m just excited to see where life takes me and to see where women are going these days.”