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Women of the High Country: Appalachian Hair Salon Celebrates 21 Years in Business

Kathy Carlin, owner of Appalachian Hair Salon, poses next to friends and hairstylists Kayla Hubbard (left) and Kimberly Miller (right). Photo courtesy of Kathy Carlin.

By Sebastian Dionicio

Women’s History Month is celebrated every March. In honor of Women’s History Month, High Country Press is spotlighting women-owned businesses in the High Country and the local entrepreneurs who founded them.

This week, High Country Press is spotlighting Kathy Carlin, owner of Appalachian Hair Salon.

Kathy Carlin recently celebrated 21 years in business on March 3. She started her career as a hairstylist in 2001 as a booth renter in a small unoccupied salon attached to a gym.

In March 2002, after her first year, she moved to a larger building to take on full ownership and officially opened Appalachian Hair Salon in Boone.

When asked how she felt about celebrating 21 years in business, Kathy responded, “I’m honestly really proud of myself. It was really tough at times through the years. I thought I would crash and burn, but I’m glad I persevered.”

Kathy later reflected on why she decided to start her business in the first place, stating that she started her business in 2002 to overcome financial struggles and because she wanted to work as an independent hairstylist.

“I was in a very bad financial place at the time, let’s just say. I was actually going through bankruptcy at the time,” Kathy shared.

Kathy also touched on her mission at the start of her business and stated that her initiative in the very beginning was to survive and succeed.

“I really want to succeed,” she elaborated. “My dad was an entrepreneur. He had his own business growing up … I just didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to have to go back to the asking-permission-to-go-to-the-bathroom type of situation.”

These days, Kathy enjoys working independently alongside her two good friends, Kayla Hubbard and Kimberly Miller, who also work independently in her salon and run their small businesses. 

“We remodeled the shop, we started our website, we started online booking, and all of that during covid,” she explained.

Inside Appalachian Hair Salon. Photo courtesy of Kathy Carlin.

Together, they offer affordable, professional hair services for men, women, and children, such as haircuts, color, highlights, and facial waxing.

Regarding what she enjoys most about being a hairstylist, Kathy stated that she is “truly grateful that [she] can do what [she is] passionate about every day. Transforming people to look their best.”  

When asked who her biggest inspiration was, Kathy cited her father as her biggest role model.

“He was very business smart,” she explained. “He really was an entrepreneur. I mean, he chased after things, and he made sure he got things right and got them done. What he basically taught me was that you put your mind to something, and you do it. You don’t give up.”

Her best advice for female entrepreneurs is don’t let others define what you can accomplish. 

“There’s going to be a lot of people who’ll say you’ll never succeed. It’s gonna be hard. Why bother?” Kathy shared. “Believe in yourself and do it because you can.”

Appalachian Hair Salon is located at 1064 Meadowview Dr. in Boone and is open Monday-Saturday. For more information regarding salon hours or to book an appointment, please call (828)-263-0022 or visit their website at https://www.appalachianhairsalon.com/. Bookings are required.