After a reoccurring dance injury forced her to put college on hold, 19-year-old Kali Fisher, a lifelong Ahwatukee Foothills resident, saw an opportunity to follow her cosmetology dreams.
“I was so sick of being in doctors’ offices and places I didn’t want to be. I decided I was going to do something for me,” she said. “I felt like it was God’s way of telling me, ‘Life is too short.’”
This month, Fisher opened Roots Salon, near 46th Street and Chandler Boulevard.
Growing up, Kali dreamed of opening her own hair salon, and “just wanted to make the world a prettier place, one head at a time,” her mom, Kristy Corley, said.
Corley speaks proudly of her two daughters, one a recent homeowner, the other, a business owner.
When asked if she was surprised to see her daughter open her own business before the age of 20, Corley said, “She could’ve done it when she was 12. If I had any inkling that she would fail, I wouldn’t have let her do it.”
After graduating from Mountain Pointe High School at age 16, Fisher, a self-described “go-getter,” received a full scholarship to Arizona State University as a business management major. Her first day of college was on her 17th birthday.
At a high-school age, in her second year at ASU, Fisher was on the Dean’s List and at a junior level of credits.
But at the beginning of her sophomore year, Fisher re-injured her knee in an ASU dance class, something she had done in high school. She decided to take a temporary medical leave of absence after doctors forced her to stay off her feet.
She put ASU on hold to attend Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy.
While at Toni & Guy, students study in classroom settings and work hands-on with customers.
“I think I appreciated it more than someone whose parents paid for it,” said Fisher, who paid for classes at the academy with student loans and scholarships.
After debating what avenue to take, “I felt strong enough to work on my own,” she said.
Fisher graduated from Toni & Guy last fall. She then took several months to work, save money, and plan for her salon opening.
Several clients have followed Fisher to her new salon, and other family and friends have also become customers.
Although Fisher said she specializes in formal hair, and travels off-site for wedding party bookings, a variety of services, such as cut and color, are available at Roots Salon.
“In high school, I was always the last one to have my hair done for dances because I was busy doing everyone else’s,” she said.
Salon hours are based on customers’ schedules, not her own availability, Fisher said.
“I try to be flexible. If someone wants their hair cut at 2 in the morning, I can be here.”
Fisher describes her pricing, based on consultation, as “middle of the road.”
“It’s a bad economy. I don’t want people to go somewhere and get their hair ruined by trying to save money,” she said.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Fisher at (480) 567-6849. Roots Salon is located at 15815 S. 46th St., Suite 120.
Kathleen Gormley is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.