The Brickhouse

Made in South Bend

Katy Kelley owns The Brickhouse, a small, local hair salon on State Road 23. It’s a cozy little renovated house that’s only been open for a few years, and Katy runs it all herself. As a graduate of Marian High School and Vogue Beauty College in Mishawaka, Katy loves South Bend and all it has done for her business. She is one of many businesses contributing to the community and enriching South Bend with a friendly dynamic. In the premier of this series, Katy tells about the rewards of her job and why she loves what she does.


Tell me a little about yourself.

I grew up in South Bend, borderline Lakeville. I graduated from Marian in 2001.  I went to Ball State right out of high school, and there I majored in elementary education. I was also a cheerleader. Afterwards, I graduated from Vogue Beauty School in Mishawaka for cosmetology.

What got you into cosmetology?

I’m very artistic, so I thought this would be a good occupation for me, plus I wanted to be a business owner. I started thinking about what field I could start my own business in, but I also wanted a useful degree. I wanted to be able to talk to people and form relationships- something you can’t necessarily do with an office job. So, I thought I would try cosmetology since it combines artistic aspects and working with people.

Why did you want to build your own business?

I myself don’t have a background in business, but my family- parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles- always owned family businesses, so it’s just what I wanted to do since I had that influence growing up. I liked the idea of doing something on my own. Working for myself is the way I wanted to go. It hasn’t been the easiest route. It’s hard running a one-person show, although this has probably been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Did you ever have doubts about starting your own business?

When I started, yes. I didn’t have near as many clients as I do now. I’ve only been open for three years, but I recently had to stop taking new clients unless they come through a referral. It can’t be too busy, but I’m definitely full now. In the past three years, I went from having one or two days with a few people to coming in early to staying a few hours past closing to finish everyone because I hate saying no. It’s worked out very well for me. I like my location around all the schools and neighborhoods. When I first started, I was worried about how to get new clients. I started out offering a Groupon, which gave services away for half the price, and I only made half of what was left. It was a lot of more giving things away to get return clients. It was a little slower since I relied mostly on word of mouth. My parents helped me with everything I needed, such as supplies, renovations on the house, and so on. It took a lot of hard work, I was here for an entire year just re-doing the house. I was also working part-time for Notre Dame Catering while putting this together.