Master Trainer In The Spotlight – Meet Kelly Rhode

Posted on 13 Apr 2021

I spent the first half of my life in Ohio, growing up in a Cleveland suburb.  After graduating high school, I went to college, just like we all were supposed to do, really not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I moved to Columbus, OH and attended The Ohio State University for my 4 year degree in Early Childhood Development & Education.  I chose this field because I really didn’t know what else I would be good at, and I grew up babysitting all the time.  And actually was a nanny for the same family for my 4 years at OSU.  So it just made sense.

After graduating, I moved back to the Cleveland area and became a pre- kindergarten teacher for a short time, then ultimately became a nanny again.  Due to my various childcare jobs, I did get to know a family very well who worked for different NFL teams in the scouting departments.  This opened up an amazing opportunity for me to move to California and become an executive assistant/office manager for a family who owned part of the Oakland Raiders.  Pretty cool, huh?

Still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up…. I just kept following different opportunities that opened up, hoping at some point my life would just fall into place.

And a lot happened in my life in the two short years I spent there in California.  I met and married my ex husband and had a beautiful daughter named Hannah.

After she was born, our little family moved to Ohio to be close to my family, but ultimately my ex-husband’s job brought us to Minnesota after only living in Ohio for a year.

This was when I made the big move to enroll in Cosmetology school.  Still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up… I started beauty school at 28 years old, thinking maybe this would be something fun I could do on the side.

Some people tell me I should write a book… But who has time to write one, let alone READ one!?!

Bare with me as I try to summarize a huge part of my life into a few sentences…

During beauty school, I ended up getting divorced.  We are still very close friends and actually live a few streets away from one another now.  I started working as a nanny to support myself while I finished up school.  I eventually got my cosmetology license, and started working at the LifeTime Fitness LifeSpa doing hair. As I was trying to build clientele, I needed to get a couple side jobs to be sure I could make ends meet.  I got a new nanny job, started teaching the preschool program at Lifetime and would ultimately take clients in the spa nights and weekends.

I was able to purchase my own home a few years later and opened up a home salon, hoping that the change would offer more flexibility and industry opportunities .  And this was where the magic started to happen… I could make up my own hours and prices, and was able to incorporate a bunch of new things outside of hair services.  Oh! Did I mention I got remarried to another hair dresser/educator??  His name is Dusty and he gave me 3 bonus children- 2 girls and a boy.

So that was a brief summary of my life over the course of about 9 years or so, and NO, still wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. Did I want to spend the rest of my life behind the chair?  I just didn’t see that as an option… So I just kept on working trying to figure it out.

Ok, so here’s where lash lifting came into play. I wanted to stop wearing lash extensions so I thought I should learn how to do lash lifts.  Well thank goodness for my inability to handle the maintenance for lash extensions because this little decision completely changed my life. I reached out to a past co-worker who was offering Elleebana lash lifts and asked her all about it.  Why she chose that brand, cost, how to do them, etc.  So I ended up hopping online and bought myself a training for Elleebana Lash Lift and this is where my work got very exciting.

I started doing lash lifts for many of my hair clients, and absolutely fell in love with the service!   At this same time, my husband was opening a salon with a friend so I thought it would be cool to teach the new staff how to do this amazing service.  I asked my trainer if I would be able to train them and learned about the trainer certification protocol and fortunately she gave me an opportunity to apply for a position.  And because I’m a rule follower, I went through the trainer training with her, and officially became a certified trainer in 2017, with the thought of just doing trainings for the salon employees.

Well because of the timing, and lash lifting growing in popularity, this little side training gig, became more of my main gig.  Oh! and it helped that my husband was also traveling and teaching hair cutting, and many of those salons were like “What the heck is your wife teaching? We should probably have her in…”

So now it’s 2018, and I’ve been a trainer for less than a year.  I’m working for myself taking clients a few days a week, and teaching Elleebana classes a few times a month.  In June of 2018 we had a trainer symposium in Las Vegas and the Elleebana Henna range was introduced. Brows were never my true love like lashes were, but I definitely knew it was important to immerse myself into the entire range if possible, especially being an Educator for the brand. So I did my training for henna so that I could begin offering trainings…  Fast forward a few months to fall of that year, and I was offered a role as a master trainer for Elleebana.  Such an incredible opportunity to now also be able to train in trainers and offer support to them.  I just couldn’t believe it!

The following year I decided to take my love for the brand even further and became distributor for Elleebana and Belmacil.  My focus became training and distribution, and less time behind the chair working on clients, because the juggling of my different roles did prove to have its challenges.  It was incredibly hard on me to work long days in the salon, plan and teach classes, support students and assess their work, support trainers, and be sure to spend time on my website, shipping orders and responding to customers…. And a family to take care of too!  So little by little, I was cutting hours with clients, booking more classes, and trying to grow my online store.

Then 2020…

2020 was a year of growing and transition.  A lot changed throughout the year and with the company, but it was ultimately a fresh start and new beginning for many of us working with Elleebana.  We made it through the year with a couple bumps and bruises, but came out on the other end a lot stronger.

During this time, I teamed up with an amazing local brow henna artist who’s love for the brand also made her have the desire to train other artists.  Anastasia Hoff joined me, and took over teaching the Elleebana brow henna classes, as I continued to offer the lash lifting certification trainings.  Our dynamic duo was really gaining success as we continued to promote the brand and teamed up with another international brow sensation, Natallia Ivchankova.  We all continued to spread our love and knowledge for the entire range of Elleebana, offering certifications, workshops and Elleebana events.

So here we are today.  My position with Elleebana (because Otto and Zoe gave me this fancy name) is the Sales & Product Master Trainer for Elleebana USA.  I currently oversee 18 states here in the USA and offer assistance to those trainers located in those states.  I am a certified master trainer for One Shot Lash Lift, Brow Henna, Elleeplex Profusion Lash & Brow Lamination, as well as one of the Certified Online Trainers.  I am an authorized distributor for Elleebana and Belmacil and run my online store called PANOPLY BEAUTY.

I have an office south of Minneapolis/St Paul where we run distribution.  We have a classroom for certification trainings and workshops, and a treatment room where Anastasia Hoff still takes clients a few days a week.  We have hands on classes here most Mondays where Anastasia teaches Brow Henna, Lash Lift, or Brow/Lash Lamination.  Also, a couple Fridays monthly, our other fellow trainer Alicia Vadnais, comes from Benson, MN to offer lash lift certification trainings.  We offer certification trainings for the entire Elleebana range throughout the month.

I generally handle all the online and conversion courses at this point. I’m no longer taking clients, however, I do schedule in models throughout the month to stay active with the products and create social media content.

We also get the opportunity to travel to local salons to teach larger groups and plan certification events and workshops regularly.

I’m so blessed to be apart of this elite team and Elleebana family.  I’m so excited to see what the future holds for my business, and am incredibly grateful for the relationships I’ve created this far.  I can also finally say that I know what I want to be when I grow up! And I’m doing it now thanks to Elleebana.