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Meet Kathleen Bennaser of Koalesce By Kathleen in Katy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen Bennaser.

Kathleen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
From the age of eight, my dad always told me I was very particular on how my hair was styled. At the age of 13, my sister became my first “client” when I styled her hair in an updo for her high school prom. While I was in high school, classmates would always ask how I did my hair. From creative updos and cornrows to topknots and curls, my hair was always in some sort of hairstyle.

I then realized what seemed so natural for me to do wasn’t as easy for everyone else. That’s when I realized it was a gift. After high school, I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Design in Merchandising in Los Angeles. Not quite ready to leave the state, I declined the offer. As excited as I was upon my acceptance, I knew God had another plan for me. I briefly attended the University of Houston. But unenthused about going the traditional college route, I withdrew and enrolled in cosmetology school. I began my professional career as a shampoo assistant at local Houston salons such as the Art of Hair, Intrinsix and Visible Changes in the Galleria. Thankfully, due to mostly family and friends, I was able to hone my creative skills by providing beauty services for weddings, proms, and special occasions. Although I thought I was well on my way down the road to entrepreneurship, it wouldn’t be for at least another decade before I would be able to open up my own business.

As much as I would like to say I had the confidence to start my own beauty business back then, I didn’t. I didn’t have the clientele and confidence I had today. As much as I was enjoying that season in my life, I knew I had to find another stream of income since I had become pregnant. I was always curious about the dental industry and thought the foundation of traditional academia was the only route to financial stability. So with the intention of getting my prerequisites for dental school, I interviewed and got accepted into the University of Texas M.D Anderson School of Health Professions. I gave birth to my first child, Kingston, in March I started the school the following August. After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Cytogenetic Technology, I became a Cytogenetic Technologist for M.D Anderson Cancer Center. I had finally reached the financial stability I had been seeking prior to starting my career. But the studying of abnormal chromosomes in cells in a hospital lab five days a week could never equate to the feeling of helping a high school seniors get ready for their prom night or seeing the look of a bride right before they walk down the aisle to their forever knowing I had an intricate part in making them feel the most beautiful they’ve ever felt.

The way I did my hair and the way I felt when my hair was done is the same way I wanted to uplift people. I wanted everyone to have that same feeling I had. Having a creative side and artistic fire, I knew I was destined to bring ideas to life. My motivation to thrive creatively is what initiated my transition from cytogenetic technologist to full-time entrepreneur, the dream that I had put on hold almost a decade earlier. In December 2017, three months after Hurricane Harvey, I took a step of faith and put in my two weeks notice. A career with purpose and intent was birthed.

As a result, Koalesce by Kathleen (pronounced ko-uh-les) was born! The word “coalesce “means to combine different elements together to become one. From your initial meeting to the finishing touches, I collaborate with the client; cater to the clients’ needs by listening to the details of their needs while suggesting various beauty options to make the client’s personal vision come to life. I am passionate about helping others feel good about themselves. When they look good, they feel good and at the end of the day, that not only gives me satisfaction to be able to serve in this capacity but confirmation I’m using the gift God gave me to ultimately serve for His purpose and His glory.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It definitely was not an easy road to get to where I am today. I struggled a lot with trying to do safe thing rather than, what made me happy and doing something that fulfilled me. There were a lot of tears and hesitation but though it all, it has made me a stronger and more confident person. I would say without the struggles and the setbacks; I couldn’t have accomplished all that I have now. Most importantly, through all the doubt, fear, and uncertainty, I overcame a lot through faith and my relationship with God. I believe that is the key and essential part of my success and accomplishments.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The word “coalesce” means combining different elements together to become one. From your initial meeting to the finishing touches, I cater to the client’s needs by listening to the details of the needs of the client while collaborating with various beauty options to make the client’s personal vision come to life. I am most proud of the fact that what sets us apart is the unique ability to create a variety of looks on women and men from various ethnicities and being able to communicate effectively while adding my expertise to fit the clients needs and wants Not only being able to provide quality services but we also strive to create loyal relationships.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I played basketball and was on my high school’s dance team. Around that time, my love for dance led me to join a hip-hop dance team called “So Real” and other dance groups. It was definitely one of my favorite creative outlets. I never really thought I was book smart. I did have the ability to create tangible things out of ideas. I was always taking my clothes and purses and adding little details to them turning them into one of a kind pieces. So, in essence, the foundation of Koalesce stemmed from that same ability. Today, I get to create one of a kind looks from client’s ideas. I encourage anyone looking to turn their talent or gift into a career, to go for it. Life is too short not to do what you love and what makes you happy.

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