Minneapolis’ Katie Steller drives through her city offering free grooming to the city’s homeless population.
“If fear is contagious, why can’t kindness be?” It is a good question, posed by the Steller Hair Company Owner — and one she regularly tries to answer herself. At least once a week, Steller brings a mobile version of her signature fire-engine red chairs to the street corners of her hometown as part of the Steller Kindness Project.
When local NBC affiliate KARE 11 picked up the story, Steller was “speechless.” On the SKP page, she reiterated its purpose:
Our main goal? That the person who sits in our Red Chair feels beautiful, valued and seen.
Our secondary goal? Create a ripple effect.
It doesn’t take money or grand gestures to show up for people in your community. Slow down, make eye contact, and recognize that the person standing in front of you has a life that is equally as valuable as yours.
If fear is contagious, why can’t kindness be?
While Steller admits the big red chair is not strictly necessary, it is a key part of her message. “I could technically cut somebody’s hair on a folding chair or on a curb or wherever, like I don’t need that chair,” Katie told KARE. “But it’s not about what’s easy, it’s about really showing value to people.”
Steller was inspired by a battle with ulcerative colitis that took her entire large intestine, and left her own hair falling out from the treatments. “When you start to lose it, you’re like, wait, I didn’t realize what a big part of my identity that was,” Steller said. “That’s probably my main motivator.”
“I don’t do hair because I’m naturally good at it,” Steller clarified, “I’m good at it because I saw it as a way and a vessel to connect and care for people.” And while she is not “claiming to know all the answers,” Steller sees an opportunity to use what she does know to bring joy to the vulnerable.
“It’s looking at what skill do I have, what gift do I have, and how could that benefit somebody else,” she said.