Kelly Cardenas: Revolutionary Business Man and… Salesman?

Who is Kelly Cardenas?

Kelly Cardenas’ love for sculpting his own image came at the age of 13 when he needed haircuts, but his single mother-led household couldn’t afford much beyond the essentials. He went on to become a National educator within the Paul Mitchell Systems organization for 19 years before creating his own unique salon chain, still associated with and selling Paul Mitchell Systems. His 5 salons are in Las Vegas, Chicago, Carlsbad, San Diego, and Salt Lake City. He also owns The Kelly Cardenas Salon Academy.

A random act of kindness by my boss brought me to Kelly Cardenas’ 5 Star Salon in Las Vegas to get my hair cut and styled. In short, the experience was unique (in a great way). You have to see it for yourself, so I’ll be brief in describing it.

Immediately you’re warmly welcomed and accommodated (with refreshments!). The staff works as a team to move you efficiently through each pleasant station, starting with your tour. A history of the salon and its culture is shared with you, as well as its smarter technology and progressive social and inclusive environment.

Me (Ivy Brooks) at Kelly Cardenas’ Salon in Las Vegas, NV

I, honest to God, felt like a supermodel up in there. My stylist, Justin, loved natural hair and shared my inclination for care-free syles that are easy to maintain. In all my life I had not had it explained to me how or why I would ever blow dry my hair instead of air drying it like I always did. I left feeling great, educated, with a great tea tree and lavender shampoo and conditional duo and Kelly Cardenas’ book, The 6 Indicators for Business & Life.

As a businesswoman and reader, I severely underestimated the book in the beginning, but upon finishing it during my last 2 1/2 hour flight to my hometown in Minnesota and doing the exercises it asks of you, I’m convinced that the Kelly Cardenas Salon and his principles are a valuable resource for local entrepreneurs. I highly recommend any innovation-loving, established or aspiring entrepreneur to first book an appointment as a customer and enjoy it with no expectations; then buy the book.

His principles are foundational and timeless, so they apply to nearly any business in any stage.

What’s different than the 1 million other books about rocking your business? This entire book is written in Kelly’s real, humble voice. In it, he gives credit to God, his parents, clients, colleagues, and investors for the lessons he’s learned and shares the backstories that went on to become these “indicators”. It’s as close to in-person mentorship a book can get.

Spoiler Alert: The indicators are Culture, Vibe, Process, Productivity, Innovation, and The Ability to Adapt Immediately. These markers for “checking in with yourself” are super conducive to improving your impact as a salesperson and will enhance the brand that is YOU, just like Kelly Cardenas has done. I am in no way reducing Kelly’s success to being a salesman, but you can’t deny how well he utilizes that role within his business. He’s taken his opportunity to represent the brand Paul Mitchell Systems and turned it into a symbiotic relationship, but also created a company that could potentially be independent of it.

I have to add that one of the things I appreciate most about Kelly Cardenas is his empathy and our shared view of how to nurture those under our wing. I nearly cried on page 104 when Kelly describes how they handled the chronic wrist pain of his stylist, Kelsey. Together they determined which work tasks worsened the pain and delegated them to a dedicated assistant, a newer associate who would benefit from her mentorship. Since the implementation, Kelsey doubled her production and is setting a new paradigm for dealing with limitations in the workplace.

To learn more about Kelly and his journey, visit his website at

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