Few cosmetologists open salons because they want to serve the community.
But that is why Robyn Kelley opened Trendz Salon on Old Petersburg Road.
Trendz is a full-service salon and spa, with four hairdressers, an aesthetician, a massage therapist and a nail technician. It also has a playroom, so clients or staff members can bring their children without the added expense of a baby sitter.
Kelley enjoys the relationships she builds with her clients, but she loves helping someone in need.
“As long as I can remember I wanted to do hair,” she said. “Hair excites me, but giving back, that is, like, a major motivator. I think I’m more passionate about that.”
She started organizing cut-a-thons in 2009 while working at another salon.
A friend of hers had a daughter who was born with Trisomy 13. Most children with the disorder die before or during birth, she said. Her friend’s child was born and lived 13 days. Kelley organized efforts to help the family with chores and meals so the family could spend all their time with baby Sofia.
A woman whose 6-month-old son lost an eye to cancer approached Kelley and wanted to help.
Kelley was so touched she organized a cut-a-thon for the woman’s family, offering free haircuts and other salon services in exchange for donations.
Since then, Kelley has raised more than $40,000 for five different families.
“We don’t really care what the people do with the money,” she said. “We’ve had families say, ‘Oh, it will help me pay medical bills.’ Truthfully, take the family to Disney. Make memories with your family. I hate to even say this, but you don’t know how long they’re going to be here, so love on them. Make memories.”
Currently, Trendz employees are taking donations of Walmart gift cards to buy Christmas gifts for 34 children. Her staff will go shopping together to buy the gifts in lieu of a Christmas party.
The salon occupies the former church office for Stevens Creek Community Church, where Kelley and her family are active members.
For the past five years, she and her husband, Billy, have taken mission trips with the church to Honduras, where they help with everything from vacation Bible school to construction.
It gives her perspective on what’s really important, she said.
Last year, for instance, she met a child who is diabetic, like her son, but did not have access to insulin.
“My kid’s 18 and he’s a pitcher for Greenbrier. If he walked in right now you would never know he’s diabetic. This kid we met, he’s going to die because he’s not going to have what he needs,” she said.
The passion she feels for helping people in Honduras is the same passion she feels for helping people in Augusta. Her dream is to see every salon in town hold a cut-a-thon on the same day to benefit one family.
“I believe that everybody has a gift. If you use the gifts God gave you to help somebody else, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” she said.