At just 31, Carly Quist has been doing hair for almost half of her life. Unlike many hair care professionals who have dreamed of cutting and styling hair their whole lives, however, Quist fell in love with haircare entirely by accident. They offered cosmetology classes as an elective at Quist’s high school back home in Edmonton, Canada, and given a choice between styling hair and gym class, the decision was easy.
Quist’s career has taken her all over the world, from Canada to London to New York and she’s just getting started.
Quist began cosmetology classes during her sophomore year of high school and continued her studies throughout high school. After becoming licensed, Quist apprenticed with the cosmetology school and built an impressive clientele list. While Quist was doing a job she loved straight out of high school, she felt unfulfilled and wanted to do more creative work.
Trying to figure out her next move, Quist wanted to work at a salon that was big on education and time spent outside of the salon. After months of research, Quist moved to London to work at the Fowler 35 salon alongside owner Darren Fowler. Fowler worked for L’Oréal in the UK and was the first person to introduce Quist to professional L’Oréal lines like Kérastase and Shu Uemura.
“I just got amazing experience. We did London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. I was young, and I didn’t really know anybody, so I made myself available for everything—even photoshoots on Sunday night—just to absorb everything that I can,” she says. “Even the people that I worked with, everybody there just had their own way of doing stuff so I learned so much from my colleagues.”
As she reached her fifth year in London, Quist knew she was ready to take the next big step in her career. She’d dreamed of doing hair in New York City and knew there was no better time to make a move.
After moving from London, it took Quist six months to find the perfect location and set up shop. She opened the salon z(ed) on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in April of 2015. The stylist has loved cutting, coloring, and styling hair ever since she enrolled in cosmetology class in high school, but the ability to be creative has fueled her true desire to work in the hair industry. While the business was booming, running a salon took its toll on Quist.
“Running a salon is a lot of work so the first year consumed me and I still felt like I was missing my creative outlet,” she explains.
Quist set out to find other ways to be creative within her field and remembered how much she loved assisting her former boss when he taught education classes for brands like Kérastase.
“I sent my audition tape in and even doing that was outside of my comfort zone. I never thought I’d actually get the part to be an artist,” she says.
Quist has been a brand ambassador for Kérastase for three years now and it’s been the ideal creative outlet for the business owner.
Quist’s personal brand underwent a major change when she relocated z(ed) from the Upper East Side to the neighborhood Chelsea in March of 2018. The new z(ed) is now located on the seventh floor of a building, giving it a more exclusive feel.
“My vibe is a little more downtown, Chelsea anyway. In our old salon, we used to say we were bringing downtown uptown. Now we’re appointment only because we’re on the seventh floor, so it’s a bit more private like a studio, but people like it because it’s a bit more personalized,” she explains.
Having been a part of the hair industry for over a decade, Quist has been able to see firsthand how much it’s changed. While some artists fear new advancements, Quist thinks they’re a positive thing.
“The industry is changing with social media, but I think it’s a good thing. With the click of a button, you can reach so many more people. You can reach people worldwide. I can get inspiration and see what other hairstylists are doing in other parts of the country or different countries,” she says.
While the world of hair is always changing, Quist’s advice to aspiring hair stylists has remained the same.
“Be a sponge. For me, that’s how I got to where I’ve been. Find a good mentor or a couple and adsorb everything—the good, the bad—and get inspired,” she says.
If you’re not an aspiring stylist but are just really into hair care, Quist has some killer advice for you, too.
“Treat your hair care almost like you treat your skin. Have a routine and be consistent with the professional products your stylist recommends for you,” she says.
If you’re looking for a passionate hair stylist that is as dedicated to creative styles as she is to healthy hair, Quist is the one for you.