Each week the Peninsula Pulse profiles alumni from Door County schools, sharing what they’re up to, what Door County taught them and what inspired them. To suggest an alumnus or alumna to profile, email [email protected] To learn more about Alumni Door County, visit alumnidoorcounty.org.
Breanne Kiehnau wears many hats, and sometimes even a ghostbusters suit and proton pack. When she’s not battling the supernatural with her husband and kids through Door County Ghostbusters (founded by her husband), she works as a part-time hairstylist at Details Hair Innovations, as a Mary Kay consultant, as a volunteer with Egg Harbor Fire Wives and as registrar at Peninsula Preschool.
No matter how she’s contributing at the moment, Kiehnau enjoys giving back to the community through hands-on work and connecting with people.
“I love volunteering,” she said. “I think it’s so important.”
She followed in her parents’ footsteps by attending K-12 school at Sevastopol. She values the one-to-one interactions and the tight-knit bonds that she was able to create there, and especially the fact that she got to stay in one school her whole life while lots of families today aren’t able to do so.
“I am very blessed to have gone there,” she said, “just because I feel that I had such a great relationship with so many great educators.”
After graduating in 2000, she went to Martin’s College of Cosmetology (now Empire Beauty Schools) in Green Bay, but she always knew she wanted to come back to enjoy her deep roots in Door County.
“I never had that urge and burning desire to spread my wings and go far,” Kiehnau said. “I always knew this felt like home.”
Because she was always so hands-on, she knew trade school was the right choice for her. Doing hair wasn’t her first idea, though. She considered becoming a dental hygienist but decided that hair was more likely to tap the creativity she was looking to exercise.
Kiehnau first got in touch with her creativity during high school, where she enjoyed experimenting with the technological side of art through photography and graphic design. She also worked on the school newspaper, guided by Linda Thompson.
Though her path to doing hair wasn’t a straight one, Kiehnau enjoys where it’s taken her. Working so intimately with people has created great relationships, she said. It’s special to have clients sit in her chair in a vulnerable state and be able to make them look and feel their best by the end of the appointment.
“I love my industry because it’s one of the only industries that you can really be hands-on, and it’s a ‘feel good’ industry. You have such a connection with your guests,” Kiehnau said. “They become your family.”
Being a hairstylist has its challenges, too. All of the standing can be hard on the body. Hands get dry in the winter or become sensitive to harsh chemicals. The job can also be mentally taxing when you have to morph your personality to the person sitting in the chair: Some clients like to talk a lot, and some would rather be quiet.
The industry is also very saturated, especially in a tourist destination, Kiehnau said, so you need to be good at what you do. She works hard to continue her education through conferences and classes and to grow with the changing times and trends.
“You’re investing in yourself to do better for your guests,” she said.
Kiehnau would advise upcoming Door County grads to follow their hearts and not to let society convince them otherwise. She loves the saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
It’s also clear that Kiehnau is passionate about volunteering in the community, and doing so with her family. Working part time allows her to be an involved parent in her children’s schools, not only as registrar at the preschool, but as someone who can chaperone field trips and participate in other activities.
“Keeping the community strong and thriving is so crucial,” Kiehnau said, “because those of us that have been born and raised here, we’re unique, and that’s a good thing.”