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Meet Trailblazer Christi Rantis Lally

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christi Rantis Lally.

Christi, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Growing up, I was always obsessed with anything beauty. Whether it was grabbing a fashion magazine at the doctor’s office instead of a coloring book or being awed by a classic 60’s movie where the actresses had the big hair and cat eye eyeliner instead of watching Disney channel, I was always captivated by elegance, specifically makeup. Being raised by a single father, my two sisters and I had to learn to do our own hair and makeup pretty early on (my Dad did try… lol) and let’s just say my early attempts were S-C-A-R-Y but with each try, I got better. When I look back at those old photos of my “early career” I often go back and forth between laughing out loud and cringing in silence, yet I can also see how much I was learning and how much I was improving. As the years went on, skin care and makeup eventually grew to be more than a hobby. Late in high school and into college, I always preferred to do my own makeup and eventually, some of my friends started asking me to do theirs for weddings, special events, etc. I was the go-to girl for Halloween and by that time my work was S-C-A-R-Y in a good way (Zombabes anyone?).

One day during my sophomore year of college, the realization that my heart was in Esthetics came along and slapped me in the face. I left college the next day and moved to Chicago to enroll at the Aveda Institute. In 2009, I became a licensed Esthetician and began working at some of the top Aveda Salon/Spas in the city.

While I was working as an Esthetician, I realized there were many salons which did not have an actual Makeup Artist working. Sure, they had stylists who could do makeup, but they were nowhere near comfortable with applying makeup for a say… a Bride on the biggest day of her life! Many salons also did not offer the option to travel On-Site either to hotels, homes, out of state, etc… And that’s when I got a whole new business idea.

My older sister, Maria, was a licensed stylist and my younger sister, Gina, was certified in Custom Airbrush Tanning, so I convinced them to join me in creating House of Koukla (Koukla meaning beautiful doll in Greek). As my company began to grow, new opportunities arose and new friendships formed. Pretty soon, I was featured on ABC and WGN News segments and started to gain a faithful clientele and following. I also never stopped learning and continued to grow and gain new experiences such as working as an Esthetician in a renowned medical spa while also spending time with a few amazing production teams on various photo shoots and film sets. But definitely, my proudest achievement is the honor of being part of over one thousand weddings. I love my brides!

Has it been a smooth road?
I would definitely say the beginning of my career was eye-opening. In only a year of being licensed, I was incorporating a business and at times, I literally had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I come from a family of small business owners which was extremely helpful in regards to all the advice and help they gave me on what it takes to start a business. It is so important you make sure to do your research and take a business class that is designed for a future in the Salon/Spa field. Marketing/Self Promotion is key as well. You can be the most talented artist in the world, but nobody is going to hire you if they don’t know you exist. Finally always carry yourself with poise even when it’s not easy. You never want to appear uneducated, unprofessional or unprepared.

We’d love to hear more about House of Koukla.
House of Koukla specializes in On-Site Bridal and Special Event Beauty Services (Hair Styling, Makeup, and Airbrush Tanning). Our main goal is to have our clients look and feel like the most beautiful version of themselves for their special day.

I am the Lead Makeup Artist and Esthetician. Brides book my services because they know that they will work closely with me in creating their desired look and receive long-lasting, beautiful results.

I would say I am most proud of the reviews and referrals our company receives. 90% of our bookings come from client referrals. That’s huge to me! There is no better feeling than knowing our clients loved our work so much that they not only let us know, but they share our company with others. My team is not only extremely talented and professional, but also hardworking and personable – which is so important in our field. We sometimes are standing for such long periods of time without a single break, trying to finish some of the largest bridal parties you have ever seen, but everyone always has a smile on their face. Simply put, we have fun, love what we do, and it shows in our work.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
The most important piece of advice I can offer is: do not give up on your talent. Even if you have to work side jobs and only have one makeup or styling job booked a week or even a month – do NOT put your artistry on the back burner. People who say they will go back to something they enjoy later on almost never do… keep it in the forefront and keep your skills sharpened. Always be improving and one day, it will all fall into place and you’ll be so glad you never gave up. ☺

Contact Info:

  • Address: 577 Pennsylvania Ave
    Ste 103
    Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
  • Website: HOUSEOFKOUKLA.COM
  • Phone: 630-347-0192
  • Email: services@houseofkoukla.com
  • Instagram: @houseofkoukla
  • Facebook: facebook.com/houseofkoukla
  • Twitter: @houseofkoukla

Image Credit:
House of Koukla, Nancy Shares Photography, Allie Appel Photography, Mackezie Maeder Photography, Alexandra Lee Photography, Keren Sarai Photography, Life On Prints Photography, Fred Fox Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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