Born and raised: Bismarck, North Dakota
Industry Icon: Horst Rechelbacher. I learned so much from him. Hair, business, attitudes, passion, etc. He has influenced me the most.
Now reading: East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I read a lot on flights!
Your Favorite Day of the Week: Wednesday. I am always innately surprised that it is the middle of the week. Time flies when you are having fun.
Hidden talent: Master of making incredible Banana Bread! I add caramel chips, chocolate chips, different kinds of nuts, pears, etc. I am the master of Banana Bread.
Day-off pursuits: What’s a day off? Ha! Seriously, cooking big wonderful meals completely from scratch for family and friends.
Title of your autobiography: The World Is Your Oyster.
Your Mantra: There is no such thing as an absolute no, or impossible.
Linda Gillette Parodi, Co-Founder, Director of Sales and Education, for Kallista Beauty, says love of beauty was always in her heart, even as a young child in America’s heartland.
“I was born in North Dakota, which isn’t notorious for beauty, and very early on I had huge fascination with beauty and fashion. I would save up my allowance to get my hands on Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar,” says Gillette. “When I was fifteen, I knew a family that owned a Redken distributorship and they had a show in Bismark and I was a hair model. I got to see the hairdresser end of it and what they could create. After that point, I was sold on the hair industry.”
Gillette’s Midwest work ethic carried her through the next few years, as she studied at college and beauty school, concurrently, and also worked in a salon that carried Aveda. “It was my goal to sell enough Aveda products to make my car payment.” She did, and then some, eventually working in education full time with Aveda and with Aveda distributorships in the Midwest and Seattle, WA. She would spend twelve years with Aveda, being involved in many functions, from education, to corporate management, to sales.
“While I was with Aveda, I learned that you should not stray from your original message,” says Parodi. “When you do that you cause confusion and that’s not fair. Aveda said ‘We care for the world in which we live’ and everyone educated on the same message, from New York to London to Australia.”
Parodi’s next move was to Procter and Gamble (P&G) Professional, working in the US offices prior to heading to Geneva, Switzerland, where she serves as Global Education Manager at P&G’s European headquarters, teaching salon professionals on a global scale across various brands.
“I work with our marketing teams to bring that hairdresser point of view to the development and use of the products. I’ve had a chance to work on all the continents and I have learned that hairdressers across the world are all the same—they all love beauty and they are beauty-involved. After thirty years, I have never done anything else, I have never gotten bored, I love the industry, I love hairdressers. That is why Kallista came into being.”
Kallista Beauty is the brainchild of Parodi and her business partner, co-founder and managing director George Frantzis. It will feature products developed solely for the salon professional, starting with the launch of two hand creams formulated to protect hardworking hands and prevent work-related skin irritations.
“I’ve met stylists who said this work kills my hands, my back, my feet—I can’t take it. They have had to leave the industry. George and I have worked together launching brands and we have always made products that went through the hairdresser to the client. But I started to ask myself: who is taking care of the hairdresser?”
Kallista Beauty (which means “most beautiful” in Greek) will be and Gillette, from her home-base in Geneva, feels this has been a natural evolution.
“Hairdressers are giving people and they take care of everyone else before themselves and we know that their hands are their most important tools.This industry has been so extraordinarily rewarding to me I have to give back. If a five year old girl growing up in a small town in North Dakota can have an incredible career in beauty and live her dreams every day, I want every hairdresser to be able to say the same.”