Photographer: Tabitha Dillner

Melanie Taylor says she dreamed of becoming a cosmetology student during her high school career, but a career in the beauty industry was not in the cards for her at the time. Instead, she attended business school and became a legal secretary in 1985, but she couldn’t help thinking that she’d missed out on an opportunity.

When her daughter Sydney expressed a similar dream at the age of 14, Melanie was quick to tell her about a cosmetology program available to high school students.

“She said if I was serious, we could look for educational opportunities like that when I was in my junior year of high school,” says Sydney, noting that she ultimately attended Knox Beauty College.

However, obtaining her cosmetology license was not enough. Sydney wanted to teach as well, and when she learned that an instructor’s license was also available, she quickly enrolled in those classes too. She graduated with both credentials under her belt and began a career that, in her mind, was the best of both worlds.

As Sydney’s dream came to fruition, she thought it was time for Melanie to leave her law career behind and embrace her passion. Following in her daughter’s footsteps, Melanie enrolled at Knox and eventually obtained both licenses as well. After a two-year stint in Chicago, Sydney returned to Indiana and the pair opened The Color Shop in Valparaiso. They also began teaching part-time at Knox.

“Sydney has been my mentor throughout my journey as a cosmetologist,” Melanie says. “She has an unbelievable memory and spends a great deal of her personal time educating herself further. She’s my walking textbook. I tease and say I want to be like her when I grow up.”

It was only a matter of time before the pair embarked on their next adventure. As 2018 ended, Knox Beauty College owners Loretta Rowe and Toni Palm made the decision to sell their school and luckily, the Taylors were in a position to purchase it. The mother-daughter duo remained committed to keeping the institution a functioning beauty college, and they provide a wide range of student-led services for an affordable price.

“Knox Beauty College has been part of the Knox community for more than 30 years, and I wanted to continue its legacy,” Sydney says.

The two did implement some changes at the school, including building a social media platform to reach prospective students, adding a few services to the menu and upgrading their color line to Matrix. Other updates include cosmetic changes to the building with plans for more in the coming months and years.

As for what it is like to work so close to a family member? Sydney says it’s a question she gets asked a lot.

“She’s my business partner,” she says. “She’s super knowledgeable and I have total trust in her. I know she’s always got my back.”

“Each of us brings something different to the table,” Melanie adds. “We are both very different in many ways and very much the same in others. We are in this together. We are a team and we are dedicated to building beautiful futures one stylist at a time.”

Knox Beauty College is located at 320 E. Culver Road in Knox, Indiana. Give them a call at 574-772-5500 or visit them online at kbc.edu for more information.