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How Katie Ehlis supports our best selves through business and community

This Mod Mom entrepreneur wants to destigmatize social self care

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Katie Ehlis is the owner of The Vanity Bar, wife to Emerson, an orthodontist and co-owner of WE Ortho, as well as mom to 8-year-old Porter and 4-year-old Pippa.
Photo courtesy of Alissa Krueger

At Planet Fitness, it’s called the “Judgment Free Zone”, a place where you can work out without the fear of being judged. At The Vanity Bar, there’s no special name for it, it’s just a part of who they are. It’s only been about a year and a half since its opening, but in that time The Vanity Bar has given legs to Katie Ehlis’ vision of eliminating the stigma surrounding aesthetic medicine. The “boutique med-spa” gives clients a semi-private space where they can be surrounded and empowered by like-minded people who want you to be your best self.

“Too often, many people feel like they have to keep their aesthetic treatments a secret or they shouldn’t talk about them with friends, family, etc.” she said. “The entire concept was about social self-care and empowering individuals to destigmatize aesthetic medicine.”

Katie and her husband Emerson, who is an orthodontist and co-owner of WE Ortho, had discussed the idea for years. In 2020, it finally came to be when The Vanity Bar opened its doors.

But The Vanity Bar is part of a bigger mission for Katie. Each year the company and a handful of other businesses host Belles & Blooms, an event that creates awareness and raises funds for Hope Blooms, a non-profit that inspires happiness and emotional healing through repurposed flowers. The event is in its third year and allows women to come together to celebrate all things looking and feeling your best with tips, tricks and demonstrations along with appetizers and drinks. In addition to giving back to the community through her business, Katie is also a member of the BIO Girls Impact Committee, which supports improving the self-esteem of adolescent girls in our community.

“Seeing (and working with) my husband own a business, lead a team, and become a strong community member really inspired me to do this with The Vanity Bar,” Katie said. “I felt like it was a great opportunity for The Vanity Bar to give back and partner with an organization that was truly all about spreading hope and letting people know they matter.”

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Being business owners with a strong sense of philanthropy can certainly keep Katie and her husband busy, especially when combined with the busy lives of their two kids, Porter and Pippa, but balance has been key to keeping all of their buckets full. Here’s more about Katie and what makes her a mod mom.

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The Ehlis family stays busy with their respective businesses and plenty of activities their kids are involved in, but they also enjoy traveling and spending time at the lake all year.
Photo courtesy of Alissa Krueger

The most important things you’ve learned since becoming a parent?

It’s all about balance – balancing what fills your personal and professional bucket with being available, present, and involved in all areas of my kids’ lives!

What’s the biggest dream for your business? 

The biggest dream I have for The Vanity Bar is for people to highly trust our team, have confidence in what we do and know that everything our team does is with authenticity and your best interest in mind. Growth comes with having a loyal patient base, doing good work, and being a strong member of the community. The Vanity Bar team is doing that, but my ultimate dream is that everyone recognizes our brand: honest, authentic, and treatments/services that give results that are true to you.

You and your husband both run your own businesses. What are the biggest challenges associated with that?

Time! We’ve really learned that our most valuable asset is time. It’s really easy to get sucked down the work rabbit hole anywhere, any time… but we’ve really learned that we need to make an effort to disconnect with work and connect with our kids and each other.

How do you and your family “survive” the winters? 

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Skiing and travel! We love to travel!

If your kids were to learn one thing from you and your husband, what would be the most important? 

The importance of a strong work ethic and how they treat people. Similar to above, we really believe that if you work hard and you treat people with kindness, you can do great things in this world! Be kind and work hard. Those are the two most important things and a mantra we share every morning at drop-off!

Favorite things to do with your family in the area? 

We love to ski at Detroit Mountain and be out at the lake! We are on Lake Six in Frazee and enjoy all seasons out there! Our kids love to swim and explore.

Related Topics: ON THE MINDS OF MOMSHEALTH
Melissa Davidson is a mom to three girls and writer for Click Content Studios, a marketing and video production agency. In addition to writing, she’s passionate about health and wellness, wishes she could get through all the non-fiction books out there, and thrives on learning new things, like the cello!
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