Like in other walks of life, the hairdressing industry has its own share of dynamic duos. Estetica talked to four of your favorite couples!
There have always been famous twosomes in the world –for better or for worse– since the days of Adam and Eve. Who hasn’t heard of Bonnie and Clyde, George and Gracie, Fred and Ginger, Brad and Angelina? Today more than ever, relationships are difficult. Even Facebook gives us an “It’s complicated” option. And as if this weren’t stressful enough, the couples we feature here also share a career. Estetica asked them a bit about how their partnerships began, about their careers, what makes it work on and off the job.
A PERFECT BALANCE
For more than twenty years, Christopher and Sonya have been traveling around the globe, inspiring stylists with modern and innovative styling and winning a series of coveted awards, including the Hair Color USA’s “Hair Colorists of the Year” award and NAHA’s “Master Hairstylist of the Year”. Their winning of the 2012 Wella Ambassador’s award and their extensive resumés led to their current role as Wella Creative Directors and even more educational gigs. They are also media spokespeople and platform artist for Hairdreams hair extensions. Funnily enough, these two Brits met through their brothers while they were youngsters, before they had any inkling of what the future held for them. Christopher however had a sort of epiphany while waiting in a salon for hours to correct self-inflicted color on his own head. “While I was waiting, I saw art being created on people’s heads and I realized that this would be a great outlet for my creativity.”
When Sonya’s original career plans to work as a nutritionist were thwarted, she was still determined to find a job that would allow her to help people. So when Chris’ mother suggested joining her son at hair school, she did. “Now,” she says, “I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.” Both admit, however, to having different, complementary styles that they have been able to blend into the perfect balance. Christopher says, “My motto is ‘more is more‘. I’m drawn to a more avant-garde style.” Sonya instead says, “My motto is ‘less is more‘. I am more analytical and structured. I like simple, clean lines.” So how do they make such magic on-stage? “We have such different personalities,” they respond, “that together we almost make up a third person. Our individual styles make us each successful, but the balance is what makes us stronger.”
Indeed, having two different personalities on stage tends to engage more of the audience as they are attracted to either one or the other artist. Christopher gravitates towards the extremely creative who like to push their boundaries, while Sonya gravitates towards the more insecure who need nurturing and patience, as she has a more analytical style of teaching. “We challenge each others views, which in turn gives us a different perspective than our own. Two heads are better then one.”
Brian and Sandra Smith have been committed to educating salon professionals worldwide, channeling their passion and dedication to the industry into the sole goal of helping make each hairdresser or salon owner success. They stand out for their ‘holistic’ approach to hair design, incorporating cutting, coloring, texture and finishing into a simple and logical presentation. The winning combination of Brian’s charming Scottish burr and Sandra’s warm southern accent enchants audiences. They also have an impressive collection of NAHA trophies and have won competitions in Canada and even Europe.
In this couple, it was Sandra who always dreamed of becoming a hairdresser, while Brian –she claims– got into the business as an apprentice to meet women! Little did he know he would meet this Southern Belle at a hair show in Chattanooga, Tennessee while both were assisting the legendary Nicholas French. However, instead of being an international whirlwind romance, it was a solid professional friendship that gradually grew into something more.
“Because we came from two different countries and cultures, it was sometimes easy and sometimes very difficult,” they remember, “but we believe it made our marriage stronger.” Yet even here there is no rivalry on the job. “As a couple we have very similar goals and aspirations, but
we realized a long time ago that the sum of the whole is better than the individual parts. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. That’s why we love being a team.”
In addition to their grueling calendar of professional engagements, the Smiths also have three children (from previous spouses) and a total of five adorable grandchildren. Now taking a break from their successful stint with Matrix, they admit, “We do have a tendency to work a lot, so we have to remind ourselves that life is about priorities.” Few people in the industry, however, are so truly dedicated to education. When they take the stage, the demonstrate an overwhelming love for what they do and sharing what they do with others. They have invested their lives in their belief that education is a never-ending journey and are totally committed to their profession. “We want to be remembered for touching people’s lives, making hairdressers better, and making the beauty industry stronger.”
THE RELATIONSHIP FIRST
Don, a successful hairdresser and salon owner, and wife Beth Bewley founded Eufora International over 10 years ago with the intention of serving independent salons. Today Eufora is one of the fastest-growing professional companies, having built is success on providing people- and planet-friendly hair care products. While Don handles the hair sector, Beth brought a background in entertainment to the family business by producing educational road shows and national platform presentations.
Don and Beth have different perspectives on how they met, but the both agree they had been introduced to each other at several television industry events. Don was working as a hairdresser for ABS and Beth was a producer for the local CBS station. Don eventually broke the ice when Beth showed up at a hair show he was doing at a local club. Beth, who was sporting big hair –as women were wont to do during the ’80s– claims she was somewhat peeved when the suave performer began running his hands through her hair during a demonstration. But shortly after, he officially asked her out and she accepted. They had already married and started a family when Don was offered a job on the west coast with an Aveda distributor, spurring Beth to make a full-time commitment to the world of hairdressing.
They also report being opposite personalities, but it’s more of a fit than a conflict. Beth says, “We grew together as business partners and as parents, so we didn’t have to really adapt. We respect each other’s differences and just do what we have to do. We’re a great team.” As owners of their own company, the hardest part is to balance business and family. But they found that their children actually helped them keep an even keel, and now that they are older, the family is closer than ever. And because they relative job specs are so diverse, they hardly see each other at the office. They make it sound so easy when they sum it up by saying, “The great part of working together is that you’re never alone. When tough decisions arise, and they always do, you have someone you can trust completely to help make the right choices. Not only will you triumph over them, but you’ll be stronger for them.”
DeAnnalyn Teal comes from a long line of hairdressers and shared with Estetica that during the punk rock movement of the ’80s, she was compensating for all the pro products now available by experimenting with India Ink and Clorox to get the wild hair colors that were in vogue at the time. If you ask them how they met, don’t expect a straight answer. DeAnnalyn absolutely denies being smitten at first sight and apparently refused to answer Ryan’s incessant calls. But the important thing is that fate brought these two award-winning artists together as a sort of dream team of hairdressing.
And they do agree that they are as close to being perfectly complementary as is possible. DeAnnalyn easily admits that “Ryan is really good at what he does. He is the talker. He has gotten us many opportunities and is the entertainer on stage. I tend not to talk as much and just do my work.” He instead even gushes, “I am really lucky that DeAnnalyn is is a way much better hairdresser than me and is a fantastic colorist. All I do is cut hair, but she colors it.” And almost as if to balance things out, their daughter has now joined the family business. DeAnnalyn envisions this as an enormous advantage, “Now we have the energy of three people working together to make the Teals a successful hairdressing family.” That’s a pretty big advantage. And with all this energy the family has leased a photo studio and agreed to shoot every Sunday they are in town. “None of us actually wants to get up early on Sunday to shoot, but we do – because we don’t want to let the other two down.”
Even when expressing her indignation with a system that rewards individualism, she confirms her belief in family unity. “People want to separate us for awards,” she fumes, “so when I was nominated for NAHA Hair Colorist of the Year, Ryan was as much a part of that shoot as I was, yet we couldn’t enter as The Teals. Does that make sense?”
Ryan and DeAnnalyn really are that dedicated to their jobs and devoted to their family and each other. In fact, they are so dedicated to their jobs that, in addition to working behind the chair in their hip salon in Portland, Oregon, they travelled about 25 weekends last year to meet and teach hairdressers. Ryan confesses, “To be honest, that is our down time. We get such a charge out of it that we forget to take days off.”
By Marie Scarano