26 March 2023

Education is Booming: Advanced Approaches

Savvy hairdressers are demanding training for a whole new set of highly sophisticated skills. And they’re getting what they want!

The hairdressing industry has always required cosmetological training and licensing to guarantee quality as well as safety standards among salon professionals, but in more recent years, the tables have been turned, as behind-the-chair basics become merely the starting point for new generations of artists who envision hairdressing as less of a 9-5 job and more of a career. Why stay put behind the chair when there are platform events and editorial shoots? Why not reach for added values that will develop a personal brand and keep clients coming back for more?

With four major brand names –Wella, Goldwell/KMS California, Saco, and Label.m– opening academies on the east coast of the United States in the recent months, there is no doubt that the education market is booming, creating better hairdressers and –why not?– more jobs in related but alternative careers in teaching! Estetica reached out to leading hair care brands and leaders in education to better understand the latest trends and the impact on individuals and the industry.

Healthy competition

Remember science fairs and diorama contests? Getting an idea and developing a presentation that would give rise to a unique creation that might even win you a prize? Well, the principle is the same for the Sebastian Professional What’s Next Awards, except that it’s coast-to-coast and the theme is always inspired by hair. Christina McCarver, North American Director of Education for Sebastian Professional explains, “The What’s Next Awards is a wonderful reflection on the fearless talent that lives in the salon professional industry. The competition is a platform for new and established talent to push their creativity to new heights…” It is a winning formula for “teaching” concepts difficult to convey otherwise: inspiration and creativity. This year’s New Talent winner, Katey-Bug B. concurs. “I think the What’s Next Awards is the most fearless and fiercest compeition, because it pushes you to reach out of your comfort zone and create something amazing,” she claims.

Wella Professionals is another brand that works tirelessly to foster the growth of new generations of salon professionals. Just one example is the Wella Student Competition finals held at Premiere Orlando in June this year. This fourth edition marked a record-breaking year of entries from Wella partner cosmetology schools. Carol Protat, Creative Director, Wella North America, noted, “This competition shines the spotlight on student stylists who create beauty and defy convention.” The festivities also include the “Instructor of the Year” award in recognition of deserving nominees who encourage and inspire students throughout their journeys to become amazing stylists. No one deserves it more then they do!

Taking the lead

Long-time champion of sustainability and botanical products, Aveda Institutes have always offered a wide variety of quality courses at four main levels. The backbone of their education program continues to be performances and editorial work by the outstanding personalities of their Global Artistic Team. In an interview with Estetica, Dominique Conseil, Global Brand President, observes, “Education moves from the classroom to the stage with Aveda’s shows and events, with big venues, big names, and big inspiration – with the ultimate goal of keeping the network engaged in the creativity and artistry of the brand and our Global Artistic Team.”

However, given current demands for social media and continuing innovations in color, new programs are now being offered. Kevin Molin, Aveda Vice President, Technical Education starts by mentioning “Benchmarking for the Team Member” to introduce service providers to the importance of achieving key productivity benchmarks for the success of both the salon and individual. There are also courses on how to be a more effective communicator in daily conversations, how to make presentations, and how to be a better educator. Thanks to the collaboration of Aveda artists with so many outstanding fashion designers, the company is also capable of guaranteeing that partner salons stay right on trend with Fashion Week programs backstage at the catwalks and follow-up courses that change every six months. And obviously, wellness courses are a mainstay, ranging from aromaology to nutrition.

However, Molin also lists innovations for the coming year, including, “Cultivate your Color, to teach quick, salon-friendly hair color applications to get guests to try a new color or treatment. The second focus will be on textured hair, with Artistic Director Tippi Shorter… the first launching in January 2015.”  As he rightly admonishes, “If you are not comfortable with all types of hair textures, you are going to see a negative impact on your business in the coming years.”

Good things coming!

Some of the biggest news this season are brand new academy openings, concentrating on the mostly on the East Coast. First and foremost, the Goldwell KMS California Academy in SoHo last June. This multi-story creative space features a stunning rooftop classroom with terrace views of New York City’s world famous skyline, putting the creative energy of the city at the heart of this unique educational experience. Stylists are able to take custom classes on “Inspiration NYC” with Global Color Master John Simpson, or even “On Set” with Global Artistic Master and NAHA winner Dimitrios Tsioumas teaching the fundamentals of runway and editorial styling.

Patrick McIvor,  Artistic & techniCulture Director Goldwell/KMS California enlightens salon owners on “Get the Guests You Want”, focusing on how to make social media work for you and how to brand yourself professionally. The class makes use of hands-on with models that choose you blindly based on a branded mood board, working with smartphones, tablets, apps, and social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare, and more. McIvor considers this course as a “Sink or Swim” life experience. “These ideas work like learning to swim: it can keep you from drowning or send you to the Olympics. It’s up to you to decide how far these techniques can take you,” he philosophizes. He is also careful to point out that the objective is to empower the salon professional and stressing how important it is to “engage the learner, not teach the student”. This approach helps salon professionals understand how to successfully apply what they learn instead of simply copy-catting or following in someone else’s footprints. 

Next on the list is label.m, the London-based haircare brand created by Toni Mascolo and daughter Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck and major trendsetters in the craft of hairdressing. This traditionally British brand will be launching courses held at Alibi Salons in SoHo and 25th Street, headed up by award-winning International Artistic Directors: Richard Mannah and Efi Davies. As the Official Haircare Product Sponsor of London Fashion Week, the focus of the academy will undoubtedly be fashion, with forays into Foundation, Creative Cutting, Coloring, Men’s, Session Styling, and Editorial work. The brand also offers a vast range of business courses to meet the needs of most salons. Quality is key. Sacha says, “We teach on a personal level with only seven students to each educator and using a live model in a classroom environment.” And to boost their visibility, later this year the annual education collection will be taken cross-country, stopping off in such cities as Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Madison. Stay tuned for more additions!

Instead, on the other extreme of the coast, in Miami, Florida, yet another traditional British institution set up shop. With an unsurpassed reputation as pioneers of creativity within the industry, Saco is the first choice of many in the world of hair and their salon and academy is now open in Miami! “This part of the world hosts so many creative, ambitious stylists & salons and we are thrilled to be able to bring our brand to the market,” said Co-founder and CEO Aldo Furfaro. From one-to-one personal tuition to sensational shows delivered to audiences of thousands, time spent with Saco makes for an entirely fulfilling and an unforgettable experience. “We have a truly great team there too, with lots to share from core Classics through to Advanced cutting and coloring techniques fresh from our London and European Academies!”, explained Richard Ashforth, Co-Founder and International Creative Director of the brand.

Wella also officially launched the brand new Wella World Studio NYC located in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. Wella Global president, Adil Mehboob-Khan, and Wella North America CEO, Sal Mauceri, welcomed guests to enjoy live demos from top Wella artists and a live art show from local New York muralists Tats Cru. Known for elevating technical mastery and unleashing the talent of stylists from around the globe, The Studio is expected to make its mark as a modern haven for hairdressers; a place where they can tap into their creativity and achieve technical excellence through world-class coaching for every stage of their career. After all, “Home is Where the Art is”.

Anoher SoHo hot-spot

At their SoHo Academy, although it is not listed among the spanking new ones, L’Oréal Professionnel strives consistently to remain on the cutting edge of the salon business. Suzanne Sturm, VP of L’Oréal Professionnel Education, shared with us that personal and business sessions are always hot. “Brand Yourself,  featuring industry leaders like Jason Backe and Suzie Bond, is one of the most sought after courses. Another  favorite is Editorial Fashion Shoot with Pepper Pastor and Heath Grout,” she declares.

Then come the acronyms: like I-GROW, focusing on growing the non-ammonia haircolor business, and C.A.R.E., which stands for Client Advice and Retail Education, which includes  an interactive full-day class plus four days of coaching to follow up over the year. Back in February, the brand also celebrated the L’Oréal Professionnel Artistic Foundation, a three-day event that kicked off with the grand opening on the first night, followed by two days of color, cut, and styling classes. Sturm informs us that the theme for the evening was “Eyes Wide Open”, to “encourage our Artists to think differently and build our craft by finding inspiration and beauty in the world around us.”

Moving mountains

Not everyone can always take time off from the salon to travel cross-country to flagship schools or major events. So like with Sebastian’s What’s Next Awards, the Aveda collection tour, or the L’Oréal Artistic Foundation, leading brands often take their shows on the road in order to reach out to salon professionals nation wide, bringing talent, inspiration, and education to their doorstep. For example, L’Oréal also nominated a 2014 “On the Road Academy” in Matthew Morris Salon and Skin Care in Denver Colorado. The May appointment with National Color Artist Carlo Novoa has come and gone, but there is still time to book for the September seminar with Suzie Bond

Pivot Point, for example, truly a world leader in education, is also right on trend when they encourage Salon professionals from all corners of the globe to book their vacations at one or both Pivot Point Creative Jams, set to take place in July in Taipei, Taiwan, and in September in Stockholm, Sweden! Dinners and workshops are just one part of these international romps with travelling companions the likes of Yolly ten Koppel, Pivot Point Global Artistic Director, Joakim Roos of Sweden, Severine Lebrun of France, and Zoe Tsai of Taiwan R.O.C. In-Salon Education is also easy to come by.

And as Andrew Carruthers, Director of Education for Sam Villa, recommends, “In-salon education can kick start creative juices and teach stlists the latest looks so they can keep clients on trend and in the chair.” And the advantage to in-salon education is that is can be customized to meet the needs of the salon staff, the clients, or the  management. “Discovering new creative approaches to cutting and finishing globally influences shapes to keep it fresh for clients and profitable for results and salon owners,” explains Sam Villa, Founding Partner of Sam Villa ® and Education Artistic Director for Redken.

Programs of passion

Matthew Calabro, Matrix AVP of Education emphasizes, “We subscribe to ‘Reach All, Teach All’ education, so no one is left behind”. This concept is further based on the three levels of learning: Core, Experienced, and Advanced. Matrix courses also all have at least some element of business, retail, product knowledge and training included. Calabro boasts, “Our most recently developed class category is “Programs of Passion”. We reached out to our Artistic Directors and highest Educators and challenged them to create a class tha addresses their specific passion. Offerings ranged from tech-savvy Google Glass perspective to Balayage and Razor Cutting.”

Matrix, in addition to travelling to shows, classrooms, stores and salons, also holds their courses at the new Regional Academies nationwide. The company is also exploring the potential of web-based activities to keep their partners engaged, especially with the Biolage Reinvention “e-learning” platform.” It’s actually an e-certification program that interactively takes a learner through the Biolage product line. So this works for teaching products and techniques. But where does inspiration come in? “Inspiration can be found in our Trend Classes that focus on a theme and how the theme can be transated into hairdressing. Our latest trend is ‘Denim Code’,” says Calabro, “proving that inspiration truly everywhere!”

Keeping your eyes open

TIGI haircare also has a SoHo Academy where standard  cut-color-style courses are masterfully taught, but what is their added value? Like other brand name manufacturers, they boast a highly talented creative team that is very much involved in the fashion week circuit in New York, London, Paris and Milan. This means that there are sessions teams worldwide bringing home trends that students can work on up close. Here, Thomas Osborn, US Education Director for TIGI, claims that they are now being inspired by newer textures.

This is somewhat predictable, but what else are haridressers demanding now? “I feel the 3 biggest areas of interest right now in education are color, editorial finishing, and men’s hairdressing,” he shares with us. He feels this is mostly due to the obvious reason that clientele is demanding these same services. Another specialized course actually teaches stylists how to teach in an intense 5-day-long course where emphasis is placed on communicaiotn, techniques, and the human factor.” As Thomas observes, “The bar of the industry is constantly being raised and the future of hairdressing is all in how we communicate it.” Then not only can a salon professional teach fellow staff members, but such a course can also be useful in client consultations when it comes to color and other in-salon services. After all, an educated client is more likely to make an investment in such services and continue to maintain it, perhaps by buying retail products. A win-win situation.

One of the first Academies to move into a splendid  loft-style building in SoHo, one wonders where the inspiration is expected to come from. Osborn explains: “I believe what we do is teach people how to find inspiration and we share with them what inspires us. Whether it’s music, art, fashion books, film, magazines, people, food, color, nature… inspiration is all around us… everywhere, every day, all the time. It’s just making sure you’re eyes are open to it!” Mmmm… sounds familiar. Where have we heard that before? I guess it’s true that great hairdressing minds all do think alike. 

By Marie Scarano



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