7 February 2023

Estetica Exclusive with Wella Studios Signature Artist Oliver Shortall

Name a select group of gifted individuals? No. Not X-Men, but pretty close. Wella Studios Signature Artistic Team members are the gifted group, saving one head of hair at a time… Yeah, these guys are hair superheroes!

Oliver Shortall is a Wella Studios Signature Artist in Los Angeles, with a career that sparkles as bright as his star-studded and runway stomping clientele. Wella Studios Signature Artists are involved in the brand’s inner network ranging from the most glamorous shows to reviews in product development. We asked this superhero about his experience as part of this elite team and how his decision to work with Wella came to be.

How did you begin your journey in education?
My journey in education started 7 years ago. At the time I was a salon owner in Maryland. I was approached to audition for, what was then, the Sebastian Urban Design Team. I travelled all over the East Coast, then the West, after moving to California. I was then invited to audition for the prestigious Sebastian Design Team. I joined this team and then travelled the country, presenting on stage at trade shows, VIP events, and salons. After graduating from the Wella Master Color Expert program, I was approached about becoming a full time Studio Trainer. I took the position, and am now working as a Studio Signature Artist at The Studio LA.

When was the moment when you thought, this is going to lead to something?
With every step in my career, from graduating from cosmetology academy to accepting a full time position, I have thought “this is leading to something.” I like to keep an open mind about my career, and let opportunities arise. I work hard with every position I am in, and let whatever I am passionate about in that time, lead me to where I need to be.

What role do Wella Studios Artists play in terms of education within the company?
Studio Signature Artists play many roles within education for the company. Not only do we teach and inspire other hairdressers to become better at their craft, but we also work with the teams that create the seminars. We take what our students tell us about what they want in education to these teams. It keeps the internal education team connected with the hairdressers that are behind the chair full time.

Tell me a bit more about your involvement in Research and Development and Curriculum?
When new products are being considered for the market, we, as Studio Signature Artists, are some of the first to play. In the end, we are curious hairdressers just like everyone else in the industry. We get to see how these new products work by trying them on swatches, wefts, and models. It is exciting to be involved in the process of the launching of new products.”

What do you think sets Wella, as a company, apart?
There are so many amazing companies supporting hairdressers, and they all have different goals. With Wella, one of our main focuses is education. We want to make sure that every stylist using our products, has a way to learn how to use it. We offer Studio seminars that range from 2 hours up to 2 weeks. We have amazing field education, where we send educators into salons to make sure that they feel fully supported and confident in using our products. We also offer digital education for those who cannot make it to the studio, or receive education in a salon. This is what sets Wella apart.

What are the key trends –in terms of color & cut– for Fall/Winter 2016?
Some key trends that we are seeing right now are personalization. It’s all about the consultation, and working with the clients to create a look that works for them. Sure, we have set trends that we release each season, but you will find in each look, there is a specific consultation process that comes before it. Hair today is all about self-expression, not following exactly what the celebrities are doing.”

What are some of your personal Wella favorite products?
Within the Wella Company, there are many products that I use and love. First thing’s first. 3 words…..SEBASTIAN DARK OIL. This truly is one of the most amazing products I have ever experienced. It’s an oil that creates body. I have never seen an oil that can do that. Another one of my favorites right now is Magma by Blondor. When I am working in the salon, time is money. Magma is a lightener that lifts and tones at the same time. Here in LA it’s all about the blondes, and Magma’s range of blonde shades makes my time behind the chair much easier, faster, and more profitable.

Knowing that Wella has a strong commitment to education, what is your perspective on the hairdressing industry and education?
Education is more important than it ever has been before. Not only for hairdressers just coming into the industry, but for experienced stylists as well. New hairdressers are coming out of school with no fear, a ton a passion, and a lot of knowledge about the craft. This puts pressure on those that are not regularly growing their skills. Education is so accessible now, from apps to YouTube, as well as live seminars. There is a way for everyone to receive education and it doesn’t have to cost them anything.

As a member of such a prestigious team, what is the question you get asked about most by stylists?
The question I am asked most is “How can I do what you do?”, whether it be teaching, working at a prestigious salon, or doing hair for photoshoots. The one thing I ALWAYS say is this: “No one is going to hand you anything in this industry. Through hard work, long hours, and an extreme passion, you can do whatever it is that you want to do.” I also tell them my philosophy on personal and professional growth. “It’s great to have an idea about where you want to go with your career, but you should never put blinders on. Many opportunities will arise around you, and you should always take the time to find out more. Your career path is always subject to change.

So, what have you done to stay on top?
To stay on top, you first have to get to the top; the top being the best you are at that time. I always keep my eyes open. As an educator it’s extremely important to know what’s going on in the industry. I continue working behind the chair with a bunch of talented young artists. This is what keeps me on my toes, and always bettering myself, so I can be better for them.

What is your funniest memory while working with the rest of the team?
Everyday there is something that happens with this team. I can’t really pick one thing. All I can say is we have a lot of fun, and keep it light around here.

In three words, how would others define your personal technique/specialty?
In three words, my specialty is “cut, color, style”. As basic as that sounds, I consider myself (and others consider me) a triple threat. Being able to marry the three disciplines takes time, close attention to detail, and a lot of mistakes. Without these things, we never grow as artists.

In terms of the future and longevity with the brand, what are your long-term goals with Wella?
I honestly don’t know what my long term goals are with Wella. I am really enjoying what I am doing right now.  But again, I always keep my mind open to other opportunities within the company. You never know what will come if you stay to focused on the ‘end game’.


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