The day started with a 9 AM motivational speaker, Jim Collins. He is a West Point graduate, rock climber, and author of the book Good to Great. Collins explained that he is extremely loyal to his barber, Dean. He described the services that he has been receiving from his hair stylist over the years as “not a transaction but a relationship.” He said that Dean’s “price might change, but the value stays the same.” This really sank in with me and made me feel as though he really did understand us. He was a fish out of water, being surrounded by crazy artistic types, but the values he shared can transcend across all industries. Collins inspired us with his words of motivation. Below are some of my favorite quotes from his presentation.
“Good is the enemy of great.”
“What are you doing that would make you distinctive or missed?”
“If you shut your doors people would cry”
“Questions are better than answers.”
“True leadership only exists when people choose to follow when they have the freedom to not follow.”
“The cause is charismatic, not the personality of the leader”
“Build a culture – the kind of culture that people want to be in.”
“We succeed at our best only when we help each other succeed”
F. Scott Fitzgerald said that, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still remain the ability to function.”
Jim spoke of hybrid businesses and the ability to “preserve the core values and stimulate progress and change.”
“Are successful people really luckier? What do you get with the luck that you get? How do you get a higher return on your luck? Luck favors the persistent. It has a compounding effect over time.”
You must have a “To do list and Stop doing list”
I am so grateful that LBP Front Row included Collins. He may not be a hair dresser, but he understands what it takes to run a business. It’s so important that we all think about great customer service as well as providing our clients with state of the art styles.
Reality TV star, Jonathan Antin, introduced and held a discussion on stage with relatives of Vidal Sassoon. His late wife Beverly Sassoon and daughter Eden Sassoon were absolutely stunning, candid and open to reveal themselves. They reiterated one of Vidal’s famous quotes, “If you don’t look good we don’t look good”. They spoke of Sassoon’s pioneer like attitude of how he took women’s hair “from ridged to sexy” and “gave women freedom” to wear their hair differently than they did in 40’s and 50’s. He was given the credit for hairdressers to have “the opportunity to charge more” because “his passion was to elevate the craft by education” and “to be given the respect of an artist.”
V76 by Vaughn‘s show was raw and eye-opening. His show started out with a group of drummers (we found out later in his show that one was Vaughn’s son! So cute!). Images and videos were displayed of men of all walks of life on the back drop. Vaughn described the industry of “men’s grooming was sleeping and about 15 years ago woke up”. He described what it is like to be a man and how the weight of the world can be on your shoulders and you can’t even act like it affects you. He said that those who are lucky to have father figures teach “how to become a man and groom” and how it is “passed on through generations. Male or female, we want to feel confident. Stylists have the key. When you deliver that, the loyalty is incredible.” He spoke of how important music is to his delivery of art and how it”lead his hands and he trusted it”. The topic of music transcended into how rock stars like Freddie Mercury and David Bowie were the first of their kind to wear their hair differently and take on more feminine looks and mannerisms. He talked about how men these days are “growing their hair out and being okay with it.”
Rose McGowan’s performance was unforgettable, confusing, yet inspiring. She played a video before she came out to talk to the audience. It was bizarre to say the least. Most of the video was shot from her waist up. She rocked 4 or 5 looks. She sang softly and creepy. It was a very artistic, revealing, colorful, modern, music video. it encapsulated her “punk spirit”.
She walked on stage wearing black slacks and a white tank crop top. Her make-up was modest and she admitted to having shaved her head with a number one guard with her clippers. She admitted that she had much respect for hairdressers as her aunt was one and she had been sweeping hair since the age of 11. She is surprisingly a licensed cosmetologist. She confessed that she invests in about 70 salons and finally explained why she was at Front Row – to launch her skin care line. She never mentioned the name. She talked about her past and how it lead to where she is now. She said that Hollywood tried to fit her in a box and she couldn’t stand it anymore. She said that she has quit acting now for 7 years. She is writing music under an alias and has had some hits on the radio. Unfortunately, McGowan was in a car accident that scarred her face. She explained that she was introduced to a healing lake that helped to cure her wounds. It is in this lake that she has extracted the ingredients for her skin care line. She ended her segment with two quotes, “Live a really authentic life that will make you successful” and “Know your worth”.
Smith & Cult… Just dazzling! Not your ordinary nail polish line. There were actors, dancers, confetti, singers, and a mess left afterward! It was a story! It was a well choreographed play! Okay, so basically it was a dream sequence of a young lady who was about to get her nails done the next day. the first scene was her writing in her diary in bed (on stage!) inspired by the nail polish set Diary of a Beauty Junkie. She falls asleep and then every part of the play was inspired by different nail polish colors – probably about 10 different scenes. For example, Dirty Baby was featured by a bride walking out slowly and peacefully on stage with a wedding cake. Next, riotous music came on and she tore that cake apart! It was fabulous! So many people were involved in this show! So entertaining. They involved the latest nail trends, such as chevron tips, stilletto nails, and glitter ombre.
IGK came out last on day 3. They own salons in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. They are group of four good looking guys who have beards, man buns, accents and a lot of rugged charm. They are like the One Direction of the hair world. They set up a salon-like environment on stage of about 15 of their favorite stylists in about 3 rows. They all had different services going in their chairs. Some were doing cuts, colors, or styles. They all got to talk a little bit about each model. Some of my favorite quotes were:
The look right now is “Straight, natural, beachy, No more perfect Instagram wavy.”
“Start bayalage in front so it processes the longest.”
When describing long layer cutting, they hold they cut an “inverted 45 degree angle”.
Their favorite brush for beachy waves is the 55-50 by YSPark
“Less is more”
It’s all about “easy to wear hair. If I’m not making the client’s life easier I’m not doing my job”.
Hair color and lightening us inspired by children’s hair. One young stylist described her foiling technique as “paper thin highlights” for a low-maintenance grow out. They also showed us how they bayalaged simultaneously with foils.
They talked about the modern bob and how it has “no layers, just layers in the interior” to give it an edgy look.
It was so cool to see such a young group of hairdressers working so well as a team and making it big. They are so successful and “Hair Styling for the Modern Generation.”
Day 4, Final Day
The two year old hair product company called R+Co had the last day all to themselves. Which was much needed. R+Co is the fastest growing brand in the US, maybe the world. This brand is very unique as it has three male hair-lebrities representing the product. The most famous of the trio is Garren. He only needs one name. He is famous for morphing many celebrities from one look to another. He gave Madonna, Katy Perry and Victoria Beckham their new looks over the years. He can proclaim that he holds the record for having done the most Vogue Covers. The second man behind the brand is his good friend Thom Priano. He is famous for holding the record of the most GQ covers ever. So its safe to say that his thing is men’s styling. The third man is Howard McLaren. He is from Scotland and is famous for his background in razor cutting and comes from a Bumble & Bumble background. They each sat on the stage with the background of the Outer Space Hairspray Imagery behind them.
They were all introduced and interviewed by a woman named Maggie Mulhern with Modern Salon Magazine. She asked them to share with the audience about how they all came into the business of cutting hair. She started with McLaren, he talked about how he was inspired when he saw his sister get a haircut and related it to a mechanic or an engineer. He stressed how it is a “great time in hairdressing because of social media” we have so much more to our disposal. We can learn, share and market ourselves much easier than ever. McLaren also mentioned his recent documentary that he narrated, called Reset. It is a 45 minute video explaining the struggles we are facing as an industry with deregulation. I highly recommend watching it. It leaves you with a sense of inspiration, enlightenment and unity.
Tom started doing hair because his grandma suggested he should. He said how he lost a lot of friends back then because times were different. Being a male hairdresser wasn’t too popular. His first job was in upstate New York at Edie Adams Cut and Curl where the charged $3.50 for a wash, cut, and curl. Tom later ended up at another salon in Buffalo in which that Garren also worked. They decided they needed to get the heck out of Buffalo.
Last to answer the question of where they came from was Garren. He said that he has always been “fascinated by hair change ups” of peoples looks. For example, before and afters of style transformations. He said he was “obsessed with Vidal” Sassoon. He described how he would “dismantle his mom’s hair and reform it” when she would come home from the beauty salon. She would go around town and people would stop her and ask her where she got her hair done. She would say that she would tell them, “you won’t believe it but my son did it”. He said that he figured out that he wanted to become a hairdresser in high school. He was “unsupported by the faculty because of the times”. He remembered the name of the teacher who called his father to tell him that his son admitted that he wanted to be a beauty operator. The teacher said that it was a job for a woman. Garren moved the audience to tears when he recounted the conversation he overheard and lamented that,”Oh shit, I’m going to have to go to college.” His father, a steel plant worker, informed the teacher that, “with all due respect sir, my son is going to be a hairdresser – and a damn good one.”
Some of my favorite quotes from Garren were…
Its all about being at the “right place at right time and knowing everything about hair. At the right moment in fashion”
“Leave your ego at the door – and being willing to learn.”
“In the salon you are in control of the situation, and a softer salesman”
When doing a shoot, the “foundation is in the hair, but be able to change it up”.
“Stupid mannequins need a person under them. It’s about not only pleasing yourself, but the client too.” He said this when talking about how styles need to be customized for each individual person – their face shape and proportions, hair texture and density.
Next, Tom spoke about his evolution in his career. The career changer for him was a photographer named Bruce Webber who was obsessed with photography. This got Tom to be obsessed with his work too. He would “look at a man and decide instantly how I want to see him.” Tom admitted to getting a lot of Garren’s overflow. He said that he also styles women, but is more know for styling men. He confessed he does “more lifestyle” editorial work” and shows up to photo shoots “with one little bag” unlike some hairdressers who show up with suitcases. He said that one tip that made him a better hairdresser was that when you are doing editorial work, “stop and don’t over work the hair because you destroy the vision”.
Howard spoke candidly about his career. I really like him because he seems so relatable. He talked about how he introduced razor cutting to the US. It all started when he was younger and was inspired by shapes done by famous hairdresser Antoine, known for doing Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot’s Hair. It inspired him to move to Paris to freelance. Afterwards, he moved to New York. He said we would go to the library and study everything he could. He talked about how razor cutting with “Bumble was a disaster because people hadn’t mastered the control – took them away and learned them as a tool not a trick.” He earnestly spoke to the audience and told us to “master whatever you take on. Don’t try to do everything all at the same time because you’ll get confused.”
When asked more about the documentary, Reset, Howard became more raw and up front than ever. He said its “concerning because we are at a transition right now. At first we wanted to make fun of other brands but as we got deeper we were concerned about schools taking away the licensing. We’re to busy stabbing each other in the back but we need to unite.”
McLaren’s best advice – “Trust yourself.”
When asked what it was like to leave Bumble and Bumble after 25 years, he said “it was a huge risk but he was ready and it was perfect timing.” What sets R+Co apart from other companies is the “transparency in education. The brand will always stay fresh because they’ll pass it on” to the future generations. Its about how to “educate to be brilliant hairdressers, not educate how to sell products.”
When demonstrating a razor cut, he described choosing the right shape for the right person by being able to “Exploit a clients character” through their hair style. The stylist needs the “right information to take client on a journey through beauty” during the consultation. If I “cut hair for me, my client is in trouble”. It must be tailored to the client. He suggested using a razor with a guard for at least 3 years in order to be more comfortable with it.
When telling a story about a client that came back to him and pointed out an unevenness he asked, “Does it bother you?” She said no. He said, “I probably did it for a reason.” So clever!
When describing the haircut he did on the model on stage he said, this will be “the worst hair cut he’s ever been able to look good in. I kinda want it to look like his mom did it. Sometimes perfect on pretty is pretty ugly”.
Maggie asked them all, if you hadn’t been a hairdresser, what would you have been?
Garren’s answer, “a school teacher.” Oddly, his “brother sells toupees”. He said perhaps, he would have delved in “architecture and interiors or design. I’m a pain in the ass, I love detail”.
Tom’s answer, something in “Food and cooking”.
Howard’s answer, “Mechanic or engines. I like taking things apart but was never able to put them back together.”
Garren graced us with demonstrations of different styles through the decades. He did a Rockabilly look that started with a curl set that was brushed out. He then pinned it half up and half down with a “pin back and twist” method. The way he gave it a retro vibe was by making sure that a good amount of hair would “hang in front of forehead,” also “hair-pin in the hair in the middle down to make a shape like victory curls”.
He did an Elizabeth Taylor Cat on a hot Tin Roof inspired look. He made it known that the only way to achieve this look was with electric rollers, “you must do it this way”. A round brush and a curling iron set just “won’t work.” He admitted he used the products by R+Co, Chiffon Styling Mousse throughout the hair and Dallas Thickening Spray at the root. He talked about how you can never “over set” the hair, “curls are easier to kill than create.”
I loved watching him direct the model in front of a photographer. He said things like “smolder the eyes” to achieve the perfect picture. He did a wig demo in which he gave the crowd a tip about wig caps. He said he prefers to use Wilford Pantyhose because they go on smoother and help lift the face to give the model a younger look. He did so many looks on so many models that I got lost in the moment and stopped taking notes! I remember that he did another Elizabeth Taylor look from the movie Cleopatra. He was so dreamy. I loved watching Garren.
After the show was over, I said my good byes to Gabe, Monica, and Rocco. It was so sad! We went and got our last minute souvenirs for our friends back in Texas. the merch tables were being overrun by people doing the same thing.
I grabbed an Uber, picked up my mom at the hotel, and we headed to the airport. I was high on education. I am so grateful for this experience. I hope to relive every moment this year at the salon in any opportunity I get! I’ve been playing with my new Ergo Mini Crimping Iron, trying my new flat iron waving technique, foiling like IGK and more! My updo game on myself on a daily basis has been stepped up! I can not wait until the next show!