She's Lashtastic! - This Week's Rising Star: LaToya Turner of Lashes by Toya

This week's Rising Star is nothing short of amazing, super hard working, warm and giving spirit... her love for the industry permeates through her tweets. Get to know Toya of Lashes by Toya...

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

LaToya Turner: Since I was 14 years old.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! You’re a licensed cosmetologist is that correct?

LaToya Turner: Yes, it’s my first love.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been doing lash extensions?

LaToya Turner: Almost 3 years now.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Toya, I’ve read your tweets, you’re very passionate about “lashing”, why did you choose to add this service to your offerings?

LaToya Turner: Lash extensions literally opens the eye and demands attention. It started by applying lashes to myself and people would ask me about my eyes. It was drilled into my head to "add-on" services while behind the chair so this came easy to me. Lashing has become so much more; it’s the reason I started my business.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you think you’ll ever move over to just lashing exclusively?

LaToya Turner: Lashing has opened more doors within the beauty industry. I recently obtained a permanent makeup license...I will be volunteering my time to those who suffer from permanent hair loss (eyebrows) and those who have mastectomies due to breast cancer.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! That’s awesome Toya I know the cause is near and dear to your heart as is mine, my Grandmother is a survivor. What inspires your work?

LaToya Turner: Getting better...Since day one I've taken pictures of all of my lash clients-to see where I’ve started, where I am now and what I strive to be, that inspires me. To see other cosmetologists and/or makeup artists at the top inspires me even more.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Who are some of your favorite beauty pros?

LaToya Turner: Hair, makeup and beauty business-Damone Roberts, Danessa Myricks, Tia Dantzler, Kimberly Kimble, Sam Fine, Ann Mincey...just to name a few.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What celebrity would you most like to work with?

LaToya Turner: Do I really have to name just one? There are so many beautiful women I would LOVE to lash.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What types of projects are you working on now?

LaToya Turner: Operation BlinkPink-PINK lashes to raise awareness for Breast Cancer during the month of October.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Where do you see yourself in this industry in say 3-5 years?

LaToya Turner: Owner of 2 spas, traveling the globe to lash, helping women (and men) feel even more fabulous and constantly learning!

That’s incredible Toya, I’ve no doubt that should we check in with you in a few years that you’ll be right where you want to be you have an amazing heart and an incredible gift, we’re looking to hear some awesome things from you in the very near future. To find out what Toya's up to next be sure to follow her Twitter or visit her website.

Ciao for now... Class is dismissed!

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Face and Mane - Uber Talented Hair and Makeup Artist Warren B.

This week’s Image Maker Warren B. is fiercely talented and equally passionate about his work. I’ve been following his Blog for quite some time now so, without a doubt I was absolutely delighted to find him on Twitter. Other than the fact that his work is BEAUTIFUL I love the range of Warren’s work, what can’t he do? Warren's going to tell you why donning head-to-toe black doesn't make you a makeup artist... Get to know Warren B…

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Warren B. I have been training since my cosmetology days back at Jefferson High School back in Tampa FL so that has been 10 plus years ago…

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a hairstylist and makeup artist?

Warren B. I have known that I was interested in HAIR since I was a child. My grandmother had super long wavy hair that I was allowed to comb and brush on a regular. I remember a braiding contest I had with my little cousin I had to have to be 8 or 9 at the time. We were trying to see who could braid the smallest braid. Of Yes I WON!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! LOL! That's a great story! So you're a licensed cosmetologist, other than cosmetology school did you receive any formal education prior to launching your career?

Warren B. I have trained with Vidal Sassoon in Miami Beach. MAC Cosmetics, and several salons which I think is the best training ground.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s your favorite hair or makeup?

Warren B. Hair is less involved with less product and steps. Makeup takes more time and you gotta be detail oriented to really do a good job. HONESTLY I really don’t have a favorite… People ask me that all the time.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Most big jobs unless it’s male grooming you’re usually either hair or makeup. Can you explain to our readers why that and why it's still important to be strong in both?

Warren B. Well on BIG jobs time is of the essence waiting on one person to do both can take more time. It can be cost effective to have someone like me who does both, which is why some clients go that route. Generally it will depend on the project and the people involved. Johnny often does both on set and he is just as good at both. If you are going to do both I would suggest your skill be strong in both departments so that YOU shine!!!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Great tip Warren! You work with a lot of big names in the industry, including Mr. Billy B. and Johnny LaVoy, when was your first big break?

Warren B. I have not actually worked with Billy B. unless you consider packing his kit working. We are pretty cool friends and I admire him dearly. Johnny and I have done some work together recently. He too is a true friend and mentor. I will say that these guys have reached out to help make my life and career a success and for that I am eternally grateful. ALSO we cant forget AJ Crimson and I have worked together as well and that was a REAL honor.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you work in the salon at all or are you strictly freelance?

Warren B. STRICTLY FREELANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank THE LORD!!!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What’s a typical working day like for you, if there is such thing as typical for you?

Warren B. No day is “typical” I do shoots with local talent here in DC recently more in NYC. Still getting new hair clients everyday which keeps me busy as well. Weddings from time to time… A show every once in a while. Anything I can do related to my dream is what I do to make a life for myself.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry about hairstylists and makeup artists specifically?

Warren B. Just because you can afford a lovely kit with the most fabulous products does not mean that you are a stylist. Just because you dress in all black don’t mean you are a makeup artist. JUST BECAUSE you worked with 1 or 2 celebrities ONCE don’t make you a celebrity makeup artist. In order to be a success you MUST hone your craft!!!! You must own it and be confident about what it is you’re doing. People/clients since fear so you MUST get the job done with a level of confidence that only comes with knowledge and education!!!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming makeup and hairstylists wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Warren B. Well I am not a “celebrity” stylist yet so to speak. But in my mind every client I do is MY celebrity so I guess I can answer this question. FIRST step back and try not to be so consumed with the word “celebrity”… At the end of the day we are ALL PEOPLE and that’s 1st. If you focus on becoming the BEST that you can be the “celebrity” will come. Just ALWAYS be and do your BEST!!! Surround yourself with like minded people and they will help to guide you. Stay true to yourself people LOVE IT when you KEEP IT REAL!!!!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you hire assistants, do any mentoring for young artists or provide any workshops or training?

Warren B. Yes I do occasionally hire assistants. Yes I AM ALWAYS WILLING TO MENTOR ANYONE I CAN!! That to me is how you make the difference by sharing what has been given to you!

I will also be hosting a makeup gathering in DC in mid October!

Thank you so much for the interview Warren, great information! Can't wait to see what you're up to next please keep in touch... for more information on Warren B., visit his website or follow his twitter.

Ciao for now... Class is dismissed!

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She's Definitely Worth It! - Celeb Makeup Artist Brandy Gomez-Duplessis

This week’s Image Maker is an awesome example of persevering through storms, how hard work and dedication pays off and why it’s important to understand why you must crawl before you walk… and why the backstabbing needs to stop, and why landing that big celeb is not always only about talent. Get to know Brandy Gomez-Duplessis…

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: I have been in the industry for 12 plus years…wow that’s a long time, right?
BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Yes, you've definitely put in some time. Brandy, when did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: I have always been in love with beauty, fashion, and hair. So, I knew I was going to always work in this field. Growing up as a kid I didn’t have any makeup artist that inspired me I was mostly inspired by old Hollywood actresses and drag queens (laughing).

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Did you receive any formal education prior to launching your career?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: Actually, I am a self taught makeup artist. As a kid I always loved sketching & painting. Being the only child I would sit in my room and draw, make clothing and paint my walls all the time. My allowance would go to fabric, sketch pads, and paint.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Wow, dedicated from the start, love it! What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and makeup artists specifically?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: The biggest misconceptions that I hear all the time are that makeup artists live a GLAM life 24/7. A lot of upcoming makeup artists or people assume we wake up late, drink CRISTAL all day, ride around in limos, work for a few hours and then we party with celebrities in sleep around the rest of the evening. SO SO FALSE! Stop believing reality TV people (laughing).

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! I completely agree I think the images of the hair stylists and makeup artists and how they are portrayed on those shows are very misleading. So Ms. Brandy, tell us when was your first "big" break and what was it?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: Some people think I made it because I have worked with clients like the Kardashians, OPRAH/O Magazine, and because I tour in work a lot with L’OREAL cosmetics. I haven’t made it yet (laughing). I am so not PAT MCGARTH-SHE’S A MAKEUP ICON…I am aiming for that title. I did recently work at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami, which was big for me that I actually cried the first night after working with ED HARDY designers.

L’Oreal team... What do you do for them? How do you get selected for such a prestigious gig?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: I was blessed to work one small assignment with them as a replacement (Makeup Consultant) 5 years ago and after the assignment was over I received a call that everyone loved my work and my fast knowledge of the products was exceptional.

The next year, I went through one of the worst things I have ever experienced, HURRICANE KATRINA. One of the ladies at L’OREAL reached out to me. She knew I needed to work after losing my home and my makeup studio. She asked me if I was mentally ready to get back to work. In two days she sent me a current book with everything I needed to know about L’OREAL and the rest is history.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Wow! That's incredible, that "chance" happening and your performance opened the window to such an awesome opportunity when you needed it most, what a blessing! Congrats to you for overcoming such a horrific circumstance, we know that some people are still struggling to regain some sense of normality even now.

So, with all that you have going on what’s a typical working day like for you, if there is such thing as typical!?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: TYPICAL…What’s that (laughing)? Every day is so different. Some days I awake at 3am or 4am and work about 13-15 hours shifts. Some days I can start in the afternoon and work all evening on set. Some days it’s glam when a car picks me up to bring me to my client's hotel or home and for 3-5 hours it’s stressful but fab at the same time. Everybody from the client, hair, wardrobe, assistants, managers, and just extras are all in the room pulling at the client putting their two-cents in and we are all trying to do our part. Then later the evening is relaxed and I am backstage watching my work on the monitor. But every day is a blessing and I am doing what I love. Would not change my crazy schedule for nothing.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Brandy, it seems that every up and coming makeup and hairstylists wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: I am so glad you asked me this questions (laughing). I wish someone would have shared this with me. Because I have never had a mentor everything I have done has all been learned through trial-in error. Everybody wants the fast and easy way to fame and some have stepped on and back stabbed each other to get there. But I am here to tell you to STOP! The secret to working with a celebrity is not all 100% based on TALENT. It’s about who you know, getting along with the crew, how you look, and how much butt you can kiss. It’s not about you; it’s what the talent wants.

You have to click or gel with that celebrity. It’s not about you making them look good because they can find artists/stylists to make them look good. You have to gel with them, with their crew and if not then you won’t get called back. Two examples; I received a call from a top female rapper's manager. The first thing she asked me if I look like I do on my website. She loved my work but the artist will have a problem with how I look and would I be willing to tone down and look more butch. So, I lost that assignment actually full time job.

The last example; I was told during an assignment if I could make one talent look less attractive than the other because the A-list talent was not as attractive. And if I could also take some of my makeup off and pull my hair back because the A-List talent's husband would be on set and I was his type.

Guess what I never worked with that client again as well, we had gotten along and exchanged phone numbers. Plus, I never looked in her husband direction after the production company told me that. So again, it’s not always about your talent. All this time I too thought it was about talent

Your best bet if you are serious about working in the industry is to look at other areas in the industry. But if that’s your "thang", then you will do well.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Do you hire assistants, do any mentoring for young artists or provide any workshops or training?

Brandy Gomez-Duplessis: I did when I had my studio helping other makeup artists, hair stylists, and stylists. But it’s so hard babysitting when newcomers don’t understand the old term “You have to crawl before you walk”.

Now, I have an out of town crew that I can call and I know if I need them to work an assignment they will produce. Not everybody is cut out for early call times, and long hours. I miss a lot of parties, concerts, movies, even my own wedding anniversary, my birthday, my kids first day of school, and etc. Because this is what I asked GOD for I just can’t not just show up because I'd rather be partying. It doesn’t matter how much MAC makeup you have in your kit if you’re not going to work hard, and learn the correct industry etiquette it does not matter. You have to EAT, SLEEP, BREATHE YOUR CRAFT. Pay your dues and when it’s your time I promise, GOD will allow others to see you.

Enough said! (laughing) Thank you Brandy for such a candidly informative and inspiring interview, we can't wait to see what you're up to next your future shines incredibly bright! For more information on MS. Gomez-Duplessis visit her website, also be certain to follow her blog and twitter for some behind the scene pictures of her beauty exploration.

Ciao for now...Class is Dismissed!

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Something Fabulous This Way Comes - The Artist Summit

Despite the state of the economy it is more important than ever to stay on track with continuing education and workshops that will help you to improve and upgrade your skills, network and connect with your industry peers.

It can get a little overwhelming when there are so many workshops, classes and beauty trade shows to attend -- simply trying to decide which one to can be overwhelming. Will you get your money’s worth? Airfare, hotel other travel expenses and not to mention the cost of attendance can be enough to make you want to stay home.

*cue the music* The Artist Summit, developed by The Powder Group is coming to town.
Makeup artists if you’ve yet to attend any artistry education workshops this year, you’re in luck this is the ONE must attend event of the year! Whether you choose Miami or Chicago I’m certain you’ll be happy that you did.

This 3-day makeup education extravaganza lands in Miami October 3-5 2009 and Chicago October 10-12 2009.

The Artist Summit is a hands–on workshop program that is open to professional makeup artists and students. Sponsors include, Make Up For Ever, Artists by Timothy Priano, Temtu Pro, Alcone, Crown and many many more!

The presenters scheduled to be on tap are undoubtedly amongst the best in the business including Eve Pearl, Johnny Lavoy, Kevin James Bennette and Kathy Aragon just to name a few. (check your Artist Summit city, Miami or Chicago for the exact presenter line-up).

Each Artist Summit will kick off with Career Night where you’ll have the opportunity to network and hobnob in addtion you’ll also have the opportunity to add key products to your kit at the Summit Shop. For more information contact Michael DeVellis 212 627.7447 or visit the website for complete details.

I hope to see you in Chicago (I'll be blogging/tweeting my little fingers off!)

Ciao for now...Class is Dismissed!

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Jessica Kidd - This Week's Rising Star...

I’ve known I wanted to interview this beauty for quite some time, so when I created the Rising Star series she was definitely one of the first artists that I contacted. She's a risk taker, move maker, smart, ambitious, űber talented, kind and gracious… get to know Jessica Kidd

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Jessica Kidd: I have been styling hair professionally for five years. About three years ago, I became more interested in freelance hairstyling for fashion shows, photo shoots, and celebrity hairstyling.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a Hair Stylist?

Jessica Kidd: I've always admired my aunts who were seamstresses and beauticians, and I believe looking at them, is where my love for beauty, fashion, and hair developed. I remember getting a Cabbage Patch kid for Christmas one year. It came with a curling iron. I would practice curling on that. It was then I knew I wanted to go to a trade school for Cosmetology, and that's what I did years later.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What inspires your work?

Jessica Kidd: I get much of my inspiration from high fashion runway shows, and celebrities. I'm always looking through magazines to keep abreast of the new trends and styles. Because I have a keen interest in fashion, I'm always looking for new techniques and different styles that are both fashion forward and easy to maintain.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Who are some of your favorite Hair Stylists?

Jessica Kidd: I really admire Kimberly Kimble, and her philosophy that healthy hair and great styling CAN coexist. I also admire Ursula, Rihanna's hair stylist and Kahlil, a celebrity hair stylist who’s actually from Baltimore. Because he is from my hometown, he is really an inspiration.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What celebrity would you most like to work with?

Jessica Kidd: I would love to work with Rihanna. I love her fearlessness. She helped make it ok to be different when it came to hair in the music industry. Everyone was wearing long, flowing hair, and she came out with a chic bob, shortly after she did the unthinkable, and cut it all off. Now she's even more edgy, with her shaved sides. I love that.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What types of projects are you working on now?

Jessica Kidd: I am currently in the process of relocating to Atlanta, so I am hopeful that I will begin new endeavors there.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Where do you see yourself in this industry in say 3-5 years?

Jessica Kidd: I have visions of my future and it looks successful and promising. Its so clear at times I can touch it. I look at where I am since graduating from Morgan State in May, and I'm amazed. I always say "What a difference a day makes", and its really true. I think the secret is keeping God first. In the future however, I plan to own a Upscale Salon and Barbershop for men and women. I intend to be a highly sought after celebrity hairstylist. I hope to be a wife and a mother, but most of all I hope that I can be an inspiration to a budding celebrity hairstylist in the future.

There's no doubt you'll be hearing BIG things from Ms. Kidd, be certain to follow her Twitter to see what she's up to next.

Ciao for now... Class is Dismissed!

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For Your Eyes Only - Makeup Artist Class in Jacksonville Florida

Ask any beginner makeup artist what his or her biggest challenges are and undoubtedly you’ll hear “EYES!!!” Michal May of First Lady Cosmetics (left) and Tavia from Fabulous Faces Makeup (right) created their For Your Eyes Only workshops with (F.Y.E.O) you in mind!

From the elusive smokey eye to flawless faux-lash applications Michal and Tavia cover it all. The classes are small so you’re guaranteed to get one-on-one assistance from these talented beauties.

Next Class Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Jacksonville Florida, at only $75.00 per person it’s bound to fit your recession budget. Can’t make this class? I bet with all of the buzz there’s bound to be more!

Contact info: (Tavia) or(Michal)

Ciao for now… Class is Dismissed!

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Ivy Cooper - This Week's Rising Star

I started writing this blog and doing the Image Maker posts as a medium to inspire others in the beauty, fashion, and grooming industry. I felt it was important for industry new comers to have the opportunity to hear the stories behind the talent that’s responsible for the images that we celebrate on the editorial pages, print ads and runways as well as in the music videos. Each and every Image Maker story is unique, however the underlying message is the same, each star rises at its own pace and in it’s own time, and that they’ve put in the w-o-r-k to get to where they are today, there are no over night successes here.

Just as important as it is to celebrate and hear the stories of those that have “made” it, I thought it would be űber inspiring to hear from those that are blazing the trail and are on their way to their own creative destinies, so I created the “Rising Star” for all the barbers, makeup artists and stylists both hair and fashion that are out there hustling everyday to solidify their places amongst the Image Makers.

This is the second installment of our Rising Star Series. Kind, humble, hard working, talented you know the story... Get to know Ms. Ivy Cooper!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Ivy Cooper: June 2009 marked the official year anniversary of my professional makeup career. Prior to that I had been doing makeup for friends and family for years.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?
Ivy Cooper: I believe that my passion for makeup started as a young girl. I remember using chalk to put "eyeshadow" on my dolls eyes and cheeks. I have always had a passion for all things beautiful. However, I truly embraced that passion when I realized that I could build a business of doing what I love!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What inspires your work?

Ivy Cooper: I am inspired by art and color that I see all around me. I see beauty in all things and that beauty inspires me to create art of my own.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Who are some of your favorite makeup artists?

Ivy Cooper: I admire Synthe, The Airbrush Queen because she truly has a magical way with airbrush makeup and truly knows her craft. I absolutely adore Tiffany D. because I have learned so much valuable technique and product information from her YouTube channel. I am a new fan of Marcus Miller, Makeup Man Extraordinaire. He has such a unique way of enhancing the features and femininity of his clients and he is so down to earth.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What celebrity would you most like to work with?
Ivy Cooper: I have always wanted to meet Queen Latifah, because I admire her versatility as an actress, singer, and model. I would be completely honored to have the opportunity to "paint her canvas". Her features are absolutely gorgeous, a makeup artist's dream.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! What types of projects are you working on now?
Ivy Cooper: I am currently preparing for my fall and winter "Glam Sessions", which are a girl's night out events where I teach makeup basics. My Glam Sessions are great ways to socialize, learn about makeup, and have lots of fun!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Where do you see yourself in this industry in say 3-5 years?
Ivy Cooper: I am looking forward to perfecting my craft over time, growing my business, and expanding my services. I definitely will be using my makeup art to give back to the community by reaching battered, abused, and homeless women.

I also will be mentoring up and coming makeup artist and teaching them the start up steps of an effective business in makeup art. I also have some unique and innovative ideas for marketing my artistic talents that are top secret for now, but follow me on Twitter and you are guaranteed to find out what they are soon enough!

You can't help but admire this lady's talent and philanthropic aspirations, I anticipate that we'll be seeing big things from Ivy in the coming years. Be sure to follower her Twitter.

Ciao for now...Class is dismissed!

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Hair to the Throne - Redken Platform Artist Richard Kavanagh

You know how sometimes you feel like you’ve been tossed a freebie? That’s how I feel about this post… like seriously this interview just fell from sky. I’d love to give you some hocus-pocus about how I stalked this Twitter for months praying for an interview but that didn’t happen… I didn’t work for it I was simply blessed with it by the interview gods…

There’s really no introduction fitting for Richard Kavanagh other than AH-MAZING,

I’ve been admiring stylists from Canada, Australia and New Zealand for quite some time so it was definitely an absolute honor for me to do this interview; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been in the industry?

Richard Kavanagh: I started hairdressing in 1986 at the age of 15.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! When did you know you wanted to be a hair stylist?

Richard Kavanagh: At school, I actually thought I was going to be an industrial chemist or a biologist. Until one day, at the age of 14 I was having my hair cut and coloured (you see, I was into New Wave and Punk music and style, so I was getting a wedge cut, square top with a long fringe (bangs) over one eye, coloured orange, pink and green) and the stylist explained to me that she could determine exactly what colour result she was going to achieve by understanding what effect the chemicals (colour) had on the biological structure of the hair.

She knew that a certain part of the colour product would lighten the hair a certain amount causing the hairs pigment to react in a precise and predictable manner. That knowledge then helped her determine what other colours to mix and add to either augment the hair's new underlying colour or mask it. That way, she could be absolutely certain that she would get a specific result.

Well I was fascinated; I never knew that chemistry and biology could intersect in such a practical and creative way. Then she went on to explain to me that while the head was an imperfect shape, if you apply geometry to the head with sectioning patterns, and apply physics to the hair by understanding certain types of elevation have certain effects on the shape, you can create and recreate any sort of shape or style in most hair types.

At that moment it hit me like a thunderbolt. For the first time in my young life I knew, without a shadow of a doubt and with absolute certainty that I wanted to be a hairdresser. I went home and told my mum that I was going to be a hairdresser. What do you think she said? NO! Absolutely no way! You are going to university and that's final! Well, it’s a good thing I'm stubborn and rebellious, because for the next year and a half I persisted with the idea of becoming a hairdresser. I asked everybody I came into contact with if they'd train me and eventually my mum agreed to let me leave school to start a hairdressing apprenticeship.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Oh wow, that’s such a fascinating start, I think all those technical terms would have frightened most people away! Any chance we can see a picture of that haircut and color you got? (laughs)

Richard, other than a cosmetology school have you had any additional training or education that you believe has helped you to stand out amongst the sea of other hair stylist?

Richard Kavanagh: When I started hairdressing in New Zealand, the most common form of training was the apprenticeship. That was 8000 hours (four years) of in salon training supplemented by 2 weeks out of every 6 months spent at school studying theory. A theory and a practical exam at the end of each year determined if you were proficient enough to progress. I started doing extra curricular courses run by salon suppliers like L'Oreal during the second year of my apprenticeship. I continue to this day to attend seminars and workshops whenever I can. Attending at least three or four a year.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Eight thousand hours?! That’s equivalent to a college degree, I wonder if that’s why the industry is so much more respected over there. Richard, you just gave me my next research topic. Okay, I’ll try and stay on subject here -- you’re like a hair Rock Star! You do platform hair artistry is that correct? How long have you been doing that?

Richard Kavanagh: Yes, I started doing platform work in 1998 after I won some major awards. (New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year, New Zealand Hairdressing Association Creative Head of Merit) L’Oreal asked me if I wanted to present a hair show to a group of hairdressers and I jumped at the chance.

(He later went on to win the L'oreal Colour Trophy)

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! For our readers who don’t know what that is (a platform artist) can you explain to them what a platform artist is and tell us how you got started on the platform artistry circuit?

Richard Kavanagh: Platform artists present technical and trend seminars to hairdressers. Basically I get to present a bunch of my ideas and styles to an audience of my peers. Back in the mid to late 90s I entered every hairdressing award and competition I could physically manage and I was able to either win or place in every award in New Zealand Including L'Oreal Colour trophy, New Zealand hairdresser of the year, NZ Hairdressing Association regional and national cutting, styling and creative champion and more...

Because I was creating somewhat of a profile and the work that I was having published was very strong and pushed the boundaries, I was invited to share my techniques and ideas with an audience of hairdressers. My first show was to 150 hairdressers in my home town of Auckland and I was so nervous. I remember giggling to myself at one point when I realized that I was just playing and everyone was taking me really seriously! From there, I was lucky enough to be asked to present many more times and have had the honour of presenting to audiences of up to 2500 in places like Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, Philippines, Korea...

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! That is absolutely amazing… I personally just recently got into studying international hair artists, and New Zealanders are like on another level of glam when it comes to hair. How would you say the industry differs from the U.S. hair industry?

Richard Kavanagh: Well, on one level it is different and on another level it's really just the same. My experience is that hairdressers are the same the world over. We seem to be a unique breed and we always seem to be very similar to each other no matter what country you're from. The main differences would have to be in the way that we are trained. I understand that in some states you can get a cosmetology license in as little as six months? In New Zealand it takes years to become qualified. However, on the flip side, you don't need a license to operate in NZ so any Tom Dick or Harry can open a salon and start doing hair. The trends are slightly different. We tend to like a slightly more relaxed look to hair and tend to push the boundaries a little bit harder on the fashion edge. As a rule in the USA, I notice people are better at finishing hair as lots of clients like good blow out. We could learn a lot from you there!

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Richard, would you say that you have a niche, or is there anything particular that your clients or industry peers would say you're known for?

Richard Kavanagh: I would say my main strength is a knack for making women look beautiful. I see beauty in women and seem to be able to very easily create a shape which enhances their best features. That and my ability to create strong shapes really really quickly. I sometimes do an entire haircut from start to finish in two minutes on stage. I can also create a dramatic up-do in seconds. What most people would say I do well is that I do it very easily. I make it {look} easy.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Your schedule has got to be insane, you still do “salon time” in addition to being a platform artist and widely sought after for editorial, and you do television!? That’s incredible Richard, how do you keep it all together, what’s a typical working day like for you?

Richard Kavanagh: There's no such thing as a typical work day for me. Monday I get up at 5am, shower and dress and drive 40 minutes to the airport where I catch a one hour flight to Wellington City, a driver picks me up and takes me 40 minutes to the TV studio where I do a weekly segment on a live television show called Good Morning New Zealand showing women how to create the latest looks from the runways of the world.

Then I fly back to Auckland each way on the plane I spend the spare time writing my new book or catching up on emails. Then I usually have a meeting at 3 in Auckland for planning one event or another, then its home to the office, and a few hours of email and writing, planning the marketing strategy for my Hot Tools range or writing runlists for different shows.

I have a small private clientele, so I usually do about three to five haircuts a week. Most weeks I will have an educational event to plan or present, a photo shoot and or a fashion show or two. Tomorrow (August 28th) I am doing a 7am guest spot on a radio show, and Next Monday, I have my TV spot in the morning, and then a 90 minute hair show in the evening… and as I said, I have a hot tools company and I’m writing a book. Did I mention I have three kids as well?

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Okay, I’m exhausted and in need of a serious vacation just hearing that! You have to let us know once the book is finished so that we can update the readers and let them know where they can find it.

What would you say are the biggest misconceptions about the industry and hair stylists specifically?

Richard Kavanagh: I think the biggest misconception is that hairdressing is a job you do if you can’t find a decent job. Although, that perception is changing at the middle and top end of the industry, I still think there are a lot of people who think it's not really a great job. I think one of the challenges facing our industry is the high rate of illiteracy amongst hairdressers.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! It seems that every up and coming hair stylist wants to work with celebrities. What advice do you have for someone new who is trying to break into the industry and wanting to work with celebrities?

Richard Kavanagh: Be diligent. Get really good at the basics, and I mean really good. You need to be able to do any look with ease, and know what works and what doesn't. Quiet confidence is a great asset. Be discreet and don't talk too much. Do your job and do it well. They're not your friends, they are clients...

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Those are some great tips! I’m almost afraid to ask… So -- what’s next for you? Any projects in the works that you can share with the readers?

Richard Kavanagh: Well, as I said, I'm writing a book, I have an offer from a publisher and I've got a couple of TV show ideas for hairdressers up with the networks that are in development... I'm planning to spend more time in NYC in the next couple of years, and I hope to teach a class at the Redken Exchange.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Nice! We would be honored to have you here in the States. Once last thing before we go Richard, do you hire assistants, provide mentoring for young stylists or offer any workshops or training and how can stylists and stylist in training get in touch with you?

Richard Kavanagh: I teach a three day introduction to session styling workshop, I have assistants on some of the bigger commercial shoots, and I have some assistants that work on smaller jobs voluntarily to gain experience. People can reach me through my Facebook page Kavanagh: love your hair

Richard, thank you so much for such an insightful and inspirational interview, I personally can’t wait to talk to you again about your show and book.

For more information on Richard Kavanagh, you can fan him on Facebook, follow his Twitter or read his blog.

Ciao for now…Class is dismissed!

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Retail 101 - Interview with Design Essentials Educator and BET's Sunday Best Hairstylist Celeste Harris

We’ve all heard the saying “work smart and not hard” nothing could be all the more true for personal appearance workers (especially hairstylists) who spend long days on their feet, or hunched over uncomfortable positions. Should stylists just resign themselves to the school of thought that "It's just the nature of the beast"? How can stylists increase their revenues while decreasing their hours behind the chair? Better yet -- how can stylists maintain a steady income when the economic climate has forced many of their clients to cut salon visits and take matters into their own hands playing “kitchen beautician” with their own tresses?

I went to Celeste Harris Educator for McBride Research Laboratories (the makers of Design Essentials Professional Hair Care), Salon owner and member of the Design Essentials Styling Team for BET’s Sunday Best, to get the answers.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! Celeste, thank you for taking time to answer some very important questions for our readers. Open any trade publication and you’re bound to find at least one article on the topic of the importance of retailing. However, there are plenty stylists who will admit to being afraid to retail out of fear of coming off as pushy while others are fearful that if they sell their clients products and tools that the clients won’t return to the salon as frequently if at all. What are your thoughts on that and why as a stylist do you think it’s important to retail?

Celeste Harris: There are only so many working hours in a day at some point you reach your earning threshold, the only way to surpass that is by retailing. Also, standing all day, day in and day is can be very taxing on the body, it is important that we preserve our health. Retailing is the difference between having to work a 10 to 12 hour day versus a 6 to 8 hour day to meet your financial obligations.

A lot of people are fearful of the unknown, if they’ve never tried retailing or they’ve never taken a retailing class they don’t really know how to sell and therefore don’t really understand how retailing can help to grow their business not hurt it. They don't know what to expect. The client is going to buy hair care products and tools from somewhere, so why shouldn’t they be purchasing them from their stylist where they can get the proper education on how to use them?

Here’s a good example, I had a client call because she wouldn’t be able to make her regular appointment but she wanted to come in and purchase some product from me… well she purchased about $60.00 worth of product roughly the same amount she would have paid for me to style her hair. So, technically I still made my money that week, if I didn’t have products to retail that would not have been possible.

When you’re retailing to your client you are also educating them, you’re using technical terms and you’re discussing product ingredients and how they are beneficial to their specific hair care needs. They begin to see you as an expert, as a stylist this raises your level of expertise and you gain more respect, they began to see the "sale" as you assisting them with their healthy hair care needs, not simply pushing a product.

Stylists don’t really get the level of respect that we should for what we do, so it is important for us to continue to educate ourselves. Also, let your clients know that you’re taking classes to learn new techniques and technology not only will they trust you more but they will also refer others to you.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How did you get started with Design Essentials and why did you choose their brand over all of the other brands on the market?

Celeste Harris: In the hair salon you have people coming in trying to sell you things all the time. The distributor for Design Essentials came in with education to support the products, along with pamphlets and written material. I’m big on education so that definitely was a draw for me.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How long have you been with Design Essentials?

Celeste Harris: For 9 years now and I love it, I love the products, I love teaching the classes and traveling is nice too.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How has design essentials been beneficial to your career?

It has allowed me to break down barriers and meet people and go places, and garner respect within the industry. Like Sunday Best, I did that with the Design Essentials team.

BEAUTYSCHOOLED! How would partnering with Design Essentials as a stockist benefit an independent who’s either a freelancer or booth renter who thinks that possibly they couldn’t afford to stock a product line especially in this economy?

As I mentioned before, your clients are buying products from somewhere, so you can’t afford not to retail. It doesn’t take much, you’re not required to buy a ton of product -- you can buy what you can afford. For example lets say you start with only one retail styling item that you purchase for $5.00 and you sell it for $10.00 well if you sell 3 of those, that’s $30.00 you now have enough to buy 6 and once you sell that 6 you’d have enough to buy 12. You start that way and eventually you’ll find that your retail will pay for your back bar (the product that you use). I don’t purchase my product out of the money I make doing services, my retail pays for that.

It’s really not that difficult to do, you show your client the product that you used on their hair, explain the product benefits and then show them how to use it. Design Essentials is a professional product they won’t find it at the local beauty supply so you’re not competing with them. Your distributor is a great asset to you. They’re the ones that hold product retailing classes in addition to selling more services like color to your client to increase your ticket price. With some of the classes you can even earn CEU hours so you’re doing something to grow your business and fulfill your licensure obligations at the same time, you can’t beat that!

For more information on Design Essentials or to find a distributor in your area call Toll Free: 800.535.8683 or visit their website.

For more information or to contact Celeste regarding beauty business classes visit her website.

Ciao for now… Class is Dismissed!

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