Ever wonder how top stylists and beauty industry influencers get their inspiration? We gleaned some answers at the 2nd annual All-Star Trends Panel at last week’s America’s Beauty Show in Chicago.
Moderator Fabio Sementilli, VP of Education for Wella and a three-time NAHA winner, introduced six of the biggest names in beauty to share what gives them purpose and direction so they can provide energy and motivation to their teams.
Colorist and salon owner John Simpson, Creative Director for Goldwell, kicked things off with a video filled with images that inspire him; he cited car design, architecture, fashion and photography. Simpson’s goal is to develop quick commercial techniques for colorists to replicate in a 20-30 minute window. Colorists have enough to deal with, such as clients coming in late, or having to do corrective color work; he doesn’t want to make it complicated. He “thinks inside of color, where does it live? It’s more than one shade.” His goal is to achieve perfect tone, saturation and lift; when the client walks through the door, he is already figuring out how to move the pigment through their hair. Simpson doesn’t consider himself to be a nature guy, but sometimes looks to shapes in nature for inspiration. What’s his advice? “Be disciplined, but sometimes just let it go, be creative within the hair color, and make it individual. Life is not a dress rehearsal; live it, love it, create it.”
From a marketing angle, Kelly Ehlers, CEO of Evoke Brands reminded everyone that brand development needs a human touch, especially in the beauty industry. “Look at your brand in a different light, it needs heart, emotion, and a little bit of hustle,” she commented. Ehlers also advised tailoring the message to the medium; Pinterest, Instagram, Yelp, Facebook, Twitter each require a different message, or a different version of the message.
Leading the creative direction for iconic industry company Sassoon is no small task, but Global Creative Director Mark Hayes, who has been at it for 36 years, is more than up to the task. For inspiration this season, he looked at the recent banking collapse and the “pioneer spirit” that would “get us out of this mess!” He showed a series of images including American work wear, sheriffs saving the village from zombies (a la Walking Dead), retail environments with a sense of discovery, and the return to heritage brands. Sassoon called their collection “Prairie.” Hayes shared images of his modern translation of the players; the Preacher, the Barmaid, the School Marm. He also drew upon the paintings and personal style of Georgia O’Keeffe; a color palette of bone white, sand, purples, and Vivienne Westwood big billowing dresses.
Gerard Scarpaci, co-founder of online hairstylist community Hairbrained, discussed trends in community and education. More than 100k stylists per week visit the site, so clearly community is a driver. Scarpaci explained, “Community is about doing (passionate hair nerds who share), thinking (small powerful vocal minority), and using (stylist sharing tools, not just results)”. In education, his mantra is produce, engage, educate. He mentioned creating viral content that was not heavily branded, engage in the conversation once you’ve #sHaired it, and gather people for specific forums.
Few people have done more to inspire and drive the nail industry in the past decade than CND co-founder, Jan Arnold. “Why,” she asked, “is this little tiny palette the hottest accessory in fashion today?” Arnold answers her own question; nails are the punctuation mark on the total look, and let a girl be a little adventurous. “Not just grooming nails, adorning them.” The CND summer collection, Paradise, was inspired by the neon colors and extreme shapes of the tropics; exotic birds, the Girl from Ipanema. Arnold’s dream is to see “the nail artist, makeup artist, hair stylist work on the client as one team, decking her from head to toe.”
The closing speaker was Global Creative Director for TIGI, Nick Irwin, who has worked with the Mascolo family for 25 years, and relies on the team around him and his family for energy and inspiration.
After the brief presentations, an audience member asked the group, “What’s it like to be on top?” Irwin said that sharing was the key to success, and Hayes remarked that he still regards himself as learning. “Never think of yourself as complete, and you won’t feel like you’re working every day, you’re just following your passion.” Well said.
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