MOP Products http://www.mopproducts.com Thu, 06 Dec 2018 23:22:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.mopproducts.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/favicon-32x32.png MOP Products http://www.mopproducts.com 32 32 Modern Original People: Winn Claybaugh http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-winn-claybaugh/ Thu, 06 Dec 2018 16:32:25 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=6175 Like the Energizer Bunny, Winn Claybaugh just keeps going and going and going. High-energy doesn’t begin to describe the Co-Founder, Co-owner and Dean of Paul Mitchell Schools, whose busy schedule includes speaking engagements all over the country where he spreads a philosophy of business that has inspired generations of beauty professionals. Claybaugh had always sought [...]

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Like the Energizer Bunny, Winn Claybaugh just keeps going and going and going. High-energy doesn’t begin to describe the Co-Founder, Co-owner and Dean of Paul Mitchell Schools, whose busy schedule includes speaking engagements all over the country where he spreads a philosophy of business that has inspired generations of beauty professionals. Claybaugh had always sought out mentors for advice, but when he “added a microphone to the equation” 20 years ago, the MASTERS Audio Club was born. Since then the subscription-based monthly audio series has featured 325 top leaders and icons both in and out of the beauty industry. 

Claybaugh’s first guest was the legendary Vidal Sassoon. “I figured if Vidal said yes to me, who would say no?” says Claybaugh, whose gambit paid off. Reflecting on some of his most memorable interviews, he mentions day spa pioneer Noel de Caprio, who lost her battle with breast cancer in December, 1998. “I interviewed her a month before she passed away, and I think she knew this would be her final message to the beauty industry, so it was a profound experience.” 

In 2003 Claybaugh decided to write a book because, well, why not? He’s Winn Claybaugh. Be Nice, Or Else! (CNN’s Larry King wrote the Foreword) now in its 17th printing, may be more relevant today in our polarized political climate than ever before. “You would think that with the knowledge we have today that we’d have a solution for things like racism and poverty, but it seems like we’re going backwards,” he says. “So, 15 years later I’m proud to stand on stages outside the beauty industry to talk about this topic. Because of what their employees are exposed to at home or on social media today, companies have a responsibility to create a safe environment in the workplace where people feel like they have a purpose. Most people show up at work for a paycheck, but that’s not what you want. People need to be engaged with their passion, their talent and their creativity.”

For Claybaugh, being nice is the road to a life full of joy. “Be nice or be a horrible leader. Be nice or get divorced. Be nice or have your kids abandon you. Be nice or live a horrible life,” he says. “How can you be a good parent or lover if you’re so angry all the time? Anger is the emotion that fuels a lot of posts we see online. It’s not about having a debate or a conversation. Why can’t we completely disagree and then hug each other?”

Giving back is so important to Claybaugh that students at Paul Mitchell Schools all over the country participate in the annual FUNraising campaign. Partnering with celebrities like Marie Osmond, Gary Sinise, Fran Drescher and Leeza Gibbons, these events have raised more than $20 million for a host of charities, including Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, Gary Sinise Foundation, Cancer Schmancer Movement, Leeza’s Care Connection and Food 4 Africa. What’s impressive about Claybaugh’s philanthropy—he calls himself a “good steward of your money”—is that only 4% of funds generated go to overhead.

For Claybaugh, the true beneficiaries of the FUNraising campaign are his students because these events change them as people. “If they’re going to spend a year of their lives in school with me, I’m going to take it seriously,” he says. “I’m not there just to teach them how to cut and color hair or do great facials. I want to make sure they leave the school as better human beings, that they fixed their relationship with mom and dad, that they received the tools they need to be drug-free, that they learned how to stand up for themselves so they’re no longer a victim of domestic violence, that they know how to ask a client to support a cause they’re passionate about.”

In 2017 Claybaugh received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor for making it his mission to share his wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless passion and selfless generosity with those less fortunate. Fellow honorees that year included former astronaut and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who won the Nobel Peace Prize after being shot in her native country for championing a girl’s right to education.  

“I am my mother’s son,” says Claybaugh. “She taught me that you take care of those around you and that charity begins at home, which means that you have to take care of people in your own neighborhood.” Claybaugh and his husband wanted to make sure that their six-year-old daughter Sofia got an early start in the world of giving back so they created a charity for her called Sofia’s Kind Heart, an online donation campaign to benefit the charity of her choice. In June, 2018, Sofia raised $5,300 for the Fred Jordan Mission, which serves thousands of homeless families and individuals in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

“There are two powers that rule this planet—love and fear,” says Claybaugh, referencing A Course in Miracles. “Most people think that the opposite of love is hate, but it’s not; it’s fear, and one of the faces of fear is hate. If you’re not coming from a place of love, you’re coming from another place.” Claybaugh’s solution to the discord in contemporary society? “We can all hold different beliefs, but we should approach each other from a place of love.” Fear, he says, will never take you down the path to a life well-lived. 

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Modern Original People: Jane Carter http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-jane-carter/ Fri, 23 Nov 2018 17:00:22 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=6150 Jane Carter is a force to be reckoned with. A born entrepreneur, she opened Breezin Hair Salon in Cranford, New Jersey in 1982 where she catered to a diverse clientele. “My clients included high-lift blondes and women with locs, and they’d have conversations with each other that they never would have had anywhere else,” says [...]

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Jane Carter is a force to be reckoned with. A born entrepreneur, she opened Breezin Hair Salon in Cranford, New Jersey in 1982 where she catered to a diverse clientele.
“My clients included high-lift blondes and women with locs, and they’d have conversations with each other that they never would have had anywhere else,” says Carter. “They were the kind of women who were fully conscious, who didn’t turn away when they passed you on the street. These are the people who can change the world.”

For her part, Carter has been changing the world or at least her little corner of it for decades. If she sees injustice, she sets out to rectify it. When her daughter Cali was in high school and questioned why the academic system wasn’t geared toward different learning styles, Carter, who describes her own learning style as “off-the-chart kinesthetic,” began working with at-risk kids. Some of those same kids still come to her house every Friday night for pizza.

When her youngest daughter Lexi was in high school, she spent a summer in Honduras as a volunteer with Amigos de las Americas, a nonprofit that challenges young people to become catalysts for social change. “When she came home she showed me a picture of some of the kids she worked with,” says Carter, who noticed one little boy standing off to the side. Subsequently, she learned that his name was Anthony and that he had a clubfoot, which made it impossible for him to wear shoes. Apparently in Honduras, children who couldn’t wear shoes couldn’t attend school.  That’s when Carter sprang into action, contacting someone at Doctors Without Borders and arranging for surgery. Ultimately Carter’s company assumed most of the cost, but Lexi got a summer job to make up the difference.

Then when Lexi was in college, she came home with three boys and a girl, all Haitian refugees who had been living with their grandmother. “I ended up taking them all in,” says Carter as if it was the most natural thing in the world. For the record, they still live with her.

None of this comes as a surprise if you know her history. In 1962 when she was only six years old, Carter was the first black student to enroll at the previously all-white Cook School in Plainfield, New Jersey. Let’s jus say that it did not go well. Aside from the pack of photographers snapping her picture, there were angry parents to contend with, not to mention resentful teachers and students, who she describes as “fearful of change.” At the time, however, Carter was too young to grasp the sociological implications of her situation. All she knew was that she felt excluded. “I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling so I internalized it.”

Years later Carter discovered the Landmark Forum, which is designed to bring about positive, permanent shifts in your quality of life in just three days. The goal is to give people an awareness of the basic structures in which they know, think and act from in their lives, allowing them to uncover and examine blind spots that limit each of us from achieving what’s possible. Carter puts it more succinctly. “Basically, you learn that who you think you are isn’t really who you are and that what you’ve decided about yourself is just a function of all your past experiences.” For Carter, those feelings of exclusion she experienced as a child surfaced right away. “I went right back to the school integration thing: I don’t belong, I’m not wanted. That’s what I’d been telling myself for years.”

Carter wanted more for her own daughters, who spent far less time than their mother wondering if they were good enough. When she was 11, Lexi spent the summer in Grenoble, France, as part of Children’s International Summer Village, while Cali went to Argentina at the same age.  “The objective was to get them to realize that we’re more alike than we are different,” says Carter, who took her parenting philosophy from Kahil Gibran, author of The Prophet. “He believed that our children come through us but they don’t belong to us; they belong to the world,” she says. Today Lexi works for The United Negro College Fund, while Cali designs jewelry for Lorraine Schwartz, whose clients include Beyonce, Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian. “I called Cali one day and she says, ‘Mom, I’m with Cardi B. I have to call you back,’” says Carter with an unmistakable note of pride.

A fierce advocate of diversity, Carter notes that in 2010 demographics had shifted enough in this country that for the first time ever, 50.5 percent of the population was non-white. For Carter, those numbers represent an opportunity, one that she recognized long before she had the statistics to support her theory that ignoring large groups of people is not only socially irresponsible but also fiscally irresponsible.

Because there was no hair care line on the market that addressed the needs of her diverse clientele, Carter joined the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and created her own. “For years my kids thought that everyone’s basement was where your mother did the laundry on one side and formulated hair care products on the other,” she laughs. Still, she had a hard time convincing other salon owners that her products worked across all demographics. She still shakes her head when recalling a sales pitch she made to a large chain of drugstores that had devoted roughly four feet of shelf space to “ethnic hair care.” “I didn’t even know what that meant, ethnic hair care,” she says. “I mean, I understood the psychology, but this was the 21stcentury and the word ethnic meant something entirely different.” Carter’s own children are bi-racial. Their father’s grandparents, she explains, were Jews who escaped the Holocaust, came to New York City and raised their family in Alphabet City.

Eventually, people came around, and by 2005 her company, Jane Carter Solutions, was so successful that Carter was able to sell her salon and devote herself fulltime to expanding her business. Never one to let the grass grow under her feet, Carter has been writing a book calledCalm Down, Gurl. She’s also set up an LLC called Distinctly Diverse and would like to open a color bar with the same name. “I’d like to be the voice of diversity in beauty,” says the woman who saw the writing on the wall long before anyone else. It’s a safe bet that if anyone can do it, Jane Carter can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Modern Original People: Tracey Hughes http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-tracey-hughes/ Fri, 16 Nov 2018 17:00:48 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=6137 The Aussie hairdressing icon Tracey Hughes was an influencer long before social media existed. Her striking photographic images have been published in magazines worldwide; she’s an inspirational keynote speaker whose infectious energy captivates audiences; and she’s been a role model who has empowered female entrepreneurs. Her working philosophy? Begin, believe, become. Two years ago Hughes [...]

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The Aussie hairdressing icon Tracey Hughes was an influencer long before social media existed. Her striking photographic images have been published in magazines worldwide; she’s an inspirational keynote speaker whose infectious energy captivates audiences; and she’s been a role model who has empowered female entrepreneurs. Her working philosophy? Begin, believe, become.

Two years ago Hughes moved to the United States where she met hundreds of female beauty professionals, who were selflessly giving back to their industry but weren’t getting the recognition she felt they deserved, so she put together a star-studded panel of legendary female leaders she called Leading Ladies to share a raw and honest look at the beauty industry.

“I approached a few people with my idea, and they all loved it,” she says. Asking Sam Villa to moderate the panel was a no-brainer. “He’s created a movement of artists supporting artists, and he has always given back to the industry. Besides, everybody loves Sam.”

Because Hughes was thinking big, she approached Howard Britt, owner of the Premiere Show Group, to see if he’d hold the event on Main Stage at Premiere Orlando 2017, which wasn’t an easy sell. The auditorium seats 2,500 people, most of whom come to see a hair show onstage. Would they actually sit still while five women shared their personal stories?

As it turns out, they would and did. Hughes decided early on that she wanted to feature five distinctively different women. “I didn’t want them all giving the same advice,” says Hughes, who came up with five categories and found just the right women to represent them: Eden Sassoon, the Icon; Candy Shaw, the Entrepreneur; Sonia Dove, the Artist; Hughes herself, the Educator; and blogger Jenny Strebe, the Influencer. “A lot of these iconic names have been road warriors. They’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of mile getting their message out, but these influencers can get the word out instantly. I thought it was important to bring us all together as one in a deep, meaningful and heartfelt way.”

Hughes wanted to create a set with a bit of a Hollywood theme so she rented director’s chairs with the names of all five panelists on them. An actual red carpet with lights generated pre-show excitement. “Women comprise 85 percent of our industry, and most of them are not in it for the glory,” Hughes says. “My idea was to show them that it doesn’t matter if you’re a high-profile stylist or not. We all face the same challenges, we all juggle career and family.”

Ultimately, what made Leading Ladies a success was the emotional connection the women onstage felt with the audience. “We spent two hours taking photos with these women, all of whom were crying and hugging us,” says Hughes, who is also quick to point out that Leading Ladies isn’t about girl power. “We want everyone to realize that they can develop their leadership skills no matter what their personal goals are.”

As it turns out, Leading Ladies had legs. Following the unprecedented success of that first panel, Hughes was contacted by ISSE Long Beach, which wanted to present Leading Ladies with the same lineup at the January, 2018 show. Buoyed by the response, Hughes approached all the other trade shows about hosting Leading Ladies. New panelists were added, including recognized icons like Vivienne Mackinder, Kris Sorbie, Ruth Roche and Deborah Penzone, and social media mavens like Larisa Love, Nahah Aziz and Cassandra McLaughlin. Then in September, 2018, Sola Sessions hosted Leading Ladies in Chicago.

“We have seven bookings already for 2019,” says Hughes, who has expanded the panels to include NAHA 2018 Hairdresser of the Year Danielle Keasling and award-winning Canadian hairdresser Michelle Pargee. An independent event in Europe is already in the works. As might be expected, Hughes has been approached by major manufacturers who want to sponsor Leading Ladies, but she insists that in order to retain its authenticity, Leading Ladies must remain brand-neutral. “Our entire focus is on giving back,” says Hughes, who allows that everyone’s costs are covered entirely by the hosts. “This is not about money. It’s about creating a community and network of support.”

 

 

 

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Modern Original Person: Jennie Wolff http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-person-jennie-wolff/ Fri, 09 Nov 2018 17:00:31 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=6134 It’s hard to describe Jennie Wolff without sounding hyberbolic. Go-getter? Over-achiever? Mover and shaker? Dynamic and determined? All fitting descriptions of the VP of Marketing and Education at Sola Salon Studios. The old adage “A rolling stone gathers no moss” comes to mind, or at least the modern interpretation of that shop-worn phrase, which is [...]

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It’s hard to describe Jennie Wolff without sounding hyberbolic. Go-getter? Over-achiever? Mover and shaker? Dynamic and determined? All fitting descriptions of the VP of Marketing and Education at Sola Salon Studios. The old adage “A rolling stone gathers no moss” comes to mind, or at least the modern interpretation of that shop-worn phrase, which is that a person must stay active or risk stagnation. It’s safe to say that Jennie Wolff has avoided stagnation like the plague in her 34 years on the planet.

Wolff joined Sola in 2013 as the company’s first in-house marketing executive. How she got there from her job at a boutique marketing agency in Denver reveals a lot about her tenacity and perseverance. In fact, Wolff’s entire career trajectory reveals a lot about her tenacity and perseverance.

“I had a lot of dreams,” says Wolff, who was torn between music and education while in college at Emory University in Atlanta. “I took a lot of education courses there and also volunteered as a tutor for Refugee Family Services,” she says. “So on the one hand I really wanted to be a teacher, but I was also into music, not performing, but writing about it.”

Wolff spent the summer before her senior year in college in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, working for Strings in the Mountains. “They put on weekly concerts at the Yampa River Botanic Park, mostly classical music, and I was a PR intern for them,” she says. “It was different back then, mostly cutting things out of the newspaper, making sure we were keeping track of where we got mentions, working with artists and sharing their stories with the community.” She had also applied for Teach for America, which was a rigorous program at Emory. “Only half the people who applied were accepted,” says Wolff, who was driving home to St. Louis for Christmas break when she got the call that she wasn’t one of the lucky ones.

“It was not the last time that I’d experience failure, but sometimes the universe steps in and tells you where you should be” she says. “So I thought, okay, I’ll chase my other dream, and instead of moving to New York City to teach, I moved to Denver to try to break into the music industry.”

Not one to take no for an answer, Wolff was undeterred when her calls to Live Nation, the biggest music company in Denver at the time, went nowhere. “I told the receptionist that I’d do anything—answer the phones, work in the theater,” says Wolff. “She told me they weren’t hiring and to stop calling. So I looked up their address and just showed up one day. I remember the girl opening the door and going, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. I told you we weren’t hiring.’ But this influential person overheard our conversation and told me to come in and tell him my life story. They had this huge prop there, a giant chair that looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland, and I sat in it. Later that day he called to offer me a job as office manager at the Fillmore Auditorium, a concert venue in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.”

To make ends meet. Wolff also worked as a server at the Pepsi Center, a multi-purpose arena and home to the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile. she was interviewing for other jobs. At the top of the list was Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which owned the Pepsi Center. “I wanted to be part of their special events team,” says Wolff, who finally landed an interview. “They told me that they’d heard a rumor that I worked as a server there and wondered why that wasn’t on my resume. I told them that I didn’t think it was relevant, but they said that because I knew where everything was—all the different bars and restaurants, the pantries, the loading dock, the employee entrances—that I could hit the ground running and didn’t have to start from scratch. It’s a really big place.” The moral of that story: Never underestimate the importance of any job, large or small.

Wolff survived massive layoffs in 2008 and a few years later, she was ready for a new challenge and once again, she began looking for other opportunities. She had multiple interviews at a marketing agency in Denver. The problem was that she lacked the specific experience they were looking for, but Wolff knew that juggling lots of projects at once and managing personalities, which she had excelled at working for Kroenke, was more important. Finally, she gave them an ultimatum: if I don’t get a job offer today, I won’t be coming back for any more follow up interviews. Her ploy worked.

“The man who became my boss told me that he didn’t need anyone with my particular skill set but that he liked me,” she says. “So he took me into a room where a circle of people fired questions at me: Would you be a pirate or a ninja? If you could make the perfect PB&J sandwich, what would that be? Silly questions, but they revealed a lot about my thought process.”

Wolff’s first big break on that job was working on the Mars Chocolate account where her special events experience came in handy, but within weeks she was looking for new types of challenging projects. When her boss asked her to create a technology document for a website project by the end of the day, Wolff was flummoxed. “I asked him what a technology document was, and he walked away,” says Wolff, who promptly Googled it and put something together that made sense. “My boss gave me the project. Then he put me in charge of social media for another client. I had to post every day and tag people on Facebook. I didn’t even know what that meant at the time.”

It’s safe to say that Wolff knows her way around social media these days. When she took the job at Sola in 2013, she rebranded the whole company—launching a new website, creating a Facebook page, developing a franchise marketing tool kit. She kept the logo but changed the colors from maroon and beige to blue with pink accents. Wolff also realized that Sola was not about real estate; it was about community and education. “That’s what I built on,” says Wolff, who initially met resistance when she tried to interest the trades in telling stories about Sola stylists. “The conventional wisdom was that if you went to work at Sola, your career would die. I wanted to change that perception.”

And she did. “We now have 11,000 business owners in Sola,” she says. “We have Sola Sessions. We’ve launched Sola Pro and SolaGenius technologies.” In October, the company announced that a consortium of three investment groups have acquired an interest in Sola Salon Studios.

“In the beginning I worried that marketing budgets were too small and this job wouldn’t be any fun,” says Wolff, “but now with nearly 450 open Sola locations and 11,000+ beauty professionals, it’s amazing to have been a part of the growth and to remember back where we were when I made the leap of faith to join the Sola family.”

 

 

 

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Modern Original People: Jenny Strebe http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-jenny-strebe/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 16:00:03 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=6130 Meet Modern Original Social Media Pioneer Jenny Strebe Chances are you’ve seen Jenny Strebe demo her talent at top events and trade shows. She’s currently touring as one of five “Leading Ladies,” the all-star entrepreneurial panel empowering audiences to take charge of their careers. “Sharing my knowledge gained through trial and error can help other [...]

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Meet Modern Original Social Media Pioneer Jenny Strebe

Chances are you’ve seen Jenny Strebe demo her talent at top events and trade shows. She’s currently touring as one of five “Leading Ladies,” the all-star entrepreneurial panel empowering audiences to take charge of their careers. “Sharing my knowledge gained through trial and error can help other stylists facing challenges.”

Her influential blog Confessions of a Hairstylistmade Jenny an Instagramstar with 478K followers; her YouTubesubscribers hover around 231K. She is one of the earliest and still-rare social media stars monetizing her work.

Maybe you watched NBC’s TODAY Showwhen her daughter’s “momanaged” handle @TheConfessionsofaMiniHairstylist (49+K) went viral. The backstory: Jenny was readying a video on a mannequin when Magnolia asked if she could play too. “I gave her a box of bobby pins and she did a great updo. I asked her to re-do it for recording, and an overnight star was born.”

Fueled by fierce determination every step of the way, Jenny’s journey is the result of hard work, setting goals and staying authentic. As a super-girly young lady, she always wanted to be a stylist, practicing her skills on dad and countless cousins. Her first makeover: a lonely classmate teased by others. Jenny’s empathy secured an immediate friendship built on empowering someone less fortunate — traits that helped define her later career — but at the time, resulted in being picked-on too.

In high school, Jenny the skater chick experimented with her identity by doing funky things to her own hair and pairing high-end clothing with vintage-thrift finds.By 17, she was determined to attend cosmetology school, a path dismissed by college-bound pals and family since everyone expected more from her. Comments like “Oh, you’re just going to hair school?” – their reference points being the local drab Walla Wallasalons – didn’t deter her.

Her rebuttal: “I’m going to take this career as far as I can go.” Jenny trusted her gut and with $1200 in savings, headed to the Portland, OR. She found a tiny studio apartment and enrolled in cosmetology school within a week. While her skills were on par with classmates, her drive and passion pushed them to the next level by entering every school competition, helping her gain confidence.

An onlooker who recruited for Toni + Guy, her dream job, told her to see him when finishing school. Wearing the corporate look suggested by her career counselor — which maxed out her Macy’s credit card — Jenny walked in. Not looking the part, she didn’t get hired. She tossed that outfit and worked at a no-name salon for 4 months.

Tiring of Portland’s rainy weather, a friend suggested moving to Arizona where there were five TiGi salons, increasing Jenny’s chances of getting hired. And she did.

Jenny shared her goals of becoming an artistic and educational director with her boss, who pushed her to go through unpaid recruitment training at local schools for two years, talking about products and demonstrating haircuts. Initially, panic attacks ensued, but she eventually grew comfortable speaking to groups of any size, so important for her future endeavors.

After eight years, Jenny sold everything to fund 10 months of backpacking in Europe. When needing cash, she’d work in every TiGisalon along her path augmenting that with acts of kindness like cutting hair at orphanages. Heading home to Arizona, she married and returned to TiGito recoup her clientele.

Hard Work Pays Off

Magnolia’s birth marked a turnabout: she booth-rented for over a year, bringing baby along who’d nap through Jenny’s three-hour stints. She had a hunch it was time to go back to educating, and challenged herself to create different styles for 30 days. When a client suggested turning this project into a blog, Confessionswas launched.

Noting the analytic upticks, Jenny grew excited. “Amid the sea of mommy-bloggers, no one else was doing this in hair.” When YouTube launched, she tapped her previously unknown talents as producer, star, director and writer.

This pioneer had the insight to merge her style with what was going on in social media, quickly scoring 60K organic followers. But each post was costing $150 in supplies in addition to hours of time. “Unlike makeup, sponsorships weren’t — and still aren’t — a thing. I want my voice to always be authentic. When I endorse something, I really stand by it.”

Inspired by a fan in Texas requesting a class, Jenny starting charging for her time and talent, and transforming the family’s van into the Confessionsrolling tour across America.

State of the Industry: Advice + Thoughts

Early in your career, “Stardom shouldn’t be the immediate goal. Fine tune your skills, build a clientele and learn to sell retail. Be yourself. And don’t be afraid to stand out, dig deep for creativity. Take it, twist it, turn it – make it your own. People are afraid to be unique on social for fear of bullying.”

Sister Act: “I overheard one show attendee label me business shark. I took it as a compliment though it wasn’t meant as one. I’ve worked hard and strategically. I also believe we’re not supporting each other enough at every level. Onstage, guys get the applause, and the reaction to women isn’t as great. At salons, female customers tend to think male stylists — gay or straight — know what other men want to see. In product aisles, it’s rare to see a woman’s name on a label no matter how great her talent is. Despite women comprising 90% of our industry, men still get paid more.”

The most frequent question she gets is about work/life balance. Jenny’s empathy lets her know when someone — or thing — needs prioritizing.

She shares, “doubt brings anxiety. People have the answers, they just have to listen and trust their intuition. If they’re getting anxious about something, it’s probably not the right thing to do.”

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Modern Original People: Chris Matthew http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-chris-matthew/ Fri, 01 Jun 2018 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=5726 Chris Matthew, a longtime barber since his early teens, quite possibly holds the unique distinction as America’s only simultaneously independent practicing barber and attorney. How does he do it? For the past ten years, Chris strategically divides his week, accommodating both careers around his devotion to family life and charitable endeavors, notably his personal initiative GROOM (Giving [...]

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Chris Matthew, a longtime barber since his early teens, quite possibly holds the unique distinction as America’s only simultaneously independent practicing barber and attorney. How does he do it? For the past ten years, Chris strategically divides his week, accommodating both careers around his devotion to family life and charitable endeavors, notably his personal initiative GROOM (Giving Remains Our Only Mission), providing haircuts and other services to homeless men and those in temporary shelters. He also sponsors three children abroad and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Monday through Wednesday, Chris practices law, setting up small businesses and start-ups on legalities that go into opening any new enterprise. By Wednesday evening, he’s “itching to get back to my studio and excited to see 99% of my longterm clients. It also gives the other side of my brain a rest.” He also allocates several hours for writing thoughtful articles with practical advice applicable in any state on branding and legal issues benefitting the beauty and grooming community.

Thursday through Saturday, you’ll find Chris at Dillinger’s, his sophisticated men’s grooming parlor at Sola Salon Studios in Garden City, NY, whose name evokes images of the Roaring 20s and Prohibition era. “It was a time when men dressed like they had somewhere to be, drank cocktails and played cards in backroom juice joints. Even the bootleggers were groomed to the nines,” he notes. It also pays homage to his best friend, nicknamed Dillinger on account of all the mischief he got into, who passed away in a motorcycle accident.

Complementing Chris’s comprehensive grooming skills, a Dillinger’s visit might start with an espresso or a whiskey (or both), leading to deep conversations on topics ranging from politics, the stock market, education and a client’s personal life. And while he’s never the one to initiate the subject of his other profession, every now and then, career circles cross. “When clients discover I’m an attorney, they’ll ask legal questions. I occasionally joke that your haircut just went up $300!”

Chris blocks an hour for each client, and discourages walk-ins as disruptive, preferring not to rush his creative process and keep someone new waiting. He usually books a month in advance, relying on his SolaGenius app as his silent personal assistant for scheduling 24/7, allowing him to be in the moment whether applying his left or right brain skills to tasks at hand.

He loves the flexibility of being a solo practitioner in both careers. His legal skillset also removes the fear factor of having his own barbershop, noting “I really enjoy working with cool clients, gleaning new business models and social enterprises for expanding my knowledge base.”

At the same time, “All these years later I’m still excited about being a barber. It plays into my creativity with never-ending opportunities to expand my cosmetology repertoire through continuing education and energizing my skills, from hands-on demos by visiting stylists from the UK to recent Sassoon training, there’s always something new to learn for keeping current on trends and products.”

As someone equally brilliant in creative and analytical thinking, Chris fuses both as a master of modern branding, with judicious legal advice for others on company names and trademark issues. He approaches Dillinger’s branding beyond naming and logos, incorporating every facet of his business into crafting one-of-a-kind experiences for his diverse, mostly long-time clientele. “Dillinger’s doesn’t have a defined demographic; it’s more along the lines of men of all ages, races and walks of life sharing similar values. My gents appreciate bespoke styling and my respect for their time. I grow with them and their lives, month after month, with each haircut.”

 To learn more, follow Chris on Instagram @dillingershaircompany or visit his website: www.dillingersbarbersuite.com

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Modern Original People: Nina Kovner http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-nina-kovner/ Tue, 01 May 2018 16:00:19 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=5662 Nina Kovner isn’t your typical executive coach. She’s rooted in realness as the go-to guru for re-igniting professional passion that creative-types often find waning at some point in their careers, stemming from a variety of issues. As Passion Squared’s Chief Awesomeness Empowerer, Nina begins every morning wondering, “How am I going to help people create [...]

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Nina Kovner isn’t your typical executive coach. She’s rooted in realness as the go-to guru for re-igniting professional passion that creative-types often find waning at some point in their careers, stemming from a variety of issues.

As Passion Squared’s Chief Awesomeness Empowerer, Nina begins every morning wondering, “How am I going to help people create awesome today?” She’s also a highly sought-after speaker within her wheelhouse of beauty, wellness and fitness on personal branding, lending credence to your vibe attracts your tribe.

Imbuing her combined talents as a philosopher-therapist-energy healer, Nina’s clients rely on her as their best advocate, teaching objective self-reflection skills for defining their brands, not an easy task. While her millennial clients seemingly have this built-in, as we age, “Self-reflection can be scary as we often don’t like what we see. It’s hard to get honest with decisions and what you project into the world.” 

Through the collaborative work they do mostly online, she helps clients re-build their inner selves, re-discovering what makes them authentic, a key factor for any credible brand experience. She’ll ask what’s your brand about? Are you a value brand? Are your customers working mothers or millionaires? “One isn’t necessarily better than the other,” she says, “Good people in the same industry can be wherever works for them, and those needs change over time. Don’t judge where someone works as there are great careers all over the beauty spectrum. Success is in the eye of the beholder.”

She knows this firsthand: working as a leading sales and marketing pro for top haircare brands led to burnout in 2007, when she suffered a nervous breakdown from workaholism-induced anxiety. 

Staying at her job for another two years amplified bad juju, leading to hospitalization and an a-ha moment. After amassing all the luxe accoutrements that a nice salary affords, it was time to ditch corporate life. After 25 years at the top, all the big-ticket possessions didn’t make her happy. Worse, her on-the-road lifestyle led to illness, both physically and psychologically.

Her first step: simplifying for a stress-free life by selling stuff she believed exemplified success. Nina now works from home overseeing her business, traveling on her terms only for events and workshops aligning with her brand where she’ll have the most impact on her tribe.

Nina also encourages a digital detoxing routine, as too much social media is overwhelmingly competitive, comparative wannabe self-conception. “You won’t find true happiness or success in a mosaic of Instagram posts bouncing around and off others doing the same. At the end of the day, we’re most empowered when we own our decisions and how we present to the world.”

Post-breakdown priorities are happiness, limited stress, freedom and helping people. Practicing what she preaches, her mornings consistently start with focusing on what matters, planning time around what she deems important. Nina is not a believer in the word busy as “creative minds have a challenge in the focus department. Overwhelm is not your friend. Slow it down. Savor the joy that comes with living a life you love, building a business and brand you are proud of.” 

She designed Passion Squared’s modern operating model around what she can handle and equally importantly, what she chooses not to, noting that “At the end of the day, as a leader, storyteller and experience giver, you must be clear, strong, grounded, focused and rested in order to serve those in your care. There is nothing awesome about no days off. Or doing things half-assed. Or saying yes when you meant to say no. Take ownership of your responsibilities by focusing on the outcome. Less is more: quality first. Always.”

To learn more about Nina, check out her website at: https://passionsquared.net or on IG at: @passionsquared

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Modern Original People: Giannandrea http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-giannandrea/ Sun, 01 Apr 2018 16:00:48 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=5504 Giannandrea Marongiu, who goes by “G” or Giannandrea, enjoys an envy-inspiring career which he humbly credits to collaboration via cultivating good-energy relationships with colleagues – who in G’s universe comprise numerous A-list actresses and those destined for such status, the world’s top photographers, makeup artists, and fashion’s legendary editors – for building a world-renowned reputationas the [...]

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Giannandrea Marongiu, who goes by “G” or Giannandrea, enjoys an envy-inspiring career which he humbly credits to collaboration via cultivating good-energy relationships with colleagues – who in G’s universe comprise numerous A-list actresses and those destined for such status, the world’s top photographers, makeup artists, and fashion’s legendary editors – for building a world-renowned reputationas the go-to hair guru for major events. In fact, G styled Sharon Stone’s gorgeously tousled modern crop for 2018’s Golden Globes Awards using MOP’s botanically-based Basil Mint Revitalizing Shampoo, Lemongrass Lift and new Lemongrass Volume Whip, new Basil Mint Clay followed by C-System Firm Finish Hair Spray in a precisely-ordered product layering method for achieving la Stones sophisticated, softly-sculpted short and swept locks.

 As a much in-demand stylist for Hollywood’s red-carpet stars from every era, G always brings his best energy to every endeavor, embracing a philosophy of empowering those women relying on his talents for elevating and capturing beauty-radiating confidence. A quick peek at G’s Insta feed and 25,000+ following proves that and so much more.

 MOP’s chat with G, who epitomizes the very definition of what it means to be a Modern Original Person, is an exclusive take on this hair pro’s thriving career, which started as a teenager inspired by 1980’s punk and pop music-video culture, igniting influence on international iconic style. This initial spark was brought full-circle when he became an Emmy-Award nominee for NBC’s The Voice through his work with star panelist Christina Aguilera.

 When styling a star for a major event, what goes into your day? “After waking up, I hit Venice Beach for either a 90-minute run or bike ride, returning home and enjoying a light breakfast. Like homework, this is my time to visualize the task at hand while thinking about my client’s role at a major event, plus weather and lighting issues, and how everything affects hair when walking the red carpet, doing interviews and being photographed for the world to see.

 I conjure creative ideas while sipping espresso – a lot of it. Similar to an art director, each visible style focal point – the gown which I usually see two days beforehand, jewelry and makeup — informs the ideas I’ll present when arriving at her home. It’s very much about unifying each fashion and beauty facet into complete flawless style.

 I then prepare my bag with products and tools, and create an emergency kit composing extra items just in case there’s a change in plans – like a switch in wardrobe, jewelry or accessories – requiring a style swap of sorts. The only preparation a client performs on her own is freshly-washed wet hair. I share my vision with her, and once we agree, I take it from there.”

How did you tap into the zeitgeist when fashion magazines started featuring actresses instead of supermodels on their covers? “While it may seem somewhat serendipitous, in 2002, The New York Times Magazine sent me to LA to style a story featuring a group composed of young Hollywood talent including Kirsten Dunst, Sofia Coppola and Scarlett Johansson, who recently wrapped Lost in Translation, her first starring role. With a shared sense of humor, we immediately clicked onset when she just happened to mention her upcoming trip to the Venice Film Festival supporting the movie.

 While doing her hair for the shoot, I shared my story of growing up in Bologna and early career working in Milan on runway presentations and editorial shoots back when the city was arguably the world’s fashion capital. Upon mentioning that I was heading back to Italy for a vacation to see my family, she asked if I would do her hair during the festival. Funny enough, I ended up working as her translator too during what was then the first international press junket for both of us.

Our work together jump started my solo career; many of the young women featured in that story became regular private clients going forward.

Up tothat point, my work was always part of a very talented collective: I spent six incredible years with my life-long mentor Garren NYC‘s amazing team, producing era-defining editorial shoots for a multitude of leading fashion magazines, both in the US and abroad. Before that, a similar role with another mentor, Orlando Pita. It was a privileged career trajectory honed on an editorial and runway focus, defined by collaborating with fashion and beauty’s top influential tastemakers including Steven Meisel, Marc Jacobs, 90s supermodels, Laura Mercier and more.

But what anyone working outside this unique niche might not understand: editorial work pays very little per diem despite the glamour of seeing your name credited on the pages. Escalating NYC rents present a problem for many pros in creative industries, and after what became an endless search for affordable apartments, I moved to Los Angeles where increasingly so much fashion and beauty production opportunities — both commercial and editorial — were heading because of the shift-change from models to actresses and other celebrities, often with movie and televisions studios paying for my time.”

Yet you’ve never worked in a salon? “Not exactly. My first professional styling job was in my hometown, freelancing in-between school and on weekends for Marco Zanardi Orea Malia when I was 15 years old. I had been styling friends at school with shears from the pre-historic era; he showed me how to use modern state-of-the-art hair tools and products, launching and developing my skills. Marco also owned two salons in Milan — where commerce meets art —and his team needed assistance with their demanding schedule of high-end regular editorial commissions for Vogue Italiaand Marie Claireas well as runway work. Among my earliest professional assignments was creating the hair for Dolce & Gabbana’s first collection.”

 

 

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Modern Original People: Stevie Kim http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-stevie-kim/ Thu, 01 Feb 2018 17:00:27 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=5245 Steve Kim, better known as @stevienaysayer to his nearly 18K and counting Instagram followers, presents a modern take on the world of behind-the-scenes beauty straight from the runways of designers Alexander Wang, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Victoria’s Secret to name a few. His featured photography in four of America’s best-read salon glossies encapsulates a thoroughly [...]

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Steve Kim, better known as @stevienaysayer to his nearly 18K and counting Instagram followers, presents a modern take on the world of behind-the-scenes beauty straight from the runways of designers Alexander Wang, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Victoria’s Secret to name a few. His featured photography in four of America’s best-read salon glossies encapsulates a thoroughly original vibe: think street-energy-meets-high-end fashion which underlies rare access to backstage goings-on and the often frenetic action that can best be interpreted by someone with insight and the ability to anticipate what might come. And he’s just 33 years-old.

As a first-generation young American growing up in Simi, California, his South Korean-born parents were rather traditional and conservative — not so surprising given that his grandfather was a retired General. Steve, a self-described “sarcastic, funny kid and party animal,” was often quite the challenge to reign-in during his high-school years. Boxing became his go-to sport for channeling his enormous energy and building self-confidence.

Following Steve’s senior year, his enlisted in the U.S. Army where his daredevil nature and boundless enthusiasm earned him a thrilling paratrooper assignment until injury curtailed his fly-from-the-sky career.

Post-military his parents told him “get a job or go to school”: he enrolled in community college but dropped out after a semester, becoming a “student of life in search of his tribe.” A friend nudged Steve into applying to Paul Mitchell – The School, where his excitement to “meet girls and to learn a well-paying trade” piqued his interest.

Unfortunately at the same time, one mate in his new “tribe” was arrested for armed robbery. Privy to what went down and summoned to court for testimony, Steve refused to cooperate, landing him in jail for three years. Relying on skills learned at Paul Mitchell, he judiciously “parlayed the jail’s built-in clientele for honing his barbering techniques,” determined to finish school upon his release.

Steve re-enrolled and ably finished Paul Mitchell’s program when teacher/mentor Brad Davidson encouraged him to apply for his first professional position at Blind Barber, the LA-outpost of New York City’s innovative hipster barber shop serving trims, hot shaves and cocktails. Once Steve began amassing his own regular clients, he loved what he was doing on a day-to-day basis. Yet he would be the first to concede his “cutting skills were sub-par.” Growing his patronage list primarily from his quirky personality, less than a year later he would amicably part ways with the shop, though he still counts then-boss Alex Chavez as a forever mentor.

Salon-hopping along the way to professional happiness, including a celebrity-laden stint (hello Kimye, Paris and Lindsay) with stylist-to-the-stars Frank Galasso, Steve grabbed an opportunity as a junior stylist with Melrose-based Aaron Ficchi whose own photography hobby encouraged Steve to take it up too, learning basic techniques by shooting his colleagues’ work; cuing repeat, he again appraised theirs as much better than his own.

Confronting this challenge led him back to school for improving his style-crafting skills: this time to Vidal Sassoon in Santa Monica where guidance from Stephen Moody, the legendary Wella educator and academy dean who at that time served as the school’s chief, laid the foundation for Steve’s next career phase combining photography and styling.

Steve’s already carved out a uniquely fascinating niche fusing the world of hair with lensmanship across Los Angeles, Atlanta (where he was tapped to shape Steve Aoki’s hair for the Born to Get Wild video) and currently New York City, putting what remains from his G.I. Bill scholarship to good use towards his Bachelor’s degree in photography at the prestigious School of Visual Arts. Photography now takes most of his time but as a licensed stylist, he still snips “on the side when requested.”

While his original purview on the beauty industry is a movie-worthy tale of resilience, redemption and raw-energy, Steve’s self-deprecating sense of humor and the occasional blunt opinion on matters — hence the moniker #StevieNaySayer —  belie his true talent, laying the ground for astounding future endeavors that certainly lie ahead no matter where his next efforts may be channeled. If there is one thing that we know, whatever he does, it will be Modern and Original. To learn more about Steve, follow him on Instagram at @stevienaysayer

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Modern Original People: Chris Kofitsas http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-chris-kofitsas/ Mon, 01 Jan 2018 17:00:59 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=5128 Chris Kofitsas is the founder and president of New World Design Builders, an original, first-of-its-kind firm that fuses modern architecture, construction and interior design. It’s an innovative firm where multiple creative services are streamlined for success. Ever the collaborator, Chris’ reputation for elevating a client’s dream space from concept to completion is built upon a [...]

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Chris Kofitsas is the founder and president of New World Design Builders, an original, first-of-its-kind firm that fuses modern architecture, construction and interior design. It’s an innovative firm where multiple creative services are streamlined for success. Ever the collaborator, Chris’ reputation for elevating a client’s dream space from concept to completion is built upon a foundation that combines his professional and people skills: he is a great listener who delves into his clients’ goals. As a man of high style, his taste is always trusted.

Through his 20+ years as an architect, he is known for pushing the luxury aesthetic, instilling feelings of warmth, happiness and accessibility for anyone lucky enough to revel in his clientele’s stylishly comfortable surroundings. And sometimes, he can revel too: “As someone who designs spaces where others go to escape, playtime is often indistinguishable from work. I seek retreats where nature continues to inspire me. During my last break, I stayed at a client’s property, The Gansevoort in Turks + Caicos. The multi-blue aqua hues of the the sea and the surrounding tropical flora and fauna serve as a specific source of inspiration that might influence my next project for other Gansevoort properties.”

His extraordinary array of talents in creating visually, emotionally and tactilely enriching multi-sensory experiences served as an early career trademark: as a vanguard in his field, Chris was among the first architects tapping into today’s “new” wellness vibe as a factor in architecture and design, who always incorporated nature organically into a space. Influenced by his earliest projects for the beauty industry, and as one of the youngest architects to refine spa and salon open-floor plans, Chris launched his career in New York City, where top-tier salons helmed by star-stylists Peter Coppola, John Sahag and Mark Garrison were among his first assignments.

Shortly thereafter, nodding to his father’s inspirational legacy as one of New Jersey’s most highly-rated contractors, Chris launched his own firm to combine his architectural pedigree with construction, skills developed while observing and occasionally working for his dad. His new firm was quickly hired to design and build renowned salon-spas across the NY-NJ metropolitan area including Bangz, an ultra-cool repurposed church; DiPasquale, a getaway day spa infused with languorous water and night-sky inspiration; the revolutionary Maximus and more, subsequently earning Chris multiple Salon of the Year Awards from Salon Today.

The resulting national attention afforded by national beauty editors and influencers heading to his chicly innovative salons skyrocketed his evolving business; he was soon hired by several of hospitality’s top restaurateurs to design and construct their newest dining destinations and nightclubs. Catch LA, a cosmopolitan roof-top oasis perched atop West Hollywood’s hip Melrose section, is his most recently completed project and where his signature style of weaving lush botanicals organically into and around a structure reaches breathtaking new heights.

Chris’ challenges in creating original design for repeat clients like Catch (its sister restaurant in New York City opened first) is greatly influenced by a specific locale’s unique point-of-view, where surrounding buildings and businesses create a harmonious, somewhat microcosmic setting extending beyond the front door. This celeb haute spot, described as a welcoming “visual wonderland” by Eater LA, is currently one of the most Instagramable restaurants by stars including Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara and fashionista stylist Rachel Zoe. Its vibe also evokes HBO’s Entourage: any fan of the show could easily envision Vincent Chase and crew there nightly.

Recently lauded by Architectural Digest as one of today’s top five hospitality design pros, a facet that brands his signature style and tying every project together is timeless original design: whether renovating an existing structure or building anew, Chris’ work always feels au courant even years after first opening its doors. Case in point: Chris’ iconic James Beard Award-winning ABC Kitchen seamlessly mirrors celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ethos and his menu of serving only pristine organic ingredients. Here, Chris’ artful design and construction featured recycled, repurposed and sustainably-sourced materials; white-washed furniture, walls and floors seemingly emanate an airy atmosphere where gently natural light filters in despite being housed in a basement.

Chris is now expanding his practice to include private residential design and construction. He notes, “People who are world-travelers often seek to imbue their recent journeys into their homes, whether it’s through accents, artwork or the architectural layout.” Chris is also tasked with designing several homes with sky-high views at 432 Park Avenue, the Western Hemisphere’s highest tower and rumor has it, NYC’s most expensive building. One of his most famous clients in this category is makeup artist Laura Mercier, who espouses that “what makes you unique makes you beautiful,” a philosophy that also defines Chris and his astoundingly original work.

To learn more about Chris,  visit his website: http://www.chriskofitsas.com/ or  follow him on Instagram at @ChrisKofitsas

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Richard Calcasola’s Musing on Modern Originality http://www.mopproducts.com/richard-calcasolas-musing-modern-originality/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:10:36 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=4788 Click on the link below to view Richard interviewing himself on Creativity and Modern Original thinking!

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Click on the link below to view Richard interviewing himself on Creativity and Modern Original thinking!

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Modern Original People: Richard Calcasola http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-richard-calcasola/ Wed, 25 Oct 2017 18:06:05 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=4691 Salon industry revolutionary Richard Calcasola serves as MOP’s Cultural Advisor, an expressly created position tapping his creative and management talents, plus his industry influence. A stroll through his career accomplishments reveals why there may be no one ever-so-strongly suited for such a unique position. Richard’s earliest years growing up in Corona, Queens made him a [...]

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Salon industry revolutionary Richard Calcasola serves as MOP’s Cultural Advisor, an expressly created position tapping his creative and management talents, plus his industry influence. A stroll through his career accomplishments reveals why there may be no one ever-so-strongly suited for such a unique position.

Richard’s earliest years growing up in Corona, Queens made him a street-savvy kid. His parents moved the family to Long Island just as he was starting freshman year of high school. Earning instant and increasing popularity among his classmates during the next four years, he was overwhelmingly elected senior class president. As his yearbook memorialized, he won the Class Leadership accolade…but to this day, dapper as ever and always donning a stylish hat, he is still somewhat disappointed that he didn’t earn the secretly desired, best-dressed award.

Back in the 1960s, military enlistment for men turning 18 was mandatory. Following his time serving with the National Guard, Richard enrolled in beauty school, “It sounded fun, and the thought of being surrounded by beautiful women and fashion all day was an added incentive.”

An early salon job in Far Rockaway placed him as the 16th pro within a staid 15-chair salon where he was in awe of the surrounding talent. Its owner’s management techniques and intimidating tactics were another matter, leading Richard to glean an important lesson: it is hard to be creative when working in a fear-filled atmosphere.

Ever the tastemaker, Richard had his vision for operating a salon: where the environs are professional but fun…where stylists and clients communicate with appreciation and respect…where current aesthetics and décor define the working space, and à la mode looks echoed the most recent pages of Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue and the Rolling Stones comprised that era’s soundtrack.

In 1970, he opened what would be the first incarnation of Salon Maximus, its name inspired from several factors concurrently whirring in Richard’s mind: maxi skirt fashions, Circus Maximus and iconic pop artist Peter Max, whose animation for The Beatles’ movie “Yellow Submarine” made him a household name.

Much to the initial dismay of loyal clients following Richard from his first job, he quickly ditched the old-fashioned hair-dryers. His next move was to create an atmosphere of visually-explosive sex appeal, bold and in-tune with the times for his 8-person styling team. Reminiscent of his class presidency, his management style was “emotional vs. mathematical, where mentoring and caring for employees as much as for clients, was a priority, yet at times, a double-edged sword because I took my eyes off profitability and focused on growth.” He would eventually open four salons.

In just a few years, Modern Salon magazine anointed Maximus “Salon of the Year” (1980), with the tri-state area’s top-tier beauty talent wanting to work for him after seeing numerous credits in the hottest magazines and featured guest spots on television. The salon expanded its space, evolved its design and repertoire of offerings, making it the East Coast pioneer for first-of-its-kind spa services (hello oxygen facial!) and an eponymously-branded makeup line. Richard then opened Maximus’ second Long Island location. From 1985-86, he was named Intercoiffure’s North American Creative Director.

With so many of his clients enduring the hour’s drive to Long Island from New York City, Richard opened Maximus’ third outpost (Modern Salon’s 2001 Salon of the Year) in SoHo, when on a sunny late-August afternoon, Cathy Horyn popped in. No one at the salon knew she was The New York Times recently-appointed fashion critic, nor did she say anything during her visit. An oh-so-rare front-page rave review in the paper’s Sunday Styles section resulted in nearly 900 appointments booked for September. Then, not two weeks after Cathy’s story ran, 9/11 devastated America, and the salon’s downtown location was impossible to navigate as only first responders and residents were permitted access. After several years of trying to keep the space open, Richard eventually had to sell the NYC space and its furnishings to concentrate on his Long Island locations. Needless to say, it was a very difficult time for everyone.

In addition to being Long Island’s hottest salon, during the past 15 years, Maximus often served as the continuing education epicenter where Richard would host inclusive gatherings of other salon owners and beauty professionals, sharing best-practices benefiting everyone. This cultural provocateur initially believed he was retiring in 2016, but when MOP called, he was excited to share his knowledge with the sales and style professionals as the industry’s most audacious and arguably, influential innovator.

To learn more about Richard, follow him on Instagram at @RichardCalcasola and check out Richard’s latest “musings” on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrtByzAm_0g&feature=youtu.be

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Modern Original People: Candy Shaw http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-candy-shaw/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 20:55:17 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=4503 Candy Shaw considers herself a street punk. “I was born with the desire to be somebody,” says Shaw, “but I had everything against me going in.” Despite being the daughter of Jamison Shaw – a salon veteran who didn’t let the fact that he only had an eighth-grade education keep him from building a multi-million [...]

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Candy Shaw considers herself a street punk. “I was born with the desire to be somebody,” says Shaw, “but I had everything against me going in.” Despite being the daughter of Jamison Shaw – a salon veteran who didn’t let the fact that he only had an eighth-grade education keep him from building a multi-million dollar salon – Candy Shaw was a female in a profession that put men “onstage and in the boardroom,” not women. Still, she accepted the challenge of making it in what she calls “the world of suits” when the deck seemed to be stacked against her. Dyslexic—a trait she inherited from her father and has passed on to her daughter—Shaw never went to beauty school. Instead, she apprenticed for her father.

Like a lot of hairdressers with a calling, Shaw began cutting hair for her classmates in high school. Woodward Academy in Atlanta, a former military school that went co-ed, had a hair code—above the brow, above the ear and off the collar. As a visual learner who struggled with traditional book learning, Shaw traded free haircuts for help with homework and essentially became an entrepreneur at an early age. “Let’s just say that I found a way to parlay my personality and leverage my relationships to get where I wanted to go,” she says.

Shaw considers her dyslexia a gift, one that she’s used to her advantage. “I’ve started at the back and gone forward in everything I’ve ever done in my life,” she explains. “Knowing what the end game was, being able to visualize the end result and backing into it, has made me a better hairdresser.”

Shaw, who still sees guests at the salon she bought from her father when he retired three years ago, has used the same approach in business as well. An academy and a successful product line, Sunlights Balayage, are the direct result, she says, of seeing the end and coming up with a roadmap to get there.

For Shaw, education holds the key to success in a business her father described as a fast-moving train. “He always told me that you can get on at any station,” she says, “but the secret is to stay on the train. If you get off, the view never changes. Life goes on without you.” Shaw began teaching French haircutting and hair-painting techniques 20 years ago, long before most of us had ever heard of  the word balayage. For years she approached leading manufacturers about making a lightener that would hold onto the hair, and each time she was met with resistance. “They told me that balayage was a trend that would go away like everything else,” says Shaw, whose instincts told her that balayage, like the little black dress, wasn’t going anywhere.

“My father used to say that when you’re green you’re growing, but when you’re ripe you rot,” says Shaw. Not one to wither on the vine, she preaches the gospel of balayage to anyone who will listen. “I see businesses that are paralyzed because they won’t move forward. We’ve gone from frosting caps to foils to freehand balayage techniques, but some salons are losing staff right and left because they won’t embrace something new.”

Shaw is dismayed by what she sees as a trend in our industry to make icons out of hairdressers who have 400,000 followers on social media, but have only been in the business for a couple of years. “It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up,” she says. “For so many of these young people, being an original means doing something so outlandish that you stand out, but for me, shock value isn’t original. Being an original means changing someone’s life for the better, being a mentor, engaging with someone in person, not just liking something they posted on Facebook.” Want to foster originality in your own life? Shaw’s advice is to be touchable. “People need to relate to you,” she says. “Let them live in your story so they’ll celebrate your success with you when it comes.”

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Modern Original People: Wendy Marantz Levine http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-wendy-marantz-levine/ Mon, 28 Aug 2017 20:03:49 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=4380 Melissa Nealy was just 28 in 2005 when she lost her battle with a degenerative neuromuscular disease. “She got sick in December, 2004, and we lost her exactly a year later,” says her sister, Wendy Marantz Levine, who remembers Melissa, as a “fiery redhead” and someone who loved to travel. “She got engaged to her [...]

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Melissa Nealy was just 28 in 2005 when she lost her battle with a degenerative neuromuscular disease. “She got sick in December, 2004, and we lost her exactly a year later,” says her sister, Wendy Marantz Levine, who remembers Melissa, as a “fiery redhead” and someone who loved to travel. “She got engaged to her college sweetheart right before she was diagnosed, and they decided to go through with the wedding anyway. Theirs was a true romance, a total love story.” A girly girl who loved a good spa day, Melissa eventually became too sick to leave the house and enjoy having her hair or nails done so her family arranged for her to have those services at home. “It was frustrating that everything became about her quality of care and not her quality of life,” says Wendy, who admits that arranging for these at-home visits wasn’t as easy as it sounds. “For one thing, it was really expensive,” she says. “You have to pay for someone’s travel time as well as their fee, but it was also difficult to find people willing to take care of a young person who was really sick.”

Still, those moments meant so much to Melissa that it got Wendy wondering if there was an organization out there that provided the kinds of services that had brought such joy to her sister. When she couldn’t find one, she had the “crazy idea to start one” herself. After enlisting the help of her cousin, Alicia Marantz Liotta, she co-founded the Beauty Bus Foundation in 2009.

“We saw 11 clients that year,” says Wendy, who reached out to social workers she knew at the ALS Association—“They really helped my sister,” she explains—and asked them to vouch for her fledging non-profit. “They were incredible about introducing us to their clients.” Once she’d partnered with the ALS Association, Wendy was able to approach other organizations, including City of Hope, Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which quickly came on board.

“Once we started, it just took off very quickly. The need for what we do was astounding, and the response from the beauty industry, which donated products and time, was overwhelming.”

To date, Beauty Bus has seen more than 12,000 clients. Last year alone they provided 2,089 services free of charge, including hair care, makeup, manicures/pedicures and facials. Their annual fundraiser—“We need to raise $400,000 a year to operate,” says Wendy—is not your typical rubber chicken dinner. Instead, volunteers are on hand to provide beauty and grooming services for attendees and about three dozen clients, who experience a day out that also includes food and drinks plus a silent auction with items ranging from beauty products to theatre tickets. “We also give a Lifetime Achievement Award to someone in the beauty industry,” says Wendy. Ann Mincey was the first honoree. This year they added a Spirit of Life Award to honor someone outside the industry and help raise additional funds.

This spring, Steve and Ceyonne LeDesma attended the event to talk about how much having someone pamper her meant to their daughter Bella, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 18 months old and passed away earlier this year when she was just 14.

“We saw her at the hospital right before they sent her home from hospice. Bella had a manicure, her mother had her hair cut and her grandmother had a facial,” says Wendy, who also provides services for caregivers. “These services do so much to bring dignity and joy into people’s lives. Our clients tell us that we make them feel human again.”

Levine, who had been Director of Litigation at one of LA’s largest legal service organizations, admits that lawyers “aren’t exactly known for being the most charitable group.” Beauty professionals, on the other hand, choose their profession precisely because it allows them to “touch people, to transform them, to make a difference.” It was that “aha” moment, which Levine experienced after observing how those at-home beauty treatments transformed her own sister, that prompted her to give up law to pursue a career helping others. So why did her idea take flight when it might have crashed and burned? Her firm had provided services to the elderly, the poor and the disabled, and it is that experience coupled with her desire to transform her family’s loss into something positive, that holds the key to her success. And so it goes when a uniquely qualified person comes up with a Modern Original idea, great things can happen.

To learn more about the Beauty Bus Foundation, please visit: http://www.beautybus.org/. We encourage every person who reads this story to make a donation. Your contribution will mean a lot to them and us.

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Modern Original People: David Kinigson http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-david-kinigson/ Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:51:36 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=4133 As an artist, David Kinigson has always taken his cue from Leonardo da Vinci, whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science and music. The gifted hairdresser studied ballet, jazz, tap and acting in high school where he was also captain of the gymnastics team (he has four varsity letters). He earned a [...]

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As an artist, David Kinigson has always taken his cue from Leonardo da Vinci, whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science and music. The gifted hairdresser studied ballet, jazz, tap and acting in high school where he was also captain of the gymnastics team (he has four varsity letters). He earned a degree in writing from Nassau Community College, but went to beauty school on the advice of his hairdresser, who reassured him when he wondered if he had talent. “You like poetry, and you studied acting and dance,” he said. “Don’t worry, you’ve got talent.”

So Kinigson enrolled in beauty school in New York City where he met Mary Brunetti, who has since become an industry icon. “She’s my oldest friend in the industry,” he says. When he graduated, he decided that the only place to work was at Vidal Sassoon on Fifth Avenue in New York City. “This was in the ‘70s, which I call the ‘silver era of precision haircutting,’” says Kinigson, who got to work alongside the greats, including Christopher Brooker and Roger Thompson. Other mentors from those early days include Mary Lou Green and Allan Vernon Keech. Eventually he became Education Director at Pipino Buccheri, which he calls the “last great editorial salon in New York City.” One of his colleagues there was Edward Tricomi, who went on to open a salon in Manhattan that became a magnet for celebrities. Then in 1988, Kinigson opened Salon Dada in Manhattan. The name, of course, refers to Dada, the avant-garde art movement in early 20th century Europe that has been called the “noisy alarm that woke modern art from its slumber.”

“Hairdressing is the best day job in the world because it gives you the opportunity to do so many other things. When I was deciding what to do with my life, I knew that I wanted to be able to express myself creatively, dress however I wanted, meet women, have cool music playing and travel around the world,” says Kinigson. “There are only a few other jobs—actors and rock stars come to mind—that afford you those opportunities.”

Kinigson is what you might call a renaissance man. Deeply curious and enough of a perfectionist to expect nothing short of excellence in any endeavor he pursues — he has been known to regularly push himself out of his comfort zone. Case in point: In 1983 when he was 29 years old, Kinigson entered the New York City Marathon. Despite the fact that he had never run a marathon before, he finished in the top 10-percent. A few years later he began studying Taekwondo, eventually earning a black belt. Then, at 36, he decided that he wanted to learn how to play the guitar and began writing and recording his own music. He became so good at it that he started a band, which he called Bag One. “It was the name of a portfolio of illustrations that John Lennon had done,” says Kinigson, who secured Yoko Ono’s permission to use the name. “I found out she was coming into the studio where I was doing hair, and I asked to meet her.” By 1998, convinced that his true destiny was music, not hairdressing, Kinigson closed his salon to pursue music fulltime, becoming part of the anti-folk scene on the Lower East Side of New York. An amalgam of punk, rock and avant-garde styles, the genre could be described as the antithesis of the politically motivated folk music of the 1960s. Kinigson calls it “acoustic music that’s played aggressively.” Finally, as a songwriter, it made sense to move to Nashville where he met publishers who shopped his songs. He still gets royalty checks from The Voice for an instrumental he wrote called We Can’t Say Goodbye. “They played it when contestants walked on or off the stage,” he explains. Oh, and you might just hear one of his compositions, including Pot of Gold and Show Me the Way the next time you go to Petco.

Eight years ago Kinigson once again became a salon owner, opening a boutique salon called The David K Space in West Palm Beach, FL. He has since added an academy where he applies the lessons he learned leading transformational seminars in the 1970s to protocols for excellence in salons. “It’s been an ongoing study of the human condition,” says Kinigson, who continues to write and record music. Recently he released two new songs—I Don’t Love You and Hands Up, Don’t Shoot. His advice to his fellow hairdressers is simple: Strive for excellence and don’t settle for being mediocre. It’s advice that has served this Modern Original Person well for the past 40 years.

Please visit David at: https://thedavidkspace.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/thedavidkspace/

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