MOP Products http://www.mopproducts.com Tue, 04 Sep 2018 15:29:02 +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: Chris Matthew http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-chris-matthew/ Wed, 20 Jun 2018 21:25:48 +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, 05 Jun 2018 21:10:19 +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/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:16:48 +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/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 20:24:27 +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/ Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:30:59 +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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Modern Original People: Patrick McIvor http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-patrick-mcivor/ Thu, 15 Jun 2017 20:19:55 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=3873 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas in 18 minutes or less through short, powerful talks that are posted free online. TED talks became so popular that an international community began organizing TEDx events based on TED’s format and rules to celebrate locally driven ideas. Celebrated hairdresser and educator Patrick McIvor [...]

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TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas in 18 minutes or less through short, powerful talks that are posted free online. TED talks became so popular that an international community began organizing TEDx events based on TED’s format and rules to celebrate locally driven ideas.

Celebrated hairdresser and educator Patrick McIvor and his wife Leah attended one of these events in Lehigh, Pennsylvania, in 2006. Nine years later, they attended a TEDx Global Simulcast in Allentown, Pennsylvania where McIvor was approached by a woman who asked what he did for a living and if he had an idea he’d like to share on the TEDx stage.

McIvor’s answer—“Why does having your hair done feel so good?”—was delivered without hesitation, though he admits that he couldn’t answer that question himself at the time. “I knew that grooming was one of the most common experiences in the world, as universal as being born, breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping and dying,” he says, “but I still hadn’t made the connection to the power of human touch yet.”

During the grueling process of auditioning for a spot on the TEDx stage, McIvor’s talk would begin to take shape. “In the age of Instagram, a lot of people think that doing hair is about posting an after, and they’ve gotten very good at using filters and taking photos from a certain angle,” says McIvor, who notes that in the past few years more than a few young hairdressers have made careers out of posting pictures, which, for McIvor, is missing the point of why they got into this industry in the first place.

“TED gave me a platform to share my belief that we’ve forgotten how important human touch is,” he says. “A quick haircut does not give someone sitting in your chair what they need emotionally. It doesn’t get their endorphins moving. Our clients come to us not only because we make them look good, but also because we make them feel good.”

Case in point: Let’s say you work in an office and your boss walks over to your cubicle, places a hand on your shoulder and tells you what a great job you’re doing. “It feels good, doesn’t it?” says McIvor, “but what if you work remotely and all you get for your hard work is an email with a smiley face emoji? Not the same, is it?”

The question is rhetorical, but it supports McIvor’s theory that in the age of smart phones we are becoming more disconnected than ever. “Digital is the hieroglyphics of today,” he says. “It lets anyone put a drawing on the cave wall, but it isolates us.” That isolation, he says, didn’t begin in the digital age, but it’s gotten much worse. “We’ve been around as communal people for a lot longer than we’ve lived in small apartments where we may have no contact with anyone else,” he says. “Just 10 years ago you’d go out to dinner and actually talk to each other. Now we stare at our phones, scrolling through emails or checking Facebook, and that takes a toll.” The antidote to staying present and original, he says, is the services that beauty professionals provide, and he doesn’t just mean cut and color. It’s looking your clients in the eye, putting your hand on their shoulder, really listening to what they have to say. “That’s what matters.”

To see McIvor’s TEDx talk, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCJoMzM_s3g

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Modern Original People: Seiji Yamaguchi http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-meiji-yamaguchi/ Fri, 31 Mar 2017 14:55:28 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=3327 A born entrepreneur, Seiji Yamaguchi was just 15 when she created her own line of makeup after discovering that she was allergic to the harsh metals and chemicals found in most consumer brands. Growing up in California, she had also become deeply concerned about the amount of plastic that was being found in the Pacific [...]

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A born entrepreneur, Seiji Yamaguchi was just 15 when she created her own line of makeup after discovering that she was allergic to the harsh metals and chemicals found in most consumer brands. Growing up in California, she had also become deeply concerned about the amount of plastic that was being found in the Pacific Ocean every day. Seiji decided to donate two percent of her net profits to Ocean Champions, a nonprofit which works with members of Congress to pass pro-ocean laws, and the Clean Ocean Project, an NGO which raises awareness of the dangers of ocean pollution.

The daughter of famed hairdresser Billy Yamaguchi, whose cutting, coloring and makeup techniques are informed by the five elements of Feng Shui, and energy therapist & motivational speaker, Melissa Yamaguchi, Seiji grew up in a home where product formulation was a regular topic of conversation. “My parents have owned salons for 20 years and have their own haircare line so I learned about hair and skin care by osmosis,” says Seiji.

“I told her she could rely on us to help, but that she had to be involved and that she had to put up half the money,” says Melissa. So after a modest investment of $2,000, The Seiji Collection became a reality. Initially, it was sold at her parents’ salon at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village, CA. As luck would have it, Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington noticed the line when she came in to have her hair done. When she found out that Seiji was only 15, she decided to include her in a feature on teenage entrepreneurs. Seiji’s blog, “Who Says I Have to Wait on My Life?” was published in August, 2015.

Seiji is nothing if not determined. Fiercely independent, she asked her mother if she could test out of high school so she could devote more time to her business. “I’ve never taken the traditional route with anything,” says Seiji, who got her diploma at 16 and began taking college courses in philosophy, psychology,  anthropology and history.

Her latest venture is a line of six intention candles. “Each intention comes with a certain aroma and crystal that has to do solely with that intention,” says Seiji, who meditates over each crystal before placing it at the bottom of the cement container.

Circling each lid are the words, “Joy is like a light. Its strength will not be diminished by sharing.” Because of mounting evidence that soy production has a negative impact on the environment, from soil erosion to damaging fragile ecosystems, Seiji made a decision to use coconut wax instead of soy wax in each hand-poured candle. The Innersage candle features her signature scent of Arabian rose and spiced saffron with a heart-shaped rose quartz crystal at the bottom. “With every light, place your prayers, meditations and wishes,” she says. “When your candle is finished, carry your quartz and wishes with you.” When cool, the wax can be used as a fragrance. When warm, the oil may be used for massage. “Nothing is wasted.”

Concerned with the global impact of animal agriculture on the environment, Seiji has embraced a vegan lifestyle, and she’s already convinced her parents to follow in her footsteps. Her brother, Nobu, has proved to be more of a challenge, but she’s working on him. Browbeating anyone into submission is not Seiji’s style. Instead, she prefers to “lead by example.”

“I have never felt as though I had to follow convention. I don’t pay as much attention to what is popular as I do to what I feel is right,” says this Modern Original Person. “I decided to become a vegan at 13. I decided to forge my own path and start a makeup line at 15. I decided to write for The Huffington Post.” More important, perhaps, this is a girl who has “never listened when someone told me, ‘You can’t do that.’” Thank goodness.

To see what Seiji has been up to lately, visit yamaguchi-generation.myshopify.com.

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Modern Original People: Hairbrained.me http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-people-hairbrained/ Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:44:29 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=2345 The name alone—Hairbrained—is genius for a website created for people who think about hair 24/7 and the beauty professionals for whom hair is a magnificent obsession. “We have about 400,000 followers now,” says Gerard Scarpaci, who with Randy Taylor, co-founded the website that created a community of hairdressers where none existed. Let’s face it, before [...]

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The name alone—Hairbrained—is genius for a website created for people who think about hair 24/7 and the beauty professionals for whom hair is a magnificent obsession. “We have about 400,000 followers now,” says Gerard Scarpaci, who with Randy Taylor, co-founded the website that created a community of hairdressers where none existed. Let’s face it, before they were posting photos of mermaid hair or braids or well-manicured facial hair on Instagram, hairdressers were uploading their photos to hairbrained.me.

Scarpaci met Taylor in 2006, when he was already talking about building a new social network for hairdressers.

“I didn’t even know what that was,” says Scarpaci, who admits that he was barely using email at the time.

Taylor, on the other hand, had been a photographer so he was familiar with what Scarpaci calls the “tech stuff,” and he was hell-bent on building a platform that would help stylists all over the world “share, connect and grow together.”

Scarpaci, who had taught full-time for over a decade before moving back to New York to open his own salon, and was passionate about education. In 2005 he was tapped by another manufacturer to teach at their brand-new advanced academy in Manhattan where Taylor began taking classes. The way Scarpaci remembers it, Taylor “showed up for everything. After a while, the two became friends and began to talk about things they could do together. “Randy’s idea was to let me do online what I was already doing in the classroom, but for thousands of people at a time.”

Taylor began experimenting by pre-building a network on myspace.com. “It was the only platform that was wide open, so we started asking hairdressers to follow each other and comment on each other’s photos,” says Scarpaci, “but it was super messy.” So Taylor asked his nephew, a computer programmer, to help build his own social network. By 2008, after tinkering with the technology for more than a year, they were ready to launch. Scarpaci admits that they struggled to find a name that worked. Style List, a play on the word stylist, was owned by Vogue.

Hairbrained came to Taylor in a dream. “He literally woke up and wrote it down,” says Scarpaci. “My job was to spread the word by calling all of my friends at every company I’d ever worked for.” It took a year to get 1,000 people to use the platform. Now they reach over a million people per week.

So what’s next? “We want to bring hairdressers together in the real world now,” says Scarpaci, who began hosting live events, or Teach-Ins, with Taylor at trade shows a couple of years ago. Earlier this year Scarpaci hosted the first in Tokyo.

As for the future of our industry, Scarpaci believes that the rise of the independent hairdresser has shaken up and disrupted the status quo. “Hairdressers are learning from each other and forgoing strictly brand-centric education,” he says. “They’re searching for diversity and authenticity.”

It’s no surprise then that Scarpaci believes that it’s more important than ever to be an individual, to develop your own approach, as a Modern Original stylist once you’ve mastered the fundamentals. “Hone your eye and taste level,” he says. “Truly personal style is so important.” The payoff? No one will be able to duplicate the kind of work you do.

To explore the network, visit hairbrained.me.

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Modern Original Person: Lord Ashbury http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-person-lord-ashbury/ Fri, 11 Nov 2016 20:53:14 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=1900 In the age of all things social media, it often feels like everyone is presenting themselves as the next big thing. That’s why NYC-based Simbarashe Cha (known to the public as Lord Ashbury) chose to separate himself from the pack, cleverly referring to himself as a “fashion recorder” vs. a photographer. “When I first started [...]

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In the age of all things social media, it often feels like everyone is presenting themselves as the next big thing. That’s why NYC-based Simbarashe Cha (known to the public as Lord Ashbury) chose to separate himself from the pack, cleverly referring to himself as a “fashion recorder” vs. a photographer.

“When I first started lordashbury.com, I was unclear if I could call myself a ‘fashion photographer’. After all, I didn’t have any fashion clients back then. I didn’t like the term ‘blogger’ either because all of the ‘fashion bloggers’ were writing about fashion shows I hadn’t been invited to, or they were pretty rich girls posting photos of themselves”

The story behind his moniker, Lord Ashbury, is a blend of California cool mixed with British sensibility. “I wanted it to sound like something you could wear.” he chimes in. “There’s a neighborhood in San Francisco called Height-Ashbury that’s pretty famous, and for a while I lived pretty close to Ashbury Street, so the name Ashbury has always been a part of my identity. Lord Ashbury just made sense.”

Interestingly enough, Cha’s love affair with photography began as another was ending—he discovered his passion in the midst of a divorce from his ex-wife. Still friends at the time, he asked her to sit for a few portraits in Bryant Park. Amazed that she agreed, he spent what he describes as a “perfect late autumn day, where the leaves had all turned and it was cold, but not too cold” taking photos. While bittersweet, Cha realized that photography gave him a sense of calm that he’d never felt before. “If I could photograph someone while in that situation, I decided that photography was probably for me,” he shares.

Cha rarely posts photos the same day they occur—even street style photos. “When I was in high school in there was this song by Radiohead called “The Tourist” and the chorus said, “slow down.” And I heard that song and went into my adulthood doing everything on my own time.”

His personal style is equally as straightforward. “I don’t have a mantra for personal style, but I appreciate and can easily spot when someone else does. Which is why I’m behind the camera and not in front of it.”

In his downtime (which is rare), Cha loves studying fashion photography — Peter Lindburgh, Alexander McQueen, Helmut Newton, and Vivian Meier are favorites. “My entire universe is wrapped around photography.”

Cha also takes a unique approach when vetting his subjects. It’s more about the energy they exude versus their look. “I learned within the first 6 months that it’s not worth photographing well-dressed people with bad attitudes. I walk away from the transaction not liking that person, I’m going to continue to not like them when I render the photograph at home. And my website and social media space will not be full of people I do not like,” he shares.

“To me a Modern Original Person doesn’t look like anyone else,” Cha reminds us. “Original people are the ones we see on the street and think, ‘That person must be crazy’.”

To learn more, follow Lord Ashbury on Instagram @lordashbury or visit his website: www.lordashbury.com

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Modern Original Person – Castillo http://www.mopproducts.com/modern-original-person-castillo/ Fri, 28 Oct 2016 20:18:22 +0000 http://www.mopproducts.com/?p=1787 While slightly clichéd, the saying “never judge a book by its cover” rings true in 2016 more than ever. There’s a major shift toward embracing originality instead of conformity. We profiled one of the industry’s “mane” men, Castillo, who beauties like Ruby Rose, Priyanka Chopra, and Halle Berry count on to keep them looking red [...]

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While slightly clichéd, the saying “never judge a book by its cover” rings true in 2016 more than ever. There’s a major shift toward embracing originality instead of conformity. We profiled one of the industry’s “mane” men, Castillo, who beauties like Ruby Rose, Priyanka Chopra, and Halle Berry count on to keep them looking red carpet-ready. Read on to discover more about this stylist to watch.

At first glance, the young, heavily tattooed Los Angeles-based stylist’s ink might overwhelm you, however, each work of art has a story behind it. Castillo decided to pierce himself at the age of 11 to rebel against his parents’ separation. “[I was] piercing my ears, piercing my lip—all in different ways. As soon as I got to the age where I was able to go get a tattoo, I started expressing myself more.” Naturally, his first tattoo was on an unconventional place. “I was like ‘I’m going to do this. I’m going to rebel. I’m not going to conform to society. I’m going to be an artist,” he says.

Castillo, in a sense, used his tattoos and piercings as a guard—preventing others who didn’t understand his sense of style to simply stay away. “[I thought] it’ll keep ‘those’ people away. People that do want to get to know me, meet me and work with me are going to love art no matter what. It also separated me from the normal crowd.”

Over the past few years, Castillo has made many sacrifices to get to where he is now—and he’s no stranger to hard work. To stay focused, Castillo made a conscience effort to eliminate vices like drinking and excessive socializing, which opened up doors for him to take on more work. “Whether it was a test shoot, paid shoot, or unpaid shoot, I was there prepared and ready to work,” says Castillo. And his big break? Working with the budding Disney star, Bella Thorne, who didn’t have a stylist at the time. “Her belief and support in me really helped build my confidence to where it is today,” he adds.

Gratitude (Castillo is a firm believer in affirmations, prayer, and astrology à la Susan Miller) plays a major role in staying humble despite the big names around him. A man of his word, he even has “Sober is Sexy” tattooed on his wrist as a reminder to always think about the big picture. “It really keeps me centered to the goal. There are so many ways to be sexy. I think that people feel the need to drink and to do certain things that numb you, which is fine to feel sexy. There’s also a beautiful art in finding sexy in yourself naturally.”

To him, Modern Original People are true risk-takers. “Not only just taking risks in being themselves, but taking more risks on every level—on what they do, how they speak, how they interact with people, how they dress, how they express themselves in a social setting.”

We couldn’t agree more.

To learn more, follow Castillo on Instagram @ castillo_13

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