You have been with some of the biggest players in the industry.. First Sassoon and then JPMS. How do you think the time you spent with both helped shape you as a hairdresser?
I am very fortunate to have started my career with Vidal Sassoon. There I was exposed to the best of the best in the industry. It molded me into becoming a member of the education team at the Sassoon Academy. There I spent the next 8 years of my life becoming the best educator I could be working alongside some of the industry greats. At Paul Mitchell, I had the opportunity to show and share my talent with a larger audience.
Education is something you were involved in with both VS and JPMS. Is this where your passion ultimately lies?
Yes. I spent the first 18 years of my career teaching until recently when I opened my own salon I started to take clients. My true passion though will always be working with a student. The student is my client.
You are now truly independent. What was the driving force behind opening theFactory?
Yes, I am a truly independent artist now. theFactory started because I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to create and build my own team, my own standard, without the trappings of being involved with such big corporations such as product companies. I spent so much of my career making other people/companies look good, I wanted to do it for myself and do it my way, with no gimmicks or corporate agenda.
Tell us about the West Coast Hairdressers Helping Hairdressers event you put together for January 14, 2013.
Some of my old Sassoon colleagues organized an event on the East coast to raise money for the victims of the hurricane Sandy, I was asked to participate and unfortunately I couldn’t due to a prior commitment.
So I decided to get some of my industry friends who are no strangers to performing on a platform, to come together and do a demo evening on Jan 14th in San Diego at 7pm. $50 per person (619) 255-6338 all proceeds go to the victims of hurricane Sandy. As somebody that has a personal connection to the New York and New Jersey states, I had to do my bit to help.
Craziest thing that has ever happened while working as a platform artist…
Many crazy moments over the years. One of my favorites is more special than crazy, but at the time it freaked me out.
I was cutting hair on the Sassoon booth alongside Gerard Scarpaci (co founder of hairbrained) at the ISSE show and we looked up and noticed Trevor Sorbie (industry legend and former Sassoon God) watching us.
We went from cool calm Sassoonies owning the stage to mumbling fumbling fools. And I happened to be cutting his Sassoon wedge haircut at the time. Talk about nervous. Lol
Who have been your favorite stylists to work with
I am fortunate to have worked with so many of our industry’s best hairdressers, here are a few of my faves
1. Tim Hartley
2. Gerard Scarpaci
3. Traci Sakosits
4. Colin Caruso.
If someone could only afford to take ONE class this year… what class is going to blow it out of the water?
My classes are awesome. They always blow people out of the water. But If I was to go take a class elsewhere.. it would have to be the 6 week class at Sassoon. It was my favorite class to teach while at Sassoon.
What has been the most amazing opportunity you have had in this industry so far?
My whole career has been an amazing opportunity but I have had the opportunity to help people along in their quest to be awesome at cutting hair. When I see some of my former students and see what they have done with their education and their careers I am truly grateful and happy. Traveling the world in private jets and cutting hair on stage to thousands comes second to having the opportunity to help somebody understand the what, why, how and when within a haircut.
Have you ever had an “OMG, what the hell am I doing here?!” moment? Share.
Yeah, I have had many. The best was in 2001 watching England vs Germany world cup soccer qualifier game at an English pub in Los Angeles at 5am with Vidal Sassoon. Pint of Guinness, soccer, and Vidal. Definite OMG moment. Oh and we beat the Germans 5-1. Best game ever.
Words to live by…
‘ I don’t come to bow, I come to conquer ‘ Robert Nesta Marley
On a perfect day I spend it…..
with my beautiful girlfriend Carmen and my daughter Mee.
What do people find most surprising about you?
I think people see me as the hair artist on a stage and assume I’m like the stereotype. flashy, self absorbed, buy my product etc. etc., but I’m actually reserved and quite humble. My ego is kept in check by my hands.
We have to ask about your #HairBaby . She is absolutely precious and definitely seems like a Daddy’s Girl!! Your instagram feed kills us! How does she feel about this Hair Nerd lifestyle?
Thank you so much. My daughter Mee is 5 years old and is my world. She is attached to the industry through myself and her mother, so she is a definite hair nerd in the making.
What is your next BIG goal?
To provide a common knowledge throughout the industry in an independent movement. No product company agendas of selling product. Just simple education for the masses. ‘Knowledge destroys fear’
How do you balance travel, owning a business, family, etc?
I don’t travel as much for work anymore. I limit it to a few trips a year. I am in my salon pretty much everyday now and that allows me to stay entertained and inspired. Now I get more time to spend with my loved ones.
I knew I was a Hair Nerd when…
In 1994, when I walked through the door at the Sassoon Academy in Los Angeles for a tour. I got hooked real quick. I’m one of the original hair nerds alongside my buddy, Gerard Scarpaci, we used to geek out at Sassoon about the science of haircutting. We helped create the foundations that eventually became Vidal Sassoon ABC cutting system. Hair Nerd for life.
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