Lisa Vann has been one of Seattle’s leading stylists since 1988 and owns Milagros SalonSpa, A Lisa Vann Salon Spa and an Aveda Lifestyle Salon. As an Aveda Guest Artist, Lisa has traveled worldwide, demonstrating innovative techniques and products to other salon professionals and inspiring them to grow their careers. Lisa’s work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Essence, and Marie Claire magazines. She has also been recognized in trade magazines, including Modern Salon, American Salon, Seattle, 303, Hairdressers Journal, Hair and Beauty Africa, Launchpad, Vibra, Canadian Hairdresser, Behind the Chair, Style Source and Northwest Style magazines for her philanthropic ideals and her beautiful, creative looks in texture hair styling, hair color and hair cuts.In 2008, Lisa received her first North American Hairstyling Awards nomination for Fashion Forward. She was also nominated in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for International Hairstylist of the Year from the Canadian Mirror Awards.Lisa has created a legacy of goodwill, encouraging and inspiring others to do the same. She recently helped produce and provide hair styling and makeovers for the Stop & Go Charity Fashion and Art Show, which raised money for homeless families and First Place, a school for homeless children. Lisa also helped produce Les Egoistes’ fashion productions of FIRE and WATER, which raised funds to support the Emergency Housing Program for families of burn patients and the Puget Sound Water Conservation Coalition.

You have a new Lisa Vann and Friends event coming up on May 19th… we love the concept behind this education. Will you tell us a bit about it?

I think that one of the greatest responsibilities that the educators now have is not only teaching their craft to other stylists, but also to pave the way and inspire up and coming stylists to be educators as well. With my staff I have members that are educators both in and outside of the salon. Seeing them succeed inspires me and everyone on our team. These shows give my team the chance to work with people in the industry that inspire me with the work they do.
It also fulfills my want of sharing education not just with my team but with the industry. Lisa Vann and Friends being here in the Northwest gives opportunities to see shows that they might otherwise need to travel longer distances to see. I also love that our shows draw people in from places like California, Las Vegas, New York and other fashion progressive cities.

On May 19, 2013 , Ted Gibson and Jason Backe will be showcasing incredible “before and after” makeovers taught at the  Ted Gibson Advanced Academy Classes  in Florida and New York.  The show will highlight some of the best techniques to achieve trendsetting looks, increase editorial influence and creating a $1,200 hair experience.  They will inspire you to take your career to a whole new level and elevate the standard within your realm of business.

For more information and tickets visit

You have been an artist with Aveda for many years. Why the Aveda brand? How does it speak to your own personal style?

Aveda is a brand, and a lifestyle, that spoke to me when I first started with the brand, and continues to be something that I can believe in. Working closely with the brand has built a relationship that I value. Aveda speaks to me in my personal style because of my love of texture. Texture is my strength, and something that I enjoy. The Lisa Vann and Friends shows do not only feature Aveda networked stylists, but leaders throughout the industry. We have had Aveda stylists in our shows with great success, but I do want to offer opportunities outside of that as well.

Top 3 Stylists who inspire your work:

1. Trevor Sorbie- I admire him for creating superior talents in our industry.
2. Vidal Sassoon- For being a stable and solid foundation for the industry.
3. Charlie Price- Generous to all and creates opportunities for stylists, new and experienced.

We are huge believers in competition. How do you feel the competition experience affects your daily work?

Competitions like NAHA and other International competitions create such a buzz in my salon and throughout my team. We love to look at the images and pick out a guest that we would be able to use that image as inspiration with. It is a great way to grow as a stylist and push yourself within the limits of your clients, or push further in your own editorial work.

If a newer stylist (less than 3 years) could only take 2 classes this year, which would you suggest?

1: A Class on how to grow your business and understand how to make sense of where the journey is taking you. Stylists need to understand that they also need to give back to the communities that allow them to grow to the levels that they desire. With this Lisa Vann and Friends show we are partnering with the GSBA (Greater Seattle Business Association) and their scholarship program. They help GLBTQA individuals, not only in the Seattle area, have access to scholarship funds to achieve the education level they might have otherwise not been able to receive.
2: A class on understanding texture, both natural and created. With global society becoming more and more of a melting pot, so are our clients hair texture and needs. I think that understanding texture and the treatments we perform to create and alter texture will be the building block to a successful stylist.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made at the salon or backstage?

I would have to say that my biggest mistake that I ever made happened on stage, not backstage, and not in the salon…right in front of all eyes! I was doing the Aveda Congress show and my idea was that there would be 5000 pounds of ice on stage to be carved with chainsaws and axes. For some reason I overlooked the concept that ice melts and turns into water. I literally flooded the stage. Ice was flying everywhere, including into the audience, and melting! The floor need to be lifted and repaired during the lunch break.


We admire your business mind…Advice for someone contemplating opening a salon.

I think the best advise that I can give would be know the culture you want your salon to have and what the guest will see. Without having a clear idea of what that culture is allows for your staff to create that culture to what they think it needs to be… not what you wanted it to be.

What advice would you give to a young stylist who wants to become an educator?

My advise would be to take every class you are able to afford, and take the classes that intimidate you as well as the classes you feel you have a grasp on. Be open to learning something new from every experience.

What 3 items would you die without?

1. Paddle Brush
2. Foil Comb
3. My Coffee…


What has been the most amazing opportunity you have had in this industry so far?

I think that the most amazing opportunity has been when I was first partnered into the salon, prior to taking full ownership. It gave me the opportunity to give to the team the education that I had obtained, and it allowed me to create this culture within the salon, and ultimately within the industry.

Have you ever had an “OMG, what the hell am I doing here?!” moment? Share.

Well… I am a hairdresser first, and a business owner second… I think that OMG moment would have been when I realized the whole salon was mine. I have been fortunate to have great business mentors that point me in the right direction whenever I have needed guidance.
I also have an amazing and understanding team of people that are in leadership at the salon. They all have very different ways of seeing how things operate and keep the business heading in the right direction.  With a strong leadership team I am confident that the decisions that are being made are for the best of the entire team and for the salon. That is part of the culture that we have. Every guest is treated and touched by everyone, and greatness comes from working together.

Words to live by…

Live life to the fullest.  Don’t give up on your dreams!

What do people find most surprising about you?

I didn’t really understand it at first but people would tell me “You are so real…” What I think they are saying is that they are surprised that I am rather transparent… I don’t have a hidden agenda, and I put it all out there. Also people are surprised when I tell them that I am a mother of three, and that I drive a mini van!

What is your next BIG goal?

I often think that I could run a small country from my desk, but in reality I want to see the success of my team within the industry. I love doing editorial work and competition work, but without the support of my team and family I am not sure I would get the results alone. I feed off of their energy and ideas as much as they feed off of my concepts and experience.
I think we need each other to obtain that next big goal… the goal being a realization that our network is bigger than a brand. It is taking like-minded stylists, both within and outside of our Aveda Network, and creating that new generation of stylists that can build and expand to ideas we may have never seen possible. I love and stand by the mission of Aveda, but I also realize that education needs to be available to everyone that wants to be players in the industry.


You have THREE do you maintain balance between work and home?

That is a great question, and was probably the most unexpected question so far…. family is very important to me. My girls, and husband, have always experienced me traveling on the weekends for a large portion of my career. I balance my time by spending as much time as possible with them at home.
My youngest just turned 11 and my oldest is 20. Each of my girls have very different personalities, but like me I think they realize that we all need each other to complete our circle. We spend quality time together as a group. My team is also a part of my family, and my girls and husband know each and every one of them, just as my team knows them. I would say that the best part of my day is knowing that no matter where I am my family is there.

I knew I was a Hair Nerd when….

I was about 12 or 13 years old and I was first introduced to the Aveda product and the Aveda Mission. I realized that if I pursued hairdressing I could change more than just hair. I could also change and create change around environmental and social issues.
I feel that I have accomplished so much in my career and now I want to get my team and the younger generation of stylists on board to take the reigns and continue what my mentors and myself have started.

You can STALK Lisa Vann on your own:

Twitter @iamhammy