Our graduates come from all walks of life and their careers span a vast array of fields within the beauty industry. What they all have in common, is that their story started at the Aveda Institute. We sat down with some alumni to hear their story in their own words.
We’re excited to share their stories to inspire you to start your great story with us!
If you’re an alumni and want to tell your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell me your story in your own words.
I actually started off at Ohio State. I was thought I was gonna be an art-school teacher. I got halfway through my program and after 2 years I realized that I wasn’t having fun the way that I thought that I would be. I always loved to do art; it was always something that was super safe to me. But it didn’t feel fun anymore because I was doing other’s peoples art. Because it was the basics, your basic studio classes and you don’t really get a ton of creativity in those. So, I decided to take some time off. I really had all the intentions of going back and one day I was just like, “I don’t think I want to go back.” I don’t think that’s what I want to do anymore. So, I took a little bit more time off. Honestly was really a leap of faith. I didn’t know if doing hair was gonna necessarily work out, but I knew that it was something that I always loved to do. I always loved to play with color. So, I decided to just give it a try and found that I actually loved it more than art. It kind of became my art. I’m able to be creative with it. I do a lot of color and I do a lot of balayage. My services, every head isn’t the same so I’m not just foiling a bunch of foils and doing the same cut over and over again. I’m able to kind of have some creativity with it and treat every head as something different.
I decided to just give it a try and found that I actually loved it more than art. It kind of became my art.
Do you still do any kind of art other than hair?
When I have time, I try and take photos. That was my main medium. Aside from that I do some drawing.
What drew you to the beauty industry when you were you looking for something else?
It was something I always kind of loved. And, I always loved Aveda. I actually started going to Nurtur when I was 15 or 16 to get my hair cut. That’s how I started in the Aveda world. When I decided to go to hair school it was pretty much a no brainer. I didn’t even tour any other schools. I knew that I wanted to go to Aveda because I believed in the products and what the company stood for. When I was in hair school, I knew that I wanted to work with Nurtur. I don’t think I really applied for many other salons, like Nurtur was kind of it for me.
I didn’t even tour any other schools. I knew that I wanted to go to Aveda because I believed in the products and what the company stood for.
Was that always your dream, to be behind the chair?
I just wanted to be behind the chair. You know, I’ve thought about if I ever wanted to own my own salon and I don’t know if I ever want to do something bigger than behind the chair. I love social media and I obviously it’s done a lot for me, it’s grown my business in a very short time. But yeah, I like being behind the chair, I like talking to people. Getting that human connection. I have no interest in buying my own products and figuring out inventory. That doesn’t not sound fun to me.
What are your current dreams? What is the goal long term?
I think at some point, I would like to do social media with Nurtur. But I’d also like to be a mentor one day. Which I’ve expressed to Jill before. Getting to a point where I have enough clients and I have the numbers and I just take someone under me and just show them as much as I can.
How have mentors helped you so far in your career?
Oh my gosh! I feel like I have learned everything any anything that I need to know about foiling from Levi [Gragg]. I learned about placement, how to be fast at formulation. All of that fun stuff.
What’s been your favorite part of your career so far?
Definitely being behind the chair by myself. I mean, while I learned a lot from being an assistant, probably more than I ever thought I would learn just from standing there watching. It’s been cool to figure things out for myself. You know there’s definitely some times where your “Oh, no did I mess up?” When, it finally comes out you’re like “OK. I did this, I got this.” You figure out how to get through even though it’s scary and that’s kind of cool because you realize “it’s ok, I can do this” I don’t need somebody to hold my hand, I know what I’m doing.
You know there’s definitely some times where your “Oh, no did I mess up?” When, it finally comes out you’re like “OK. I did this, I got this.”
What is it about being behind the chair that’s fulfilling to you?
Other than being able to give people their dream hair,just talking to them, I think it’s really nice to give people an ear sometimes.
Did you have, were your family and friends supportive when you decided to move from college to cosmetology school?
Oh yeah, definitely. I think it definitely scared my parents a little bit, but once I was in it everyone was super supportive, especially my friends. They let me do some weird things on their hair and I don’t know why they still talk to me, haha! I mean I’m a lot better than I used to be.
I think it definitely scared my parents a little bit, but once I was in it everyone was super supportive, especially my friends.
If you could go back to the post high school, precollege or just right before you started cosmetology school is there any advice you would give to yourself?
You know, I go back and forth. Because sometimes I wish that I wouldn’t have started out going to college and I just would have really thought about what I wanted to do. But, I think there was a part of me that thought I had to go. Because that was what was normal, everyone goes to college. I feel like I almost felt a little bit of shame because I kind of knew that I didn’t wanna go to college, so I just like went to go. But, now I would say to myself “you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. There’s no problem with going to hair school and you not wanting to go to college.”
I feel like I almost felt a little bit of shame because I kind of knew that I didn’t wanna go to college, so I just like went to go. But, now I would say to myself “you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.”
What are some hurdles you had to overcome throughout your career or your choice to take this career?
I feel like the biggest thing that have had to overcome is when you mess up or you get to the end of a service and you don’t like or aren’t happy with the result, that it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world and if you can take that feeling of unsatisfaction or frustration and turn it into a learning experience to grow from. At the end of each work day you have to forgive yourself if you’re upset with the work you did, because there is always room for growth.
At the end of each work day you have to forgive yourself if you’re upset with the work you did, because there is always room for growth.
What is the highlight of your career so far?
Probably building up as many balayage clients as I have in such a short amount of time. Getting those referrals from all the people that I’ve seen. Feels really nice to know that people appreciate you and want to support you.
How has social media impacted your career?
I think that’s it’s really important. You take the before picture and you forget to take the after picture or vice/versa. I think that it’s really important to really try and remember to take your before and after photos. Come up with an Instagram name that you can market. I tried to pick something that people could find me. It was easy actually I just tried to pick the hashtags that they were trying to match us to at Nurtur. I made my account a business account so, I can look at insights and I try to pay attention to my most popular times that people are looking at my photos and I try and post then.
Also make sure to let people know when you have open slots. That has been really big for me. When I post those, sometimes I get like over 50% of those spots filled. So even though it’s repetitive and your probably like “oh my god, people don’t wanna see my available times” Sometimes I post them every single day. As soon it falls off my thing every 24 hours, I just post it again. And posting your service menu… having it all there for somebody, I think is really helpful. That way they don’ t have to message you, “hey, how much is this” and things like that. It cuts out the middleman.
And they might not realize they want to do something different with their hair until they see something you did, and they go “Oh yeah, I’ll schedule an appointment and do that.”
Exactly! It’s crazy when they bring in an inspiration picture, and they’re like so I found this inspiration picture, it’s from your Instagram” and you’re like Oh, my gosh, cool, I can do that!