Reading the genuine messages on social platforms about the life changing experience it provided for many was above and beyond, you could say the troops (as I warmly called them) all came home out loud and proud of who they are, what they learnt, the changes they will make, ultimately the experience, friendships and laughter we shared was priceless.
Haircare Australia National Education Manger, Deborah French
The Haircare Australia Study Tour 2019 was one for the books. Salvador Dalí, sangria and a new industry network armed for change.
The Haircare Australia Study Tour took to Barcelona in 2019 – the laid back, cultural rich home to Moroccanoil Creative Director, Antonio Corral Calero, Lakmé and now, a string of lifelong relations and creative epiphanies currently building salon business’ right here in Australia, just as was intended.
Launching in New York, 2014, it has been a five-year journey for the inaugural industry program big on benchmarks. A never before seen concept and brimming itinerary equally dedicated to fun as facts, the Study Tour breeds opportunity for salon owners to truly engage; fostering new, lifelong business relationships for the greater good of Australian hairdressing. The headcount is capped and for good reason, this company puts family first, and it’s this kind and connected environment Haircare stands by, at all times.
The brainchild of Ward Gauvin (sadly not on tour 2019), this years’ Study Tour was headed by National Educator and general legend of a woman, Deborah French with Haircare Group Creative Director Lauren McCowan onboard for the ride.
“The original objectives of the Study Tour was to create an immersive education, cultural and creative experience that covered editorial, cutting, colour, business and inspiration, and to make the investment into assisting at NYFW worthwhile,” explains Lauren.
“Over the last five years it has really evolved into a networking experience for business owners and above all else, what has really stood out for me, is the supporting business relationships our clients make with one another. It makes the tour live-on long after the fun finishes.”
Day one saw the team take to Antonio’s salon slash creative space, Factory 236 for an intimate styling session with Moroccanoil Global Ambassador, Peter Beckett and Mr. Calero himself.
“I created Factory 236 first as a place where no-one can tell me what to do,” started Antonio.
“But really this is a place where people like yourselves can come and do what you do best.”
Actualising this mission, Antonio and Pete created two editorial styles before the team delivered their own interpretation under expert guidance and the motif to style freely, but most importantly, with a little soul.
“In 10 years, most jobs will be performed by computers. The dividing difference in what we do is how good we are as human beings. It’s not about the touch of the hair, but the touch of the soul. Hair is hair. Bringing the best out of a woman – customizing a look and a feeling – that is our strength in this world. The magic is in the messenger,” says Antonio.
With day one education wrapped, the team looked to the evening ahead; dinner and exploration through La Pedrera, Casa Milà, a building by the late, great Spanish Architect, Antoni Gaudí. Study Tour delegates ventured inward and upward of the great stone façade built between 1906 and 1912; the terrace lightshow finale a memorable moment for all.
Day two took the spotlight to colour as led by Factory 236 Education Manager, Jodie Palmer.
With fundamental roots in TONI&GUY UK cutting and styling, Jodie decided colour would define her future and, as we discovered first hand, for good reason. Back at Factory 236, the team dove deep into a myriad of cutomisable colour techniques designed to get the creativity firing and comfort zone pierced.
“Today we’re working around two colour themes, the first is Iridescent Pearl and the second is inspired by Pantone Color of the Year, Living Coral.”
Jodie continued to take delegates on an ‘inspiration path’ beginning with the subject itself before journeying through varied colour techniques as creative as they are commercially viable.
“These techniques (tie-dye, swirl, colour blocking and melting) are quick techniques as suited to the studio as the salon. It’s about blending and interlocking colour for a really interesting result … these days we need to be so open to thinking on the spot, so today is all about building up your arsenal of ideas; ultimately making what we do day-to-day in the salon more interesting.”
“I think our clients aren’t always aware of what we can actually offer. Sometimes we hold so much information back … my excuse over the years has been, ‘well I have clients in their 40s and they don’t want pink hair.’ The moment I’ve suggested a rinse or toning the end with a rose, so many people are down for it. It’s a matter of coming to events like this and remaining inspired.”
And what is a trip to Barcelona without a traditional Flamenco show? Delegates were treated to what for some remains a Study Tour highlight on the evening of day two. The ultimate ‘dinner and a show’ served on the outskirts of town with an authentic Flamenco and four-course meal; the dancers’ passion and tenacity truly palpable … so much so, a few Australian stylists took to the stage themselves, none of who are considering a career change to date.
Day three and four were all about Lakmé and initiated with a guided tour through the brand’s state of the art factory built in 2015 for the sole purpose of the premium, professional colour line.
In an almost unnerving glance to the future, it was mind blowing to get up close and personal to the gigantic custom ‘robot’ – filling, laser labelling, sealing, stacking and packing each small tube of Lakmé colour. Not one fold out of place, an art of precision synonymous with the brand’s research, development and product in general. Even down to air control, there is no room for error in this custom built factory with three laboratories (one on each floor) and extensive education facilities.
“The new Lakmé dispensing filling machine was like watching a science fiction movie. The technology in Lakmé admirably is ever evolving; always looking to improve and develop salon only products with a major focus on leading the way worldwide to sustainable practices,” said Deborah French.
Rare insight followed by a hands-on workshop led by Lakmé Educators Mariola and Jaunjo. With the objective to really drive down on the technicalities (and unlimited capacity) defining Lakmé colour, the tour group split into teams of three, working together to push the boundaries of the colour wheel while learning a little something from one artist to the next.
“I’ve been aligned with Lakmé for five years now and it was so nice to work with the product differently and with formulas I didn’t know possible. Understanding how the colour is created imparted a whole new level of respect and it was a pleasure to work alongside different artists on the one model; learning and growing from each other as we went,” said Samara Palazzi of La Sorella salon, Gold Coast.
While the education formalities were officially closed, Haircare were in no way finished with the fun. A string of lunches and dinners ensued, with a particular highlight in the Salvador Dalí Theatre-Museum (before lunch at Casa Brava) – a once in a lifetime experience leading guests to record proximity of the legend’s most prolific works. A man quite obviously twisted but inarguably genius; Dalí’s dealings with materials and form collaborate like no other, a journey through the sub conscious we should all experience at least once. Should the Study Tour been yet to find inspiration (unlikely) it was here available in droves. An unforgettable opportunity indeed and one THE JOURNAL thank Haircare Australia for enabling.
And so the time came to pack up the 2019 Haircare Australia Barcelona Study Tour, a trip in some ways unexpected for its making of lifelong friends, business mentors and exposure to utter brilliance. So much more than education and a good time, the Haircare Australia culture was tangent at every stop, sangria, show and seminar.
“Five years ago I was searching for an ‘industry family,’ the very reason I entered into Haircare Australia. The Study Tour is the ultimate highlight of what this company stands for, and I honestly doubt there is any other than can bring people together and create this insane, open-armed culture like they do,” says Samara.
“You don’t feel like a salon simply stocking their brands. Every individual person is made to feel special, Haircare celebrates everyone, not just the big salons … thinking about it gives me goose bumps.”
Goosebumps arise when we feel certain powerful emotions – a part of your brain called the hypothalamus sends a message via your nerves to the muscle in your skin. There’s no faking this, it’s real, just like Haircare’s investment into the future of hair, and more poignantly, the people behind it. Bring on the next instalment.
WHAT THE DELEGATES SAID:
“In 30 years of hairdressing (and multiple colour companies), I’ve been to a lot of conferences. This year I was really seeking a new education format, I wanted that wow factor, and I can honestly say the Study Tour delivered over and above,” says one-year Prestige Partner and owner of The Do Salon, St Kilda, Annette Carter.
“The power of a group collectively sharing high quality education, knowledge and skillsets inspires and motivates them to evolve. This passion is contagious, all who come in contact with them benefit from the new found knowledge and cant help but feel inspired to join their forward-thinking journey.” Haircare Australia National Education Manger, Deborah French.
“Reading the genuine messages on social platforms about the life changing experience it provided for many was above and beyond, you could say the troops (as I warmly called them) all came home out loud and proud of who they are, what they learnt, the changes they will make, ultimately the experience, friendships and laughter we shared was priceless,” Haircare Australia National Education Manger, Deborah French.
“The Study Tour has been created to fill so many needs for potential, new and existing clients. We all love to grow and feel like we’re apart of something that is an extension of ourselves, and our core values. The Study Tour allows clients to see Haircare Australia’s family values and the growth the company offers in so many unique ways. It’s a chance for new and key clientele to meet other, likeminded business owners and to network, feed off each other and grow. It’s all about inspiring and being inspired!” Haircare Australia Victorian Educator, Alexandria Kownacki.
“Spending a week with other hairdressers from all over Australia was something else … it was a really sad moment when it all concluded as I knew I wouldn’t be with those 15 people (in that context) again; all sharing their knowledge and love so freely. No bullshit, no egos – so humble. Also getting to know the Haircare Australia team in a different format was so great … I now have all these new tools and resources in my pocket,” Prestige Partner and owner of La Sorella salon, Gold Coast, Samara Palazzi.
For further information visit haircareaust.com