Dare to Dream 2018 Helps Professionals Refocus on their Aspirations

Laurel Nelson | June 28, 2018 | 7:57 AM
Barbara De Laere, general manager of Aveda, offers advice on millennial consumers.
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The Salon People's Tom Petrillo encourages attendees to tap into their dreams.
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The team from Pyure Salon orchestrates a vibrant hair presentation to wrap the first day.
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Aveda's Ian Michael Black, Janell Gleason and Ricardo Dinis shared their stories of failure, and how they helped them learn.
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A rainbow Aveda logo welcomes attendees.
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Tatum Neill of Paris Parker and Elevate Hair offers some sage social tips.
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Caruh Salon Spa's Cyndi DeSoto cautions attendees to "Live like you matter!"
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RedChocolate's Christopher Hermann and Virginia Meyer emceed the event.
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“If you can count to five, you can change your life.”—The Salon People

The Dare to Dream Experience kicked off at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday, June 24. This year, The Salon People owners Tom and Karen Petrillo asked attendees to focus on how to make their dreams a reality using author Mel Robbins’ “5-Second Rule.” Count down from five, make a decision and act on it.

Daring Speakers

Christopher Hermann, creative strategist and Virginia Meyer, co-owner of consulting company RedChocolate, facilitated the day with humor and inspiration.

The duo welcomed the 1,000+ attendees and then welcomed Tom Petrillo to the stage.

“This event is the only one that focuses on professional and personal development of us as individuals,” he said. “We’re geared towards service providers and the guest care team, and  supported by owners, managers, The Salon People, guest speakers and Aveda.

“Everything you hear today is going to come through the lens of ‘what’s in your best interest?’”

Dare to be Seen: Cyndi DeSoto, Chief Beauty Officer at Caruh Salon Spa in Seattle, author and creator of The Significant Movement and Live Like You Matter ( was first up in the day’s inspirational line up.

DeSoto took the audience through several exercises to better understand themselves, how to improve their communities, and how to make a difference in the world.

“Live like you matter—not like other people’s time and ideas are better than your own,” DeSoto said. “Follow your ideas and use your voice. My mission is to ignite self worth on the planet.”

Dare to Win: NAHA Winners Aisling Campbell (2017 Student Hairstylist of the Year), Heggy Gonzalez (2017 Editorial Artist of the Year) and Robert Grimes (multiple NAHA finalist and award winner including 2015 Hair Stylist of the Year shared not just the secrets of their success, but also how they overcame failures.

“Every choice is made by love or fear,” Campbell said. “You have to trust that the universe wants good things for you, and do your part to make those things happen. Finding people you know you can lean on, trust, be inspired and supported by is very valuable.”

Dare to Care: Aveda General Manager Barbara De Laere presented research and information on the beauty industry as a whole and how stylists are in a unique position to cater to changing consumer needs.

“You give guests an experience, a personalized consultation, expertise and curation, connection and transparency, and an authentic, natural brand,” she said. “You check all the boxes—you have never been more relevant.”

De Laere also spoke about the current generation of consumers: “Millennial consumers seek emotional connections—brands that focus on transparency, experience and community rather than simply quality.”

Dare to Be Happy: The day ended with Ray Civello, president and CEO of Civello and Aveda Canada giving practical advice on finding happiness in your career.

“Create deep connections versus transactions,” he said. “When we care, we bring the moment of connection to life.”

He encouraged the audience to find joy in their work and challenge themselves to overcome complacency.

Best New Aveda Artist Awards: The day ended with Dare to Dream’s first Best New Aveda Artist Awards, including a special Stylist Choice award. Finalists’ submissions for Stylist Choice were printed and given to attendees to vote on during the day. The winner, Millie Norman of Athena Salon, won $1,000 toward Aveda education in Florida.

Along with Norman, winners were announced in the following categories: social media, men, texture, color, make-up and creative cut. Winners received a free ticket to Aveda Congress.

After awards were given, the team from Pyure Salon entertained with an eye-popping, energy filled presentation.

The final day of the Dare to Dream Experience in St. Petersburg, Florida, kicked off with a Q&A session with Pyure owners Elan Levy and Luca Boccia.

The duo shared details of how they designed and rehearsed for the previous night’s performance, and how their dream of performing at Congress will be coming true this fall.

“We spent six months rehearsing this show, but it really started 12 years ago for us,” Levy said. “It was always part of our mission to go on stage and push ourselves.”

Boccia added, “Anyone can do this, but you have to surround yourself with people who want to go on the same journey as you. Last night took a village, and we have always recruited stylists who want the same thing as us.”

Dare to Share: Tatum Neill, creative director at Paris Parker salons and co-founder of Elevate Hair, brought his social media savviness to the stage to teach stylists how to use Instagram to leverage their careers.

“Instagram is a great business tool,” he said. “We work in a visual industry, and it’s a way to turn our vision into reality.

“Every person in this room should have digital portfolio that reflects you, and that clients can reference,” he added. “Instead of business cards, they can check out your Instagram.”

Neill conducted a quick photoshoot on stage using just his iPhone and a couple of apps to create a professional-looking photo of a non-professional model.

He offered tips on finding models, maximizing the photo shoot with a variety of outfits and how to keep track of your favorite photos on your phone.

“You can take a good photo and make it great with two apps: Photoshop Express and FaceTune,” he said.

“In Photoshop Express, pump up the exposure just a little,” he explained as he demonstrated on his phone live front of the audience. “Then patch up imperfections and smooth flaws on FaceTune. Next I’ll use the detail tab to tweak the eyes and lips if needed. It makes the model look flawless and I have a great photo to post.”

Neill also encouraged stylists to post daily and be aware of their hashtags.

“Find local hashtags to target the clients you want,” he advised. “And don’t be afraid to re-post other people’s content, but only share the work of people you love and admire, and it must fit the vibe of what you’re trying to sell on Instagram.”

Dare to Succeed: Brittany Adamson Hall, owner of Quattra Via in Carlsbad, California, inspired the audience with her personal success story.

At a low point in her life, Hall created a vision board of what she wanted her life to look like, including everything from what kind of car she wanted to drive to the type of man she wanted to marry to how she wanted her business to look.

“Impossibility is an ugly word that will prevent you from getting where you need to go,” she said. “So I changed it to I’mpossibility. The apostrophe transforms the word and the perception. Believing ‘I’mpossibility’ means celebrating the unique expression you’re meant to bring to the world. Your soul and wisdom have a special purpose here.”

She added, “Find the things that inspire you to live a more purposeful life.”

Dare to Listen: The next people on stage weren’t owners. They weren’t motivational speakers. And they weren’t hairdressers. They were three ordinary clients. And they were there to tell the truth.

Christopher Hermann took questions from stylists on everything from whether they will tell their stylists they don’t like a haircut to how to discuss pricing to the consultation.  

“I want my stylist to ask questions,” one client said. “Even if I’ve been coming in for a while. I want her to act like it’s my first time, every time.”

Another client added, “I’d like my stylist to offer suggestions when I don’t know what I want. Sometimes we get in our comfort zone and need that push to get out of it.”

The clients were also looking for specific information when it came to at-home care.

“We know our stylist is educated,” they said. “The way they dress all in black and carry themselves is beautiful, sleek and sexy. We trust them. So we want them to tell us which tool to buy and how to use it. We want to be shown and then do it ourselves in front of them to get it right. And then we want recommendations on tools, products, everything—go into details or we don’t get it.”

Dare to Master: Ian Michael Black, Aveda Artistic Director; Janell Gleason, Aveda Global Artistic Director; Ricardo Dinis, Aveda Artistic Director told personal stories of failure, and how they learned from them.

Dinis remembered failing a classic cut test during his Sassoon training, and how he quit on the spot.

Fortunately, his father told him quitting wasn’t an option, and to turn right back around and ask for his job back.

“My manager accepted me back, and I did finally pass my classic test and finished my training in London,” he said. “I then became the youngest director in Canada, and then an artistic director. It was the moment in my life when I realized what failure actually is—growth.”

Black had a similar story of wanting to give up after his dream job at a prestigious salon didn’t turn out as he expected. Instead of training, this boss continually sent him to fill in for stylists who were out.

“When I told her I wanted to quit, she said: ‘You know what your problem is? You don’t realize what you bring. The reason I send you out to the salons is because you are very talented, and you have to accept that.’

“It was at that moment I realized I could leave, or I could start believing in myself. I decided to strive to be as good as I could be.”

Gleason’s failure was a bit different. A natural perfectionist, she struggled to be her authentic self when educating large groups.

“When I got the opportunity to present in front of 400 people, I was very uncomfortable,” she said. “I couldn’t practice, I just had to do it. I was vulnerable and scared.”

Gleason made it through, but her session came off as a perfectly rehearsed monologue.

“I had to shift my mentality from perfection to being comfortable in my own skin. I developed a mantra I would say to myself: ‘I love you, and you love me.’ It turned away the fear. If you feel the world is rooting for you, it is. Be you must be self aware and comfortable with failing.”

Dare to be Exceptional: Van Council, Brandon Darragh

Van Council, owner of Van Michael salons in Atlanta, Georgia and Brandon Darragh, a six-figure hairdresser at Van Michael and educator, shared simple differences between good and great service delivery and how to become successful by focusing on the foundational steps many hairdressers miss.

“Every day we just have one job, and that is to create value,” Council said.

He encouraged stylists to rely on their support system in the salon to gather inspiration. “When the salon becomes a home of creativity, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “Working alone doesn’t always provide this connection.” 

And that creativity extends to guests as well, especially during the consultation.

“When you use the word ‘imagine,’ you keep people dreaming about what they could look like,” he said. “You inspire them to think of themselves in new ways. We encourage our artists to say to guests: ‘Can you imagine yourself with this color of hair? Or this cut?’”

When Darragh took the stage, he admitted it was his first time speaking and felt a little nervous. Midway through, he lost his place in his notes, and decided to embrace the event’s them of 5-4-3-2-1 and tossed the notes aside and got real with the crowd.

“Guests really want four major things,” he said. “Cut, Color, to know the condition of their hair and when to come back.”

Focus on those important factors, and you will be a successful stylist.

To learn more about this year’s Dare to Dream Experience, visit  






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