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On Monday, November 6, 2017, 200 Sola professionals from across the nation gathered at the Juniper Hotel Cupertino for the Sola Sessions: San Jose. Wow. We at Sola are overwhelmed with gratitude for the #SolaFam and all the artists and educators who joined us for a one-of-a-kind day filled with new ideas, budding friendships, awesome stories, and more than a little magic.

The daylong event included a presentation on business strategies from Terri Cowan (Professional Salon Concepts), marketing with Sola’s VP of Marketing & Education Jennie Wolff, an entertaining show with the Paul Mitchell team led by international platform artist Jason Reyes, tons of technique tips on everything from shadow roots to razor cutting with Claudio Lauzo (Wella) and tons of color and texture technique with Andrew Carruthers and Veronica Ridge (Sam Villa Brand and Redken). Additionally, SolaGenius, Hattori Hanzo Shears, Muse Beauty, Hydropeptide, Gelish, Morgan Taylor Professional Nail Lacquer, SD Extensions, SalonCentric, and CosmoProf teamed up with us to provide technology, makeup, skincare, salon tools, sundries, nail care and more.

We had so much fun at Sola Sessions San Jose that we couldn’t resist sharing our top moments with you! 

Event emcee Kim Bennett Horvath – Sola’s first-ever stylist and our Culture Ambassador – kicked off the series by sharing Steve Harvey’s video “You Gotta Jump” — filled with inspiration and tips for how to make your dreams come true. Kim reminded the audience that when you jump, it’s scary at first. Sometimes the going gets tough, but eventually your parachute will open. In order to thrive, you've got to give yourself permission to take big risks. She talked about the future of the industry and reminded attendees that as independent salon owners, they are the movers and the shakers, and the sky is the limit.

Terri Cowan (Professional Salon Concepts) took the stage as the Keynote Speaker to talk about the relationships stylists have with their clients and their peers. Just think: “If we were half as committed to our guest and colleagues as we are to our cell phones, we would be magical!”

Sure, you’re working in a solo salon — but that doesn’t mean you’re a party of one, and Terri explained why it’s so important to pay respect not just your customers, but to the other salon professionals in your Sola location, too. Of course, you also need to respect yourself! Self-care is critical if you’re going to take good care of your guests. (“No pouting! No one wants to be taken care of by a nut,” as Terri put it.) Remember, discipline is uncomfortable in the short-term, but compromise is uncomfortable forever.

Sola’s VP of Marketing & Education, Jennie Wolff, provided a comprehensive introduction to marketing, sharing that the heart of marketing is storytelling. She inspired guests to try new things and take risks, while building their marketing strategies around their existing or hopeful clientele because “marketing starts and ends with your customer,” as she explained. “The experience you provide in your studio is just as much as part of your marketing as the images you post on Instagram.”

Jennie shared eight different marketing tactics that work together to make up an integrated marketing strategy and encouraged the crowd to utilize the wonderful tools Sola has created to help catapult their marketing journey, including the Sola website, Sola Pro, the Sola Blog and SolaGenius. After a deep dive into technology and social media, Jennie shared tons of holiday tips with the crowd to help them end the year with a ca-ching (check out her latest post over on the Sola Blog for lots of marketing tips!).

During lunch, stylists mingled, shared stories, and visited with vendors to shop, learn, and shop some more.

After lunch, the Paul Mitchell team took the stage, and their presentation led by Jason Reyes was every bit as hilarious as it was relevant!

Jason had the audience laughing nonstop with his one-liners, but the guru also got down to business, and had his audience totally captivated as he dished out technique tips for clipper cuts and bobs, and showed the crowd how to work with hair that can be worn curly or smoothed out. Jason also showed guests how to shape curls by making them graduated in the back, and he talked about point cutting, too, and why it’s crucial to follow a guide. He even shared some thoughts on texturing scissors. Genius. 

From Wella, Claudio Lazo dove deeper into the mechanics of cutting with an in-depth look into how to cut various lines: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal.

Did you know that you can do all of those lines in a single haircut? Claudio showed off an awesome new technique for creating a shadow root, and discussed the importance of balance while demonstrating a braided extension on a textured model.

Andrew Carruthers and Veronica Ridge joined forces to round out the day, representing the Sam Villa Brand and Redken teams.

Together they demonstrated deep point cutting, notching, deep peaks, and valleys. Andrew cut shag elements with elevation and deep notching to give both separation and texture. After sharing his razor cutting pointers, Andrew invited Ayla Davis (a Sola stylist from Willow Glen) on stage, to show different angles to position with clients. Color techniques were another focus during this dynamic presentation.  

No Sola Session is complete without an overstuffed gift bag, and these swag bags may have been our best yet, thanks to our awesome vendors. And throughout the day, the prizes were plentiful, too! Attendees took home Hattori Hanzo Shears, tools and product from Paul Mitchell, education vouchers and generous product gifts from Wella and Sebastian, tons of products from Redken and tools from Sam Villa Brand, color rings from SD Extensions, Hydropeptide skincare sets, product packages from Gelish, a tool and technique kit from Muse Beauty and awesome tech packages from SolaGenius — and let’s not forget Lola Cook who won a free week of rent!

From Dallas to D.C. to San Jose, the 2017 Sola Sessions have been a whirlwind of memories and life changing inspiration. We’ll see you again in 2018! First stop: West Palm Beach, April 9. 

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