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The launch of the Sola Sessions in Denver, Colorado, made history by providing education, inspiration and community for Sola stylists and entrepreneurs across the nation.

Sola hairdressers, estheticians and nail techs from more than a dozen states joined at the Curtis Hotel to learn from some of the best educators in the professional beauty industry. The event was the first of many planned by Sola Salon Studios.

Sola’s first-ever stylist and Director of Education, Kim Bennett Horvath, kicked-off the event by sharing some of her experiences at Sola over the last 12 years and inspiring the 250 attendees to get out of their comfort zone and learn something new. Kim was followed by co-founders Stratton Smith and Matt Briger who told the story of Sola’s roots, sharing their passion for providing the best tools and support to salon professionals, always putting their needs first. “We’ve remained focused on making this the best possible experience for our stylists,” Stratton shared.

Nina Kovner, the founder of Passion Squared, followed that message with inspiration to the audience for finding the inner purpose of each participant’s business. With the goal of creating “bad ass marketers” out of all Sola stylists in attendance, Nina had attendees close their eyes and explore why they do what they do.

She used the upward trajectory of Sola’s mission as an example: “Sola is in the empowerment business,” Nina said. “And that’s a killer purpose!”

With energy in the room rising, the Sola Sessions then changed gears to focus on business education with a comprehensive Marketing 101 discussion with Jennie Wolff, Sola’s VP of Marketing and Stylist Programs.

Jennie Wolff, who has a diverse background in strategic marketing and communications, started with an overhead view of the various marketing tactics that work together to create an integrated marketing plan. She then zoomed-in and encouraged stylists to give their business a boost by investing their time on marketing channels that will help them connect with their customers and drive business results. She urged everyone to try one new thing, sharing myriad tools provided by Sola Salon Studios, and encouraged the stylists to take advantage of the resources available at their fingertips.

Redken’s legendary Michael Cole then took Jennie’s message to the next level with some inspiring straight-talk that urged Sola stylists in the room to look through a different lens to maximize their earnings and business success. First, he said, as stylists – and across the beauty industry – professionals need to get comfortable charging what they’re worth. Sometimes pricing can be an uncomfortable conversation, but it’s an important one to have with yourself to maximize success and performance.

­The afternoon Sola Sessions consisted of diverse artistic education, as inspirational Luis Alvarez, co-founder of Aquage, DJ Muldoon of theFactory, and Redken’s Sam Villa performed stellar shows.

Luis Alvarez and Nicole Gary delivered an on-stage performance that ended with dramatic, goddess-inspired styles that combined the very best education on technique, tools and product.

DJ Muldoon had the crowd mesmerized while he delivered an edgy, red-carpet-ready look with tips rooted in the basics, including the critical importance of hair tension while cutting.

Sam Villa ran on to the platform and got the Sola group popping out of their seats before heading down the path of inspiration and technique. In the midst of his amazing style demonstration, Villa connected with the audience directly when he shared the inspiring story of a beauty school student who told him she was ready to quit after being discouraged by her peers.

A survivor of his own doubters, Villa told the crowd that when he was finishing school, he faced similar odds, being told he was no good with his hands.

“I dare you to say that now,” he proclaimed, with an inspired defiance in his voice.

The day also featured the Side Sessions Lounge where vendors CosmoProf, SalonCentric, Sanitas Skincare, gloProfessional, Sola's own Kim Schine of The Painted Ten and Hattori Hanzo Shears provided services and additional education opportunities for estheticians, nail techs and other service providers. 

Throughout the Denver Sola Session, educators shared a common theme of growth and togetherness across the industry. Editors from Beauty Launchpad and American Salon who were in attendance for the event were impressed by the high caliber of the lineup, and also said the theme of building-up Sola stylists to connect and meet their independent goals together and as individuals resonated with them.

For a visual recap of the event’s amazing highlights, hop over to Instagram and search for #solasessions and double-tap to show some love for the incredible educators who made the first-ever Sola Sessions a hit!

Click here to watch a video created by Luis Alvarez that encapsulates the overall feeling throughout the Sola Sessions event.

While a first-time event only happens once, there’s so much more to come! Stay tuned for some exciting news about the next Sola Session in Minneapolis on Monday, April 25!

Future 2016 Sessions also include Orange County on September 12 and Charlotte, NC on November 14.

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