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Wisdom begins in wonder… On Monday, May 8, 2017, 200 Sola professionals from 21 different states joined together at the Tyson's Corner Marriott (Washington D.C.) for the Sola Sessions. The day was full of inspiration, education, dance parties, prizes, networking, shopping, boomerangs and so much more.

The one-day event featured business and inspiration with Carol Phillips (BeauteeSmarts), marketing and technology with Sola’s VP of Marketing and Education Jennie Wolff, textured hair care and styling with Mizani educators Evie Johnson, Jada Jenkins and Jamal Edmonds and an insane amount of cutting, color and styling with Paul Mitchell’s VP of Education Stephanie Kocielski and Sarah Kobeski. Additionally, SolaGenius, KLASS Beauty, Hattori Hanzo Shears, Hydropeptide, Product Club, SalonCentric and CosmoProf partnered with us to provide technology, makeup, skincare, salon tools and sundries and so much more.

After checking in and receiving a gift bag chalk full of goodies from our awesome event partners, attendees had a chance to sip on coffee to get amped for a day of learning. Event emcee Kim Bennett Horvath, Sola’s first-ever stylist and Culture Ambassador/Director of Industry Relationships, unified attendees by sharing an anecdote about the similar journey they are on together that started with a courageous leap of faith. She shared Steve Harvey’s video “You Gotta Jump” in which Steve shares inspiration about how to make your dreams come true, reminding the audience that in order to thrive, you've gotta give yourself permission to take major risks.

Carol Phillips of BeauteeSmarts then took the stage to share her SMART Sales Strategies for Solopreneurs. She shared with Sola beauty professionals that it’s not their job to judge if a client can afford a service or product, encouraging stylists to recommend what your customer needs and don’t consider anything else. She shared that retailing improves client retention, and that selling products to new and existing clients is essential to growing your business. The first step is selling a service experience, and the next crucial step is providing them with the products to keep up with the look they hope to achieve. She reminded stylists to look and dress the part and invest in yourself: “You are your brand!”

Sola’s VP of Marketing & Education, Jennie Wolff, provided a comprehensive introduction to marketing, sharing that the heart of marketing is storytelling. She revealed that the key to figuring out marketing is often the key to figuring out anything you are committed to – you must have the willingness to learn something new every day, keep trying new things, and know when to hire a professional. She helped attendees assess their target clientele, because “marketing starts and ends with your customer.” She shared 8 different marketing tactics, ranging from social media to referral programs to technology, all that work together to make up an “integrated marketing strategy.”

While going around the wheel explaining a short overview of all 8 recommended marketing tactics, Jennie encouraged the Sola crowd how to lean forward to utilize the wonderful tools Sola has created to help catapult their marketing journey. These tools include: the Sola website, Sola Pro, the Sola Blog and SolaGenius.

When discussing Sola’s new app SolaGenius, Jennie recognized the many hats that Sola professionals wear as independent salon owners, recommending the various ways that technology can be utilized to market and run a more efficient one-person salon. When it comes to online booking, Jennie discussed how much time it saves to have online booking available to your clients, and also talked about the convenience it offers for clients. “The experience a customer has with your salon starts with finding you, and then second step is having a seamless the booking experience.”

Before breaking for lunch, Kimi joined Jennie on stage for a Facebook Live to announce an exciting promotion in collaboration with Eyes on Cancer. The two shared that during the month of May – Skin Cancer Awareness Month – Sola will be covering the cost for the Sola community to get certified through Eyes on Cancer, a training program designed for hairdressers and beauty professionals to recognize the early signs of skin cancers, particularly melanoma, on the head and scalp. After sharing a fun video of Kimi alongside Jeanne and Dean Foster completing the Eyes Opened Challenge, they told attendees and Facebook Live viewers to visit Sola Pro to obtain an exclusive code to join this potentially live saving movement! 

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

Mizani kicked off the afternoon with a rowdy follow-the-leader dance party! Throughout their upbeat show, Evie Johnson, Jada Jenkins and Jamal Edmonds focused on creating, removing and manipulating texture. They joked with the audience that everyone wants a texture that they don’t have: if a client walks in in with straight hair, they want it curly, and vice versa. They shared that texture can be a wonderfully profitable business in the salon, and that it’s important to make sure each client leaves the salon with the right retail. They taught attendees how to use Mizani’s Miracle Milk (included in the gift bags!) to detangle and treat hair before doing color treatments to save time and keep hair and scalp healthy.

After a short afternoon shopping break, Paul Mitchell’s artistic team showcased color technique on 10 models, led by Stephanie Kocielski (Paul Mitchell's VP, Education), featuring Sarah Kobeski! Highlighting the launch of Paul Mitchell’s new Skylight Lightener, the Paul Mitchell team shared balayage and hand painting techniques, and also shared vibrant new Pop XG (also included in the gift bags!) color applications. Stephanie and Sarah shared jaw-dropping haircuts and styling techniques that Sola stylists could take back and utilize in their studios right away. Stephanie kept attendees laughing throughout the entire show, and closed out with a heartfelt message inviting Sola stylists to share what kind of education they need more of in order to be more successful in their Sola studios.

Also in the audience were 20 future professionals from the Tyson's Corner Paul Mitchell School!

Throughout the day, the prizes were plentiful! Attendees were showered with Hattori Hanzo Shears, tools from Paul Mitchell, a gift set from Mizani, KLASS Beauty products, Hydropeptide skincare sets, gifts from Product Club, tools from SalonCentric, awesome tech packages from SolaGenius and let’s not forget the two winners who took home a free week of rent!

And no Sola Session is complete without happy hour! All of our awesome educators and artists joined attendees for photo ops and schmoozing over delicious appetizers and cocktails.

While we’re still reveling in the magic, we already can’t wait for the next one! If you weren’t able to join us in D.C., mark your calendar for a Sola Session coming up:

  • Monday, September 18: West Palm Beach
  • Monday, November 6: Bay Area

For more pictures, check out our Facebook album or search #SolaSessions on Instagram!


“Sola Sessions was phenomenal. It was hands down the best educational event I have been to!” -Heather Sipe (Glen Burnie, MD)

"It was so inspiring to be around like-minded individuals. Even though I handle my own business, I don't feel alone and feel very much apart of a community. Sola is so much more than I could have imagined and I feel blessed to be a part of it. Amazing!!!” -Jen Charles (Pittsburgh, PA)

“I truly enjoyed my first Sola Sessions. It was a very inspirational experience. I will really benefit from applying the marketing strategies suggested. I feel more prepared to build an online presence. It was also good to see new products and tools on the market. Thank you, Sola, for an uplifting experience. I will be returning to future Sessions.” -Matiya Bonas (Edgewater, MD)

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