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The San Diego Sola Sessions was an event full of milestones. Our 10th Sola Sessions (that’s right, 10!) was held on May 6th in San Diego. And while the 425-attendee event sparked excitement for the future of Sola, it also encouraged us to look back on the past 15 years as Kim Bennett, Sola's Culture Ambassador, shared her journey as the first-ever Sola stylist. We also hosted the first Faces of Sola panel and had every single one of the 2019 Faces of Sola in attendance in the front row.

With so much inspiration, education and community-building spanning the two-day event, we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss any of the magic. So here are our top 10 takeaways from the San Diego Sola Sessions.

1. We started with a splash 💦

We kicked things off with a Cinco de Sola pool party on Sunday, May 5th. Our Sola pros heated up by cooling off in the beautiful, Olympic-sized pool at the historic Lafayette Hotel (where movie stars like Ava Gardner, Lana Turner and Bob Hope used to hang - fun fact!). Our Sola fam could be seen (IRL and on Instagram) snapping photos in our #MySola photobooth, dancing in sombreros, drinking margaritas and even receiving a little 1-on-1 education from our party sponsor, Hattori Hanzo Shears.

2. Lauren Gartland made us feel like champions 🏆

Lauren Gartland fired things up with her Inspiring Champions keynote address on how to become a six-figure earning salon professional. “Lauren has great points and a simple but efficient guide to set major goals each day to set ourselves up for success,” said Jessica Nalani McDaniel, owner of Hairology in Sola Huntington Beach, CA. Attendees walked away with a step-by-step process that they could immediately implement into their businesses to work smarter, not harder and get closer to bringing in $100 to $200k per year!

3. Jennie Wolff shared her secrets to a successful #MarketingLife 🙌

Although she claims to not have been born “hashtagging marketing life,” Jennie Wolff, Sola's VP of Marketing and Education, sure understands the #MarketingLife better than most, especially when it comes to marketing for independent salon owners. In addition to encouraging Sola professionals to lean into technology and education platforms to elevate business (including SolaGenius and Sola Pro), Jennie also provided helpful tips like how to take a great photo for Instagram, as well as important questions to ask yourself when marketing your business:

  • What services do you offer?
  • What do you specialize in?
  • What products do you use?
  • What’s the experience you provide in your salon and how is it unique?

4. Robert Cromeans got real about retail and business 💯

While it’s no secret that Robert Cromeans, aka the cat in the hat, can wow a crowd with his jaw-dropping hair tricks, our audience was captivated by his retail and business strategies seminar. “I love what Robert Cromeans has taught about elevating the client’s experience. Diving deep and getting personal. I have started to use his method of knowing our retail products so well that each client feels like they are getting a custom take-home routine,” shared Jessica. Cromeans, who is Paul Mitchell's Global Business and Artistic Director, was also a speaker at our Chicago Sola Sessions in September 2018, and he opened his talk saying that the Sola Sessions is one of his favorite places to present because the “Sola community is one of the most serious audiences he’s ever had.” Way to go Sola fam!

“Robert Cromeans made me feel inspired and excited about my job again. Made me re-think how I do business and using my studio to the best of its ability.” - Shellie Diamond Muro, Studio Deux in Sola San Dimas

5. Pulp Riot colored our world 🌈

The Pulp Riot team, led by Director of Education Tracey Hughes, brought an all-star crew comprised of Jess Tittle @jessscissorhands, Kasey O’Hara @hairbykaseyoh, and Kristina Marie @hairbykristinamarie. Each of them brought their own expertise to the stage. Kasey O’Hara did a live vivid color melt, showcasing how Pulp Riot’s color formula works together to create beautiful vivids for all your unicorn clients. She even gave a friendly reminder that if you are trying to attract more vivid color clients, it’s important to have vivid color in your hair because “you attract what you are.” Jess gave us some insight into Pulp Riot’s new full-range permanent color line with 80 killer shades, Faction8. She listed her favorite things about the line as it’s consistency, amazing scent and it’s intermix-ability with other Pulp Riot products. Kristina Marie gave an updo demo to use braids as a way of showing off those beautiful colors.

6. We cut to the chase with Hattori Hanzo Shears ✂️

John Mosley and Greg Gilmore represented Hanzo Nation with their educational barbering and cutting techniques, but really brought their value to the Sessions attendees by doing a live Q&A with the audience. Audience members chimed in asking questions such as how to tailor a haircut to a man whose head shape is a little off, with Mosley responding that it’s important to ask the client his or her preference. Another asked about technicalities of why John was using his razor the way he was to create the fade he was going for. 2019 Faces of Sola and barber expert, JayR Mallari, asked how to know what tools to use based on clients’ number descriptions. Mosley answered with, “When a client asks for a length by number, I ask them to give me a picture of what they want.”

7. Tricks and treats from the Paul Mitchell team ✨

What can we say, other than they pulled off a $2,000 day in less than an hour! How’s that for some magic?! The Paul Mitchell team never fails to disappoint and this was no exception. Robert Cromeans, Mary Cromeans and Donna Mizell cut, colored and styled 10 models, and the magic didn’t stop there. The cat in the hat pulled out all the stops performing his infamous hat trick, took the hat off his head and used an electric razor to cut a perfect graduation all the way around. He then wow’d us once again using his fan trick on another model where his team used large fans to blow the model’s hair as he snipped perfect long, vibrant green layers leaving us with a total ta-da moment!

8.  We made history with the first-ever Faces of Sola Panel 🤩

We may be biased, but if we had to pick a highlight, the first Faces of Sola panel would definitely be it! We brought together Faces from various years to give our audience an array of insights to the journey of our Sola professionals. The panel was comprised of Kim Bennett (2016 Faces of Sola, Denver, CO), Kenya Kirk (2017 Faces of Sola, Austin, TX), Mahogany Plautz (2018 Faces of Sola, Minneapolis, MN), Joey Figueiredo (2019 Faces of Sola, Prairie Village, KS), and Kelsey Morris (2019 Faces of Sola, Columbus, OH), and was moderated by Jennie Wolff, who covered topics ranging from from business and marketing strategies, social media tips, family balance, education and their individual journeys with Sola.

9. Side Sessions workshops: Skin Authority and CAO Cosmetics 💄

For all estheticians and makeup artists, or any Sola professional interested in add-on services and upping their retail game, the Side Sessions provided valuable education on techniques that can easily be applied in the salon. Michelle Horner from Skin Authority taught ways to expand their service menus with bite-sized retail treatments and easy, powerful add-ons. And Ashley Medina from CAO Cosmetics delivered makeup tutorials, which focused on creativity and artistry in CAO’s mixology concept, where all products are inter-mixable.

10. The SolaGenius team taught us how to run a business like a BOSS 🤓

For the first time ever, SolaGenius hosted a Side Sessions class to provide more insight into this groundbreaking technology. This was an opportunity for Sola professionals to learn about the tool, get insight on new features like BookNow, and speak directly to the ambassador team about questions they have around signing up or how to make better use of their subscription. The class covered the ways that the Sola tools and technology can work together to ensure that Sola professionals are getting maximum exposure for their businesses. As a follow-up from the class, the Sola home office will be launching a series of webinars to drill down on the tools that are provided to Sola professionals and how to make the most of them. One Sola professional in attendance said, “SolaGenius information was very valuable. I’m in the process of switching from Vagaro.”

While we could go on and on about how amazing the San Diego Sola Sessions were, and the hours of education and inspiration our attendees received, we wanted to let one of our Sola professionals, Brittany Amos from Bakersfield, CA, sum it up in her own words. “The Sola Sessions inspired and motivated me to better my business. I felt a part of an amazing community I could relate to so much. I left with a fire to only grow and better myself and the experience I create for my salon guests. I was given a sense of accomplishment for where I have taken my business so far and got so many ideas on where I can take my business in the future. I look forward to my life at Sola!”

Are you having total FOMO yet?! There's another Sola Sessions event right around the corner...we're heading to Nashville on Monday, September 16! Click here for more info.

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