Monday, August 5, 2013

Beauty Spotlight: Editorial Stylist, Salon Owner and NAHA Winner Sherri Jessee

August 5, 2013 By  
THANKS go to Julie Shepperly for a lovely interview! Read article for Milady.
Courtesy of Sherri Jessee Photos: Roberto Ligresti
Courtesy of Sherri Jessee
Photos: Roberto Ligresti
Milady team member Julie Shepperly recently had the joy of interviewing NAHA’s Editorial Stylist of the year winner, Sherri Jessee. Sherri Jessee has become known as one of the most desirable, yet easily approachable internationally renowned hair and makeup artists. Sherri has over 20+ years of experience as a salon owner, stylist, and makeup artist. This year she awarded Editorial Stylist of the year by NAHA and has also been named “Top 10 Stylist of 2013,” a “Woman of Style,” and “One to Watch,” by industry experts. She is the preferred stylist for MISS VIRGINIA USA and a member of the Intercoiffure Artistic Team. Most recently Sherri launched a unique system of beauty tools called, Elegant Organized Beauty. (We’ll share more about that later…)
Photo courtesy of Sherri Jessee
Photo courtesy of Intercoiffure Mondial

 How did you get your start in the beauty industry?
I love this question because after 30 years of working in this amazing industry and sharing my story so many times, I feel as if I should change it up to make it so much more exciting than it really is. But history is history and you can’t really change it!(Truth be told, I thought her story was fascinating!)  I’ve always loved hairdressing and started at the young age of 11 cutting hair. When I graduated, I did what most young graduates do and enrolled into college. When I realized that I couldn’t afford to finish college, a friend encouraged me to go to become a hairdresser….so I did! I later went back and got BA in education. A little older and wiser I realized that I had an opportunity to combine my technical skills with my education degree…. and pursued a position as a manufacturer educator. At 21 years old, I opened my own salon and have over the years built my brand into what it is today.
What led you to enter NAHA?
This was my second time entering but the first year that I entered with an entire collection. The inspiration for the collection was actually recommended by one of my mentors, Helen Oppenheim. (Click here to check out the behind the scenes action with Sherri and her team!) From the beginning I planned the entire collection to be an editorial piece for a consumer magazine. It was a two-year process that culminated with my NAHA entry. Two summers ago I did the collection to coincide with the much-anticipated debut of the movie, The Great Gabsty.  It was my take on the 20′s style. I researched F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, watched period movies and even studied the makeup of the Era. I knew that the style would be embraced with modern fashion. In the spring of 2012 my “New Gatsby” collection was published in KURV magazine as a 10 page editorial.
Why did you want to become an Editorial Stylist?
My goal has been to build my brand and of course, increase my service pricing. I decided to make it my mission to build an independent brand…Sherri Jessee worldwide. As an educator I’ve traveled to 5 continents so I wanted my work published in all 6 Continents. It has been a long process but the reward has been great. I’ve been published hundreds of times and have won multiple awards. The greatest reward is the opportunity to forge great relationships with top magazine editors, photographers and talented teams all over the world. I’m continually inspired and challenged by industry peers. I also spend a great deal of time scouring top magazines for inspiration. W is my fav!
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee  Photo: Jason Setiawan
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee
Photo: Jason Setiawan
How important has education been in your career?
I would say it’s the most important thing to learn and keep growing. As an educator I am constantly growing my skills. I was fortunate to have both my daughter and sister receive their cosmetology license as my interns. I knew that I could give them the skills necessary to be successful. Education is what keeps it exciting and interesting. When I asked Sherri how she balances technical education with business skills she replied, I always said, the sales pays for the education. Business is directly tied to success. You are in a business to ‘sell’ yourself and that must be a priority. It’s not just creativity. As a stylist I have a new boss every 30 minutes and that is who I’m trying to please and my all is given to them. Some people think that the end game is to get out of the salon, but for me being in the salon has been the mainstay of my career. It helps me to keep the pulse on what is really real for people.
What has been the biggest effect that NAHA has had on your career?
Other than having a ton of social media exposure, I would say that the biggest result was the positive ripple effect that my NAHA win has made. To me, winning is about setting your goal…visualizing that goal, and making a path to achieve it. My reward was to see my goals realized and then have the good fortune of being recognized for those efforts by my peers. More than the physical trophy, the positive ripple effect is knowing that what I do can bless and improve other people’s lives, that is my true reward.
What tips do you have for those who dream of becoming an editorial stylist?

Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee
Photo: Julia Kuzmenko
Be prepared. Preparation and Planning are your keys to success. I am known for being prepared, my speed and running on time and having all the details planned out is essential to success. When I’m teaching Editorial Styling classes I list out the key ingredients to pulling off a great photo shoot.
Identify your theme and do your homework. Research is a must. Collect your tools and think about your collection literally from head to toe! Ask yourself, what do I need…extensions/wigs/clips/tools/products…then always be prepared for the just in case. Build relationships with editors and your team….photographer/studio/makeup, etc.
Stay on Track. I always have tear sheets and sketches of each of the designs so that I have my looks in front of me allowing me to stay focused, on time and to make sure all goals for the day are accomplished.
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee  Photo: Jason Setiawan
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee
Photo: Jason Setiawan
What are some contributing factors to a successful career in the beauty industry?
I have had several mentors who’ve been very much a part of my success. I learned my cutting skills training directly with Irvine and Louise Rusk…then later branched out into more styling. In editorial work you are working on models who don’t necessarily want their hair cut. You’ve got to learn to style beautiful hair. To become more skilled in the art of styling I trained with industry icons like Vivienne MacKinder, Mary Brunettie, and Martin Parsons. There have also been many magazine editors who’ve taken their time to guide and direct me. My entire editorial process of entering has improved by their advice. I believe that it is important to seek out the best quality team…the best photographers and the best models which help to sell your work.
How would you encourage your stylists to perform at their best?
We have a motto…”be nice and do pretty hair” – Show up and give 110%, you’re not just working with your head and  hands, but also with your heart! Always put the three to work and you will perform your best!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Brooke Carlson (Professor FIT/Founder Beauty Strategies Consulting)…she told me that if I were to ever become a name in the industry I would have to learn to be assertive. Deep down I am naturally very shy, but I knew that I could follow-up and being nice to people. Brooke was a woman who I admired and respected. She has been a GM with various top companies and when she mentioned that to me, the thought of building my own brand hadn’t even crossed my mind. She planted the seed and encouraged me to write down all my goals, no matter how outlandish. Winning NAHA, ironic as it is, was last on my list. She was at NAHA this year and we were laughing because she said it’s time to make some new goals! I guess she’s right.
What’s next for you?
I will continue to create and shoot editorial work and develop advertising campaigns for manufacturers, of course. But what is taking my attention now is my company, Elegant Organized Beauty.
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee  Photo: Nathan Mays
Hair and Makeup: Sherri Jessee
Photo: Nathan Mays
It is a new company that I’ve created where I’ve designed and manufactured a system of organizing beauty tools. I was inspired to create these tools because I had become known as the stylist that always showed up with the smallest suitcase but the MOST stuff! My makeup organizing kits give you “your entire face in one place”. (ORGANIZED) They have a strong magnet and large enough to hold all your makeup essentials (BEAUTY)  and they are designed to make every woman who uses them to feel special (ELEGANCE.) My cousin, Mary Silcox is a an awesome artist. She has designed the covers of my many of my makeup compacts.  I had the pleasure of styling Nancy O’Dell’s (host of Entertainment Tonight) hair for various events. Her sister, Karen Alley, is an artist. I adored her art and purchased one of her pieces at the MDA Telethon auction. She has also collaborated with me and hand painted, original compacts.  These unique items are available for purchase on my website. When one is sold, it is removed from inventory. The press is loving this concept. Elegant Orangaized Beauty has been featured in FaceOn magazine, a top magazine from United Kingdom, as well as Sophisticates Hairstyleguide the world’s best-selling hair magazine!
I’m really open to all possibilities and am excited to see where this adventure will take me next!
I’m sure you can understand why I was so inspired by Sherri’s story! She is living the ‘hairdresser’ dream for sure! What I truly appreciate and respect about Sherri is her humble and grateful attitude and servant heart. She is a giver through and through and it was a great pleasure to get to know her. To keep up with Sherri be sure to follow her on Facebook, check out her Blog or connect via her website.

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