Monday, November 25, 2013

Insider Tips to a Successful Career in the Cosmetology

See original Cosmoprof Blog by Rachel Jud.

Runway and Platform Artist Sherri Jessee Shares her Experiences and Insider Tips

FF: I had the pleasure of chatting with Sherri Jessee about her roles as a stylist, platform and runway artist, and a salon owner. Learning more about her experiences was so inspiring to me, and I’m sure it will be motivating for you, as well! Read on for her insider tips on how to continue growing and succeeding in this industry:

You’ve had such a successful career as a platform artist, what is the first step a student or new stylist should take to follow in your footsteps?

SJ: The first step would be to find a salon environment that encourages growth and education.

Another thing that helped me grow was becoming an educator for a professional hair product manufacturer. That helped me develop my skills outside the salon. It also helped me go beyond my immediate circle to expand on the education I received in school.

So many different hair care companies have opportunities for dedicated stylists to become educators -- to start at the bottom and work your way up. When I first became an educator, I did classes in 8 states. I would go anywhere within an 8-hour drive to do classes in salons to gain experience. After showing that I was willing to go the extra mile, I was offered the opportunity to be a member of the show team. From there, I began working smaller shows, then medium-sized, and on to major shows and international opportunities.

I have had wonderful experiences when working with manufacturers because it gave me the opportunity to develop and grow my skills. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of developing your speaking skills for both large and small audiences. These skills can expand into other opportunities, like TV, commercial, and video work.

It’s really important to recognize that you have to be willing to do the work to build your skills to get to the next level. I am a big believer in setting goals, and it is important to set long-term goals, as well as short-term goals, which are the steps to get you there along the way.

 FF: Can you share any of your tips for a successful stage presentation for our fashion frenzy finalists?

SJ: Before you ever get there, have a plan, including what you want to communicate about the look you create. Then, when you are speaking on stage, you know what you are going to say and do. Knowing your lines and having all the tools necessary to create the look will help you feel more confident. Organization, preparation, and planning are all essential.

FF: What is something you do every day that you feel contributes to your success?

SJ: Having a good grasp of basic skills is the basis for all the other opportunities. Some people consider the things they learn in school to be unimportant, but they are the launch pad for all of the other skills you will develop throughout your career.

I like to say that I have a new boss every half hour, and that explains the importance of being good with your clients and with people in general. All the things I do on the road are grounded in the skills I practice in my salon: good knowledge of how to do a great haircut and a great finish and being able to execute an effective consultation. Once you have those things down, you can then get creative and build upon those skills.

FF: Was there someone in your life that inspired you to achieve the level of success you have?

SJ: I’ve been fortunate to have had many mentors along the way as my roles have changed. 

My mother, Charlotte Duncan, has given constant encouragement. In her words, I have “always been looking for new things to learn…never satisfied with the same old thing.” She also says that I maximize every opportunity and experience.

The first salon in which I worked was a husband-and-wife team, Sam and Cheri Arnold. Cheri was the most amazing haircutter and finisher, and I would just stand and watch her -- which gave me a good grasp of what skills I should strive to perfect. I worked with her when I was in beauty school, and they hired me once I graduated.

I was greatly influenced by Irvine and Louise Rusk, and working with them for  nearly10 years was such an incredible opportunity. 

Numerous magazine editors have assisted me with my editorial styling and helped me drive that side of the business. Maggie Mulhern, Helen Openheim, Jeryl Spear, and Joan Harison have been esecially kind to share their knowledge and expertise.

As a member of the Intercoiffure Artistic Team, it is a real pleasure to work closely with industry icons Vivienne Mackinder and Mary Brunetti. I am inspired to work with strong women in the beauty business, and I aspire to be that same kind of example for others in our industry. 

FF: Looking back at when you started, is this where you expected to be?

SJ: Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have the opportunity to travel to five continents from a small town in the mountains of Virginia. I never could have imagined it. But I will say that even from the beginning, my first boss, Cheri, told me I could take my career farther than the walls of the salon and travel the world doing this. Sure enough it happened!

Even considering all of the unique experiences I’ve had, the basis of my business has remained my salon. I’ve had my own salon for 27 years, and it is my true passion. My daughter and my sister also work with me, so we have this great family business. I feel so fortunate to love what I do. I don’t “have to” go to work, I “get to.”

FF: Many students and stylists who are just starting out aspire to own their own salon one day. What are your keys to success as a salon owner?

SJ:  all heard the saying “Get a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.” This is cliche, but it’s also very true. To be a successful salon owner, you must be willing to come in early and stay late. Even when I’m not in the salon, I’m planning a photoshoot, spending time on social media, and marketing to get the business name out there. I wouldn’t have it any other way… my profession is also my obsession

The main thing is to set your goals, be willing to work hard, and recognize that no job or task is too small -- it’s all important. Our motto at the salon is to “be nice and do pretty hair.” If you do that, you can’t go wrong.

The Sky is the Limit for Careers in the Beauty Biz

The Sky is the Limit: Many Opportunities in Beauty Biz

Written by Sherri Jessee December 4, 2012 

For almost as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the world of beauty. Even as a child, I could be found sketching out hair designs and cutting hair. However, never in a thousand years would I have dreamed it be possible for someone from a small town to travel the globe, work with celebrities, have work published in magazines internationally! 
Four page editorial in MODERN SALON.

After more than twenty years of salon ownership and working behind a chair, I can truly say that I STILL love doing hair. It is tremendously rewarding on a daily basis to be able to help people look their best and, consequently, feel better about 
However rewarding working behind the chair can be, there are countless career options available to those fortunate enough to be armed with a cosmetology license. I want to share with you, my professional colleagues, a few of the many options and give some inside info on my personal favorites and, as a bonus, share with you what other indsutry insiders have shared with me!
A few Career Choices in Beauty Biz:
  • Cosmetologist
  • Nail Technician
  • Esthetician/Makeup Artist
  • Wig Specialist
  • Work in a Salon
  • Work on a Cruise Ship or at a Resort
  • Salon Owner/Salon Manager
  • Platform Artist/Educator
  • Hair/makeup for TV, Movies, or Theater
  • Beauty Writer/Magazine Editor
  • Sales Consultant
  • Beauty Advisor/Retail
  • Session Stylist
  • Develop a Product Line

With the famous Ted Gibson.
I asked fan-favorite Ted Gibson to list some of his amazing achievements. Along with working behind the chair (his prices start at an astounding $950 per hair cut!), Ted has been able to “develop a product for a manufacturer; be a beauty school teacher; do editorial and covers for major publications like Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Glamour and InStyle; work on the most beautiful celebs in the world; own multiple salons; be the hairdresser on “What Not To Wear”; and even develop [his own] product line.” All this by being a beauty school graduate!
Working backstage NY Fashion Week.
Ever considered the idea of doing hair for fashion shows? Touted as one of the “Four Kings of Fashion Week,” renowned Session Stylist Peter Gray was generous enough to comment on doing hair for such high-profile events, which, according to Peter, requires, “blood, sweat, and tears…with huge highs and lows. The challenge is very real and the satisfaction enormous when it all works.” He exudes, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world!”
There are also careers available in the print world. As New York editor of Peluquerias International, which is available in sixty-three countries, Helen Oppenheim gets to choose what goes into her magazine. She stresses that “Integrity is key. I only publish the photos I like.  My editors and I agree that the face comes first, then the photo, next the hair and makeup.” Attending the top shows, she also covers the semi-annual Fashion Weeks in her eight beautifully informative columns each year. Timing is also of the essence as “great photos from sources often arrive too late to use that season” due to deadlines.
With editor Helen Oppenheim.

Thought about owning or managing a salon? As a salon owner/manager, I encourage both professional and personal development in my team and enjoy watching them grow stronger and prosper. The relaxing/nurturing environment in my salon makes it a pleasure to come to work as we all continue to grow our skills. As a platform artist, it is tremendously rewarding to share cutting/coloring/finishing methods with stylists around the world and see them become more confident and successful as a result. Personally, I just love doing session work, and pulling off a successful photo shoot is exhilarating. One of my NEXT goals is to teach classes on the process.
Just like setting your GPS in your car when you go on a trip, you will need to establish your beginning location and final destination. Then you can map out the steps you need to get where you want to go.”
On stage in INDIA for RUSK with Apeni George and Marcus Cailett.

Which brings me to the point of setting goals… It is crucial to do this if you want to see progress. Just like setting your GPS in your car when you go on a trip, you will need to establish your “beginning location” and “final destination.” Then you can map out the steps you need to take to get where you want to go. Occasionally, you may find yourself “recalculating your route.” The momentum is amazing. As skills and connections develop, I am able to do things I NEVER dreamed possible.
About the Author
Sherri Jessee has owned Sherri’s Hair Salon in Bristol, VA for 20 plus years. Amazing artistic talents in hair and makeup combined with the knowledge gained from a Bachelor’s degree in education from Emory & Henry College have helped make Sherri one of the most sought after educators in the beauty industry. Sherri has been featured as an industry expert in such acclaimed magazines as OK!, Cosmopolitan and Beauty Entertainment, as well as in numerous educational videos and television shows. Sherri also writes a regular blog entitled “Sherri’s Steps to Style" blog where she covers topics and offers tips on hair, makeup, working with celebrities, salon ownership, marketing tools, business building, and advanced education. Visit Sherri’s website at for more info.

Setting and Reaching Goals

Precision, Passion, Perfection, Persistance

by Sherri Jessee
Success can be achieved when you take the time to organize your desires for the future and set goals toward achieving those desires. My exciting career in the beauty biz thus far has spanned 3 decades and I have travelled across 5 continents! If you would have asked me my goals for the future when I first began hairdressing, to be quite honest, the amazing things that I have been able to do would have never even entered my mind as possibilities! With an innate desire to grow and improve, it has been a personal habit for me to continually learn and master new skills. Much like setting my GPS and taking one direction at a time, I have set my goals and anxiously headed toward them one day at a time. Each new goal reached has given me inspiration to set and reach new goals. I believe our journey can be called truly successful if we use precision to set our goals, and act with passion, and persistence, and seek perfection.

Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable.

List the specific things you want to achieve. Do you want more clients? Would you like to have your work published? Would you like to win a NAHA? A precise goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. List your goals and commit to achieving them. Start with practical goals that possible to reach. Defining your goals is the first step toward making them happen. By writing down your goals and setting a time line, events are set into motion that may not have happened otherwise. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable—not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. As you reach your goals, build upon them and set new goals that are even higher.

By achieving one success at a time, you will have an incredible journey.

Think about those things about which you are truly passionate. What would you really love to be doing? Where would you really love to be? Who would you really love to be working with? What makes your heart race when you think about it? Set small goals that you can easily obtain. These are stepping stones that lead to the bigger goals that you will eventually set—the really big ones that give you butterflies in your stomach when thinking about them. By achieving one success at a time, you will have an incredible journey. Establish a way of measuring your progress toward reaching each goal you set. When you are able to complete goals on your list, you will stay on track and experience the excitement of achievement. This will encourage you to continue the efforts required to reach your goals and create new ones.

It is imperative to make a education a life long habit and constantly seek perfection.

As I am completing one task, in the back of my mind a voice asks me, "What are you going to do next to top this?" In our business we are only as good as our last cut or color and can not ever "rest on our laurels." With a firm foundation your skill set must constantly evolve to truly be a master of your craft. 

True success will eventually come to those willing to work hard enough and long enough.

It was Thomas Jefferson who said, “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” True success will eventually come to those willing to work hard enough and long enough to achieve their goals. You must be persistent and set your “GPS” to your final destination. Then have the courage to head out on your journey. Don’t worry if you have to occasionally “re-calculate your route.” With persistence, you WILL have a fantastic career full of exciting adventures. 

About Sherri Jessee

NAHA Editorial Stylist of the Year, Sherri Jessee is a salon owner, behind the chair stylist, educator and renowned makeup artist with her own line of organizing makeup tools. To learn more, visit her website at

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jennifer Lawrence Inspired Hair How-to: 3 ways to the Hottest Hair Trend

The hottest young celebs today are cropping of their hair into edgy, short shapes. One of the fears of short hair is having no options. Award winning hair and makeup artist, Sherri Jessee, shares tips on how to create three very different looks with one great cut.

Hair & Makeup: Sherri Jessee Photography: Roberto Ligresti

Hair & Makeup: Sherri Jessee Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Shine and smoothness in the interior contrast the choppy perimeter creating a young, romantic look. A small amount of  styling cream controls a slight flick over ears to create added interest.

Hair & Makeup: Sherri Jessee Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Light and airy, this wispy look is soft and feminine. A light misting of of a volumizing lotion will give essential hold as you re-direct fringe using a vent brush.

Hair & Makeup: Sherri Jessee Photography: Roberto Ligresti
Emphasize height and random texture with sides gently swept back will create an edgy shape. A light dusting  of a texturizing powder like Schwarzkopf “OSIS Dust It” easily amps up texture.

Bonus Cutting Directions:

Using a texturizing scissor, establish a textured perimeter. 

 Cut using your beta scissors holding the hair straight out following the shape of the head.

For each one inch crescent shaped section, cut to the length of the guide and Follow the curvature of the head from guide to nape. 

Still using texturizing scissors like Rusk Beta Blades, use the original guide to determine your length and cut the hair parallel to the head shape.

BTS pic with Arielle Rosmarino, MISS VIRGINIA USA and Sherri Jessee. photo: Mickey Baker
 North American Editorial Hairstylist of the Year, Sherri Jessee is an independent hair and makeup artist with work featured in hundreds of prestigious publications globally. Her latest contribution to the beauty world is Elegant, Organized Beauty™, which is a system of organizing beauty tools to help you "clean up the clutter and get gorgeous fast." 
For more information visit:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist Tips take you from Day to Night

Award winning hair and makeup artist Sherri Jessee shares tips for to take hair from long and silky by day and how to transform it into frothy up-styles by night.
Look one. To achieve beautiful brunette day look, smooth hair sleek with body using a round brush.
Look two. For golden waves, wrap hair on a large curling iron.
Look three. Encircle the head with a French braid.
Look four. Faux fringe sweeps across the forehead.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Easy Pastel Hair Color: Urban Ombre

Award winning hair and makeup artist Sherri Jessee shares simple steps for Urban Ombre using Pravana ChromaSilk Pastel Hair Color. Photos by Julia Kuzmenko.