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An inspiration to the beauty industry, Sam Villa has always offered his sincerest advice for hairdressers and individuals on how to learn, grow and succeed within the community. This invaluable advice has helped countless artists and as we head into 2024, Villa is offering us a fresh perspective on how education is the key to growth this year.

Anyone who knows Sam Villa, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Sam Villa and Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken, also knows that he believes that education is the key to growth in the industry…and life.  That focusing on purpose will bring wealth…and creating a positive memorable experience is more important than what hair looks like.  He has a fresh perspective on what it takes to be relevant in today’s world and he shares that knowledge to challenge, inspire, and motivate change.  Here’s what’s on his mind as of late.

An Interview with Sam Villa About Education

What inspires you?

Inspiration is the spark that ignites my passion and fuels my drive! I love common creative environments such as museums, galleries, cultures, streets, music, and fashion, yet a big source of motivation for me is human interaction.  Just having conversations with friends or colleagues can trigger new ideas, challenge my perception, and ignite a creative flame. Listening to different opinions, experiences, and perspectives drives me to explore new ideas…places, and platforms. 

I enjoy networking and collaborating with other hair professionals as a source of inspiration as they push my boundaries. I believe the pursuit of knowledge leads to inspiration. Another huge source is social media platforms as the world is now available at our fingertips.  Keep an open eye and mind and remain receptive and open to everything around you as inspiration is found in unexpected and surprising ways.

Can you share a moment where you knew you made an impact on a student’s learning?

Whenever a student or colleague comes up and thanks me for teaching them something, it’s the biggest compliment. Over the years people have asked why I do what I do, and the answer is, I’m proud to be a teacher focused on growing hairdressers by adding educational value to the industry.  Understanding the impact I have on hairdressers was felt deeply when I was honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Awards represent achievement, and to an extent, they show more about who you are as a person because they show desire, ambitions, goals, and accomplishment. For an industry that has given me life in my career, it was an honor for that same industry to pay tribute to my achievements.  It was a very impactful and meaningful moment in my life.

What’s unique about your teaching style?

It’s been said that stylists can go to a class of mine and always walk away with a learning experience and info immediately applicable behind the chair, so I’m kind of like the hairdresser’s hairdresser.  My teaching style is learner-focused.  Understanding that questioning skills are life’s greatest resource, I listen to what the learner needs. Keeping it interactive and understanding that voice and body speak louder than words.  Simplicity is today’s brilliance.  I love taking complex concepts and breaking them down into understandable actionable steps. I do love taking an innovative approach, I just simplify the concept so it can be understood.  If the learner understands the “why” it makes the “how” so much easier.

What is your educational focus for the next couple of months?

I want to awaken the fundamentals of hybrid cutting. Hybrid cutting is incorporating discipline with compressed cutting…working smaller sections in some areas and larger sections in others. We’ve had a lot of focus on texture, and we’re now heading in the direction of precision, yet not letting go of innovative ways of layering hair. We’re discovering new ways of cutting layers from short to long. Layers are getting longer and growing out, so maintaining shape will be important in months to come.

I’m looking forward to heading the International Beauty Show New YorkAmerica’s Beauty Show and Premier Orlando in 2024 to expand on the below signature tips:

  • Detaching the crown area from underneath will enhance the volume in the crown.
  • Undercutting the side area and back area will narrow a shape.
  • Cutting short to long layers to maintain length, yet with volume and movement.

If you were stranded on a deserted island (where beauty and fashion reigned supreme) what would be the 1 tool you would bring?

Having a pair of shears would be very useful for grooming and any crafting tasks. I could make accessories or carve other survival tools.  Imagine an island with a sense of self-care and style with just a pair of scissors!

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t already know.

After graduating from beauty school, I started to work in a salon, yet I discovered I wanted to go back to college and take fashion design courses. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and a love for the art of design. This was another career that fascinated me as a fashion designer is also able to bring their ideas to life. Having the ability to influence and impact the way people dress and present themselves, to contribute to their self-expression, was interesting to me. But, when I got to the sewing part, I lost interest, yet walked away understanding how to cut fabric on the bias. And guess what? Years later I’m standing on a stage talking about how to cut layers on the bias!

Share a moment where another educator made an impact on YOU.

Throughout my career, so many educators have impacted my career in numerous ways. I. remember attending a show in San Francisco and watching a team by the name of Toni and Guy and a specific artist, Anthony Mascolo, caught my attention. He was using hair as the fabric to weave stunning hats. That moment fostered a sense of enthusiasm and dedication as Anthony inspired me to see how hairdressers can uplift and empower each other and shape the creativity and the experiences of students, and an audience, in profound ways.

Book an in-salon class (hands-on and demos) and/or learn more about where Villa will be teaching here



Cover Image - Photographer: Todd White

In copy images - CBC Production