TEAM SPIRIT: American Crew
When American Crew came on the scene in the 1990s, it changed the way stylists thought of men’s grooming.
“We were fresh, there wasn’t another company out there focusing just on men and I think that intrigued people,” says Creative Director Craig Hanson. “A lot of people feared cutting men; they would just give them women’s haircuts but shorter. We had a great ability to focus in on the American man and pushing them to be a little more fashionable, a little better groomed, but not losing who that man was. And that is all done by example. You have a team full of men who practice what they preach and women who endorse it. Once women mastered the skill of cutting men’s hair, they realized that men want to be guided, that they were willing to pay for a good haircut. We also saw how much women influence the men in their lives. Women are probably responsible for a huge part of our success.”
Today’s American Crew education leadership team consists of: Craig Hanson, Creative Director; Paul Wilson, Artistic Director; Theri DeJoode, Technical Director; and UK-based Dominique Rohde, “Artist at Large.” “Our team started really organically. We worked very closely with David Raccuglia (American Crew founder) and he pulled people onto a small team who did everything—photo shoots, in salon classes, trade shows—so we really got to know our stylist community first hand. But we grew so quickly so we had to create a bigger team and meet their needs.”
Together, the education leadership team creates the collections each year for American Crew and guides Team Crew, a group of regional educators, as well as the elite squad of American Crew All Stars, 38 stylists and groomers who represent American Crew to the world.
Coming up for Crew is “Opening Night,” a celebration of men’s hairstyling held in the company’s home base of Denver, CO. During Opening Night, American Crew will announce the U.S. winner of the All-Star Challenge, debut its 2014 collection to the to the media and the hundreds of stylists in attendance and a spectacular runway show of men's styles.
American Crew's All-Star Challenge is occurring in 15 other countries this fall, with representatives from each traveling to the global finals in April 2014 to determine to best men's hairstylist in the world. “Our All Stars are recognized as the best-of-the-best of men’s cutting as far as an education team. We have our methodology, our visuals, our core values and they make us a leader.”
To help stylists tap-into the American Crew way of doing things, they launched an All-Star online education program.
“It was conceived as a way for us to connect to stylists who geographically can’t come or financially can’t attend but they are very serious about extending their skills,” says Hanson. “We hold your hand through the whole thing.”
Interested in rowing upstream with American Crew? Stylists can attend Academy classes, learn online and watch for salon or store classes in their area.
“When people have their ‘Ah, hah!’ moments--when they are able to do a proper taper with a clipper, when they are able to do a haircut without clipper lines or lines of demarcation—those are life changing. “