Masters of the Universe
This month, I had the amazing honor of acting as the host for Goldwell’s Global Color Zoom in Las Vegas, in early Oct 2015. This was both an honor and a privilege as I had access to some of the most important hairdressers in the world. You know how they say; “you are as successful as the 5 people you hang out with the most?” Well, wait until you hear who I got to hang out with.
Global Color Zoom is a lot of things in one event and if you are not familiar with Global Color Zoom, it is an amazing experience and in some ways more than you could even imagine. This year, I arrived Thursday before the official kick off of the event held at Las Vegas's Cosmopolitan Hotel and the meetings were already under way. It was no rest for the weary, after a flight from the east coast where I had been sharing ideas in the Boston area for 5 days, my first day ended with meetings wrapping up at 10:30 p.m. west coast time (or 1:30 a.m. by my body clock).
But, it was that meeting that would set me up for success for the rest of the event. My friend, VP and Creative Director Global for the KAO Salon Division, John Moroney, shared a breakdown of the event. We had 5 Hairdressers of the Year from 4 countries attending the Global Color Zoom, and we were going to have a special Top Stylist segment during the two days of the artist sessions for an up close and personal with these hairdressing masters, and I was going to get to be backstage with all the greats. As we went through the agenda, the excitement grew.
Friday I woke early because I was still on east coast time, so I decided to make the best of it and get up, get out and meet some people, so I ran down to the prep area to meet all the artists. The first person I bumped into was my long time friend, Benni Tognini, he was prepping a model. After a long hug to say hello, Benni and I chatted as I watched him take a model’s hair cut from “great” to “oh my gosh how the heck did you just make that unbelievably great?” I watched as Benni cut 1/16 of an inch to a 1/8 of an inch and with a master’s eye make adjustments to the haircut I don't think many others would have even seen.
Once done, the outcome was breathtaking. I was lucky enough to have my camera with me and I will be posting a video from my trip to my YouTube channel by the time you are reading this blog. I then turned around in the same room and met Lidia, Hardy and Lok, the previous Color Zoom Winners from Russia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, they were prepping their models to premiere the newest Global Trend release that they helped create called Disrupt on Sunday night, and then again on Monday. I continued hanging out Friday and checking out teams from Mark Lesson, to Mario Krankel, the KMS Team and all the contestants too.
Saturday was a frenzy of rehearsal and running from place to place to make sure I knew what I was doing. First stop the main theater, the Chelsea, rehearsals ran all day as artists and models worked on choreography and timing…I had to make sure I knew how to announce everyone's name and knew all the questions I was supposed to ask.
We had so many people attending from so many countries, English for many was a second or third language, and for some the only English they "knew" was what they had memorized to say from stage. This meant some of the international winners knew what to say, but had only memorized the words/sounds to make the words, but didn't necessarily know what they meant. This showed great professionalism on their part to want to honor us by speaking in English! Though they might not have known the words, they wanted to make sure we understood how they felt and the information they shared with us. This meant I needed to be very on point, because no matter what I asked they had one answer ready, so I needed to ask the right questions.
Sunday kicked off with John Moroney and Cory Couts, Kao Global President for Salon Division, welcoming everyone to Global Color Zoom sharing some big things to come as we opened in the Chelsea Theater. And, after a quick one hour opening, it was time to introduce the Global Color Zoom Winners/Finalists from around the world where they had already won Gold in their home countries in the New Talent, Partner or Creative Categories.
After a parade down the aisles onto the stage and back off, it was to the arena as I lead almost 4000 people to the competition hall where the top contestants battled it out over 3 hours under the watchful eye of judges that included past winners, celebrity stylists and industry movers and shakers like Modern Salon’s Maggie Mulhern, who was just one of the esteemed judges. After an exciting, fun and probably stressful 3hours. it was straight back to the theater for me with only moments to spare before it was time for Benni to take the stage.
What a day this was, first the competition, then Benni, next came Jeff South from Atlanta sharing his industry transforming Upgrade Menu and we were honored with the current British Hairdresser of the Year, Mark Lesson, who closed the show for the day to rave reviews. That night it was the Global Color Zoom awards and boy was history made!!! Two years ago the USA won its first gold medal at Color Zoom when Derick Zeno won it in the Partner category and this year he got some company in the very prestigious history of Color Zoom winners with not one, but two USA hairdressers winning out of the three awards categories!! That's right 2 winners!!! Harley Gartel LoBasso, from Hair by Scott & Co in Florida won in the Creative category and Corrine Brown from Salon Circa in Seattle won gold for the USA in the Partner category!!!
And for the first time, all three winners, including the new talent winner from the UK, were all women!!! Talk about disruptions!!! And as the father of two daughters and the bother to two sisters, I thought this was a really cool moment for us.
I think I was one of the only people who went to bed early the night before, but I knew I had more to do and I didn't want to miss the education on Monday. The morning kicked of with 5 Hairdresser of the Year winners all taking the stage sharing their stories. From Mark Leeson, to Benni Tognini (the most awarded Australian Hairdresser), Shane Henning (5 time Australian Hairdresser of the Year, most times ever), Agnes Westerman (past Netherlands hairdresser of the year) and even Norway’s current Hairdresser of the Year - Svetlana Jouini. The funny part is they just all happen to be Goldwell color users, many who were simply attending the show and created a great moment by getting on stage and sharing ideas with us.
Then it was Lidia, Lok and Hardy's time to shine as they shared their new collection with us breaking down the techniques. KMS pumped up the volume with a live DJ as artistic directors from around the world shared new ideas with texture, and Mario Krankel wowed the audience with education combined with stunning imagery he created with hair and even some zip ties to transform looks.
It seems hard to find the time to fit anything else into our lives, but I can tell you that the time I spent a Global Color Zoom was well worth it. From the private parties for the countries where networking with the best opens up so many opportunities, to routing on the representatives from your country that were competing, to the artists sessions that brought the top hairdressers in the world to a stage that created an intimate, almost personal educational experience. If you’re not having the success you want, I know where you can find some people you'd love to hang out with.