Choose Beauty: Bonnie Bonadeo
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Industry Icon: Vidal Sassoon. He made hairdressing a career choice of status. He looked around and asked, “Why are you paying the photographer and the make-up artist but not the hairdresser?”
Career other than Hairdressing: I was always teaching and I think I would have been a litigation lawyer, teaching the jury about what’s going on.
Now reading: I’m re-reading The Discipline of Market Leaders. It talks about developing a brand but without using that language. I have highlights all through the book.
Your Favorite Day: It’s a combination of moments of serenity and moments of engagement, feeling like you’re part of the world and also experiencing those secret moments of saying, “Gosh, I’m lucky.”
Bonnie Bonadeo helps stylists thrive.
Industry veteran, Bonnie Bonadeo has worn many hats—stylist, manufacturer’s representative, educator, producer, organizer, empathizer and cheerleader–in-chief for the hairdressers who come to her for direction.
Bonadeo studied cosmetology while still in high school. “I wanted something that would allow me to get working right away,” says Bonadeo. “I absolutely loved the interaction and atmosphere in the salon but from an artistic standpoint it was a struggle. I wanted to learn, to get better, but after three years, I was losing my confidence.”
So Bonadeo made a change, went to work for a distributor and was given a territory to sell Matrix products. Matrix founder, Arnie Miller, hired her to work with him in California and to offer hair color education. “Suddenly, I was the resource for other hairdressers that I hadn’t had for myself.”
Bonadeo would go on to work with other hair care companies, including Sebastian Professional. At Sebastian, “I worked on engaging salons, planning events and directing education.”
After years of tireless travel, Bonadeo gave up her frequent flyer status and became licensed to advise salons on personal finance, again teaching, but now on IRA’s and saving accounts. She also stepped back into the salon after the birth of her son.
“I could take everything I had learned in the years past and I felt so much more confident,” says Bonadeo. “I loved every minute of it.”
When the Beauty and Barber Supply Institute (BBSI), an association serving the professional beauty industry, moved to Phoenix, Bonadeo saw a good fit. At the interview for a membership position, she learned the Director of Education had resigned. Bonadeo would go on to spend 10 years as the BBSI Director of Education Programs.
“It was a thrilling time, I took events that were small and really grew them. It couldn’t have been more ideal.”
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
In recent years, Bonadeo’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to create The Beauty Agents talent agency for platform artists and educators.
“When all the mergers and acquisitions were taking place, star stylists were calling me saying they weren’t as busy as before but they wanted to be educating. Many didn’t know how to negotiate a rate. So, I developed an arsenal of freelance talent for companies that don’t have a full-on show department but they still need talent at trade shows or photoshoots.”
This evolved into another venture, Naked Audience Productions, that helps young stylists and established talent capitalize on what makes them unique and engaging, so they can connect with an audience.
Bonadeo also works with the Beauty Changes Lives initiative designed to raise awareness of how careers in beauty can transform lives personally and professionally.
“I’m so aligned with their mission, remembering what it felt like not to have the confidence I needed to succeed. We are showing them that once you choose beauty as a career, there are so many paths you can take.”