Sam Villa is Redken education artistic director and Allvus LLC founding partner and chairman.
Year I Obtained My Beauty License: 1977 in San Mateo, California
Life is a journey, and some people have clear direction on where they’re headed—and some don’t. The important thing is to be true to yourself and you will end up right where you need to be. My father owned a barbershop, and at an early age I worked while my friends played. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it very much. I saw how hard my father worked, standing on his feet all day cutting hair every 10 to 15 minutes, and knew it was not what I wanted to do.
| Sam Villa
I was always athletic in high school and college: I played a lot of volleyball and coached kids in sports. As I gravitated more to the courts than the classrooms, I realized college was not for me. For some reason I chose to follow in my father’s footsteps—but as a hairdresser, not a barber.
When I was at Poncé College of Beauty I remember still struggling with techniques after three weeks—I really thought I had made a huge mistake until my father took me to my first hair show. Vidal Sassoon was on stage and I was blown away! I knew then and there I wanted to be an educator.
The coaching I did with kids helped me to identify with teaching and sharing. My newfound enthusiasm was apparent to Peter Hantz, one of Poncé’s owners and he allowed me to assist him backstage at shows. From there, I went on to develop my presentation and teaching skills with professional companies BacStat and Jhirmack and eventually opened Avant Hair Studio in San Mateo, California, which I operated for 20 years. During the salon years I was approached by Hayashi and partnered with them for 10 years as international artistic director. My tenure with Hayashi taught me how to organize and format shows both domestically and internationally.
A highlight of my career is my current affiliation with Redken. We share the same philosophy of being learner-focused and I am motivated by the passion to teach people to be better hairdressers.
I learned responsibility by working in my father’s shop, communication skills from coaching and facilitating recreational camps; experience from BacStat, showmanship from Hayashi, and teaching skills from Redken. It doesn’t matter where your journey begins, it only matters that it begins today.