CHOOSE BEAUTY: NICK STENSON
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Industry Icon: Vidal Sassoon. He exposed the beauty business and truly revolutionized the way we see hair.
Hidden talent: Not everyone knows that I’m a trained make-up artist.
Day-off pursuits: One of the most relaxing things to me is to be just about anywhere on a boat.
Career other than hairdressing: I’d be a plastic surgeon! It combines my love of transformation with the medical field, something that’s always fascinated me.
Title of your autobiography: You’ve Got to Give it to Keep it.
Salon owner, editorial stylist, educator, and Matrix Artistic Director, Nick Stenson continues to acquire hairdressing credentials, adding Senior Director/Artistic Creative Director for JCP Salons to his list of achievements. In this role, Stenson directs, guides and develops education for 14,000 stylists nationwide. It was one special hairdresser, however, who has had the most influence on his decision to choose beauty.
“To this day, when I'm asked who's been a major influence on my work, my mother is still at the top of the list,” says Stenson. “My mother worked as a stylist for almost 40 years. She began in Chicago's prestigious Drake Hotel and, later, owned her own salon. I learned basics under her hand, went on to beauty school in Chicago and have since traveled the globe for the opportunity to be educated by top stylists in all facets of hair design and color.”
Citing fashion trends as a major influence on his work, Stenson’s awareness of dress, manners and decorum began early.
“My first job was running a hotel coat check room for weddings, banquets and special events at 13 years old,” says Stenson. “I was fascinated by the chance to meet different types of people, seeing how they dressed and interacted. If you hustled and smiled big, the tips weren’t bad, either.”
Stenson comes to JCP during a company-wide transition; the long-established brand has been in a time of flux but Stenson stays focused on what he believes to be the key to success for stylists: education.
“We’re undergoing a massive effort to ensure that all 14,000 JCP Salon stylists are thoroughly educated in all the current trends and styles that our education team has created for each new season,” says Stenson. “In the new year, I’m looking forward to working with my education team to ramp up even more quickly on trends and translate that for our salons and stylists more often.”
His depth and breadth of experience was acquired through a willingness to show-up and do the work. Stenson’s advice to young stylists is to do the same.
“Successful people do all the things that unsuccessful people refuse to do. Hard work always pays off,” says Stenson. “Doing the things that initially don’t seem glamorous is what ultimately paves your future.”
Stenson says that as a young hairdresser, being involved behind the scenes for shows and events shaped his early years. “I spent an incredible amount of time doing all the hands on, sometimes tedious, non-glamorous jobs that our industry requires,” he says. “I made it a point to pay attention to what the more experienced stylists were doing. I’m a huge supporter of education but that ‘in-the-trenches’ experience gave me an education that no amount of formal training ever could.”
Learn more about what is happening at JCP Salons here: jcpenney.com