Nick Arrojo, founder of Arrojo Studio in New York and a master hairdresser, started his core company based on the belief that those who do should also teach what they do.
“If I can make every hairdresser that works for me a teacher then they will be better in their performance and they will be more accountable,” says Arrojo. “When someone comes to work for Arrojo, there is a process of development. We don’t have hairdressers using their own techniques because we want the vocabulary to be the same for everyone. If you’re going to be a teacher for my brand then you have to practice what I’m preaching. Arrojo is the vehicle, the vessel. I want them to be passionate about hair.”
Team ARROJO operates on several levels. There is the salon, Arrojo Studio, the school, Arrojo Cosmetology and advanced study for licensed professionals at Arrojo Academy. Nick Arrojo and his team also takes it on the road with platform work at trade shows, and with new Arrojo Expo, a two-day congress of hairdressers focused on the art, craft, and business of hairdressing There is also a product line. “But the education is not about the product,” says Arrojo. “The education sits before the product. Education comes first and it’s all about team work.”
In fact, education is the great leveler; everyone from apprentices to salon ambassadors might end up stage for Arrojo depending on their own readiness and performance.
“We don’t have a hierarchy, we don’t have any specified titles,” explains Arrojo. “I have a core, key team of people who are part of our management structure, responsible for developing and looking at how we do things. And we have on-staff people that have been educators for major brands and they come to my business and they cut off that badge from another company and they will apprentice to learn my technique. I have apprentices at stage at expo next to a veteran that has been doing hair for 25 years. We can fast-track their capabilities if they step up to the plate. They come to Arrojo because we are an education culture company. It is the core of our success and a constant focus.”
Salon staff and educators are taught the same technique and “stylists become teachers and teachers become stylists” because of that shared terminology and way of working.
At Arrojo Studio, there are ten in-house classes a week for stylists and apprentices. “We determine who will get the opportunity to teach in house based on their prior month performance. We want everyone to get on the teaching rotation.”
Arrojo Cosmetology offers a full curriculum for aspiring stylists in New York. Arrojo Academy has classes for professionals each weekend. “Again, we look and see who is best suited to teach certain classes. Some people excel at different things and I like to try and spread the wealth.”
When Arrojo goes on the road for Arrojo products or partner Goldwell, he takes a full team. “I always take more people than I need, a well-rounded group including makeup and fashion styling,” says Arrojo. “When we do education for our product company, the educators are selected based on their technical skill and their performance in the salon. I have apprentices at stage at expo next to a veteran that has been doing hair for 25 years. We can fast-track their capabilities if they step up to the plate. My goal is to develop every single hairdresser that works for me.”
Arrojo Ambassador Salons, those salons that carry the Arrojo line, get involved in Arrojo team-building by sending their salon ambassadors to participate in Style Council, a beauty think-tank of master stylists who brainstorm new collections and concepts for ARROJO.
Coming up next is Arrojo Underground, a free, open-entry symposium. “We invite people into our world to see what our hairdressers are plotting for 2014.”