Essie believes in educating professionals first, and product second. The brand executes this thanks to its education team.
Gino Trunzo, director of education for Essie Professionals, started with Essie Education in 2013. He leads a team of 27 educators who are sprinkled across the country.
All of the educators have been selected by Trunzo and members of the Essie team themselves.
Lois Crispino, Essie lead East Coast educator, was one of the first of 18 educators chosen to be part of the team’s inaugural class in 2013 to pioneer the education program. Trunzo handpicked Crispino to join the team.
To select members, Trunzo looks for very specific qualities in future educators when they are going through the interview process: having like-minded interests about the industry and being a team-player. He says it’s all about creating a team of educators that is hyper-focused on creating more well-rounded professionals. That’s exactly what happened for Crispino by joining the team.
“Before I became part of Essie, I worked at a spa for 15 years, never imagining there was a whole world that existed that I could be a part of” Crispino says. “I was a very shy person who wouldn't go to a store by myself and now I travel and speak in front of large groups. This entire experience brought me completely out of my comfort zone and rose me up to a whole new level.”
Although based in a range of cities, all of the Essie education team members interact on a regular basis—whether it be via conference calls, email and social media. Once each year, the team holds an Essie Education Summit in a different location where the entire group meets up for education and team-building. Past site have included New York City, Scottsdale, Arizona and on a cruise ship from Miami to the Bahamas.
“Our 2015 summit we all went on a cruise; it was an amazing experience,” Crispino says. “It was the first time I was away from my son for five days, so as a mom that was difficult, but it taught me to grow and become more confident.”
The team has many responsibilities, such as leading in-salon classes, in-store and tradeshow demos, instructing workshops and seminars, creating new art and application techniques using Essie products, and more.
This year, Essie Education’s primary focus is to guide the professional nail. It is executing this mission through an array of business-building classes, amping up the nail artist’s professional development by offering training and opportunities linked to individual goals. Classes under this category range from The Art of Sales to Essie Etiquette and the Power of Being Social.
Additionally, educators teach about best-practices in the nail salon, such as sanitation, nail health and keeping cuticles healthy and hydrated and its importance in the art of the perfect manicure.
“Our products sell themselves, however we want to ensure professionals are utilizing them correctly, and have the knowledge to support a safe premium service that leaves the client happy, healthy and educated on the importance on natural nail health,” Trunzo says.
But Essie education goes far beyond product and practical knowledge. Trunzo pushes himself to be a strong leader, citing that “the student is only as good as the teacher.” He wants to empower service providers to not just be a tech, but be a nail professional.
“What we have achieved as a team over the years is extraordinary,” Trunzo says. “I am so proud to watch each member of my team learn, grow, and then go on to educate and inspire others. It truly takes my breath away.”
“I absolutely love being a part of Essie,” Crispino says. “It is so much more than a team; we are family.”