It was an intense conference for the 750 stylists, colorists, brand ambassadors, educators, and professional influencers attending the National Redken Artist Connection (NRAC) in Austin, Texas. The four-day conference just wrapped up with these Redken artists learning about the newest products, industry trends, and latest techniques in order to share and excite Redken users around the world. NRAC is a bi-annual conference that brings together Redken’s Artist Network to inspire and educate its members through inspiration and innovation in all aspects of the brand.
Sherri Doss, Redken’s VP Global Education, is the NRAC leader, and the heart and soul of the education team. “NRAC is a global training where we bring together the greater Redken tribe to launch new products and initiatives,” Doss says. “In addition to upskill in facilitation and discipline, the Redken family gets an opportunity to connect.”
Truly a training for artists by artists, the agenda was based on requests from the attendees themselves. The weekend opened with a grand Grand Opening themed “Hair Is Art” where top Redken educators reimagined – on hair, makeup and in fashion – the art from the inspiring modern artists Roy Litchenstein, Jackson Pollock, and Alexander Calder. After preparing canvases on stage, models were introduced and transformed on stage embracing the style of each artist.
The grand opening kicked off an exceptional weekend. Highlights from day one included a session by Chris Baran, Redken’s Education Artistic Director, who acknowledged the challenges educators face in the classroom when teaching. “If I could give you a little information that would help you not only in your learning experience, but in the way you can help break down barriers when you’re in a classroom so that they’re willing to listen to you, and give you the benefit of the doubt,” Baran says. Baran led an exercise of “speed communication” designed to manage and control the little negative voice in your subconscious. “We need to reprogram,” adds Baran. “Be proud. Stay open. Stay present. When you make a mistake, you aren’t a loser. You are a learner. And that’s a win.”
A “Social Training” session, led by Aditi Sharma, Redken’s AVP PR & Social, inspired the tribe. “If you don’t embrace this platform” she says, “it will stunt your growth. If you don’t move to video, you’ll be left behind.” Sharma introduced Kyle Pinneo, Redken Artist from Lincoln, Nebraska, to talk about his talkshow style show called “Bedtime Stories.” Pinneo gave tips on how-to build a following including using data over WIFI, commenting live, being consistent and staying up to date by following other artists: "You must follow others and see what they are doing," says Pinneo. "I follow all the Redken Artists.”
In addition to guidance and inspiration from the team leaders during the general sessions, education and business guidance was in abundance, embracing the theme “Learn Better, Earn Better and Live Best.” Classes on “Principle Based Training,” “Train the Trainer,” and “Men’s Grooming” were sandwiched with updates on new product launches and educational initiatives for the year ahead. Sam Villa and Chris Baran devised workshops focused on personal grounding and leadership. Attendees gained hands-on experience learning the latest techniques in haircolor or design during sessions led by Redken Artists including Justin Isaac, Sean Godard, Roger Molina, and Brayden Pelletier.
But it wasn’t all business. To take break from the classes and lectures, Redken hosted a live Lip Sync Battle on Monday evening, where participants channeled their inner Lady Gaga or Michael Jackson for a chance to win a variety of prizes. NRAC 2018 closed Tuesday evening with guest speakers from Upbuild, who empowered listeners to maximize their potential – mind, body, and heart.
“NRAC is an important moment in time as it offers the chance for the global Redken tribe to hear one voice,” Doss says. “We have all of our internal and external teams, brand ambassadors, and social influencers, as well as our international friends together in one room. The tribe inspires me every day with their mere presence. Combine that with their skillset and you have the best of the best.”