In the age of Instagram, it’s important to take a step back from the minute-long hyperlapsed videos and a constant race for likes, and remember the foundation behind the hairdressing craft.
Nick Stenson sees this and wants the industry to have technique as its driver. Upon joining Ulta Beauty last year as chief artistic director, Stenson had a vision of a Pro Team comprising some of the industry’s top talent — breaking down brand barriers in the name of education and authenticity. The team was officially announced in May 2017.
When choosing members, Stenson based his picks on the individuals with whom he’d like to spend time.
“I didn’t want any ego,” says Stenson, who is an artistic director and celebrity stylist for Matrix. “I wanted people who came from a very kind, real, authentic place.”
Sitting down with the other members of the Pro Team — Sean Godard, Danielle Keasling, Ammon Carver, Sonya Dove, Carmody Homan — the respect each artist has for one another is apparent.
“I genuinely look forward to seeing these guys and learning from them,” says Homan, a Redken artist.
Although they represent an array of brands, including Matrix, L’anza, Wella Professionals and Redken, “Collaboratively, we can educate in a really cool and unique way that nobody else can,” Stenson says. “One of the coolest parts about Ulta Beauty is it’s this melting pot of brands.”
Stenson says Ulta Beauty consists of more than 500 brands and upward of 20,000 SKUs.
“We’re not speaking to one group we’re speaking to the industry,” Homan says. “They can come to see rad hair, cool education that won’t try to sell them anything. The product will sell itself because the hair is being sold to them. And I think it’s not only going to change the industry, but it’s also going to break massive boundaries and mindsets of hairdressers.”
Collectively, the team has more than 100 years of education experience. No matter how the professional is receiving their education — on the phone, through their computer, or in-person — Stenson chose this team particularly to ensure young professionals are being taught the proper information to be successful.
If technique is the team’s foundation, then sincerity is its frame.
The Ulta Beauty Pro Team concept embodies artists supporting artists. With this, each member thinks about how they will leave their mark on the current state of the industry and the direction it is headed.
The team has been shooting campaigns that inspire through storytelling. A focus for 2018 is celebrating all things beauty for all women — regardless of hair type or ethnicity.
Also, Stenson hints at the addition of a possible one or two members to the team.
“We’re going to work very closely in the next several years, hopefully, and you have to be okay with somebody being better at something than you and somebody having a different opinion than you,” he says. “When you come from very different worlds, you have to realize that at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who’s better because it’s not about that. It’s about how do we get to the end result.”