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Women of Beauty: Vadre Grigsby

October 14, 2011 | 2:16 PM

Vadre Grigsby

Artistic Color Director
Pravana

First job in beauty: Assistant at Progressions Salon, Cupertino, CA 1988

Licensed: Santa Clara Beauty College, Santa Clara CA, 1986

Three highlights of your career:

  1. Opening my first salon at 23.  For two years prior to that, I managed a busy salon in Cupertino California for a group of non-hairdresser investors.  Along with salons, they had invested heavily in real estate, when those investments went under they were forced to file bankruptcy.  Before filing, they made me a great offer if I wanted to buy the salon I managed.  At 23, with my age and no assets, the bank said I didn’t have enough experience or education and wouldn’t loan me any money.  So, I sold my car, brought in a non–hairdresser friend as a partner and with the help of her parents, we were able to scrape the money together and buy the salon.  We owned and worked in that salon for 5 years and when we sold the salon we got more than twice what we paid for it!
  2. Taking that first step to join a professional products education team.  The reason I say taking that first step is that the first step was certainly the scariest.  When you take that first step to work for a company I think everyone wonders if they’re good enough, talented enough or if they will feel inferior to the other stylists.  I’d always had the education side of hairdressing as a career goal, but so many times I had put it off.  I would tell myself either I was too busy in the salon or had too many obligations at home.  When I committed to attend my first educator training the night before the first day of training I was so nervous I couldn’t sleep.  After that first day though, I knew I had found my peeps.  Being with other hairdressers who loved what they do and loved education, I was hooked!
  3. Being promoted to Artistic Director of Hair Color for Pravana has to be the single most important highlight of my career!  I was lucky enough to be introduced to Pravana products and Steve Goddard (Pravanas founder) before the product had even officially been launched.   I got my hands on Chromasilk and it was love at first application.  I found not only a product I loved but a culture with Pravana that I believe in as well.  For a career hairdresser like myself I knew that I wanted to be part of a hairdresser owned company, that I wanted to work with and for a stylist who really cared about the industry and I also knew I wanted the opportunity to advance my skills as a colorist – all of these things I found at Pravana! My promotions have allowed me to work with so many up and coming amazing stylists that it keeps me excited and my love for our trade ever growing!

Beauty legend you respect: Jo Blackwell-Preston. I had only been doing education less than a year when I was assigned to be Jo’s assistant at a large trade show.  My entire job was to make sure she had whatever she needed, her models were on cue and to try to think of what else she’d need before she might need that too.  That was probably the most educational 12 hours of my entire career.  Jo must have done 15 models that day, at least 4 show segments and an hour on the large main stage presenting.  I watched in awe of how at ease she was sharing her information.  I listened to her talk about hair color and hair color formulas in a way that was easy even for new stylist to understand.  She had a conversation from her stage that made you feel like you were just chatting with a girlfriend.  She inspired with formulas and placements that would have you already thinking of the client you’d use them on the next day.  But, the thing she did that I will never forget was the way she treated me.  A new educator just there to run and get what she needed, someone she may or may not ever see again, she treated me with courtesy and respect.  A couple of times that day when picking color formulas she even asked me what my opinion was.  She made time at the end of segment to thank me for my help and hard work.  At the end of our day together Jo told me she thought I had great ideas and potential and to keep working at because she thought I had a great eye for color.  For me that was like Tiger Woods telling me I had a great natural swing!

Choose beauty because: What other career is so multi-faceted?  You could work in a salon, you could work in a beauty supply, you could work for a manufacturer in sales or in education, or you could even teach in a school.  There are so many paths.

Quote or mantra: Only one thing endures, and that is character.

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