Vidal Sassoon – Graduate VS. Training
by Greg Saumure
I used to hear frequently in interviews, “I am a ‘Vidal Sassoon’ Stylist”. Great, I would ask, which Academy did you attend? “I attended in Sacramento.” I immediately knew they took an Advanced Training Class through a partner school. Advanced Training Classes have value to any stylist. But these are not Vidal Sassoon Graduates. So here is the explanation, and why it matters.
There are 4 Vidal Sassoon Academies in the US. These institutions are in Beverly Hills, (Previously Santa Monica), McClean VA, Boston and New York. But, you can only receive a diploma in London. I graduated with 1600 hours, within a 44-week course. Nothing else prepares you for a career with Vidal Sassoon credentials. I could literally walk in to any salon and get a job. Here in summary, are the Vidal Sassoon Academy’s list of graduation goals:
- Project a positive attitude, a sense of personal integrity and self-confidence.
- Project professionalism, visual poise and proper grooming.
- Communicate effectively with colleagues and clients.
- Respect the need to deliver worthy service for value received.
- Be able to advise your clients in their total look.
- Application of their education to ensure sound judgments, decisions, and procedures.
The Vidal Sassoon Philosophy
If that philosophy sounds familiar, it’s because I am a Vidal Sassoon Graduate & Master Stylist. Every day I do business by the same basic philosophies. It’s how I learned and it’s how I teach. If you have graduated from a Vidal Sassoon Academy, you understand and live these philosophies. Sassoon graduates, listen to their clients, ask questions about their lifestyle and want to know any trouble you are having with your hair. I want you to feel beautiful, sexy and happy. You deserve that.
Advanced Education and Training
Many excellent local schools may partner with The Vidal Sassoon Academies through the Sassoon Academy Network. The Vidal Sassoon Academy offers advanced courses for licensed cosmetologists. They range from 2-day short term classes to 5-day Intensive Training. For instance, many of my staff had attended Paul Mitchell or Federico Beauty Institute and later took Advanced Education through a Sassoon Academy Network class. The most popular being ‘The ABC Cutting Class’. If your stylist has invested in these classes, they are truly dedicated to being salon professionals. These classes are comprehensive and expensive. If your stylist has dedicated five consecutive Sundays and thousands of dollars for an advanced training class, they are probably worth trusting. After successful completion, stylists are awarded an ‘ABC Diploma’. For example, they would be Federico Beauty Institute Graduate with Advanced Training through Vidal Sassoon. But, they are not Vidal Sassoon Graduates.
What makes a Master Stylist?
I also use the title ‘Master Stylist’. We coined this expression as a way to define stylists who have 10 or more consecutive years of experience in a salon environment. We see that term thrown around quite a bit, even with stylists who we know have not been on the job that long. So be careful out there. The Board of Cosmetology does not designate titles to independent contractors. Don’t be afraid to ask your stylist questions. Where did they go to Cosmetology School? Do they have advanced training? For example, if you need a specialty service, such as wedding, color corrections or hair extensions, do they have experience with that service?
I’m proud to be a graduate of the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica. When I began in 1984, there were only two academies, one in Santa Monica and one in London. There was an extensive application and interview process that took months to complete. Tuition ran 6-10 times a local academy price. Thousands of students applied each quarter. Of the thousands, only 12 students were chosen for each 9-week class. My acceptance letter both terrified and excited me. Sitting in the lobby on my first day, dressed to the hilt, I felt unworthy. I was determined to do whatever it took to earn my place. I fully immersed myself in Sassoon life.
The Harvard of Hair
Sassoon students were not allowed to have a job. We were expected to be full time students. On the weekends I went to barbershops and museums. Later, we would be asked to chose our favorite museum piece. And then relate it to hair. The experience opened my eyes to a new way of looking at everything. I was fully immersed in the cult of Sassoon and I loved it. My fellow students came from Australia, New York, Chicago, Canada and Asia. Standards were incredibly high for attendance, testing and technique. Dress and demeanor were scrutinized carefully and our instructors were brutal. To receive a ‘nice haircut’ was the highest degree of praise. It kept us constantly striving. After graduation, job hunting was easy. Owners wanted to talk to me. I’m proud of my education. I share my knowlege freely with my staff.
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