I come from a family of hair stylists. It’s a profession I hold in high regard and close to my heart.

Stylists are artists, therapists, storytellers and by far the most interesting people you’ll ever have the privilege of knowing.

In honor of National Hair Stylist Appreciation Day on April 30th, here is a special Style Fix Spotlight on hair stylist, educator and mentor – Yvonne Sharples.

Over the years, I have seen the impact she has had on so many stylists – reading comments from posts on social media and seeing her mentor stylist here in Ottawa for Trend Vision.

Yvonne’s mark on the industry is immeasurable and I wanted to share a bit of her story.

Cover Photo: Couture Colour Class 2015 

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Yvonne Sharples
Regional Education Manager, Wella Professional and Hair Stylist

I have interviewed many stylists over the years – each had a different story as to why they got into hairdressing. What drew you into the industry?

My mom took me along to her hairdressing appointments every Saturday when I was very young. Even though I was young I noticed how close some of the relationships were between stylist and the client. I realized that at the end of each appointment the clients were smiling and happy. The stylists made their clients feel happy and beautiful. I was hooked immediately and knew I wanted to be part of the industry one day. I joined the industry at age 13 and feel blessed to go to work everyday and still love what I do.

One of my favorite events is Trend Vision. I love seeing the looks the Stylists come up with – it’s an opportunity for them to express their creative vision as artists. You have been involved with Trend Vision for many years now – how has the competition evolved over the last 5 years.

This is my favorite event too and is very dear to me . Every year I am proud of the competitors and amazed at the level of talent and drive the Canadian stylists bring to the competition. The one constant that has made a significant difference over the last few years is the mentorship provided by the Wella family to stylists in Canada. This mentoring and support has helped many stylists achieve both national and international recognition.

You have been an amazing mentor to many Stylists – making a difference in so many careers. What is it like watching all these Stylists flourish over the years?

As hair stylists we are already a tight knit community. I never forget the people who supported me and took me under their wing from the age of 13 as an assistant in a salon.

Today I work for one of the biggest beauty houses in the industry. I would not be here without the support I received throughout my career.

Paying it forward is the best way I can honour and acknowledge my mentors.

Social media makes it so easy to connect with stylists I support or mentor, and I always stay in touch. I know I have been successful as a mentor when I receive a message from someone thanking me or sending me an invite to the grand opening of their salon, or when I attend a show and someone I mentored is demonstrating on the main stage as a platform artist for a major manufacturer.

It also gives me a great sense of pride to see a successful stylist working in a salon who is happy and fulfilled with their career. I spent my career working in a salon and loved every minute of it.

I know many stylist that have been mentored by Yvonne. I asked a few of them to tell me what impact she has had on their careers. Here is what they had to say.

Yvonne told me never to give up.

Follow your heart, and good things will thrive.

She’s always so positive and motivates me to do better.

– Ziad Sami El-Zoor

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Ziad and Yvonne 2013 Trend Vision prep at Texture Hair Salon in Ottawa.

I am endlessly grateful to be able to call Yvonne my colleague, mentor, and friend. She is someone whose lifeblood is contagious.

Her passion and generosity of spirit drives me to be a better artist and educator.

The impact Yvonne has had on my career is impossible to put into words. She’s been an anchor, a port in a storm, a shoulder to cry on, and an ass-kicker when I needed it most. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today without her unparalleled influence.

– Chelsea Mann

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Wella Family – February 2016

I love Yvonne! She is one of the best educators I’ve had in 20 years in the industry. She is very knowledgeable and easy to communicate with but more importantly she believes in you which makes you believe in you!!

She is the true meaning of #wellafamily.

She tells killer jokes too!

– Rachel Fortino

Yvonne was the first educator I ever met at Wella – I was still in school and she welcomed me with open arms. She paved the way for all the other educators and made me want to be a part of Wella instantly. She has been there for me for some of my big career decisions. I’m so lucky to have been trained by her.

There are very few people in this world who can touch you the way she does.

– Vanessa Fortino

Earlier this year you participated in Wella Presents: A Night with Stephen Moody. Do you still get inspired by other artists and who are some of your mentors?

I appreciate artists who remain actively involved and participate in advancing the industry. Stephen Moody is one such artist. As the Global Education Academy Dean at Wella, Coty Professional, Mr. Moody supports the skill development of stylists all over the world. As he puts it, “It’s about paying it forward.”

Fabio Sementilli, Vice President Education, North America Coty Professional was an inspiration to all of us. Fabio touched the hearts and souls of all stylists, artists and peers at Coty. He was an advocate for those who wanted to become the best in whatever role or position they had.

Mirella Rota Sementilli, Nioxin Top Artist/Design Artist for Wella. Mirella has and continues to mentor and coach stylist from different levels of experience. From junior to a veteran stylist . She has dedicated most of her career training to preparing stylists for local and international competitions. From a very young age Mirella has made a difference in the life of many stylists.

Hair Stylist have a special bond with their clients – a personal relationship – it’s really unlike any other profession. What are some of the most important lessons you have learned over the years from working behind the chair.

It is easy to become relaxed around your clients, however a big part of professionalism is how you present and conduct yourself while you are with a client. Coming to work looking like a professional is a given. Your appearance and the way you communicate affects the way you are perceived.

Always give your clients best in class service.

The service you provide for them may be the only splurge the client can afford and they are looking forward to the whole experience. I never overbook myself and stay on time for every client. I never want the client to feel like I’m rushing so time management on my part is critical. Staying true to who you are as a PHD (professional hair dresser) will make you a confident stylist and your clients will notice. They will know they are in good hands and can relax and enjoy their time with you.

The art of being able to communicate with people is important in any profession but more so for those in the beauty industry. You have to have the right combination of technical skills, people skills and passion. What are the key components to a proper consultation?

Consultation is key to building long lasting relationships.

At Wella we teach the 6 elements of consultation which has proven to be very successful. It is a given to analyze the hair during a consultation but it’s much more then that. I find pulling up a chair and sitting beside a client and making good eye contact is a great way to start the dialog between my client and myself.

I start with asking open ended questions to get the client chatting and comfortable. Personally, and to ensure I provide the best service and experience for the client, I like to explore a client’s lifestyle and find out what kind of work they do. (My client could be a student with a limited budget). I usually ask what a typical day looks like and does the client have any hobbies (swimming, sports etc.).

Skin tone, face shape and eye color are very important factors when providing cutting and coloring services.

I always ask how much time a client can spend on their hair each day and what they like or find challenging about managing their hair.

As a stylist it’s essential that I gather enough information to make an informed suggestion (decision) about the services to provide to each client so they leave the salon feeling pampered and rejuvenated, and of course looking forward to their next appointment.

Yvonne Sharples is just amazing, always improving and always inspiring.
– Fabio Sementilli

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This past September you were presented with the Wella Silver Certification Award. Fabio was a passionate and inspirational leader. What does Sementilli Power mean to you and how will you carry on his legacy.

I believe everyone leaves a legacy when they depart this life. Sementilli Power is what Big Daddy believed in. “Go above and beyond and don’t let anything or anyone stop you from achieving your goals, sharing, giving back and paying it forward”. Fabio was one of the most influential leaders I know. I will continue to honour Sementilli Power by sharing and living Big Daddy’s words of wisdom at every opportunity (and by living his words). Fabio would have turned 50 on July 13, 2017. I think a great way to carry on his legacy would be to make every July 13 remembering Fabio and dedicate this day to him. We as (PHD) Professional Hair Dressers should share what great things we are doing for the industry or community.

What is the best thing about your profession?

The people is what makes this a great industry.

You get to work with creative and talented people. We make our customers look and feel beautiful . I get to share and help stylist achieve their professional goals. Most importantly I wake up everyday and look forward to going to work. If that’s what you call it.