Who is Sam Villa?
If you haven't heard (although we are sure you have), Sam Villa is a beauty industry icon!
He has helped shape the beauty industry into what it is today, and is continuing to mold it for future generations.
Sam is a Global Artistic Ambassador for Redken, the Co-Founder of Sam Villa® and the 2017 NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.
While Sam has millions of followers on social media and has inspired the beauty industry for countless years, he remains humbled and grounded to his mission of educating every stylist and genuinely wanting to make a positive impact on each beauty pro he can.
From his superior cutting and styling skills to his boundless business advice, our Elite Beauty Society team was honored to sit down with Sam and learn a little bit more about his journey and the advice he has for fellow stylists. There is no doubt that his impact has helped shape the industry into what it is today, and we were all ears when he spilled the secrets to his success!
Ambassador for: Redken
Co-Founder of: https://www.samvilla.com/
State of the Industry
With more than 30 years of teaching experience in the beauty industry, Sam has seen and done A LOT! The beauty industry is in a transitional place today, and Sam had priceless advice for stylists to succeed and change with the times.
“There’s this great thing going on—the world today is being driven by the millennials. But this generation is not saving money like previous generations- they’re living a life of experience” says Sam.
How did he come to this conclusion?
Sam went to the movies with his wife one night, to see Bohemian Rhapsody. It’d been years since he had been to the movies (or had time to), especially when we have movies playing at our fingertips in the comfort of our own home. But, he was awestruck at the new recliners, food delivery service, and bar options.
So what happened?
To beat and compete with new on-demand services like Netflix, they had to up their game. Going to the movies isn’t what it used to be 20 years ago, it’s not even what it used to be 10 years ago, so theaters have adapted.
So, naturally, he began to compare this to the professional beauty industry.
The conclusion was that salons and beauty pros also need to adapt and embrace this change to keep up with our changing world.
In Sam’s experience, one of the most valuable things a stylist can give their clients today is something to hold onto, something unique to you as the stylist that only you can give them.
For example, when Sam is behind the chair he’ll take out his phone, open the camera, set it to video, and start recording. He will create mini-tutorial videos for his clients from how to hold the brush at home when blow drying your hair, to how to use certain hot tools. In return, the client at home can watch and re-watch these videos, reminded of the additional value Sam brought to their appointment. That’s not just an appointment, it’s an experience the client can hold onto.
What value are you adding to each appointment? Find out what priorities your client in the chair has and address them.
Your client doesn’t like hair spray? Show them how to use it properly, show them different brands, show them added benefits.
“You need to listen, not to reply, but to understand. The good lord gave you 2 ears and one mouth.” - Sam Villa
Let’s be real, with the internet and YouTube your clients can find this information anyway, why shouldn’t you be the one to give it to them and add value to your relationship?
STOP complaining about YouTube, BECOME YouTube behind the chair for your clients.
Your most valuable tool is your phone.
Does your client want a new cut?
Send them photos and suggestions while they’re at work! They’ll show their coworkers, they’ll get opinions, and maybe you’ll get new clients.
Anchor learning and growing your business by using your phone.
Sam also warns, “Don’t worry about other stylists and companies out there. You can only do the best you can do.”
But what if your client brings up these other stylists or companies while in your chair? For example, your client is in the chair, you recommend a product and the client pulls it up and it's $2 cheaper at Ulta...
What do you do?
Match it! Or offer it a dollar cheaper. Build customer loyalty and appreciation. Now you’re getting the sale and building a stronger bond with that client.
“Really interested in retail in the salon? Create visual disruption,” says Sam.
Add testers, add signs and marketing at eye level. It’s your professional responsibility to prescribe and recommend products to your clients; you’re the professional impart your knowledge.
What about Amazon, aren’t they taking over?
Well, Sam has a few questions. Are you a salon owner? Do you have a website? Do you sell the product on your site? Well…if not, why not?
Sam hopes salon owners and stylists today learn the value of selling the experience.
“Stylists, you have a choice, if you don’t do it someone else will. People first buy people—then they buy things.” Sam Villa
Forward Thinking—What Do You Think The Future of the Beauty Industry Is
Sam knows if he just complains about issues with the industry, no one would listen. So he’s always thinking “What can I do to change it, to make it better?”
First, Sam gave us some insight into his thoughts on the youth in the beauty industry and how we can strengthen and uplift the future of this industry.
Enrollment is down in beauty schools.
“We need to change the stigma,” says Sam. “We cannot just complain about the perception of this as a career to some people, we need to actively work to change it.
What does Sam do when someone asks him what he makes?
“Well, I can make 10,000 people stand up and applaud, I can make someone who comes in with a lack of confidence the most confident person in the room, but most importantly, I make a difference.”
Sam’s been a mover and shaker in the industry for so long, we had to know just how to get to where he is today.
“In a single word? Education,” remarked Sam.
“If there’s a show, go. If there’s an educational event, go. Learn what not to do. Never cease to learn. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student or a teacher, you can continuously learn and better your craft.” Sam Villa
Sam is still learning today, and if he is still seeking out education, you can’t ever stop either.
Another aspect of the beauty industry Sam feels is vital to the future success of professionals is social media. Social media is an incredible tool for uncovering hidden talent.
As an influencer or aspiring influencer, you must understand Instagram and Facebook are a 2-dimensional world. To take the next step and move into live education, you may stumble, but if you can teach, you’ll be one of the last ones standing. How you can interact with the platform is everything.
The answer to success is all in education.
Social media is great, but social media cannot touch your mind or other’s minds. Get yourself to educational events, that’s what will help determine your success
What’s Next for Sam Villa?
If you haven’t figured it out already, Education is number 1.
Have you heard of “The broke room”?
Of course you have. It’s where you catch up on texts, scroll on your phone, or just check out for a few minutes. “DON’T,” implores Sam. Watch continuing education on YouTube, read articles on business or new trends, work on your client if you can - is their color processing? Okay, braid their hair, teach them something new to add more value to their appointment.
Be where everyone else isn’t. Everyone else is in the broke room…become the stylist everyone is asking, “How did they do that?”
Your choices behind the chair (and away from the chair during the appointment) affect whether or not that client will walk through your door again.
Sam’s goal is to continue to be the messenger. He doesn’t want to be a rockstar, he just wants to be a teacher, educator, and a hairdresser that pays it forward.
“The formula for failure is trying to please everyone. Do everything with intent and purpose, you can only do what you believe in and your very best. You cannot please everyone.” Sam Villa
Sam also just launched a new education platform called Artist Studio.
While Sam gives the industry a plethora of free education, Artist Studio is an online learning platform with full-length, exclusive, premium content that is only available with a subscription.
Artist Studio with Sam Villa will provide you with the top-tier video education you need to take your career to the next level.
Notably, Sam also does a local fashion and hair show supporting childhood cancer every December in Jacksonville, FL. Half of all retail product sales go to this initiative.
Give yourself something to stand by, your clients will admire it, and after all, why are we in this industry if we don’t genuinely love to give back to the world around us?
“Sharing is the greatest gift we can give one another…to help each other grow and prosper, we all need to pay it forward.” Sam Villa
We deeply thank Sam for taking the time to share his knowledge with us and all our beauty pros. We cannot wait to see him on stage again!
Images courtesy: https://www.samvilla.com/