While many are still recovering from the COVID-19 salon shutdown, find out why the Elevated Stylist—a wellness and education retreat designed for hairstylists—is exactly what our industry needs right now.
Sonia Yarkhani and Jody Kezar are kindred spirits and business partners—the co-owners of Evolve Hair Studio, an eco-friendly hair salon in Toronto. They are also the powerhouse duo behind the Elevated Stylist, an educational and wellness retreat for hairstylists.
Launched last year, the all-inclusive retreat is typically a getaway that combines various workshops and activities. However this year’s experience on September 20th to 21st will be entirely virtual, with some of the industry’s leading educators and speakers participating in a weekend of mindfulness, hair education and business coaching.
“Education is so important for our industry. But you’re not really learning about how to reduce your stress when you’re in the salon, or how to make the most of each client that sits in your chair, or how to take your professionalism to the next level,” says Kezar. “And that’s why we came up with the name ‘Elevated Stylist.’ For us, it’s not just learning a new technique. It’s up-levelling your whole craft and your life.”
The idea for the Elevated Stylist was born when Yarkhani and Kezar realized there was a lack of wellness and mindfulness in the beauty industry, so they wanted to create the all-inclusive retreat to fill a void in their community. It sets itself apart from other education classes and seminars by taking a more well-rounded approach. In addition to teaching styling and colour techniques, there is a focus on wellness, mindfulness, connectivity and community.
“One of the most important things to us is community,” says Yarkhani. “Having an event and platform like this, we’re really able to bring people closer together. For people to really lift each other up and push each other rather than compete with each other.”
When deciding to make the retreat virtual this year, it did not deter them from rising to the challenge and planning an equally incredible and educational event that hairstylists could use now more than ever. In light of recent events, more people are starting to come together and support each other, especially on social media. “More than ever, I feel like hairstylists are coming together and sharing,” says Kezar. “Everybody has their specialty [yet] everybody’s sharing with everybody and with that we can raise the industry standard.”
Yarkhani says she believes that whether you’re an independent stylist, salon owner or hairstylist, you still need that mindset of success and that mindset of growth.
“We incorporate little workshops that are not just for hair but they’re also for your personal life, because we’re strong believers in that what you do in your personal life is going to mimic the success of your professional life,” says Yarkhani. “It’s all about mindset and mindfulness, which is very important in our industry. People can really experience burnout and what burnout does is, it kills creativity. And when you kill creativity, you’re not able to create beautiful hair for people. You’re not able to stay confident behind your chair, so you could take your personal business to the next level.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many salons and hairstylists may still be dealing with the financial fallout, which can impact their overall mental health. With this in mind, the Elevated Stylist aims to help stylists feel more grounded and supported. This year we threw in [a seminar on] business development, so we’re really diving deep into your numbers,” says Kezar. “We have a whole workshop on how to look at your profit and loss and see where you are able to save money within your business.”
Yarkhani and Kezar have also adjusted their prices this year to be more affordable (and accessible) to help get the industry back on track. “
“Just because a pandemic has happened, it doesn’t mean that our jobs stop and it doesn’t mean the learning stops,” says Yarkhani. “If anything, I think the pandemic has taught us that we are resilient and we need to come up with creative ways to continue our businesses and events like this, to give people the opportunity to think outside the box and invite more positive affirmations for their business and manifesting the things that they want.”
For more information and to purchase your tickets for this year’s Elevated Stylist two-day virtual retreat, visit elevatedstylist.com