Sam Villa: Hitting the Road and Remembering to Pack It All

I woke up this morning and realized I have the best job! The people I meet, the cities and countries I have seen over the years—I wouldn’t trade my job for anything. I feel very fortunate to be where I am today as a hairdresser.

It all began in 1976 in San Francisco when my father took me to my first hair show and I watched legends Vidal Sassoon, Christopher Brooker and Roger Thompson. While at this show, I realized I wanted to be a teacher, a platform artist. From that day on I became a hair show junkie attending any and every class I could.  Little did I know attending all those shows would lead me to where I am today, traveling the world as a teaching hairdresser. 

Traveling now for over 35 years has certainly taught me a lot about myself as I have watched myself and the industry change. Yes it’s hard work, yet it feels like hardly working … oh, and the change is welcome!

Redken has made me who I am today as a platform artist. When I began teaching, I thought it was all about me. Over my past 17 years with Redken, they have given me the resources to understand that teachers are leaders. You see, it’s never about me; it’s about the audience I stand before. Just like when standing behind the chair, it’s never about us, it’s about the person sitting in the chair. Teaching has taught me that people buy people, and then they buy things. It’s about making the connection with an audience, just as it’s about making the connection with every client you serve, beginning with a consultation. It’s about having genuine concern for your client and audience. In today’s world, communication builds wealth as the consultation sets up your knowledge as a professional hairdresser with your guest. Our job as hairdressers is to serve, whether behind the chair or before an audience.

As a teacher or hairdresser, we must never cease to learn as discoveries happen every day: Clients count on you just as a lot of you count on me. I do my research constantly whether it’s techniques, trends, or tricks. I am a messenger and help others to be better hairdressers with the knowledge I share. My goal over the last few years as a teaching hairdresser is not to light a fire underneath you, but to light a fire inside of you … that fire I felt at my first hair show.

I stand before you, as a man, yet more importantly as a human being who shares the passion this industry has to offer. What the beauty industry has given me over 39 years, I have chosen to give back. Not as a visionary, not as a genius, not as a rock star, yet as a teaching hairdresser, a platform artist who chooses to share what others have passed on to me. My friends, I will continue to stand before you motivated by the passion to teach and proud to be a hairdresser.

Traveling over the many years has taught me things about myself that I never thought existed in my personality. Travel really is a life teacher; it always opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives. It has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible, as travel is the best teacher in life.

Traveling has taught me to welcome change and embrace it in my life. One of the most important life lessons traveling can teach you is that stepping outside of your comfort zone is OK. Yes, it will be different, and yes, at times it can be scary, but step outside your comfort zone and you will find new precious experiences that are worth it.

My friends, we soon find that we don’t really need all that baggage; it just gets in the way. Leave behind what you don’t need and concentrate on enjoying today and looking forward to tomorrow.

Until next time, aspire for more!


About: Sam Villa is founding partner of the Sam Villa brand (Allvus, LLC), designed to bring “More Sam to More People.”  The educational world of this Favorite Platform Artist and Educator (2012, 2011 and 2007), Favorite Overall Educator of the Year (2015) and Education Artistic Director for Redken 5th Avenue, can be experienced on