Thousands of future professionals from Paul Mitchell Schools all over the country gathered in Las Vegas recently for Caper.
At Paul Mitchell Schools, students are future professionals. The implication, of course, is that these aspiring beauty pros will not only graduate but will also go on to have careers within our industry. Caper (the name was inspired by the 1981 musical comedy The Great Muppet Caper) was conceived by Dean and co-founder of Paul Mitchell Schools Winn Claybaugh, and it’s unlike any other event in our industry: one day of hands-on cutting, color and makeup with artists like Robert Cromeans, Stephanie Kocielski, Takashi Kitamura and Lucie Doughty, and one day of pure inspiration from motivational speakers whose message is clear: You can overcome any obstacles if you put your mind to it. This year Lizzie Velasquez and Alvin Law brought the crowd to its feet. Velasquez, whose 2013 TED Talk inspired millions, has written three books, including Choosing Happiness. Alvin Law, a former broadcaster, was born without arms, one of more than 13,000 babies in the 1960s with birth defects because of a morning sickness drug called Thalidomide. Still, Law prevailed and learned to play the drums and keyboard—with his feet. Claybaugh understands how difficult it is for kids right out of beauty school to make it. The first year, he says, is tough. His advice: Get a part-time job until you build a clientele. So what can we do to keep these young people from becoming beauty school dropouts? For Claybaugh, the solution is obvious: Get them connected to the beauty industry as a whole immediately so they want to be part of it. He suggests that salon owners and successful stylists offer to speak at their local beauty school. Don’t wait for them to call you; they won’t. And don’t expect to be paid either. Just do it. “Tell them about the kind of career they can have if they work hard. Do it because someone you looked up to said five words that inspired you enough to keep you going,” says Claybaugh. “We need to be those people who provide hope.” ✂ —Marianne Dougherty