Traci Sakosits, North American Creative Director for Sassoon Academies, is arguably one of the brightest (and busiest) educators in the industry. With well over two decades spent perfecting her craft, she’s a true master–and Hairbrained is proud to count her as one of our community’s members. During her recent visit to Federico Advanced, in Sacramento CA, HB asked: how do you make all of the pieces fit together?
Traci generously shared her well-earned insights. Read on to find out how she stays mentally and physically fit, plus how she unwinds from a jam-packed schedule – and get valuable insights on how you can take your career to the next level.
Q. You hold the position of North American Creative Director for Sassoon Academy; that has to be a demanding position! How do you unwind and recharge?
A. First, I would say that I feel absolutely privileged to hold the title that I do; I have a great amount of respect for it. I contribute a balanced mindset to the success of my role. I’ve always been a huge believer in leading a balanced life, and I achieve that in a variety of ways.
My son, Charlie, plays a big part in my ability to relax, unwind and recharge. The second I walk in my door, I get to view the world from his perspective: with wide-eyed innocence. He has an extremely creative, sensitive and fun-loving soul – and through him – I’m able to practice present moment awareness, to really focus on the now. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by endless amounts of creative energy in my position at Sassoon – the ebb and flow of it is amazing. I’d like to say it’s a trickle-down effect, but really, I find inspiration everywhere. From Mark Hayes to the International Sassoon Team, through to the students that I teach.
This year, I’m putting emphasis on the synergistic balance between mind and body; I’ve been working with a Pilate’s trainer, because I find that it strengthens my body and clears my mind, simultaneously. Being in this industry can be demanding, and I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself fresh, and full of energy and creativity, so I can give 100% of who I am to the people around me.
Q. As an industry veteran, you’ve been exposed to all different types of personalities. How have those different energies affected you, and shaped you?
A. As a hairdresser and educator, you get to cross paths with a lot of different personalities, and there’s always some sort of energy exchange. This is one of the best parts of my career. From the mentors who have helped to mold me, to the students who have helped to make me a better teacher, there’s always something to be gleaned from the people around you.
Working with other creative-types, you connect, and learn so much about them and their fields. The models that I cut become my muses and the photographers help to train my eye – and of course – capture the moments so beautifully. It’s all about tuning in and being in touch.
I’m fortunate to have made lifelong connections and friends through this industry – some I consider family. These people have colored my career, making it fun and exciting; there’s never a dull moment, and I’m so grateful for that. The characters that I have met along the way have helped to enrich me, and I strive to pass this along to others.
All of these things combined – balanced with the belief of being true to yourself and your own convictions – make for a great career.
Q. In your own word’s, what’s the value of education? And, as an educator, do you continue to seek out education?
A. In any field, education is the key to success. Though it may sound trite, I firmly believe that knowledge is power, and every bit of knowledge that you are able to collect can help to fine-tune and hone your skills, which is essential to me. Most of my 24 years with Sassoon, I’ve worked in the academies. As a teacher, I believe that you should never stop learning, that you should always stay fresh and relevant. I take time out to educate myself, regularly. Next week, in fact, I’ll be in London for a training session with our international creative team.
So, my thought is this: Embrace continued education, and set aside time to do so as often as possible. Always strive to be a student. Being a student elevates technical abilities, and as a teacher, leader and mentor it can re-inspire you, and cultivate your ability to give back.
Q. Classic or forward thinking?
A. Over the years, I’ve become a minimalist at heart; I’ve developed a fondness for all things designed with purpose and intent. The look I love is both intricate, yet paired down. Interestingly, I find that when you doing something that’s really pure, esthetically – which can be considered classic – it comes full circle and becomes forward thinking.
At Sassoon, we release two collections per year. Each collection is utterly balanced, taking into consideration emerging fashion – but always underpinned by technique. At Sassoon, this is considered hair design.
My advice to any hairdresser: master your technique, taking into consideration utmost suitability, before attempting to mix with more forward thinking techniques.
Q. Do you think that there’s value in cultivating an inclusive, craft hairdressing community – and how do you think that Hairbrained does this?
A. Hairbrained helps to infuse the hairdressing community with technical integrity, but that’s only part of what makes it so genius. The platform brings together like-minded craftsman that believe in marrying heart (passion) and hand (skill). This is what makes a truly impactful artist, and I love that Hairbrained unites people, who really love what they do – and have a desire to share it. It’s a perfect storm: all of the right people at the right time.
Q. If you could give one piece of advice to the burgeoning generation of stylists, what would it be and why?
A. I couldn’t give just one piece of advice; so instead, I’ll offer the perfect ‘trifecta.’ First (and foremost), always show up and get involved. Second, surround yourself with great people that are open to sharing their knowledge and their skills. Third, be dedicated. Totally dedicated.
Are you a member of hairbrained.me? If not, you could be missing out on a career-shaping opportunity. Join our community, and become a part of a radically different kind of social media network, created by hairdressers for hairdressers. Connect online with a community of like-minded peers from around the globe.
About: Hairbrained is a community of hairdressers that share a deep passion and desire to celebrate the craft of hairdressing, online socially.The community was founded by two hairdressers, Randy Taylor, a photographer / hairdresser; and Gerard Scarpaci, a world-class educator/platform artist. Both have love for our industry; its people, and the craft of hairdressing. For more information visit www.hairbrained.me.