Best of Masters: Van Council

Seeing the 1975 big-screen smash Shampoo sent Van Council off to cosmetology school. Something in the way Warren Beatty wielded the scissors on those ’70s coifs inspired Van, and he hasn’t looked back since.

In 1984, he launched his first Van Michael Salon in Atlanta, George. Before long, he had won prestigious awards, such as North American Hairstylist of the Year, Avant Garde Stylist of the Year, and Makeover Stylist of the Year, and he became part of the Aveda Global Masters Team.

Using his business savvy, Van expanded his beauty empire to include additional salons in Atlanta, Miami, and Tokyo. Van currently stays busy with an ever-expanding schedule of private and celebrity clients and his roles as a leading spokesman for Aveda worldwide and as Fashion Director of Intercoiffure America/Canada.

“Van told me many years ago that with his speech impediment, mixed with a Southern accent, people thought he was foreign,” Winn Claybaugh recalls. “When he realized ‘foreigners’ could charge extra for their haircuts, he became one of the most successful hairdressers in town. Van personally flew himself many times to my little beauty school in Provo, Utah, over 20 years ago to mentor and recruit my students. What superstar does that?!”

Interviewed by Winn Claybaugh and guest interviewer Kitty Victor, Van emphasizes the importance of following systems and knowing both your strengths and your weaknesses.   

For more information about MASTERS Audio Club, visit To purchase: $12.95 CDs; $9.94 MP3 download. 

About: Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and “one of the best motivational speakers in the country,” according to CNN’s Larry King, who wrote the foreword for the book. A national speaker for major corporations and a business owner for more than 30 years with over 16,000 people in his organization, Winn is the founder, co-owner, and dean of hair care giant Paul Mitchell’s school division. Under Winn’s leadership and in keeping with their unique culture of giving back and building self-esteem, the 100-plus schools in the nationwide network have donated countless volunteer hours and raised more than $15.2 million for multiple charitable organizations.