Meet Elaine Travis, she is another industry icon, award-winning hair designer, and creative visionary. This is what she has to say about her journey:
Q: What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
I would have to say raising two amazing kids would be my first answer and staying married for almost 30 years while owning a successful salon simultaneously. I have had an amazing career and life because of my passion for hair color. I have grown many six-figure colorists and salon owners and enabled many people to live the life of their dreams while doing what they love.
Q: Who influenced you the most when learning your craft?
The absolute number one mentor to me my entire career was and still is Beth Minardi. She showed me what was possible in choosing to be a color specialist and the importance of elevating hair color to an art form and charging properly. When I wrote my book for colorists, A Colorful Journey, Beth contributed a testimonial and has since taught at my very own hair color retreat. It is awesome to come full circle and have your mentor still support you after all of these years and all of her own success.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from the hair stylists that I now teach and coach. They keep me on my toes and energized to constantly add value to their membership content. I hear what their struggles are and I create content around their individual needs. I also have started following several artists from other countries who inspire me with new and unique techniques and products we are not exposed to in the US.
Q: What would you say to new future professionals entering this industry?
My best advice to future professionals is always to be mindful of your WHY? Know who you are as an artist and do more of what makes you feel alive. If you love color then specialize and become so good at it that you do not even need to advertise, people will find you. Find a really strong, passionate mentor and follow their path to success. Don’t be too proud to say you don’t understand and need some help. Fake it till you make it is total bullshit. Too many colorists followed that advice and now are fearful formulators 15 yrs into their careers. Ask and know WHY
Q: Where did you attend school or train?
My beauty school no longer exists. I attended the Five Star Academy of Beauty Culture. My real training began as an apprentice at a large salon that had a strong training program. I have always attended advanced education my entire career and still do. It has been the number one key to my success as both a salon owner and colorist. I attended the Vidal Sassoon Academy, almost every single Hair Color USA event, Minardi Beauty Focus annually, and almost every Behind the Chair Show.
Q: What was the turning point of your career?
My turning point was when I made the decision after 17 yrs of being a generalist to specialize in color and open a second salon that was departmentalized. This enabled me to become a much stronger colorist as well as educate and grow other colorists through education. My recent biggest turning point was making the decision to become a full-time independent hair color educator. I am able to give back and share my passion for hair color with hairstylists from all over the world through my virtual courses and membership.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice I have ever received was to jump and your life will appear. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect and safe. Trust your gut and know what you are meant to do even when you are unsure of yourself. We spend way too many years of our lives pleasing everyone but ourselves. The turning point for me was learning that the people who we thought were judging our every decision were busy worrying about us judging theirs. In the end, it is entirely up to you and making yourself happy and content.
Q: What is your opinion around online video training?
I am so grateful for virtual education. I struggled for seven years trying to find a way to reach more hairstylists. I ventured into uncharted territory and created online hair color education when it did not exist. I wasn’t sure if it would work but trusted my gut. I never could have predicted our current situation and that every hair show I was scheduled to teach would be cancelled. Thankfully I had already made the shift two years prior so I was already set up and ready to serve hairstylists in the best way possible. I hesitated to make my offer in May because every stylist was out of work but it turned out to be my biggest group ever. People are searching for hair color education simplified and that is my specialty.
Q: In a perfect world, how would you like to see the industry grow?
I do not like how divided the industry has become. It feels like everyone is on their own and too much isolation. There are very little camaraderie and team spirit in the current salon climate. Commission wars have now turned into every man for him/herself working in small independent suites. People don’t share ideas and information as freely it has become a competition of who looks more fabulous on social media. I would like to see us all come together again in some way. I miss having the community of a trade association and small events bringing everyone together with the way the Minardi Beauty Focus was.
Q: What is the best technique you have learned?
A few years ago I attended two separate trainings with famous Beverly Hills colorists. I loved certain parts of each of their technique. So I created my own technique that I have named Bullshit Balayage combining three techniques together to get an effortless Victoria Secret model like highlight result without the stress and unpredictable lift of freehand balayage. I have also created two other techniques a Couture Highlight retouch and an express 18 Foil Money Piece technique that my students absolutely love and get great results with.
Q: What is the secret to your success?
The secret to my success is never giving up and always knowing when to pivot to stay up to date and relevant in an ever-changing industry. I grew organically from a beauty school student to a hungry apprentice, to salon employee to salon owner at age 22, to second location hair color specialty salon, to hair color educator, author, and now digital CEO. Can’t wait to see what is next?
Oh, I know it is the creator and host of the first completely virtual Hair Show called Revival. Bringing together the best educators from the days before social media and influencers. They will be bringing us education fueled by passion, not ego. They are pure educators, not influencers. They care if you experience growth from their sessions not how many people like their posts. It will be a Revival of how the industry was and can be again. Stay tuned for a details event is October 18-19th