Author: Anne Skubis

Aveda Institute Phoenix Student Jessica Baldwin at New York Fashion Week.

17 Oct Student Spotlight shines bright on Jessica Baldwin from Aveda Institute Phoenix


Aveda Institute Phoenix Student Jessica Baldwin

Aveda Institute Phoenix Student Jessica Baldwin

Aveda Institute Phoenix Student Jessica Baldwin captured Aveda’s attention this September when she had the rare opportunity to assist Antoinette Beenders on a Facebook live tutorial with American Salon, garnering over 240K views! Jessica was part of the Inspire Greatness delegation working behind the scenes with Aveda at New York Fashion Week. We invited her to share a little about her background and experience as an Aveda Institute student. In her own words, here is Jessica’s story.

I left the world of Investment Banking/Finance/Marketing having been a Personal Executive Assistant over the years to finally pursue my heart’s desire and passion to immerse myself in the world of the beauty industry. I was also a military spouse for ten years, living around and outside the US in a supportive role to my then spouse. When I decided to go to Aveda Institute Phoenix, I was on the brink of some very difficult times that included much loss in my life but I chose to take the plunge – eyes wide open with both feet and follow my heart’s desire.

I chose Aveda Institute Phoenix because I wanted a quality education – the BEST. Aveda aligned with both my world and personal views on many levels. Aveda Institute students have amazing opportunities to connect with some of the most successful, inspiring, innovative, hard-working and passionate educators and industry leaders. I remember my very 1st Master Series experience as a new cosmetology student. David Wagner was coming to see us! Reading his book had a great impact on me. I sat in the front row, pen and paper in hand. I was ready to listen, learn, and absorb the knowledge and wisdom he so graciously imparted to us. We aren’t just styling hair; we are creating an experience and touching the hearts and minds of those we care for in our chair. It was a very cathartic moment for me, sharing space and energy with David and those in the room.

I applied to participate in New York Fashion Week after Educator Leslie Allison-Williams approached me about the opportunity. She was so encouraging and uplifting and she “saw me.” Somehow deep inside the tenderness of my heart she saw my passion for touching lives in this line of work and sometimes all a student needs is encouragement. If there is one thing I could ever suggest to educators, it is to be sincere and genuine in your approach. People know when someone is being authentic and I felt that authenticity with Leslie. She saw things inside of me that I had not yet acknowledged and gave me just the nudge I needed to just believe in myself and go for it with my whole heart. Leslie is a walking and living example of what inspiring greatness in others truly is about and she will forever be a treasured confidant and mentor in my life.

I am scheduled to graduate this December 14. Many have asked what am I doing next and where am I planning on going. (No pressure, LOL!) Salons have approached me, I have visited salons and been offered jobs, but I want to find the right place at the right time.

Life is a series of doors; they open and they close. Some may see life as a series of pathways or roads. I see BOTH doors and roads. Completing my education at Aveda Institute Phoenix will bring me to an open door. Outside that door are many roads that can be taken so I want to choose wisely. My NYFW experience ignited a fire in me that was already simmering for High Fashion, Education and Editorial Work. Although I’m comfortable within a corporate structure, I seek to be creative, change scenery often, always continue my education and of most importantly, touch lives along the way.

I know without a doubt I personally want to stay Aveda all the way. I could see myself working as an assistant/apprentice to a seasoned Aveda Artist – watching, learning and growing. I want more hands-on time preferably in an educator’s environment in the fast paced world of Editorial and High Fashion. High goals, yes, but that is what Inspire Greatness is about! The standards are set high and they bring out the heart and passion in those who are open to continued learning, growing and adapting to change. My heart and mind are open to the doors that open for and pathways that cross before me. Aveda is MORE than just beauty – it’s about building rapport, trust, promoting wholeness, well-being, and building relationships. It’s about seeing things from a bigger picture and then zooming in on that picture to the very time and place we are at, in the present moment and just being in that space and time, focusing in on the needs of that one guest.♥

AIX Student Jessica Baldwin NYFW Tattoo

AIX Student Jessica Baldwin NYFW Tattoo

AIX Student Jessica Baldwin Assisting Antoinette Beenders during NYFW

AIX Student Jessica Baldwin Assisting Antoinette Beenders during NYFW

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A silhouette of a yoga pose in front of the sea.

26 Jul Stress-Fix Saturday Yoga and Fitness Fusion

Meet in the Street for Stress-Fix Saturday!

Join Aveda Institute Denver and FitLo Denver for two FREE fitness and yoga fusion classes, hosted on the 16th Street Mall (outside the Paramount Cafe) from 7:30 – 9 am. Enjoy the ambiance of downtown Denver with the Sound-Off Experience and the teachings of certified yoga instructor, Alicia Rae (@aliciarae_yoga) from Aveda Institute Denver, and certified fitness instructor Tricia Olson (@fitlodenver) from FitLo Denver.

Bring your workout shoes, dress in layers for cool and hot weather, sunscreen, water and don’t forget your yoga mat! Alicia and Tricia will blend the best of fitness and yoga techniques for a fusion guaranteed to Fix your Stress and get you ready for a Stress-Free Saturday!

Enjoy samples and network with presenting sponsors like Aveda, FitLo and Athleta.

Space is limited so we recommend grabbing a ticket online to save a spot! Get your tickets here (at



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Fit Lo girls riding stationery bikes.

16 Jul

Welcome featured partner, FitLo Denver. Aveda Institutes in Denver, Tucson, Phoenix and Provo are pleased to partner with local businesses and communities in our neighborhoods, to connect and offer our Aveda salons and spa services at a relaxed price. We recently welcomed Denver local business, FitLo so we could offer their team and network a special week of appreciation at Aveda Institute Denver.

It just so happens that Tricia Olson, creator of FitLo Denver, is one of our loyal guests and biggest fans of our spa services. “I love the facials, they are my fav here. It’s such an amazing value and service for the price. The students really do a great job and the Aveda products are exceptional. The Shampure aroma is my favorite.”

FitLo and Aveda Institute Denver have been able to partner on several fitness events to help support various causes and support the community. The teams have partnered again to host a Stress-Fix Saturday Fitness & Yoga fusion class, as a part of the Downtown Denver Partnership’s annual Meet in the Street event. Enjoy a free fitness and yoga fusion class on Saturday 7/29 and again on Saturday 8/26 at 7:30 am in front of the Paramount Cafe on the 16th Street Mall. This is a free, public event but tickets are required to reserve your space. Get your tickets on

FitLo is the lowdown on where to get fit in Denver. is a local community resource that was founded and created in Denver with the goal of helping you find your home studio and connecting with the local fitness and yoga scene. features fitness and yoga studio reviews, blogs and an event calendar to keep you updated on everything fitness and yoga in Denver. The FitLo Passport will take you on a tour of Denver’s best studios and gyms. If you haven’t found a home gym, or if you are looking for one, the FitLo Passport will help you discover new gyms and studios in a way that will allow you to connect to not only the studio’s workout, but also the community. If you have a home studio, this is an affordable way to connect with local fitness enthusiasts and discover new studios around town while still maintaining loyalty with your home studio membership.

If you are a local business to our Aveda Institutes in Denver, Tucson, Phoenix or Provo and you want to partner, connect with us! Visit us online or reach out to our Marketing Director, Anne Skubis for more information about our partnership program by emailing


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Kat carpooling to Aveda beauty school.

24 Mar Day In the Life of a Student

Meet Kat Unruh, cosmetology student at Aveda Institute in Denver. She took over our Instagram to share what it’s like to be a student at Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes.

My morning routine always starts with my hair! I usually only wash my hair every other day, so for my day two (or three) hair I  use a touch of dry shampoo and I recently got a sample of the Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner! It’s the newest part of my daily routine.


Off to school with my fiancé Kody driving. To save money and to reduce car pollution we often car pool with other students in my class and he drops us off in the mornings.


Striking a pose with one of my besties on campus, Brandi. Our class as a whole is super supportive of each other, we really have an incredible group of people.

IMG_6345I had to stop down by administration and say hi to Kristy Fiore. She’s part of our admissions team and helped me start my journey at the Aveda Institute Denver. She’s just the sweetest ☺️
In the Expression Phase of our Cosmetology program we learn the 60 minute facial. Today we learned the first part of the facial and we got to receive a little pampering from each other.
IMG_6294After school, I get started on my before-bed routine. I cleanse my face and sometimes do a mask and to finish off I apply the Tulasara Wedding Masque to prep my skin for the next day.

Since its flashback Friday, here’s a little photo of myself with the girls backstage at London fashion week for our recent study abroad trip

IMG_6348To follow Kat’s Instagram: @katunruhmua
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Professional hair styling model in India.

12 Mar #BeautyHeals : India Study Abroad Experience

At the Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes, we host study abroad opportunities as a Point of Difference in our curriculum. Inspire Greatness Aveda Institute students and graduates are able to apply to be accepted to represent the schools during these excursions. In 2016, we visited India for the second time in our study abroad experiences, which over the years has also included Madrid, Berlin, Tokyo, and London.

The obvious question here is why would a beauty school send students to India for a study abroad experience? Let’s back up a bit…

FullSizeRender (3)Aveda: The Art and Science of Pure Plant and Flower Essences. Rooted, in Ayurveda, Aveda has been a pioneer in blending the world of beauty with the environment to create inner and outer beauty, balanced in wellness. It was Aveda’s founder, Horst Rechelbacher, that had the vision to change the world by changing the way we do business. After his passing a few years ago, he left a legacy of love behind, reminding us all that love is all there is. Love for the planet and people.

Today, Aveda is able to showcase that it’s rooted in a holistic, healing practice known as Ayurveda, because it’s becoming more understood in the West. Ayurveda has been around for 5,ooo plus years and originated in India as a medical practice focused on energy of the mind, body and being. We are all made of energy and the idea is to create balance through understanding energy. Ayurveda breaks down energy into three categories or doshas known as Vata (Air, Infinity) Pitta (Fire, Water) and Kapaha (Water, Earth). We are all born with a unique dosha blend and through nutrition, yoga, meditation and daily routing (dinacharya), we each have the power to use the medicines of the Earth (plants, herbs) to heal ourselves.

We may know Ayurveda more commonly in the West as “alternative medicine.” Horst spent many years in India studying Ayurveda and realized the great need in bridging the gap between the wellness and beauty industries. Most cosmetics, perfumes, and products were then and are still petroleum-based, synthetic, tested on animals or have toxic ingredients. His vision was clear. The products that make us beautiful should also be healthy for us. Ayurveda is the root of Aveda. In Sanskrit, Aveda translates to mean “knowledge of all things.”

In 1978, the Aveda journey began with the Aveda Mission and the idea that Ayurveda would be an influence in all our products and services. We see this today through our rituals like an energizing scalp massage or relaxing sensory experience. We see it through the plant-powered products and ingredient sourcing from the Earth. We experience it in how our guests FEEL when they leave our salons and spas. We see it in our curriculum and education.

Since 1978, we have worked with Ayurvedic consultants from India to ensure quality and performance of all our products and services. We celebrate that we can offer a Study Abroad Experience to India for our team and students as it brings them in contact with our roots.

IMG_1208One of our esthiology and massage therapy graduates, Grace Henniger, attended as a student along with classmates and members of the Aveda network. Travelers were guided by Inspire Greatness Aveda Institute Operations Director, Karling Cosca, and Aveda tribal elder Helga Hefner, and Sumit and Navneeta Badola. Below, Grace shares some of her thoughts on this life-changing experience.

Q: Why did you apply for this opportunity?

A: I saw what a huge opportunity this would be to learn about Aveda and Ayurveda from where it all began.

Q: What was your favorite part of the experience?

A: Gaining a connection with so many people who started off as strangers and left being a family. We had an amazing group of people. I became good friends with many of them and have a deep love and appreciation for all of them, especially our amazing guides, Helga Hefner, and Sumit and Navneeta Badola. Being with Helga was certainly life changing. She is one of the most beautiful souls I have had the pleasure of meeting, and her wisdom and kindness has changed my life forever. Sumit and Navneeta have become my family, and I will forever appreciate their teachings and blessings.

Q: What was something you didn’t expect to experience?

A: I learned many things about myself on this trip. Mainly I learned that I have control over everything I feel, and any situation can be made into a learning experience; so now I choose to see everything through rose-colored glasses. That’s how I saw the culture in India- everyone lives their lives through their hearts. There’s lots of gratitude and love in their everyday lives, doing daily prayers and blessings. It’s similar to America in the sense that everyone is busy with their work and families, but in India everyone is more present in what they do. That’s one thing that I have brought back with me and hope to share with many people.

Q: What did you learn most during this trip?

A: If you can be in the moment with every moment, then there is more room for joy and appreciation. Especially at the beginning and end of every day.  Each day I now try to sit in silence and be grateful. Overall, this was such a life changing and enlightening experience. I feel so blessed to have gone through this as a student, so that as I go into my career I can bring this insight and wisdom to my guests and help transform their lives with light and love.

In the picture shared here from Grace’s Instagram, the caption reads, “Words cannot describe how grateful I am. Watching the sunrise over the Himalayan mountains gave me the deepest feeling of purpose and serenity. I will never forget how magical this moment was. Thank you to everyone who made this happen… namaste.”

Later, an article would be shared about this Study Abroad Experience, telling the story of how the students and Aveda team members re-connected back to the same roots Horst himself started. It was Swami Rama, founder of the Himalayan non-profit hospital who introduced the Indian heritage of yoga and Ayurveda to Aveda founder, Horst. The students learned a deeper understanding of Ayurvedic treatments like Panchkarma, yoga, meditation and the basic principles of Ayurveda.

FullSizeRender (1)









Another Aveda network member, Naomi Dove (@avedaitgirl) shared her experience through a video she created. Click here to see the video, shared from her Facebook page.

“Six months ago Sue Trondson at Aveda came to Phoenix and told me that I was going to have my best year ever! Five months later, the opportunity came up to apply to study in India with Helga Hefner of AVEDA. I wish the emotion I feel right now could translate to words. Exactly six months later, I’m having my best year ever. Everything in this video is so authentic and relatable to this journey. From the music, the emotion, the creativity, the picture of Horst…the music you hear is a recording from our celebration dinner; the videos you watch are real people from the #ashramlife, and the photos you see are original pictures I was able to take on a real life experience at the original ashram Horst studied at with Swami Rama… I’m so humble.”

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Meditating in an Indian temple.

19 Feb A Journey into Healing Presentation

Ayurveda: Roots of Aveda
A Journey into Healing Presentation
NEW ! Wednesday 2/22 hosted by Namaste Salon
Thursday 2/23 hosted by Alicia Christus

Aveda professional use products for salon and spa services are rooted in Ayurveda. The aroma blends for customizing a guest experience create balance by targeting the dosha (guest's current state of being) that is out of balance and bringing it into homeostatis through breath and touch. The aroma blends balance Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

Aveda professional use products for salon and spa services are rooted in Ayurveda. The aroma blends for customizing a guest experience create balance by targeting the dosha (guest’s current state of being) that is out of balance and bringing it into homeostatis through breath and touch. The aroma blends balance Vata, Pitta or Kapha.

8:30 – 10:30 am
Presented to Aveda Institute Denver team, students, graduates and the Aveda Network


Ayurveda means the science of life and is a medical system rooted in ancient tradition. It has influenced many modalities of medicine, health and wellness today. Aveda is also rooted in this rich tradition. The word Aveda means “all knowing.” Through this workshop, this complex system will become more understood as a foundation to personal balance through learning about the connection of mind, body and being. Ayurveda focuses on each person having a constitutional type (dosha) and a means to be balanced through proper nutrition, wellness and daily routine. Today, this journey is about simple steps to understanding who you are and how to create balance. Students will leave with a basic understanding of the doshas, the keys to balancing the doshas and how to create daily routine known as dinacharya.

Namaste Pure Design Salons and Spa and Hansa are now combining their passions for education and offering certification and licensing in Pancha Karma Therapy and Massage through Namaste’s Artisan Ayurveda, Barbering, and Massage training programs.

Namaste, The first Namaste hair salon facility was opened in 1993 in the spirit of that belief and on the principle of Lord Jagannath, a Hindu deity, sustainer of life. Our mission is to create a highly personal, welcoming environment that honors the best in each staff member, student and guest. All Namaste staff members are focused on providing outstanding salon, barbershop and spa experiences that leave men and women feeling better than when they arrived. Namaste Salons and Spa in Denver, CO are aligned with Aveda and its holistic corporate mission of global wellness and community.



Namaste Salon located on Speer Blvd.

Namaste Salon located on Speer Blvd.


Alicia has been teaching yoga since 2008 and is a registered 500 RYT and ERYT instructor. She completed her 200-hour, Level II and CoreRestore training at CorePower Yoga and Level II Yoga Immersion course at Blue World Yoga.

In 2010 she completed the Journey into Healing Ayurveda workshop with Deepak Chopra and also attended the Off the Mat Leadership Training in 2011. Alicia leads yoga workshops, Ayurvedic workshops and cleanse programs and has been living an Ayurvedic lifestyle for seven years. Follow her blogs and posts @aliciarae_yoga #aliciaraeyoga


Alicia Parks Christus

Alicia Parks Christus

Take a few different dosha quizzes online to investigate what your primary dosha (constitutional type) is and where you are balanced and imbalanced. Here are a few Ayurveda quiz examples and more can be found online >>> 

Joyful Belly Quiz

Banyan Quiz

Deepak Chopra Quiz

Preview a documentary about Ayurveda 

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Marty and Greg portrait.

30 Jan Alumni Master Series: Greg Cooper Schulze & Marty Salinas, Van Michael Salons

Balayage and Bridal Updo StylingCosmetology Master Series
Marty Salinas & Greg Cooper Schulze
– Van Michael Salons –

Greg picGreg “Cooper” Schulze has been doing hair color for almost 7 years now. He started his career at Aveda Institute Denver in Colorado, where he learned from some of the best stylists in the industry. Soon after graduating he started working for one of the top salons in the industry, Van Michael Salons in Atlanta, Ga. Van Michael has one of the best training programs in the industry and has set Cooper up to be one of the top Hair colorists in Atlanta. Cooper’s clients include actors, top CNN personalities, and Atlanta’s elite. He’s behind the chair five days a week and is pleased to share his tips on balayage services.





Marty SalinasMarty Salinas is a Master Stylist and Educator for Van Michael Salons in Atlanta, Ga. During his seven years in the Beauty Industry, Marty has specialized in Cutting and Upstyling while working with some of the top stylists in the Industry. His services have been called upon for weddings, photo shoots, fashion shows and movie premieres. He has worked with the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) featuring designers: Daniel Vosovic, Burkman Bros, Emanuela Duca, and Whit; and a Campaign Commercial Shoot with Elizabeth Arden NY and Maybeline.


Marty was an Official Stylist for The Atlanta Falcon’s Cheerleaders, CNN and has worked with numerous Television and Radio Personalities. His work has been featured in Modern Luxury Brides Atlanta, The Atlantan, So Magazine, VoyageAtl and multiple Bridal Blogs. Marty was recognized as 2016 winner of “Best of Atlanta -Haircut” by Jezebel Magazine and recently had the opportunity to work NYFW styling for designers such as Kyboe, Chromat, CG(Chris Gelinas), Chiara Boni, and Delpozo. Marty will be demonstrating the secrets behind his success with updo and bridal styling.

Greg Cooper Schulze's photoshoot project.

Greg Cooper Schulze’s photoshoot project.

Marty Salinas' winning photo shoot for the cosmetology program

Marty Salinas’ winning photo shoot for the cosmetology program

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A girl holding Aveda gift sets.

19 Nov Aveda Gift Sets Give the Gift of Hope

Hope for the Holidays

h16_0469_v2_r2_cropEvery Aveda gift set brings joy, light and hope this holiday to mothers, daughters, families and wildlife in Nepal. In the spring of 2015, massive earthquakes devastated Nepal as millions lost their homes and livelihoods. This also happens to be the source of Aveda’s *lokta bark paper for its holiday gift sets, and has been for over nine years. Aveda immediately took action back in the spring and donated much of its Earth Month proceeds to help support the disaster-relief efforts. Today, those efforts are still taking place which is why this partnership is even more important to us this holiday season.

*The paper-making cooperative in Nepal was created by the Himalayan Bio-Trade (HBTL).

We’re bringing hope to the mothers who are able to continue paper making, allowing them to rebuild their homes and keep their children in school.

We’re bringing hope to daughters who can remain in school and continue to have bright futures.

We’re bringing hope to families who rely solely on income from paper-making.

We’re bringing hope to wildlife because our purchase of the Certified Wildlife Friendly, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper helps protect more than 40,000 acres of forest habitat in Nepal.

Each holiday gift set is wrapped in the lokta bark paper and ensures the 4,900 full and part-time paper makers can continue their work and support their livelihoods. The protected forest habitat provides a home to the Red Panda and endangered Snow Leopard. Aveda is the first company to wrap gifts in paper with both certifications.

h16_2314_r2_croph16_2137_r1istock_000028570480_double_smlAveda is also introducing an exclusive holiday aroma called Candrima, a blend of ginger and ginger-lily. Cadrima means “moonlight” in Sanskrit and is inspired by the white blossom of the ginger lily. The aroma is available in our holiday candle as well as the limited-edition gift set, “A Gift of Pure Comfort” which includes the Candrima Body Lotion, Creme Cleansing Oil and travel size Hand Relief. It’s also available this year in the Hand Relief Trio gift set, “A Gift of Renewal for Your Journey.” The set features three travel size Hand Relief lotions in Candrima, Shampure and original formula.

Over the course of our partnership with HBTL, more than 5,500 people have been hired to make more than 2,000,000 sheets of paper, allowing 6,100 children to attend school, and 2,475 families to thrive.

Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes is hosting various events and promotional offers to help keep you stress-free this holiday season. As always, guests are welcome to experience complimentary stress-relieving rituals like complimentary Aveda Comforting Tea, a hand massage, sensory journey or product experiences during any visit to our Institutes. Visit our Web site for promotional and event details, or speak with an Aveda Advisor in any of our Experience Centers to learn more.

Aveda Holiday 2016 Gift Sets

A Gift of Pure Comfort $39.50

A Gift of Pure Comfort $39.50

A Gift of Renewal for your Journey $28.50

A Gift of Renewal for your Journey $28.50

Feeling Balanced is a Gift $79

Feeling Balanced is a Gift $79





A Gift to Make Her Smile $19.50

A Gift to Make Her Smile $19.50

An Escape from Stress is a Gift $79

An Escape from Stress is a Gift $79

A Gift of Comfort & Light $40

A Gift of Comfort & Light $40

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30 Oct Graduate Spotlight: Nikay Higgins, NAHA winner

nicole-higginsGraduate Spotlight: (Nikay) Nicole Higgins, Aveda Institute Denver cosmetology graduate
Nicole graduated from AID in 2012 and and left a legacy as the first Inspire Greatness student stylist NAHA nominee. A few short years later she won the 2016 NAHA Men’s Stylist of the Year. She easily recalls working with Brad VanDyke, Inspire Greatness Education Director, Carrie Bellus, then Cosmetology Team Lead, and Heggy Gonzalez, Inspire Greatness Creative Director on her 2011 student NAHA collection. Nicole’s current career focus is editorial hair while also running her own hair studio in Denver, Roots Salon. She’s also the elite ambassador for Balmain Paris.
Nicole strongly encourages students to participate in events and the extras the Inspire Greatness offers, like study abroad, NYFW, London Fashion Week, Beacon, NAHA and Editorial ReMix because, in her words, “it pushes you outside of your comfort zone as a hair stylist and also it shows you all the aspects of the industry you could possibly work in.”
Following Nicole’s win at NAHA, she took a moment to share insights on her experience with editorial styling and life since graduating from AID.

Q: What opportunities have opened up for you since your NAHA nomination as a student to your recent win as a professional?

A: Well, people have just taken me serious as an editorial stylist since I had a beginning portfolio backing me up. Then it all was progression from there.
Part of Nicole's NAHA collection in which she won for Men's Hairstylist of the Year 2016

Part of Nicole’s NAHA collection in which she won for Men’s Hairstylist of the Year 2016

Q: Who are your industry icons/mentors and why?

A: Hmm that’s hard. Ahnco Tran because his Instagram marketing game is insane and he’s a brilliant cutter. Nabil Harlow slays the editorial game for Balmain and isn’t even [egotistical] about it.
Q: How do you relate what you are doing in the salon/behind the chair to the work you create for events, editorial, shows, competitions?
A: Techniques really. Precision and attention to detail is key in or out of the salon.
Q: Recap the “behind the scenes” story for your NAHA win: who was involved? how much time and planning? how did you prepare?
A: I always start with a story board but in honestly, sometimes what you plan doesn’t work. My team and I showed up (Brad VanDyke, Kimmi Ade, and Kevin Alexander) in New York and we set out to shoot two NAHA collections. It was a very cold day in December. It took a lot of wardrobe pulling the day before and just planning the “feel” of the shoot and taking it from there. I knew I wanted a classic feel, and black and white. I was inspired by the architecture in the city and wanted to build strong shapes.
Q: What current projects are you working on?
A: Well I fly to shoot my next NAHA for 2017 in October, along with shooting with KaiZen for our team NAHA at the end of October. I just left NYFW and will be flying with the Balmain team for Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in January. Along with recently shooting for Viktor Luna (project runway winner) this past week and many other projects are on the way as well.
Q: What is your 5 to 10 year plan in this industry?
A: In 5 years I want to be traveling to Paris consistently for education and teaching with Balmain. In 10 years I want to be educating and traveling for editorial with my own line of tools.
Q: Tips for our students?
A: Do your work for you and everything else will fall into place.
Nicole will be presenting an Editorial & Runway Style Master Series at Aveda Institute Denver on November 1 & 2, 2016. 
ABOUT THE MASTER SERIES >>> In this presentation, the stylist will work with our Kaizen stylist, nikay (Nicole Higgins) building vision boards to find inspiration. The stylist will learn how to style editorial hair for the camera; replicating looks from magazines, commercials, and the fashion world. In addition to editorial styling, the stylist will translate styles from the runway, learning to set and follow trends such as a true wet look, styling the perfect pony tail, and braiding. This will be one featured live model showing how to transfer from a street look to a runway ready look in minutes.


ABOUT NIKAY HIGGINS >>> Nicole’s path to hairstyling wasn’t conventional. As someone who thought cosmetology school was settling, she set her sights on fashion design. She apprenticed and designed for upscale shops in Los Angeles, eventually moving to Colorado to strike out on her own. In Colorado, Nicole quickly became immersed in editorial hairstyling and runway styling, but added another unconventional twist to her career. She decided she wanted to give back to the industry by educating future hairstylists, and began teaching at the Aveda Institute in Denver. Nicole can point to a particular moment when it became clear to her that her true passion was for handson education. She was nominated for the North American Hairstyle Awards (NAHA), published in multiple international magazines for men’s grooming and high couture styling, and helped her student stylist also be nominated for NAHA—all in the same year. But the greatest highlight was the mentorship she was able to provide. That experience pushed Nicole to want to enhance this craft by improving the future for every stylist willing to learn. These days, when Nicole is not in the salon, she’s either traveling for photo shoots, on set locally, or helping educate the younger generation of hairstylists. Nicole was also a naha student stylist nominee while she attended Aveda institute Denver.

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28 Oct Fashion Flashback – NYFW 2016

It’s Friday! The weekend is upon us and we’re having some serious flashbacks to just a few months ago when we experienced New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017! Our team and students from Inspire Greatness Institutes attended NYFW SS 2017 as a part of our study abroad opportunity offered in our programs*

Inspire Greatness represented with 26 talented artists, 9 creative designers, 7 days of inspiration in NYC, with support from our own IG educators: Melody Sour, Gilad Maimon and Brad Van Dyke, and under the guidance of Janell Geason, Aveda Global Makeup Artist (for makeup), and the Jon Reyman Pro team (for hair). Students attended classes prior to working backstage to be inspired and prepared for the shows. The schedule varies as much as the locations as the team jumped around New York City from show to show. The team created looks for Oak, Concept Korea, Koybe, KidsRock – Nike Kids, Namilia, Sachin + Baabi, Supima, Haus Auklair.

Students from Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes. at NYFW SS 2017.

Students from Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes. at NYFW SS 2017.











Our students shared what were your biggest takeaways and celebrations were from their NYFW experience:



…being able to learn new techniques by professionals like John and Janelle and utilize them in the future. I loved the hairstyles we achieved that pushed us to do something we didn’t know we could do, but was worth it at the end…

 …the opportunity to receive hands on experience working on models for fashion week shows was my favorite part of the trip… 

Working alongside Janell. She was able to create such a warm, inviting and rich learning atmosphere.


Being able to witness the students make connections to so many new things – a new city, new friends, new techniques. Watching them have dreams come true and see their work walk down the runway was priceless and I will always remember their faces.


Being a part of something bigger!

… Spending time with Janell Geason and all the Aveda experts.


Working on the shows and presentation with such a knowledgeable and supportive team!


Meeting all the amazing people, networking, and making connections with people. Everyone was so great and I couldn’t of asked for anything more.


… this was extremely helpful and a huge learning experience to further my knowledge of styling…


Being backstage and learning from others


Learning many different styles and techniques that I can implement into my professional career.








*Our Point of Difference: Currently Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes in Denver, Colo; Tuscon and Phoenix, Ariz; and Provo, Utah are the only Institutes that provide these additional learning opportunities, we call our Points of Difference. All Inspire Greatness students, graduates and team members have the opportunity to apply for consideration to be chosen to represent IG at experiences like NYFW, London Fashion Week, Beacon/NAHA, Edwin Neill Full Potential Award, Hair & Makeup Shows and Editorial ReMix. While all students have the opportunity, only few are selected based on an application process, academics and attendance. For more information about our programs in cosmetology, esthiology, massage therapy and barbering (based on location) visit our Website at

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