Aveda Institute Denver

Portrait of Tiffany Swafford, massage student.

12 Aug Day in the Life: Spa Student

Meet Tiffany Swafford, Aveda Institute Denver esthiology graduate and current massage student. Tiffany took a moment from her day to capture what it’s like to be our student in our spa program! Follow her personal story on Instagram @tswaff_lashes


Morning Ritual: My mornings have a set routine. I start my day out with quick shower, eat a plentiful breakfast, and then my daily makeup and hair routine. My commute is pretty easy, I simply ride the elevator to the main level of the building; yes, that’s right. I am fortunate enough to live in the same building as the school! Lucky right? Before starting Massage, I graduated from Aveda Institute Denver’s Esthiology Program and in the meantime, I got certified in Eye Lash Extensions.

Before learning the Chakra Massage this afternoon, I wanted to show you my favorite Aveda Skin Care line: Tourmaline. The deep exfoliation is great for the dry skin that most of us experience in Colorado.

Tiffany S skin care line

Posse: At the Institute, I have met some amazing people. But, today I get to  master Massage techinques beside these wonderful ladies. These wonderful women are creative and bright. I am incredibly blessed to have met so many admirable people through my journey at Aveda!

Tiffany S posse

Massage: Here I am learning the Aveda Chakra Massage. Which Chakra is your favorite? Mine is Chakra 3, its the power/solar plexus center. It’s all about motivation and tapping into your own power. The color is yellow, and I imagine a bright yellow beaming out of me like a CareBear full of sun shine! Are you letting your light shine?

Tiffany S learns chakra massage

After school: Tonight I had an eyelash extension appointment. This guest likes a longer lashes, with a natural look and shape. I love the industry we are in, it allows each of our guest a greater sense of confidence by simply enhancing the beauty that already exist! You can follow more of my lash extension before and after by liking my professional page: @tswaff_lashes

Tiffany S lash appt

Favorite product: After a busy day full of hard-work, I love coming home and washing my face. But, I couldn’t do it without my Aveda Shammy. It’s a hidden gem in the Aveda product line but once you discover it, you’ll be amazed! Washcloths only scratch the surface of your skin, but the shammy actually cleanses the face with a smooth gentle approach.

Tiffany S fave product

Before bed: I like to end my day with a daily reading that reminds me how grateful I am for all the wonderful assets I’ve worked so hard for. What are you grateful for?

Tiffany S before bed wellness

Aveda Institute Denver is a school for cosmetology, barbering, esthiology (skin care) and massage therapy. To learn more about our programs, connect with our Admissions Team Leader, Kristy Fiore by emailing kfiore@avedadenver.com. For more information about our services offered by our students in training, call 303-567-7500.

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Massage with white background.

11 Aug Save Your Hands Master Series with LoraLee

LoraLee Kautz, Aveda Massage Coach and educator for Aveda Institute Denver has created an inspiring Master Series for our spa students that teaches techniques to help improve posture and increase longevity for estheticians and massage therapists.

“The goal is for you to feel better in your body years and years down the road than you do today. This workshop will teach you how to keep your body working well so you can be successful in your spa career for a long, long time – and feel great at the same time,” shares LoraLee.

LoraLee save your hands workshopCurrently, the average massage therapist or esthetician in this industry is only able to last about five years before the body begins to respond to the physical demands through aches, pains and injury. This Master Series is inspired to help practitioners enjoy longevity in their career by taking care of the body and preventing pain and injury. Loralee is passionate about helping others take care of themselves so she created this training to teach positive ergonomics and postures as a practitioner. Rooted in Ayurvedic philosophy, this class will guide you into learning how to take care of yourself so you can continue to take care of others, and be successful in the spa industry.

 LoraLee trained at the Utah College of Massage Therapy and completed the 815.5-hour long professional Massage Therapy Program in 2000.  Upon graduation she was offered a position as the Career Services Counselor for UCMT and later a chance to be a Teaching Assistant for Professional Development and Reflexology classes. After working on the business side for a while, LoraLee began working hands-on in the spa industry including Sego Lily Day Spa in Layton, Ut where she grew to become the Massage Team Lead. Eventually life brought LoraLee and her family to Colorado where she joined the spa team at Aveda Institute Denver. She continues to grow and learn as she’s achieved multiple certifications and leads students to becoming the best massage therapists.

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Aveda Institute Denver Industry Day poster.

04 Aug Inspire Greatness Education Jam Denver 2016

Aveda Institute Denver is hosting its annual Industry Day & Education Jam event on August 8, 2016. This time we are pleased to welcome back many of our graduates to host inspiring workshops for Education Jam: and afternoon of inspired education to and from professionals in the beauty industry. From editorial and social media marketing to skin care and massage, we have it all and it’s all happening for our Inspire Greatness community. This event is open to our students, graduates, team and the Aveda network as a part of our Industry Day. Below is a celebration of our featured guest artists and the inspired workshops they will offer. For more information, contact Marketing Team Lead, Alicia Christus 720-240-7566 achristus@avedadenver.com.

Madison Wade, AID graduate, Stylist Matthew Morris Salon, NAHA nominee

Madison Wade, AID graduate, Stylist Matthew Morris Salon, NAHA nominee

Madison Wade
NAHA 2015 nominee Student Stylist of the Year
AID Premier Talent Cosmetology Graduate

Wigs 101 Editorial Workshop – Styling Outside of the Box
3 -4 pm & 4:30 – 5:30 pm

AID is pleased to welcome back Madison Wade to host a special workshop during our summer Education Jam. Madison is a Colorado native, Aveda Institute Denver Graduate, 2015 NAHA nominee, and a stylist at Matthew Morris Salon and Skincare.
“My goal in life is to get inspired, be inspired, and inspire others, I’m so fortunate to be able to share my knowledge with students in this fun, exciting workshop about thinking outside with box when it comes to editorial styling.”
Learn more about Madison by visiting her Website.



Stephan Lauren, AID graduate, Artist for Beauty Underground Artistic Team

Stephan Lauren, AID graduate, Artist for Beauty Underground Artistic Team

Stephan Lauren
Newcomer Artist of the Year 2015, Southwest Hairstyling Awards
Artist for the Beauty Underground Artist Team

Editorial Up-do Styling
2-3 pm & 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Stephan Lauren has always had a passion for the hair and fashion industry. While attending Aveda Institute Denver, Stephan began assisting at Salon Myo in Aspen, and ZenSalon in Cherry Creek, and also joined Charlie Price and the Beauty Underground Artistic Team on multiple photo shoots and shows. He’s now recognized at an Artist of the Beauty Underground Artist Team and was just working behind the scenes at NAHA 2016.
Stephan specializes in cutting and styling all hair types and textures. While he enjoys being behind the chair in the salon and educating fellow stylists, Stephan’s passion is styling hair for runway shows and editorial photo shoots and productions.
Stephan’s talents have not gone without recognition. He was awarded Newcomer of the Year in 2015 by the Southwest Hairstyling Awards and has been nominated as a finalist in 2016 for the Southwest Hairstyling Award. He has begun a great start to a prosperous career doing what he loves!



Jaime De La Rosa, AID graduate, Ted Gibson Artistic Team

Jaime De La Rosa, AID graduate, Ted Gibson Artistic Team

Jaime De La Rosa
Owner of Javier James Collection
Artist for the Ted Gibson Artistic Team

Brand Aid: Crafting your Image (branding & social media)
2-3 pm & 3:30 – 4:30 pm

Jaime De La Rosa, owner Javier Jaimes and The Javier Jaimes Collection, was born an artist. Throughout his life he has dabbled in painting, drawing, and fashion design. With natural talent and an eye for style, he has built a reputation not only for artistic vision but also for quality. Studying under AVEDA, Jaime’s makeup skills and hair styling specialties have led him to work with other well-known stylists, designers and photographers in the Mile High City and beyond! He is also a regular backstage at fashion shows and photo shoots spending his time working between Denver and New York City. Natural skill combined with attention to detail and an underlying commitment to listening to client’s desires and fuels Jaime’s mastery of his profession.



Graham Nation, AID Graduate, Ted Gibson Artistic Team

Graham Nation, AID Graduate, Ted Gibson Artistic TeamDry Cutting & Texture Hair Styling

Graham Nation
Stylist, Alen M Femme Coiffure Salon in Los Angeles
Artist for Ted Gibson Artistic Team

Dry Cutting & Textured Hair Styling
2-3:30 pm& 4-5:30 pm

Graham is an AID graduate and Aveda helped him get his start and through his first years working in the salon industry, Graham started to pave his own way. His story, short and sweet, is all about determination and, in his own words, “being hungry for success.” From being fresh out of beauty school to working through the failures and mistakes that led to opportunity, Graham paved his way to make his mark in the industry. We, at Inspire Greatness Institutes, know this is just the beginning of Graham “making waves” and they’re about to get even bigger. Check out our full blog spotlight




Poppy Rowe of Studio Poppy Makeup & More

Poppy Rowe of Studio Poppy Makeup & More

Poppy Rowe
Studio Poppy Makeup & More

Getting Creative with Skin Care
2 – 5 pm (only) open to cos and spa

The skincare industry is huge and ever-changing. It is estimated that the skincare market will reach nearly $11 billion by 2018. Scientists are always working on the latest and greatest technologies to transform your skin. As estheticians, it can be hard to stay on top of this industry! With thousands of publications on skincare, we are dealing with a consumer that is super savvy. Don’t be a deer caught in headlights: Join this class to discuss skincare terms, treatments & techniques so you can better assist your already knowledgeable clients. During this workshop we will briefly discuss the top grossing treatments, the top cosmetic ingredients, and some of Poppy’s favorite facial massage techniques. The class will be both lecture and practical. So put your thinking caps on and get ready to have some hands-on fun in “Beyond the Basics” with Poppy Rowe! Learn more about Poppy by visiting her Website.


Kandice Martinez, Aveda SDP and Alicia Christus, Marketing TL for AID

Kandice Martinez, Aveda SDP and Alicia Christus, Marketing TL for AID


Alicia Christus & Kandice Martinez

Certified educators

Ayurveda & Tulasara
3:30-5:30 pm (only) open to cos and spa
Explore a deeper foundation to Ayurveda: the science of life. This ancient healing system is primarily practiced in India but has influenced many alternative modalities practiced today. Alicia is a certified yoga instructor and has trained in Ayurveda with Deepak Chopra. She often themes her classes around Ayurveda and the chakras. Alicia will bridge the gap between Ayurveda and Aveda. Participants will explore foundations, doshas and modalities to balance. Kandice is a salon development partner with Aveda and will help connect the practice of Ayurveda to the new Tulasara skin care system. Students are encouraged to review dosha quizzes online and learn more about their primary constitutional type by visiting Ayurveda.com or find the Dosha Quiz on the Chopra.com Website.




Tro Trujillo, Aveda Barbering Coach & Purefessional

Tro Trujillo, Aveda Barbering Coach & Purefessional

Barber Crossover Program
Tro Trujillo, Barbering Coach & Purefessional

Barber Look & Learn
2 -3 pm and 4 – 5 pm

Learn more about Aveda Institute Denver’s newest program for licensed cosmetologists: Barber Crossover. This program starts this summer and will focus primarily on preparing stylists to enhance their men’s grooming services. You’ll also enjoy a sneak preview of the new Aveda Men’s Core 1 Curriculum and a razor demo.





Sam Hayes, Master Esthetician and Massage Therapist

Sam Hayes, Master Esthetician and Massage Therapist

Rossiter System with Sam Hayes
Senior Esthetician & Massage Therapist, Centre Salon Spa
Rossiter Massage Coach

Rossiter Massage System
2 – 5 pm (only) open to cos and spa

The Rossiter System® is an AMAZING form of bodywork consisting of 2-per-son pin-and-stretch techniques that release the root cause of pain and im-mobility. The use of the practitioner’s strategically placed foot, combined with focused motions of the recipient, result in rapid and extensive pain relief and mobility restoration. Learn the true cause of stress, immobility, and pain. Feel in your own body how quick it can be to feel better. Watch others respond to work that is seemingly miraculous. Hear how an Aveda colleague has benefitted from Rossiter including increased guest retention, more income, guest satisfaction and referral increase, and it’s kinder to your body too!



Common Conditions Rossiter Relieves:

• Back Pain/Sciatica
• Neck Pain
• Migraines/Headaches

Rossiter massage technique demonstration

Rossiter massage technique demonstration

• Shoulder Pain/Immobility
• Arm, Elbow, and hand issues
• Knee Pain
• Foot or Ankle Pain
• Plantar Fasciitis
• Shin Splints
• Hip Pain/Immobility
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Sprains, Overuse Injuries & much more

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Nikki Black, Mrs. Arizona International standing in an orchard.

29 Jul Inspire Greatness Sponsors Arizona Mrs International

Nikki Black

Nikki’s story is inspired and one that fits perfectly into our mission here at Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes: education, leadership, community and beauty, or as Nikki says, “I am learning how to build an effective lesson plan during the day, and how to perfectly blend eye shadow at night.”

Just recently, the Mrs. International Pageant, hosted in Jacksonville, Florida crowned the their winner. Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes was pleased to sponsor Nikki Black, Mrs. Arizona International in her competition for the crown. Although she didn’t take home the title this year, her story of how she suddenly became Mrs Arizona International is worth a listen. Nikki is also sister to one of our Aveda Institute Phoenix cosmetology educators (and an Aveda Institute Denver graduate), Rae Black, who’s been a support with Nikki’s styling, hair and makeup. Before the competition last week, we caught up with Nikki to learn more about her experience.

Q: What is the Mrs. International Pageant all about?

A: The Mrs. International Pageant showcases the accomplishments of today’s married woman by giving them the opportunity to share their passion, commitment to their families and affiliation with the platform they support. This pageant system has been around for 27 years and is led by Mel and Mary Richardson. This system is successful due to its high ethical values and adherence to rules and regulations. I am honored to be a part this organization.

Q: Tell us how you got to this point and where you hope to go from here?

A: A last minute turn of events brought me here. I watched my friend spend the year as Mrs. Arizona International 2015. I thought it was an awesome opportunity for her but I did not necessarily see myself in her position. The Saturday before the Mrs. Arizona International competition, she called me and said a contestant had dropped out and asked if I would be willing to take the spot. After some consideration, and talking to my husband, I decided to go for it. On Monday my paperwork was complete and I was an official candidate. On Friday, I met with the official Pageant Coach after rehearsal. I competed Saturday morning and by that afternoon, I was crowned Mrs. Arizona International 2016. I was absolutely stunned, grateful and ready to promote my platform on a larger scale. As I move on to compete in this pageant, I will support my passion for teaching by sharing my love for Montessori education. I will also put time and effort into building a network of veteran teachers who are willing to share their experience with newer teachers. My long term goal is to build a foundation that supports teachers on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I believe that when we care for our teachers, our children excel and the future is bright.

Nikki and her sister, Rae

Nikki and her sister, Rae

Q: Why is this opportunity important to you?

A: This opportunity is important to me because it challenged me to really think about the kind of contribution I want make to the world. Pageantry, especially in this circuit, is about much more than beauty and evening gowns. It is about giving married women a way to give back to their communities and build a legacy that will thrive. It is also a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about Montessori and why I believe it is such a rich and inspiring method of education that really puts the children and their needs above all else.

Q: What has this journey been like since it started?

A: This journey has been a whirlwind! I am currently wearing two hats: Montessori teacher and Pageant Queen. I am doing my best to be successful in both areas, which means I’m spending time in front of my computer and wearing 5-inch heels! I am learning how to build an effective lesson plan during the day, and how to perfectly blend eye shadow at night. On top of that, I am maintaining my commitment to being the best wife and mother I can be; without the support of my family, none of this would be possible.

Q: What’s a typical “day in the life” with your current title?

A: A typical Saturday, prior to an appearance, would require waking up very early to get my makeup and hair done by my talented sister-in-law and Aveda educator, Rae Black. While I am gone, my husband wakes the children up and gets them ready for whichever sports’ game they may have that day. After cheering on my kids, I would go home to change into my appearance outfit, spend a couple hours at an event and then return home. Once I am home, I am mom again! My family and I may eat out at a restaurant or I would prepare dinner. We may catch a movie on Netflix or a new release in the theater. Then, suddenly, it is bed time for my children and work time for me. I usually stay up about three or four hours after they have gone to bed. I use that time to catch up with my husband, then I spend at least two hours on school work and Pageant work (which is a conservative estimate). I try my best to take Sundays completely off and dedicate my time to my family.

A typical weekday requires getting my children and myself dressed and ready for school. We arrive at school at 7:30 am and stay until 4:00 pm. Once we arrive at home, I would prepare dinner, then take one (or both) of my children to which ever sports’ practice they are participating in at that time. Once we arrive back home, the kids take showers and prepare for bed time. Once the kids are tucked in, I get busy with school work, Pageant preparation and planning for the next school day for another three to four hours. Then I go to bed, and we start the process all over again.

Aveda Be Curly Products

Aveda Be Curly Products

Q: How do you prepare for competition? Do you have a ritual or routine?

A: I am preparing for competition by doing a lot of research. I want to be knowledgeable about this pageant circuit, as well as the contributions of former title holders. I stay in close contact with my Pageant Director and Pageant Coaches, who provide tips on maintaining confidence in new situations and ways to present my best self. I also practice mindful meditation, which allows me to calm my nerves and stay open to new experiences. I will be using mindful meditation each day in Jacksonville—especially in the hours prior to competition.

7. What are your favorite Aveda products and why?

My love affair with Aveda started at least 10 years ago. It began with the Be Curly Curl Enhancer. For the longest time, I was searching for a product that would respect my natural curl, while adding definition and shine. What I did not expect was the softness that Be Curly gives my hair. I have also used Brilliant to add extra shine. I have recently fallen in love with the Be Curly Co-Wash and Dry Remedy Oil. I am really looking forward to exploring the skin care and cosmetic lines that are equally amazing. I love Aveda for their commitment to producing natural, plant-based products and the responsible sourcing of high-quality, naturally derived ingredients.

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18 Jul Inspire Greatness Presents: Master Series with Jim Pacifio


Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, Provo are proud to offer Master Series presentations on campus as a point of difference in our education. This July, we are pleased to welcome, Jim Pacifico.

Jim has been in the industry since 1970 and is currently the owner of Centre Salons and World Class Financial Services. In 2014, Jim was the recipient of Aveda Corporation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Jim was honored by Aveda with this prestigious award last month for his many years of hard work, dedication and philanthropy work over the many years in the beauty industry…

Jim began his career in 1970 with Clairol, in 1980 he worked with Zotos and in 1986 he joined Aveda Corporation as the Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Education. In 1989, Jim moved to Southern California and became the Senior Vice President and General Manager at Caesar’s Beauty Products, exclusive Aveda Distributor. In 1991, he moved to Colorado and became the President and CEO of Pacifico’s Beauty Products, exclusive Aveda distributor for Colorado and Wyoming. His success led Pacifico’s to acquire a six-state region. In 2007 Jim merged his distribution back to Aveda to become the Consulting Vice President for Aveda Services, Inc. for the West Coast Region. This allowed Jim the opportunity to own his own Aveda Concept Salons; five Centre Salons & Spas in Colorado, one in Utah and one in California. He is also the owner and founder of World Class Financial Services which provides accounting services to over 100 Salons and Spas throughout the Aveda Network.

Dale with Jim and Van Council Jim has never lost sight of the community during this time. His philanthropy work over the years has been very generous. He has led his employees to raise money and awareness for many different charitable causes. Some examples: collecting food, toys and money for underprivileged children & their families, the homeless, Katrina victims, as well as raising money for clean water in our region. Jim latest quest in philanthropy work is leading his salons to fund-raise over $67,000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation; visit www.realbeautydenver.com for more info.

Jim is dedicated to providing legendary support to the beauty industry, its professionals and customers. His passion in the industry is evident in his desire to improve the salon industry as well as giving back to the community.

 In 2014, Jim was the recipient of Aveda Corporation’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.” Jim was honored by Aveda with this prestigious award last month for his many years of hard work, dedication and philanthropy work over the many years in the beauty industry.

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Graham Nation in a suit.

28 May Paving the Way – Graduate Spotlight with Graham Nation

Aveda helped him get his start and through his first years working in the salon, Graham started to pave his own way. His story, short and sweet, is all about determination and, in his own words, “being hungry for success and busting a**,” Graham shared a post on his Facebook page a few weeks ago after accepting a modeling contract with First London.

So grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given the last few years. They say dreams don’t work unless you do. Believe me it’s true. I’ve laid awake at night thinking of the next move how to be better. Pushing for more out of my life knowing this life has more to offer. This goal has moved me to Los Angeles where I became apart of now my amazing salon family at @kenpavessalon where I can’t thank @kenpaves enough for allowing me to grow as a stylist and a creative human! The last year I started modeling a ton in LA as a way to meet people and still create and colab as an outlet. The past few months I signed with @firstlondon ?? and today I leave for a few week trip to work and grow even more! I can not express how grateful I am for the support of my friends and family and clients! I can’t wait to share my travels with y’all the next few weeks!!

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with Graham and find out how he’s grown to become a successful stylist at Ken Paves Salon in Los Angeles, Cali. And we’ll discuss his modeling career too…



Following graduation from Aveda Institute Denver, Graham started working at Matthew Morris Salon where he worked hard for about 15 months to build a clientele and then later joined the Juno Salon team in Denver, Colo. He shared how it was tough working behind the chair in his early years and he also bartended part-time to help steady his income. Graham describes his first few years behind the chair as a trial period where he learned from his mistakes, developed his craft and finally felt confident as a stylist.

I failed a lot those first years but for every loss there was a gain.

With his mind set on success and knowing that meant being fully booked, Graham make a big change in his life and got sober and a few months later, he says everything took off and started happening for him. He worked 7 days a week, hungry for success.

Graham desired to “make waves” in the industry so he set intention to move to New York and become more involved with fashion week and a celebrity clientele. Alas, after a short time he realized he wanted sunshine, warmer climate and a car to drive around so he headed West for Los Angeles, a better city to “make waves.” He finally made it to LA but the job he had lined up fell through. He was crushed but he didn’t give up hope. He put his networking skills to use and connected with those people who knows someone, who knows someone, who knew Ken Paves.

Let’s back up a bit because it wasn’t this easy. Graham had connections to other salons in LA and Beverly Hills but they want high-end, quality, experienced stylist – which he feels he’s still aspiring to be – and to get to that point he would have to be an assistant for six months up to 2 years. In Graham’s mind, this wouldn’t be a challenge for a 20-something stylist starting his/her career but being he just turned 30 at the time, he felt he didn’t have time to start at the beginning… again.

Kelsey Christian at LA models by Kimo Lauer hair by Graham Nation me on beat shot at #KPSstudios #marccornwall #makeupbyme #lightdusting #Kenpavessalonla — with Kimo Lauer and Graham Nation at Ken Paves Salon.

Kelsey Christian at LA models by Kimo Lauer hair by Graham Nation me on beat shot at #KPSstudios #marccornwall #makeupbyme #lightdusting #Kenpavessalonla — with Kimo Lauer and Graham Nation at Ken Paves Salon.

Fast forward, Graham walks into Ken Paves salon and immediately clicked with Ken. “He was (is) the coolest dude,” says Graham. In their meeting, Graham said he was asked two questions by Ken that he has rarely heard in the industry (which made him realize he had landed exactly where he needed to be). Ken asked, “What do you want to do? How can I help you?” Twenty days later, Graham was working with his first celebrity guest, a model. A few weeks before this interview, he had Eva Longoria as a guest for a shampoo and style.

Graham worked seven days a week at his training that led to a series of test-outs and presentations including nine color services, 12 haircuts while working an additional 40 hours a week assisting. The expectation was to get his timing down and presentation factor set to the Ken Pave’s Salon level.

I’m on the path and it feels right. My continued vision of success is building a brand, owning a home and my own list of clients.

As he settled in his salon in LA, Graham got back into modeling and is working with First Model Management in London. He has also worked with the Ted Gibson team as part of the haircutting stage team for New York Fashion Week. Graham continues to be inspired by his mentors, Ken Paves and Geno Chapman, and he also credits his time at Aveda Institute Denver and Matthew Morris as being instrumental to being where is his now and where he’s headed.


The educators gave so much of their time for a reason. I remember Scott, my educator, always saying “stay focused” there’s so much more out there but be in the moment and learn this first. I had to learn discipline. You have to learn discipline or you won’t have a career.

Throw back to 2009 when Graham was a cosmetology student, and DJ. Here he's providing the music soundtrack for our Earth Month Hair & Makeup Show.

Throw back to 2009 when Graham was a cosmetology student, and DJ. Here he’s providing the music soundtrack for our Earth Month Hair & Makeup Show.

His advice for our students is simple and involves living the Aveda mission:


Timing. Always be 15 minutes early. You cannot be late for a client, ever so don’t be late to school.

Take advantage of the yoga. I realize now it was the best thing for mental focus.

[credit to his educator, Scott] Stay focused. When you’re tired and over it, that’s when you need it the most. Know what you want and learn what the industry can offer you. Anyone can learn hair but you have to show up, be positive and stay motivated.

From being fresh out of beauty school to working through the failures and mistakes that led to opportunity, Graham paved his way to make his mark in the industry. We, at Inspire Greatness Institutes, know this is just the beginning of Graham “making waves” and they’re about to get even bigger.

Graham travels to Denver often and works as a guest stylist at Indie Six salon. Appointments can be scheduled directly through Graham by visiting his Facebook page or follow his story on Instagram @grahamnation

Graham Nation signature

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Luis Gonzalez head shot.

10 May Luis Gonzalez Master Series Presentation

Inspire Greatness Institutes is lucky to have so many inspiring partnerships within our Aveda network. Through these connections, we’ve developed friendships and loyalty because these Aveda “greatsLuis Gonzalez mission” are just as committed to Aveda’s mission and beliefs, as we are! Therefor, when asked if they would be willing to come to our Institutes and host a workshop or presentation, we are so humbled so many are excited and willing to take time from their busy schedules, and take a moment to inspire our team and students.

Like, Luis Gonzalez, purefessional and owner of Vida Salon in Denver, Colo. He joined us this morning to host a color workshop and share his techniques for color applications, inspired by his love, Aveda Hair Color Magic!

Like any traditional Aveda class, he started off with the Aveda mission, learning what we are excited about lately when it comes to the mission: caring for the world, setting an example, creating a lifestyle, inspiring others. Luis’ current focus is the part of the mission where we STRIVE.

“If you don’t start today, you lose today. If you don’t start this month, you lose an entire month. If you wait another year to start doing what you love, you lose another year!” says Luis. When it comes to being successful in this industry, he believes it’s all about knowledge. “If you’re really knowledgeable about what you’re doing, it shows. You have to know what you’re talking about.”

Although most of tLuis Gonzalez triangle of lifehe presentation was about technique, Luis’ message was clear: Strive. He spoke often about the importance of finding what you’re passionate about. “You have the power to be as successful as you want and make as much money as you want. It’s all about what you are doing to do to get there.”

Luis’ story began at a beauty college where he left with enough foundation to get him started but a quick realization that he needed to learn more. He started working for Regis in a salon where he was charging $50 for haircut, admittedly, not exactly knowing had to cut hair – but he had determination, confidence and STRIVE! With a thirst for knowledge, he joined the training program at The Academy where he left with more knowledge but again, more STRIVE to learn even more. He joined the Centre salon team, where he grew successfully for six years. During that time he became an Aveda color purfessional, focusing on the Hair Color Magic program. Currently his salon, Vida, located in the the Highlands area of Denver, is currently the only salon certified with Hair Color Magic.

Luis travels around the network to host color workshops and trainings on this system that he describes as a way to learn how color formulation actually works. “It teaches one to actually formulate color so it eventually becomes predictable.”

Luis Gonzalez foil technique

Through the demonstration, Luis shared a few more tips on success in the beauty industry:

“What is success? Money? It has nothing to do with money. Success is doing what you love. The money will be there.”

Luis become a salon owner about three 1/2 years ago, stating he’s always had a strong business minded focus but lately he’s been motivated by editorial projects. “Editorial work keeps me inspired and it’s hard work that doesn’t make any money. What it does is keeps me motivated to be behind the chair five days a week. That’s my bread and butter. Being in the salon.”

Another tip from Luis? Sure, he’s got many to share and since he’s pretty successful, we are listening…

“Embrace everything that’s happening right now in school. Everything you are being taught will matter and apply in the salon: rituals, retailing, prebooking. Right now is the time to take advantage of every thing you are being offered. And, also, treat every guest like they’re a six-figure guest.”

Luis is available for follow up questions and support and will be auditioning new talent for his salon in June 2016. To connect, follow him on Instagram @lgonzalezhaircolor or email him direct at Luis@vidasalon.net

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Aveda Beautifying conditioner.

19 Apr Inspired to Live the Aveda Mission

It’s Live the Mission at Inspire Greatness Aveda Institute Denver and recently our sister locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Provo have also celebrated, in the spirit of Earth Month, the environmental leadership aspects of the Aveda mission. Say what? Basically, we are just taking a moment to truly live and inspire our Aveda mission. In Denver, we took a closer look at the world of plastic pollution, inspired by a recent video shared by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and decided to join the cause.

In terms of plastic pollution awareness, Aveda isn’t a stranger to this cause. Aveda has never used plastic microbeads in its products – which became very popular in other brands and recently was declared by the UNEP as a pollutant. Aveda instead uses natural plant resources like jojoba, walnut shells or wintergreen-derived salicylic acid to gently exfoliate skin. (Click here to see the report issued by the United Nations Environment Program about plastic pollutants in cosmetics).

Today, many Aveda locations accept Caps for their recycling program. Those caps are then made into new Post-Consumer-Recycled (PCR) caps for products and color tubes. What about other plastics though? Like the kind that can’t be recycled or re-used or made into other pretty things?

aveda color tubes AID

A plastic straw, for example provides a very short-term service of minimizing one’s need to bring the cup to the mouth directly. After a few sips, when the drink is gone, the straw is tossed in the trash. It should end up in a landfill but often, like many plastic pollutants, the straw takes a detour and ends up in the ocean where it’s mistaken as food by sea life or birds. I “googled” daily straw use in America and found this online, “Americans use 500 million drinking straws. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day.” This is an alarm going off and not enough people are waking up to it. As Jeff Bridges shared in his narration of the Plastic Pollution Coalition video, it’s time to open our eyes.

We challenged our students to pledge how they will take a step towards minimizing plastic pollution. Here are 50 ways our students will Inspire Greatness:

  1. To minimize plastic consumption, I will bring my reusable water bottle to the gym instead of buying a plastic water bottle -Madison Ganger
  2. I am going to lessen my carbon footprint by skipping the plastic bags in the produce section of the grocery store, and always carrying a small reusable shopping bag in my purse for things I randomly purchase. Like the mall, for example. I also keep a small reusable eating utensil in my purse so I don’t find the need for plastic disposables – Amanda Holcomb
  3. I will bring my lunch and snacks in reusable containers each day – Debra
  4. I pledge to no longer use Saran Wrap I will use reusable, sealable containers – Meeshelle Buckmiller
  5. I’m going to stop using straws! – Kayla Adamy
  6. I am going to recycle paper and plastic bottles and cans instead of throwing them away. My mom has a recycling process at work that can make this happen. We can shred and recycle the paper and recycle the bottles as well – Jocelyn Correa
  7. I plan to completely stop using plastic water bottles to help the environment  -Rheanna Rincorn
  8. I will reduce the use of plastic in my life by bringing reusable utensils to school to eat my lunch, instead of plastic utensils! – Ashley Ganje
  9. I will use a reusable bag when shopping! – Tania Sanchez
  10. I pledge to bring reusable bags to the grocery store with me – Chaele Redding
  11. I will stop utilizing plastic in my everyday life! I always use a reusable container, at school, work, and home. I also have been not chewing gum because it is a synthetic rubber (aka plastic) – Shayna Welty
  12. I will try to remove every plastic product in my possession, as well as to stop using straws or plastic forks. – Gabriella Torch
  13. The way I want to give back is to use reuseable water bottles and by reusing my makeup containers – Kaycia Neal
  14. I’m inspired to start recycling more because I’m more aware of how much plastic my family goes through in a single day. My goal now is to start using containers instead of plastic baggies, using reusable bags for groceries the next time I go to the store and to ask restaurants to please fill my reusable drink container instead of wasting a cup. I’m going to bring awareness to my parents, siblings and my boyfriend as well so we can all start recycling together!  – bkbradleyaveda@gmail.com
  15. One way I would like to reduce my plastic use is by buying in bulk. By doing this I would not have so many throw away bags that hold items like nuts, flour, sugar etc. – Hayley Brooke
  16. I will start refusing plastic bags at the grocery store! – Amber Diller
  17. Hey I have a bad thing I always do which is buy bottled water. I’ve been slowly trying not to buy them and just use a reusable water bottle. Also, I want to start using reusable bags when I shop. – Dylan Anthony
  18. I will bring reusable bags whenever I go to the store to buy something and be more aware when grocery shopping about what my food is packaged in. I use reusables every day and when I go shopping I try to remember to bring reusable bags! – Michaela Murphy
  19. Not only do I use reusable cups wherever I go but I also use reusable bags when I go shopping. Also, when I make my coffee I use reusable k-cups. On top of that I also buy all of these things for others when they don’t have their own reusable. I believe everything we do matters, no matter how small. – Breighanne Skold
  20. Ever since I started at Aveda, I’ve started taking the train instead of using a car as much as I can, and have stopped using plastic bags. From today on out I promise I’ll always carry reusables in my purse which includes my own to-go bowls and cups, and will no longer use plastic utensils! – Whisper Bissonette
  21. I am going to make a huge effort in lowering my plastic consumption. I plan to do this by not using straws anymore! I also am going to invest in reusable grocery bags, and a water dispense. – Lauren Frost
  22. I plan on using less plastic by refusing straws every day! I never thought of that until the [Plastic Pollution Coalition] video!! Kendall Aragon
  23. I will not use a straw and I will always have a reusable! – Natalia Nali Mejias
  24. To reduce my use of disposable plastics, I will begin taking my totes to the grocery store!- Athena Hernandez
  25. I will stop using plastic bags – Jessica Baca
  26. I will not use plastic today because I brought my own glass ware with some mangoes in it -Tayla Maes
  27. I pledge to be more aware and reuse cups, bags, etc –Shane Burroughs
  28. I would like to be part of this challenge by not only having a reusable in school but when I go out to eat at my house and just every moment of everyday – Madison Baxter
  29. I would love to inspire my friends and family to fill their house with reusables and give them an understanding of why it’s so important!! – Alexi Ortega
  30. I will always use my reusable as well as recycle every day – Kaylee Bauer
  31. I am going to give back by carrying reusable utensils. I am dedicate to no longer accepting disposable plastic bags!– Cassandra Hagelund
  32. Getting the reusable paper, and spreading the word about reducing the use of plastic –Stephanie Wilhite
  33. I will do my part in minimizing plastic by always remembering to bring my reusable everywhere I go, not just here at school –Jorden Sellmer
  34. I will do my best to use reusables here and at home and educate my kids on protecting the Earth and make them aware of all the things we can do to help – Brenda Moreno
  35. Something I will do to reduce plastic usage in my life is to bring my reusable cup into Starbucks every single day from today on. I’m going to invest in one today! Thanks for keeping us aware – Hannah McVicker
  36. I am going to buy a few reusable bags for when I go grocery shopping, and also get a few more reusable so others always have one. I am starting to grow very passionate about this issue because I love the ocean, and I’m sad that the trash is filling my home. I want to cut out single use plastic from my life completely and am going to try my best to do so! – Carley Matthews
  37. Other than using a reusable cup every day, I have reusable totes for my groceries and for when I go shopping. 🙂 – Mona Buhlaigah
  38. I commit to reduce waste by switching over all cleaning products to biodegradable paper and reusable cloth. In addition, I will only use bags that are non-plastic when purchasing goods. – Mark Friend
  39. There are many way that I can eliminate plastic use in my life, first by using and bringing a reusable all the time, not buying plastic bottles, eating at places so I’m not wasting plastic containers. I live by treating the world with respect, it’s one of my best aspects. I will not by bottled soda and cut down on that so I can cut back on plastic use. I will recycle any plastic I can, and defiantly not liter. I understand how much we make an impact on the world and the ocean. I think more people should follow or live by this. – Andromada
  40. I am going to refuse plastic bags and always use my reusable cup. Avoid plastic when possible! – Whitney DESCAMP
  41. I want to make it more of a goal to use a reusable lunch bag instead of grabbing a plastic bag every day. I will continue bringing my reusable cups everywhere I go, not just to school. I want to help reverse the damage we have done to this planet. It is definitely concerning for future generations. – Nicole Gruszka
  42. Thanks for continuing to remind us that there is always something we can do to make a change. I’m going to quit using plastic bags from the grocery store and invest in reusable totes. – Raquel Valdez
  43. I will refuse plastic straws! – Alexzandra Rangel
  44. I am going to be transitioning to using reusable bags instead of plastic bags at the store! – Mackenzie Jones
  45. My name is Aundrea Quintana. I’m in nurturing. I am going to eliminate plastic by bringing a reusable bag every time I go to the grocery store. We always bring home so much plastic bags so I will bring my own from now on.
  46. I am in the process of transitioning to a water bubbler at home. I have to admit that my family buys water bottles and had been purchasing filter water products however it has been a bit pricey. So my goal is to buckle down on a one-time fee and purchase a water bubbler ? Danelle Ellis
  47. I just wanted to share that I have recently started carrying my own fabric bags to the grocery store instead of asking for paper! It really has been a focus of mine since earth month started and I like doing it! -Grey Homack
  48. I have started using a reusable snack bag made by the company konserve. I also am using reusable silverware. Yay. It feels good to care for Mother Earth. – Lacy Wurster
  49. I will contribute to helping the planet by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store. – Jen Essman
  50. I plan to take my reusable with me when I go out to eat so I don’t add more plastics to the ocean. – Stephanie Akbary

Today we became members of this coalition as set intention to take another step further to making a difference in this world. To learn more, visit Plastic Pollution Coaltion.org

We ask all coalition members to share the following commitment:

* To work toward a world free of plastic pollution
* To work toward eliminating single-use disposable plastics
* To support initiatives to reduce the plastic footprint within your organization
* To participate in quarterly coalition meetings
* To act as a resource for other members of the coalition
* To share details regarding company-specific initiatives to eliminate the use of plastic
* To recruit new members to the coalition in order to keep new ideas flowing

courtesy Plastic Pollution Coalition

courtesy Plastic Pollution Coalition


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Catwalk for water recycled soda can dress.

07 Apr Inspire Greatness Cat Walk for Water for Aveda Earth Month 2016

Inspire Greatness Institutes take the stage for the annual Aveda Earth Month tradition: Cat Walk for Water. The Institutes in Denver, Colo and Phoenix, Ariz have already walked the walk and their sister Institutes in Provo, Utah and Tucson, Ariz will soon launch their shows, all in honor of Earth Month 2016.

Aveda Institute Denver kicked off their Earth Month events with their Cat Walk for Water on Saturday, April 4 alongside partner salon, La Tierra Salon and Day Spa in which 40 models took the stage and featured hair, makeup and upcycled looks inspired by recycling, composting and pollution. Looks were created by team, students and graduates. The show opened with a special sound healing featuring a drum circle, didgeridoo and chant to invoke the intention to create transformation: the idea that when we come together as a community with a common goal, we can transform and create change. The intention for this show is all about water conservation and supporting local partner, Western Resource Advocates to protect water resources in the West. The show raised $3,000 to go towards Aveda Institute Denver’s goal of $65,000. Aveda Institute Denver Phoenix also kicked off their Earth Month with their Cat Walk for Water and raised $1,800 from their show.

The shows primarily focus on hair and makeup using only Aveda products; however, some models did wear upcycled garments made from various materials like Aveda packaging, Aveda color tubes, paper products, aluminum foil sheets, soda cans, plastic water bottles, post-consumer goods, compostable materials that naturally return to the earth, and materials donated by Eco Products, a Boulder-based company supplying natural compostable materials like cups, plates, cutlery.

The Provo Institute is changing up the Cat Walk for Water theme with a fashion show called “Fashion 2 Trashion'” featuring designs made out of recycled materials and materials from Kinabuti, a Nigerian-based design house. The show is presented by the team and students on Earth Day, Friday 4/22 at 6 pm. Tickets range from $10-$42. Aveda Institute Tucson will host its Cat Walk for Water on Saturday, 4/23 at 6 pm. The show carries the same theme as Denver and Phoenix but will be hosted at the Arizona History Museum. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.com and range from $15-$40.

All shows support Earth Month partner, Western Resource Advocates. Visit the Inspire Greatness Institutes on Instagram for more pictures from the shows and future show info @inspireaveda.

CatwalkforWater-26CatwalkforWater-28 CatwalkforWater-30 CatwalkforWater-35 CatwalkforWater-36 CatwalkforWater-39 CatwalkforWater-41 CatwalkforWater-42 CatwalkforWater-44 CatwalkforWater-45 CatwalkforWater-46 CatwalkforWater-47 CatwalkforWater-49 CatwalkforWater-51 CatwalkforWater-52 CatwalkforWater-53 CatwalkforWater-54 CatwalkforWater-55 CatwalkforWater-56 CatwalkforWater-57 CatwalkforWater-59 CatwalkforWater-62 CatwalkforWater-64 CatwalkforWater-66 CatwalkforWater-67 CatwalkforWater-68 CatwalkforWater-70 CatwalkforWater-73 CatwalkforWater-74 CatwalkforWater-75 CatwalkforWater-76 CatwalkforWater-78


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protect water, protect what you love.

22 Mar World Water Day

Exactly one month away from Earth Day, today we celebrate WORLD WATER DAY. Here, at Inspire Greatness Aveda Institutes in Denver, Colo; Tucson and Phoenix, Az and Provo, Utah we are naturally, inspired to take a moment of wellness to reflect on water conservation locally and clean water rights globally.

water drop colors

Our Institutes are each working to raise various amounts to collaborate with the entire Aveda global network to raise $6.5 million for Earth Month causes around the world. Here in the Rocky Mountain West, we are partnering with Western Resource Advocates to focus on water conservation with the Colorado River. Currently we are in a 14-year drought which has cause the Colorado River Basin (where the river meets the sea) to be dry for over 20 years. The Colorado River currently feeds seven states and three major cities, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In 20 years, the Colorado population alone is expected to double from nearly 4 to 8 million people.

In short, we are running out of water. Today, on World Water Day, we are given the gift of awareness. Today we can take a moment and ponder that the average person uses 200 gallons of water daily: water to grow foods, water for lawns and gardens, water to bath, water to wash dishes, water for laundry, water to drink. In our salons/spas we use water daily for services from shampooing guests and mixing water into products so our usage increases exponentially.

Through our efforts at Aveda to raise funding for Earth Month projects and initiatives, we have made positive change. In partnership with Global Green Grants, Aveda has worked to provide clean water resources to developing countries and communities. Mostly recently we helped create water resources for communities in India where we source our Amla for some of our products like Thickening Tonic and Invati. Years ago, about 1.2 billion people lacked access to clean, safe water. Currently this number has decreased to 750 million. Locally, Western Resource Advocates has been working with state, city and county on having sustainable solutions to water. Colorado, for the first time ever, now has a water plan!

Change is happening, thanks to our Aveda network and to supporters like you. We invite you to help us make a difference today. Visit our Crowdrise account to make a donation to our Earth Month campaigns in any of our locations: Denver, Phoenix, Tucson or Provo. Visit our area Facebook pages to find out about upcoming events like our annual Hair & Makeup Shows, Walk for Water, Services for the Earth and other initiatives.

Dry Shampoo

You help us make a difference. So, raise a glass of clean, fresh water – because we are so lucky we can just turn on a faucet and have access to water – and make a toast to honor World Water Day. Craving a creative way to save water? Consider our Shampure Dry Shampoo! Skip the shower, save water and still keep your hair feeling clean, fresh and ready-to-style! Or purchase our limited-edition Light the Way Earth Month Candles for a $12 donation, which will help provide water to a family of six for six months!

Aveda Earth Month 2016 – Think Global. Act Local.

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