Updated: May 18, 2018
Hi guys. Welcome back to my blog about some of the totally awesome people I get to meet in my profession.
Now like most industries there are associated trade shows. In the beauty world the conventions and events can get pretty elaborate and ornate, which I'm sure you can only imagine. Huge stages, blasting music, thousands of people walking and watching. Which leads me to the next person showcased in my people you don't know but should series, Steven Lightfoot. I met him about 4 years ago, in a class at the ISSE show in Long Beach. I was enamored by the effortlessness and fluidity of not only his hands, but his words. If you are in the hair biz you've heard the name, or taken one of his fantastically fun and educational classes; not to mention he is some serious eye candy on top of being intellectual and articulated. If you follow him on social media, if not you should @stevenlightfoothair , or have seen his website, you know that he just launched his own mens product line 'The Cardinal Brand'. People who push standards in your industry, people who expect more out of our business, the outliers who realize the importance of our profession, those are the people I want to surround myself with.
I happen to reach out to Steven because I needed to get my hands on The Cardinal Brand and try it out. While we were talking about product samples it dawned on me to ask him few questions for you guys. If you are looking to become an educator, or thinking of starting your own product, how about making yourself and industry expert offering advice and technique, this guy has done it all.
1. So Steven how's your Friday going so far?
S: Rainbows and butter flies. Atlas, my Son is healthy and I'm alive and building stuff as usual. Things are good. Thanks.
2. There's going to be a ton of people who know you, but for the people who don't if you could please introduce yourself?
S: I am sure there are fewer people that know me than both of us think so this is a great question for everyone reading this.... I'm Steven, I'm a hairstylist and I like many aspects our business and work in many parts of it. I enjoy learning and on occasion find myself teaching. I'm good at Trivial Pursuit and I'm a Virgo. I keep myself entertained by doing a variety of semi-fruitless pursuits ranging from boxing, to cooking, to yoyo .
Oh Man my mom made us play Trivial Pursuit every Friday night growing up. We will have to get a match going haha.
3. For those of us who know you, we know you as a fabulous hairdresser and educator, how long have you been doing hair?
S: It has been 15 years and just getting started.
4. At what point did that Epiphany happen where you said wow I'm going to get into the beauty industry?
S: I have worked for organizations on the other side of the chair e.g. product development, education direction, creative, TV, fashion week etc. but they are all secondary to the behind the chair interactions that are the roots of my being here.
My first female client at the Glen Dow Academy in Spokane, Wa. was the last client I needed to solidify my place in the beauty world. Her name was Debbie and the world needs more Debbie's. It really came down to the mutual gratitude for one another and the exchange of information verbally, creatively and the a genuine feeling of camaraderie. I knew in that moment I would stay in it forever.
5. What was the first Salon you worked at?
S: Bella Design Group Spokane, Washington.
6. Where do you work currently? Or do you have your own salon?
S: I currently take clients at Jbangs in Nashville, TN and in my garage. Any time, day or night. You want to learn fly in, get a cut at my house, talk hair, grow.
7. How did you get to become an educator?
S: The moment someone asked me to show them something.
8. You've gotten to go some amazing places because of the passion that you've had for your craft, where are your top three places you've been? And what was the weirdest thing you ate while you were there?
S: I have been fortunate to have travelled most of my life either through music, hair or accident. Seen some fun stuff, eaten some fun stuff. Here are threeHong Kong, Kauai, Whittier Alaska.... I have eaten some non-traditional things i suppose... Sea Squirt comes to mind. But here are some good ones.
1. Le Pigeon, Portland Or. Gabe is cooking, he uses the Cardinal Brand so he is alright.
2. Oriental Mart Downtown Seattle, ask for Leila and tell her I sent you.
3. White Bear Soup Dumplings in Flushing Queens. 9. Within the time that you've spent doing hair, what would you say was the biggest hurdle or struggle you've had to deal with whether it be business or personal?
S: There is very little struggle in being behind the chair. It is a wonderful thing. Simple, almost pure. The only hurdles come in the business on the other side of the chair. If you are a stylist and you want to be a successful educator or play in the business of hair keep a full book somewhere, it is something that you built and allows you to not get lost in the business. I work a lot. That is a hurdle.
10. You have an exciting new development tell us about that?
S: Working with various contracts in pur consulting business and The Cardinal Brand launched a few months ago. I made product everyone should have. Very happy with what came out and so are our partner shops and salons. http://www.thecardinalbrand.com
11. What was the inspiration behind the brand, the name, the scents of the product,etc.?
S: Man, that is a good one. Inspiration is in every interaction in life but the need for a men's that is the best quality someone with my experience could make and something that a true professional can bend to do just about anything was needed. So I made. The fragrances are chosen by women. Because.... duh The pucks have magic in them. Use them, find out.
12. Having been in Men's Grooming for almost a decade myself, product companies come and go all of the time why now did you decide to launch your brand and your product line?
S: Our product will not go anywhere because if no one bought it I would use it myself until it ran out. That would be awhile.... I made because it was needed so as long as I'm here it will be here. Another reason we launched TCB is because we saw the offerings over a few years of the grooming revival and determined we needed to put an option on the market.
13. How is growing your career, and being a father been? I can understand it from a woman standpoint, being a single mom having a job raising a kid. I'd love to hear it from the male's perspective.
And your son is so cute by the way. How old is he and what's his name?
S: Boy is named Atlas, he was name after the Greek Myth and the Product Atlas from TCB was named after him. He is magic. When Atlas came we took him everywhere. He had gold status by miles in his first year. Traveled his first flight at 2 months old and was on a major hair shoot at 2 months as well. My son is part of me and hair is part of me. It is only fitting that he come along as much as possible. To be able to create a life and a career he can be a part of in some capacity is a blessing and I named the best product in pur line after my son. He is now two and he still comes along with Dada even though I don't fly every 4 days like before. When I drop off products to shops or salons Atlas rides along. Being a stylist developed, stylist funded hair care brand we do the ground work too and Atlas is very much a part of that connection with the salon and barbershops in my local area, they know and love Atlas. We are creating a family. Yes, the work load in growing the brand is extremely high because the response from the community is high.
Male perspective... hmmm. I grew my book through the quality of my work and not what was between my legs. But the perspective of society in general has changed a lot. I don't get asked if I'm gay anymore so that is a sign of society changing positively I suppose. I just get up and work and success came. I failed a lot and succeeded some.
14. Hindsight is always 20/20 right LOL if you could look back at yourself at the beginning of your career what advice would you give yourself then?
S: I would tell myself "You make your own luck."
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to give us a little bit more insight into this amazing product and Company your building. Can't wait for us to chat again. S: Call any time.
I know you've heard the phrase "you are who you hang with" whether you're mom or grandpa told you. It happened to be my little old Irish grandma. She reminds me to this day to learn, associate, and befriend people you strive to be like. I hope I am able to show others what I have learned from this man. Follow him!