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The Road To NAHA Part 2: Sherri Jessee

Sam Villa

Author Sam Villa | Founding Partner of Sam Villa

View Part 1 of The Road to NAHA series featuring Charlie Price!


Sherri Jessee is one of the most published independent artists in the US, and get this, she does everything herself. She doesn't have a PR person, yet has been able to independently brand herself as an artist and increase her exposure with press coverage (both trade and consumer) and social media, all on her own. Sherri has over 20 years experience as a successful salon owner, stylist, top platform artist, makeup artist and editorial and fashion runway stylist. Visit her website for a complete bio. Sherri won "Editorial Stylist of the Year" this year at NAHA, a category requiring work to be published in a national publication purchased by consumers. This is an impressive accomplishment for someone who does all her own promoting. She lives in a small town (Bristol, VA), but she thinks BIG and has created a BIG presence in the industry. We chose to highlight Sherri for the second “The Road to NAHA” segment because with work published in hundreds of magazines spanning 6 continents, she has insight into how to create awareness and get work published – whether you enter NAHA or not. Get a behind the scenes tour of Sherri’s "Editorial Stylist of the Year" winning collection. How do you go about getting your work publicized? What advice can you give stylists from small towns about creating awareness for themselves? It is important to “create relevant content.” I shoot in New York as often as possible, however, to make my time locally more effective, I purchased equipment for a full studio set up at my salon. I collaborate with a local photographer and he helped chose the equipment and set up the studio. It is awesome to be able to do the hair and makeup and then have our studio right there! I have also used the set to film several videos for advertising campaigns. In addition, as a preferred stylist for Miss Virginia USA organization, I have the opportunity to work with many local beauties; this has helped establish my reputation in the local community as a hair and makeup expert.


What tips can you provide about independently branding yourself as a stylist? I am an active participant in social media with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and write articles for my own Sherri’s Steps to Style blog. I also frequently contribute to various sites including LUCKY Magazine, Examiner, Bangstyle, Latest Hairstyles, Hairbrained, Behind the Chair.com, MODERN SALON, Beauty Launchpad, Salon Galaxy, and ZIMBIO.

How did you develop relationships with magazine editors? How did you know who to send your work to? These relationships have been built over a period of time. I begin by looking for magazine editor information on the Internet and inside magazine covers of the magazines I would like to submit to, and I just go from there.


What advise can you give to someone who is not familiar with social media and wants to get started? The best place to start is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the accounts can be linked together. The important thing is to post relevant content on a continual basis.

What writing tips can you give stylists – what do editors want to know? I took a special course in public relations, have a Bachelor's Degree in Education and 20 years experience as an international platform artist. When possible, I create step-by-step photos as I work, thinking in terms of education. These "how-to" articles are the main content of my blogs. My main advice is to write like you speak, not to make it too wordy…if you have lots of photos, the pictures can do the talking for you.

How did you become a contributor to press and social media outlets? How can a stylist go about soliciting those types of opportunities? Beauty industry centered social networking sites such as Behind the Chair, Hairbrained, and Salon Galaxy encourage community contributions. You can create a profile and begin sharing right away. These are great places to post your work and also be inspired by other's work from all around the world.


What’s the best advise you ever received relating to creating hair for a shoot? I took several Modern Salon Artist Sessions. That helped me learn the process of organizing a photo shoot and the importance of having a top quality team. Each element of hair, makeup, photography, wardrobe, and models must be absolutely perfect in order to produce a quality collection. See a blog I created at Artist Session where the Sam Villa Textur® Iron was used on my model. Any tips and tricks for doing hair on set? The most important thing is to be prepared. Have your workflow planned out ahead of time so you can create all of your looks in a timely manner.

What are your MUST HAVE tools and products for a NAHA shoot? I just love my Sam Villa Textur® Iron and have used it in many editorial photo shoots…including my NAHA winning collection! It changes the fabric of hair by bulking it up and giving it amazing texture. Much like turning silk into corduroy. Watch this video for more about the Textur® Iron and its many uses.


Why do you enter NAHA? Entering and winning NAHA was the next step in my long career, as setting and reaching new goals is very important to me.

What is your personal motto when doing a shoot? “Be nice and do pretty hair.” I try to apply this to all I do. Do you have any questions for Sherri Jessee? Comment below or discuss on Facebook.

Next week on The Road To NAHA - Part 3, we meet a creative mind that lives, eats and sleeps hairdressing. 2011 NAHA "Avant Garde" winner, Jake Thompson!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the box below.

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