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Vivienne Mackinder’s HairDesignerTV kicked off far ahead of the curve, but technology finally caught up to her vision of anytime, anywhere education. —TRACY MORIN


Twenty years ago, in a world before Facebook or YouTube, a burning question formed during Vivienne Mackinder’s worldwide education events: Were people actually retaining and using the knowledge she shared? How could she make a lasting, authentic difference? Simultaneously, salon owners bemoaned the frustrations and flaws of in-salon training. “I went on this quest for a new platform, but everything was dial-up, so I put videos on CDs,” laughs Mackinder, Founder of “I thought, ‘You’re too ahead of the curve here; there’s no way to stream this information.’”

Luckily, technology finally caught up with Mackinder’s forward-thinking concept: bringing education to stylists whenever, wherever. Focusing on three key categories (technical, inspiration and success), she quickly accumulated a diverse video library: step-by-steps, collections and the documentary film series I’m Not Just a Hairdresser. Not everyone hopped on the bandwagon—until YouTube trained the masses in online learning. Today, about 700 videos (arranged in structured courses) populate the site, from VivTV, a fast-paced variety show, to Backstage Pass, a behind-the-scenes look at photo shoots and fashion weeks. “I can’t compete with YouTube or Instagram, but with my 40 years of knowledge, I know what it takes to make a really good hairdresser: a broad repertoire, an incredible eye and esthetic, knowing face shape and how to communicate,” Mackinder details. “HairDesignerTV has evolved toward being a full apprenticeship system.”

Mackinder recommends that stylists looking to master their craft sign up for a yearlong membership; she even suggests courses based on experience level and offers feedback on students’ results. But viewers most love her quirky, down-to-earth vibe and logical, gimmick-free approach to classic principles and avant-garde looks alike. (Mackinder’s education philosophy: Go slow and steady, be consistent and make it fun.) Recently, she unveiled Uncompromised Beauty (recently featured in Launchpad!), a collection focusing on face shape, and signed a contract with Pivot Point that’ll land her überpopular Editorial Styling Course on the Learn About Beauty online education portal and in schools nationwide. “We give to our clients all the time, but we also have to give back to ourselves through education,” Mackinder concludes. “Even I’ll watch my videos to note what I did or didn’t do well; I’m learning all the time, too!”

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