Every year, we honor 30 young colorists under 30 to find out what makes them so talented and successful. Get to know 2017 honoree Dani Poletti in our interview with her:
Name: Dani Poletti
Salon/company name: Avalanche Salon and Spa, Collegeville, Pa
Title: Master 1 Stylist
Primary color line used: Lakme
Beauty school/location: Bella Capelli Academy, a Paul Mitchell partner school, Monroeville, Pa
Tell me a little bit about yourself:
My name is Dani, I live in south eastern Pennsylvania. I've been a licensed hairdresser for six years, and have been with my current salon, Avalanche, for four. When I am not working, you will probably find me somewhere outside. I am a rock climber, and pretty much love any outdoor activity: hiking, biking and kayaking. I love to travel and am currently trying to see as much of our country as possible, but cannot wait to start traveling internationally.
What inspired you to become a colorist?
After I started working at Avalanche Salon four years ago, I was exposed to two different color lines. One color line was something I had used in the past; the other, a company I was completely unfamiliar with: Lakme. As soon as I saw the swatch book and learned more about how to use that color line, I was hooked. I was in love with Lakme, and that is when I started to really find my creativity as a colorist.
After working with this line for a little over a year, I wanted to be an expert in this line and learn everything I could about it. In March of 2015, I became a Lakme USA educator and started sharing my knowledge with other stylists. Ultimately, Lakme color is what first inspired me to become a color specialist, but I have found and continue to find inspiration everyday through social media. Instagram has completely changed the game in hair color. I truly believe that trends would not be where they are today if it weren’t for Instagram. The fact that all these incredible artists share their work every day and share their knowledge is such a positive inspiration.
What are your goals?
My dream is to live bi-coastal. There’s so much I love about Pennsylvania, but I always felt I belonged on the west coast. My goals would be to travel all the country, and eventually world, teaching hair color and techniques, allowing me to live bi-coastal.
Any accomplishments so far in your career that you’re particularly proud of?
Becoming an educator in Lakme USA is an accomplishment that I am definitely very proud of. I set my goal to become an educator, I passed my training, and I absolutely adore teaching. I'm also proud of building my book at my salon. I still remember being right out of beauty school and the thought of completely starting from scratch and having to build was extremely daunting. I remember thinking, I can't wait until I have my clientele, and I’m just busy all the time. Of course, I am still building, but I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come in the four years that I have been with Avalanche.
What are your hair color specialties?
My hair color specialties are Balayage, fashion colors and color corrections. In my salon, I am the “go-to” for any bigger color projects. My favorite looks to create are soft, natural, low-maintenance blondes and redheads.
What do you love most about being a colorist?
I honestly love everything about hair color. I love the chemistry and creating a formula. I love talking about how color works—constantly educating my clients. I love the creativity that goes along with not only formulating, but placement and technique. Since I also specialize in color corrections, one of my favorite things about being a colorist is being able to give my client the hair goals they've been dreaming about, especially when she has not had great experiences in the past. It makes all the work that goes into a correction worth it.
Who would you consider to be your mentors/role models, and why?
My everyday mentor is my boss/salon owner Stephanie Wolfinger. She is one of my salon owners, and she is also a color specialist. She is my mentor in many ways, with coloring, cutting and just being a good stylist. She has taught me most everything I know about working in a salon—from how to treat a client like the most important person in the world to knowing when to say when and put my foot down at a bad situation.
My other two mentors are Arda Itez and Wendy Bond. Arda was the Director of Education when I joined the education team at Lakme USA. Arda trained me in Lakme, and her formulations and work are inspiring. Shortly after I joined the Lakme team, Arda made her decision to step down as director, which is when I met Wendy. Wendy Bond is an inspiring artist, from being nominated for NAHA several times, to taking home a win. She has been an innovator in this industry for years, and her taking over as Director of Education for Lakme USA has been such a great step forward for Lakme USA education.
These women are perfect examples of hard-working, extremely-successful women. And these women believe in me, which is such an honor.
Please share a hair color, prep or color care tip.
If you are a great colorist, and you know your color theory and know how to manipulate the color line you use, then you know what's best for whoever is your chair. Trust yourself; trust your color line, and trust your instincts. There are so many times when we have a challenging client who may be negative about hairdressers, and they make you doubt your judgment. We have all been there. You cannot let them get under your skin, especially if they were referred to you. They are there to get a service done by you, an expert in your field. Do not be afraid to get extremely technical, educate and over educate, and make whomever is in your chair understand that you know what you’re doing.
Do not be afraid to be confident. Because confidence is attractive. Don’t be afraid to compliment your work! Say things like, “This color came out great; it’s gorgeous; it looks great on you. What do you think!?” If you love color as much as I do, don’t be afraid to geek out and show it. Confidence sells, and you will be extremely successful, and you will gain the clientele that you want.