Hair Show Nashville: Continuing Education at Fashion Focus ’15

Hair Show Nashville: Continuing Education at Fashion Focus ’15

Shuh-Wanda and I went to a hair show in Nashville recently, and I’m going to give you the scoop.  It’s all about Fashion Focus ’15, and continuing education! 

Hair Show Nashville, 10 Years Ago

It’s shameful for me to admit this, but Sunday I went to my first hair show in ten years.  Yes, folks, ten years.  Fashion Focus ’15 was held in the Big City recently, and Shuh-Wanda and I could not wait to go this year! I’ve been to a few hands-on classes since then, but not an actual hair show. The last time we were at a hair show (a convention for hairstylists with an exhibit floor and classes, usually held for two or more days in larger cities), I was pregnant with Tigger, who just turned ten, so, yeah.  You want to know how I remember that hair show in Nashville?

Yes, that's me and Tigger!

Yes, that’s me and Tigger!

Yes, my “friends”  talked me into letting them paint my belly, and we marched proudly down from our hotel room to the kick-off party.  I tried to stay at the table and hide danced the night away with my big ‘ol belly, all daisied up.  We got some interesting reactions, and I was a little surprised at how some folks looked at me with disgust, like exposing your pregnant belly was somehow offensive to them.  Just as many folks were coming up to me and telling me how adorable I was, and what a cute idea it was, so I didn’t worry much about the naysayers.  What an experience!

With sweet, sweet Judy, whom we miss terribly, and who had no hand in making me look like a fool. She just posed for a picture with me, and bravely went out in public with me.

With sweet, sweet Judy, whom we miss terribly, and who had no hand in making me look like a fool. She just posed for a picture with me, and bravely went out in public with me.

hair show nashville ’15

This year, instead of going up to Nashville, getting a hotel room and spending two days and two nights away from our families, Shuh-Wanda and I just drove up on Sunday morning and back on Sunday evening.  We only live about 70 miles from the Big City, so it’s an easy, one-hour drive.  Fashion Focus has a great cirriculum, and I looked over our class options on the ride up, deciding what classes we needed to see and what we might want to skip.  It’s hard to see it all in two days, so we knew we had to pick and choose carefully for our one day of attendance.   We discussed it further over breakfast at Cracker Barrell on the way up.  Yes, I had Mama’s Pancake Breakfast, and yes, it was freakin’ delicious!

We arrived, and Shuh-Wanda parked her big tank of a vehicle expertly in the parking garage. We made our way into the new convention center, and procured our admission bracelets. I could feel the blood pumping in my body as we made our way into the exhibit floor, and I knew we had waited too long to do this! Nothing is more motivating than a good dose of education in the field you love.

Martin parsons, hair stylist

hair show Nashville

After spending a good hour or more taking baby steps through the extremely crowded exhibit floor, we went to our first class, hosted by none other than the amazing Martin Parsons, hair stylist extraordinaire! I LOVE THIS GUY! His class was by far the best at this hair show in Nashville. He’s funny, classy, and so, so talented. I could listen to him talk all day, and I absolutely loved his mannerisms. This was excellent entertainment, and I highly recommend you get yourself into Martin Parsons hairstylist class!


He showed us a great haircut technique, which I can’t wait to try in the salon.


While that model was in the back getting a blow-out, he completed two of the most gorgeous up-dos, and he did it all in an hour! These up-do’s require no curling iron… just hair, your hands, bobby pins, and hairspray. It will take some practice to get the techniques down, but his instruction is so amazing that I know we can do it.



A slightly blurry shot of Martin Parsons' "ruffling"'s hard to get clear pics when all 150 attendees are scrapping for a shot!

A slightly blurry shot of Martin Parsons’ “ruffling” technique…it’s hard to get clear pics when all 150 attendees are scrapping for a shot!

We definitely scored some picture books and instructional DVD’s of his up-do creations, and we will be trying those out this Saturday for prom! Those Martin Parsons updo videos will be one of my most treasured possessions, I can assure you!

This guy has personality for days!

This guy has personality for days!

meeting martin parsons

This was by far my favorite class of the day, and we actually tried to catch the last half of another of his classes (when we left a different class because we couldn’t stay awake), but it was literally full…not even any standing room!  When we went back to the exhibit floor to buy our Martin Parsons books, he was there in the booth!  I talked to him!  I know to my non-hairstylist friends, this means nothing, but to us, it’s kind of like meeting a someone famous!

We also got a couple of glimpses of Kim Vo (there’s supposed to be a little dash above ‘Vo’, but who the hell knows where that is on the keyboard?), who is huge in the beauty industry right now, but we didn’t get to attend his color class this time.  As I told Madre after we returned home, Shuh-Wanda and I seeing these hair gurus would be comparable to Madre seeing George Clooney!  It’s cool to feel like you’re rubbing elbows with hair celebrities!


Shuh-Wanda and I picked up some great deals, and definitely brought back some fresh, new ideas that we can use behind the chair. When we were younger, we loved all of the flash and glitz and glam, and I guess it is more awe-inspiring to a new hairstylist to get all the booming bass, bright lights, and flair.  At our age, we’ve decided that Martin Parsons’ simple stage, lighting, and relaxing but up-beat tunes are just our speed. IMG_6655

You just can’t go wrong with a classy setup, fresh ideas, and a little humor….Martin Parsons is the whole package!  What an amazing educator he is.

continuing education in the salon

I don’t care what industry you work in, or what line of work you do, continuing education is key for long-term success.  So much has changed in the beauty industry in my 18 years, and if I hadn’t kept up with what was trending and new techniques, I’d have been left behind. It’s so important to always try to improve, and to learn as much as possible about your trade. Continuing education in the salon should be mandatory, because it helps us as professionals to stay fresh.

As I get older, I do notice my clientele getting a little older.  About five years ago, I had NO ONE  booked for prom, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have some skills when it comes to up-do’s and formal hairstyling, but the younger girls like a younger hairstylist, and I’m not in that category anymore.  I knew that being happy in this career, for me, meant being busy for formals and wedding season, and that’s why I added makeup services to my menu.  I’ve been booked solid for prom the past 3 years, and not just with makeup applications, but also hair clients, and my wedding bookings have increased dramatically.

I’ve built my reputation as a formal stylist, and have booked several weddings this year, thanks to referrals from happy clients!  I only apply makeup about 8-10 times a year, but adding and promoting that new service put me back on the map for formal styling. Adding makeup has been the best decision for marketing myself and my capabilities.  If you don’t market yourself, who will? Without attending hair shows and the motivation it brings, I don’t think I would have had this level of success. My example is just one of many reasons why continuing education in the salon is so important.

I can’t wait to try out some of what I’ve learned on Saturday at the hair show in Nashville, and I’m sure you all know what to expect for the next edition of Waves On Wednesday:  prom hair!  Have a great rest of the week, and try to learn something new, won’t ya?

X,O,X,O,   Martie