Michelle O’Connor Creativity has been the cornerstone of Michelle O’Connor’s life for as long as she can remember. As a hairstylist in a top Ft. Lauderdale salon; on the set of music videos, commercials, catalogs and editorial shoots; as a salon owner; as an educator and in her role as Creative Director for The Salon By InStyle at JCPenney, Michelle has always trusted her creative instincts—and they have never let her down. Michelle began her career in the performing arts. At the age of five she began studying dance, and continued her studies through high school and college, where she attended a performing arts university in Philadelphia. She worked with top dance companies, including Alvin Ailey and The Dance Theater of Harlem, before deciding to focus on another creative pursuit—the art of hair. She launched her hair career in Ft. Lauderdale in 2000, working for the Paul Triana Salon—one of the most prestigious salons in the area. There she took advantage of the diverse clientele to hone her skills in all aspects of cutting, coloring and styling, equipping her to easily straddle the worlds of textured and non-textured hair. After a few years, she signed with an artists’ agency in Miami, and soon was one of the area’s most in-demand freelance hairstylists, working for clients like Victoria’s Secret and J.Crew and at New York Fashion Week. Her dancer’s training instilled several traits in her--including a drive for achievement, an expectation of excellence in herself and others and a boundless curiosity to explore new creative realms. So after succeeding in the freelance arena, she set her sights on manufacturer education., Michelle was soon invited to join the Mizani education team. At the same time, she decided to flex her entrepreneurial muscles, and opened a small boutique salon. Her work with Mizani Lead her to the Co Creative Director role for The Salon by INSTYLE along with Dilek Onur Taylor.. Always open to new opportunities, she has spent 8 years coaching and developing an education team of 55, who help carry out the strategically created technical and business programs for the company’s 13,000+ hairdressers. She’s conducted numerous, trend and media photo shoots, along with television appearances and in live celebrity and fashion show events. During this time, her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including, INSTYLE Magazine, Modern Salon, behindthechair, American Salon and Launchpad. She has appeared on talk and awards shows including Good Morning Miami and the Oscars, ti name a few. The year , 2016, was a monumental one in her already-impressive career. She won the North American Hairstyling Award for Texture; she was nominated for BTC #ONESHOT awards in the Color and Avant Garde categories and she was nominated for a Bangstyle Supreme Award. 2018 ushered in another NAHA win in the category of texture & 2019 came in with a bang with her being nominated in 4 categories including texture, Editorial, Avante Garde, and Team while capturing two awards in the categories of Texture and Avante Garde. She once again won the coveted Prestigious NAHA award in 2020 in the category of Styling and finishing, bringing her grand total to 5. Michelle remains a trailblazer in the beauty industry and continues to dominate the texture genre! Michelle continues to break barriers by leading Matrix Education as a Global Artistic Director. She recently joined the Ulta Professional team, while maintaining her position as a leading authority and consultant for additional brands such as Dyson and Kerastase. Michelle continues to offer her business, technical, and artistic expertise globally as diversity and inclusion for all hairdressers remains her most passionate platform.
Eric Vaughn Eric Vaughn has been a part of the beauty industry for 10 years and is the owner of REV Salon in Houston, Texas. In addition to being a salon owner, he is the Official Hair Sponsor for Miss Texas USA and Miss Texas Teen USA. Eric has been listed as Modern Salon’s Top 100 Artists, Beauty Launchpad’s 30 Artists under 30, and recently won Behindthechair.com’s ONE SHOT Extension Shot of the Year. His work has been featured by Allure, Glamour, And Seventeen Magazine. Eric finds inspiration in helping the new talent in his salon grow and accomplish their own goals.
Sharon Spellman Sharon has been behind the chair for five years, working diligently to master the art of lightening and color formulation. Sharon attended the Simi Valley Adult School of Cosmetology, where she studied the basics & created a strong foundation to expand her business after getting her license. After putting in the work as a scholar, she was ready to start her journey as a licensed cosmetologist. Sharon realized that her generation is considered the age of social media, therefore, this was the main tool she used to scale and promote her brand and salon: Simply Insane. Documenting her progression and techniques through social media has allowed Sharon’s work to be shown worldwide and granted her the opportunity to connect with many of her followers. Instagram and TikTok have been essential to promoting her work and creating a connection within the hair community. Utilizing the tools of social media has created a direct path for Sharon to educate and service the many beautiful people that follow her journey as a hairstylist. Building her platform brick by brick has taught her that you can achieve anything you put your mind to! Sharon lives her life based on the following rules her father taught her; “Work hard, play hard, have fun, can’t lose!” Recognized for her undeniable talent and passion for hair, Sharon joined Matrix, the leading professional haircare and hair color company in the US as their Brand Ambassador in 2021. Matrix artists are a team of self-made talent that expand the brand’s global reach, impact and following through a collaborative relationship.
Lenny Strand Lenny Strand is a Matrix Technical Director who specializes in elevating stylists and salons by strengthening their color skills and color knowledge. With a successful career spanning over three decades as a Salon Owner, Master Colorist, Professional Development coach, Lenny has a gift of connecting with all levels and backgrounds of hairdressers from a one on one setting to a large stage. When Lenny is not on the road helping stylists, he is a Senior colorist for Sally Hershberger Los Angeles creating exceptional custom color for his cherished clientele. With his results driven approach and experience Lenny will empower you to go from good to great. To see his work follow him on Instagram @lennystrand
ABS 2022 WAS A FANTASTIC SHOW!
Check out the classes that we presented at ABS 2022.