• Megann Horstead

Shorewood salon academy rooted in education, innovation


What does it take as a hairstylist to make others not only look good but feel good?

The Salon Professional Academy in Shorewood aims to help students in achieving this with their clients.

The beauty school has been serving area clients since 2007, and is continuing to show a commitment to educating and training tomorrow’s hairstylists.

Academy Lead Educator Jill Kaczmarek-Caauwe said knowing the salon is celebrating 10 years is a “big deal.”

“I’ve been here since Day One, and our mission is to change our industry,” she said. “We’re a growing salon leader and we want our students to become managers and leaders. We want them to change the industry. In addition to teaching technical skills, we teach them communication and business skills to help grow them as individuals.”

There are a number of factors that distinguish a salon academy education from other beauty schools across the area, Kaczmarek-Caauwe said.

“We partnered with Redken and the education that we give to [students] separates them from other schools in the area,” she said. “We grow them from when they start to when they leave. They already have a clientele. They’re not just leaving our school and starting from scratch.”

Full-time students at the Academy typically graduate in 10 months, compared to part-timers who can expect to complete the program in two years.

Kaczmarek-Caauwe said it’s clear why salons tend to hire students from the academy after graduation.

“We believe that they’re recognized as being a professional versus a trade school student,” she said. “We believe that we’re educating to professionals when we start.”

Kaczmarek-Caauwe said as for other beauty schools, this idea hasn’t always been recognized.

“Maybe 20 years ago cosmetology wasn’t, unfortunately, recognized as a professional industry,” she said. “We believe that with our guest handling and business skills that this industry is considered professional and you can start a career as soon as possible.”

Kaczmarek-Caauwe recognizes that Academy students value the importance of striving to be responsive to clients’ changing needs. To add, she said the role of the hairstylist has changed in a number of ways over the years.

Kaczmarek-Caauwe said not only are trends and technology changing with the times, but they’re also changing the way students approach their work at the Academy.

But that’s not the only way an Academy education stands apart from the pack, Admissions Director Joe Doti said.

The Salon Professional Academy is linked with the American Cancer Society in an effort to fit wigs for clients.

“It’s really big with the community,” Doti said. “I think we’ve seen somewhere in the realm of 70 patients in the last year. It hits home with me and other staff members. It’s almost like a breath of fresh air. We feel like we’re making a difference.”

Doti said the key to catering to the needs of clients is simple, in part, because stylist get to know people on a different level.

“That’s one of the comfort factors; that a guest is able to talk to their hairstylist about things they might not otherwise talk about,” he said.

Kaczmarek-Caauwe said in the years to come, The Salon Professional Academy hopes to expand to another location, see graduated students return to the school, become managers and get involved with the American Cancer Society.

If interested in studying at The Salon Professional Academy in Shorewood, email Joe Doti at admissions@tspashorewood.com

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