An Interview with Hair & Makeup Artist Joshua Ladner

How did you discover the hair industry? What it always a passion or something you stumbled upon later?

 I had always found myself doing hair ever since I was a little boy. I had 4 sisters and a mother who loved getting her hair brushed. I feel that style and finish is a huge part of the Hair Journey with my guest–due to my mother that is! I was a performer growing up and into my young adult life, I would always style and color my friends hair and other performers I worked with. Once I met my husband I finally decided with his encouragement to enroll into Paul Mitchell the School Tampa. In 2009 I started the journey that I am on right now.

What was your training experience like?

 hair and makeup artist

 I truly believe I went to the best school possible. The structure and passion was felt the moment I walked through the doors. Being home grown from Paul Mitchell the School Tampa was an amazing journey and gave me the confidence and structure I needed to start achieving all my dreams. I believe to be successful you have to have a strong foundation. I definitely got it at Paul Mitchell.

What were your first steps once you finished your training?

I think I started acting like a professional while in school. I started my journey in editorial work while I was still a Future Professional and was published before I even graduated. I have a strong work ethic and I finally found my calling. Once I graduated I worked for my mentor Alan Kemp in Tampa, FL, who guided me to become a great leader and behind the chair stylist. I continued to grow my portfolio and said YES to every job that came my way.  At New York Fashion week with Kim Roxie, Creative Director of Lamik Beauty.

You offer a wide variety of services–at home parties, wedding party hair and make-up, classes for stylist to learn editorial styling–and have done a little of everything, including editorial shoots and working New York Fashion Week. How did you learn to diversify as your career has developed? 

hair and makeup artist Stylist Joshua Ladner

I have found that you have to have balance in your life to be able to juggle so many different things in the beauty industry. I also believe I have been able to do so much because I said YES to anything and everything. Life is a journey and that is what I teach my guests in and out of the salon. The things you do today will set you up for success tomorrow. Being confident in your platforms is a huge attribute I work on and strive to have.

You’re opening your first salon, Salon J. Ladner, in December 2013. What made you decide to take the plunge and make this big step? 

I came into the beauty industry with my goals and “to-do” list already set. It has been a dream of mine to own a salon and give my guest a place to find confidence and true beauty. It did not happen over night and I did pay my dues. I really think my mentor Alan Kemp in my first salon gave me the wisdom to know what a salon should be and how to run it. He gave me freedom to explore and mess up. I also managed a salon while I was in North Dakota that set me up for success. Now I am so excited to have my own salon where I can share my knowledge and grow the hair journey with my stylist and guest!

What has the experience been like so far as you move toward your opening date? Any surprises? 

I live a strict “positive” lifestyle. I truly believe that what you put out is what you get. I have not had any surprises and I have “interviewed” everyone who is working with me to build my dream salon. If they feel good to me then I go with them. We have to connect on a level more than just business. I like NICE people. Also, I am lucky to have a husband who is on top of it all. If I miss something he is there to catch it.

We love how you’ve branded yourself with #hairjourney and #hairjourneyist online. How did you land on this brand?

I believe that my work behind the chair is more than just a color, cut, or style and finish. It’s a lifestyle and a journey. It’s the one accessory we have on everyday and it gives us confidence. One day I was playing with words and things I say all the time. Hair and Journey always comes out of my mouth, put the two together and it’s my motto.

You have a strong blog and web presence via both social media and a sharp portfolio. Any tips for other stylists struggling with online marketing? 

My biggest tip is to not be afraid of letting people know who and what you do. No one will know who you are unless you tell them! Social media is free advertisement and it is the KEY to building a brand and a business. I connect with every single person I meet. You have to commit to your journey and truly believe in yourself. It’s a long steady race, not a sprint. Start little and then build as you grow.

Trends are always changing, new products are always hitting the market. How do you stay on top of what’s hot? 

Continuing education is something I believe in 100% So I read anything and everything on hair and the beauty industry, I subscribe to magazines and join organizations that share the next best things. Networking and stepping outside the box also helps to be on top of this fast pace industry.

Most stylists have a favorite go-to product. What’s yours?

I am a Paul Mitchell boy all the way. I am in love with Gloss Drops for my editorial sessions for finishing, My new addiction is Dry Wash for adding texture and memory to my guest styles.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I want to have a steady successful salon. More than one location for sure. I enjoy going to Paul Mitchell Schools and inspiring young Future Professionals, so educating would be on the to do list. You never know I might even do some Platform work. I am open to anything that will change lives for the better!

Thanks so much for sharing your #hairjourney with us, Joshua!

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