ep78 – David Stanko

Today’s guest specializes in professional and consumer product development. He is a three-time winner of Haircolor USA’s Most Inspirational and Best Educator Award, a founding member of the Intercoiffure American Canada Haircolor Council. He is the author of Formula Boss and Color Conversions Made Easy. In my opinion, he is one of the top haircolor experts in the world. He’s your friend and mine, Mr David Stanko.

0:00 – David’s start in the hairdressing industry and early career experiences with his sister’s influence
18:34 – Mentors, learning, and adapting in the corporate world
23:46 – The importance of hairdresser input in beauty industry marketing
28:47 – Education, podcasting, and personal branding
42:28 – Active listening counts in personal and professional growth

Complete Transcript

Chris Baran 0:00
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do? I’m Chris Baran, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success.

Well, welcome to head cases and today’s guest specializes in professional and consumer product development. He is a three time recipient of the haircolor USA most inspirational and best Educator Award. He is a founding member of intercoiffure America and Canada hair color Council. Renowned as one of the most accomplished hair colors in the United States. He is a former board member at the American Board of certified a master colorist and he is a Hall of Famer to both the Pittsburgh Beauty Academy and Pennsylvania Association of Private school administration. He has successfully spearheaded the development launch, and global training initiatives for color haircare, and styling brands. He is the author of formula boss and color conversions made easy. He hosts a live broadcast out program called the formula boss. And in my opinion, he’s probably one of the most and best top hair color experts in my mind in the world. So let’s get into this week’s head case. Your friend and mine, Mr. David Stanko.

Well, Mr. Stanko, it’s number one, it’s been too damn long since I’ve seen you last but I just wanted to say welcome. Welcome to head cases. And it’s it’s good to have you on board so we can tell them some all sorts of lies and stories.

David Stanko 1:59
Thanks, Chris. I think last time we were together was Palm Springs. And we laughed I think the entire night. That’s one thing I really truly admire about you and I love hanging because it to me is, you know, there’s so much crap going on in the world in our lives right now that just to have a good laugh, I think is really really, as we say in English more importantly, which we it’s see. Everybody tells me that my Spanish accent sounds more Portuguese than anything.

Nailed it.

Chris Baran 2:31
Only words I know is Hamish. So I try to use them as many as I can. David, I don’t know if anybody that is out there that wouldn’t know you or why. But I think the first thing that everybody sees you on stage and they see you in your podcasts and they see you and Instagram and God you’ve been all over the world. But I think that one thing everybody wants to know is how the hell did you get into hair? Where Where did that come from? Did it start from the beginning? What’s give us your hair story?

David Stanko 3:03
Yeah, so I did not aspire to be a hairdresser. I did not cut my baby dolls hair. I did not invite the neighborhood kids over and get clipper cuts none of that stuff. My dad did have the old school clippers, you know the manual ones. And you know we would get those those as my dad would say give me a haircut but no chicken wings, right like the feathered out stuff. But really I got into it. By luck. I think my sister went to Beauty School and I saw what she was doing the head in the kitchen and the pin curl clips in the razors and all of that stuff. And there was a came a time where I had to make a decision what I was going to be when I grew up, and the whole college thing and all of that that fell out of bed that didn’t work out very well. My parents like all good parents from the Northeast retired to Florida. And I didn’t I went I moved to Florida but I didn’t like it so I went to beauty school because I saw that my sister did it and I’m sort of obligated to always say that you know she she will always take credit for my entrance into beauty because of what I saw from her. So that’s how I got into it.

Chris Baran 4:23
What’s What’s your sister’s name? Roselle. Roselle and does. Roselle takes credit for your fame and he would not be where he is today if it wasn’t for me going to beauty school.

David Stanko 4:35
Well, funny thing about that is you know, she did cosmetology and then she went to school for aesthetics. And she moved to Virginia and was working at I forget the name of the store somewhere in Virginia. And this woman came in and wanted a bikini wax and she was so grossed out. She committed to never do Even waxing again got out of esthetics like she has maintained her license over the years because as you know, once you have it, man, you shouldn’t give it up. Right? But she she was out she was like, There’s no way I’m doing this.

Chris Baran 5:16
Oh, there’s so many stories. I’m sure we could tell him there. But we’re gonna leave those alone right now. Because while we’re not totally PG, we try to keep it so that students out there will listen to us as well. So, okay, you got into it. And so where did did mount because you were from the Pennsylvania area right before that.

Yeah. So I was in Pittsburgh, I went to school Pittsburgh Beauty Academy. And I later went on to be inducted into their hall of fame with friends like Brad John’s and Arnold Ziggo rally and Beth minority. And I started off assisting in one salon, this guy named Jerry, who I’ve never seen anyone with a pin curl set in like Jerry. I mean, like, honestly, one hand did with endpapers. And he had all of the wealthy old women from Pittsburgh that were shampoo sets or blow dry weekly appointments. And you know, all I did was clean brushes and serve coffee. And I had a friend that worked in another salon in Shadyside, which was a very upscale neighborhood called Renee. And she was applying color and holding foils and doing all of this great stuff. Her name was Lisa, you know, often wondered whatever happened to Lisa. But she introduced me to the husband and wife Donna and Larry Blanchard at River Bay. I went over and interviewed got on famously with both of them and became Don as assistant. And so I had to go back to Dean and who was like on the art art team for Trevor Sorbie at the time, and we’re talking about 1987 1988. And, and that was a salon I stayed in for 10 plus years. It was a fabulous experience.

Yeah. Isn’t it amazing? How just getting into the right place? And just propel you or stifle you? So, okay, you’re in the hairdressing business. And I’m just going to take a wild stab that you finally got out of the assistant role, and you got your, in your place, earning your money and so on. But how did tell me how did how did you get discovered? Like, what was the I mean, all of us. And just so everybody knows what I’m talking about? Your hairdresser, you’ve obviously went on, and you were discovered by someone, and it helped to propel you to work with manufacturers teaching, etc. And that’s what helped to build your career. What was that discovery point?

David Stanko 7:46
Well, I started to realize that there was more to do than shampoo or, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. But at one point, I stood in the salon, I looked around at all of these really well appointed hairdressers with full books. And I thought to myself, it looks like they’re punching in doing a book full of clients and punching out and I thought I know there has to be more. So I started to research that I went to some training over the weekend and started working for a company called Italy hair fashion, way back in 1990 became a winner regional, regional and a National Educator, and then International. And so to be direct with your question, I was in Pittsburgh, where one of our mutual friends Maryam Daugherty lift, and Marianne is a Pittsburgher. And she was also a writer and then became publisher of American salon magazine at some point. And because of the connection of you know, Brad and Beth and Arnold, she caught wind of my name. And we met in she did an article on me called like, 30, under 30 or something, I forget the title of it. So that was I credit Marianne for giving me my first press. And that just from there was this sort of meteoric rise into all sorts of great stuff, you know,

Chris Baran 9:15
in that’s really interesting that you point that out, and I, you know, because there’s this thing when you want to, and I don’t want to say that, you know, you can be behind the chair having a full book and that’s your level of success if that’s what you want. And it’s and both you and I take our hats off to that. But there’s this portion of our trade that really looks like they look at David on stage and they say, Lord, I want to do that but I really don’t know how and and how would you like it was I heard in there that it was your this tidbit that happened where you got some press etc. What would you what would you say like because it even though that was I think you said it was in the 80s At some point, but things have really changed now what would you advise if some He wants to take that shift and wants to get into education. They want to get their career to move up. What would you tell them to do now? How would How should they get noticed?

David Stanko 10:09
Oh, boy, that’s a great question. You know, things have changed. You know, I used to sit down and do deskside interviews with editors. And I used to actually speak to an editor that would take my words and quote me for magazines and things. That’s all change. But wasn’t, but wasn’t, oh, my gosh. But what hasn’t changed? Is the rapport building required with people in order to make stuff happen? You know, back in the day, I would say, make sure you always get someone’s business card, and learn the difference between assertive and aggressive. Yeah, if you’re too aggressive with someone on social or to hardcore with comments or to, you know, slipping into their DMS and stalking them, that’s a turnoff. But if it’s gently dropped in, like, Oh, I like your work. If you’re ever in town, could I help at some point. And it’s so much easier now, in some ways today, because you can find someone you like, and you see who they follow. You look at the comments, they make you look at who they tag, so you can do a little bit of research. And I think the approach to that person, as long as it’s sort of humble and not creepy and weird, can get you a lot of places.

Chris Baran 11:30
Yeah, and I and I think that because I’m gonna throw this out there. I was having this conversation with my son Lee the other day, and he always hears me say this, and yet I’m, I am an introvert. You know, even though I do and I am on stage, and I do this I’m basically an introvert when I’m, when I’m at home, I want to be at home. I, I like it when there’s just my wife, Rita and I hanging out and, and, and so people have a hard time believing that and I told it to Lee the other day and and he’s freaked out because he said, Well, I thought you were just BS and me on that and being humble on us. But I am an introvert. So if people that are out there that are like me, that are introverts. I think you’ve really got it, you have to force yourself to do it. Would you agree with that? It’s it’s not something, if you want it, you just got to go out and ask for it. Otherwise, it’s they’re gonna give it to somebody else.

David Stanko 12:26
Yeah, I think part of that equation, Chris, is you have to know who you are first. And I to feel the same way. You know, I love being out and chatting with people and doing all of that. But I also love my downtime. I’m not, you know, I’m not the guy. Honestly, I don’t like a lot of attention. To be honest. I don’t want to walk into a party and have all heads turn. And who’s that and what? It’s not for me, I’m more of a voyeur I like to sort of just sort of check out, check out the scene. So all of that to say you have to know who you are first. Yeah. And then you know, you push your own boundaries. And there’s lots of ways to do that, where you can come out of your shell, you know, I know, hairdressers that are fabulous one on one with their clients, but they never say a word when they’re in a class. Right? You know, and that’s classic of one on one, I’m great, but I don’t like a crowd. So you have to know that and then customize it like, Hey, do I want to be on stage with, you know, 750 people in the audience? Or do I want to do in salon work? Or do I want to do you know, session work? Or just do house calls with amazing people? Yeah.

Chris Baran 13:40
Well, you brought up a great point. And I know that we keep talking about this on head cases, that there’s our industry has so many different avenues, and so many different things that you can be successful at. And I’m talking success, not just from what you feel about yourself, but also financial, emotional, and spiritual for bringing you you and yourself out. And I. And that’s a bug. A little bugbear that I have in our in our industry is how people view us, and that were viewed in a lesser light. Because we’re creative. And I think that that I would just love if anything that that people would understand how much money that there is to be made in this industry, you know, whether it’s in one of those areas. So, you know, I’m certainly not asking you to tell everybody what you earn. And I’m not gonna give out what I do. But I will tell you that that there is people out there that just make, you know, a very, very good living from working behind the chair and also from those other avenues that you talked about.

David Stanko 14:51
And that takes work. Yeah. Yeah. And I think the confusing point for many folks getting into this business is I want To get my license, get a cute black outfit and a new pair of shears and make $100,000. So, you know, there’s classic stuff you can’t get can’t get away with some folks are really lucky. And that happens. But you have to do the time, if you want to be competent. If you want to have success for the long haul, like you’re in this for real, this isn’t just like a fun, easy thing you’re going to do on the weekends, you got to put the time in. And the time is education, online learning, following people, you know, playing with different hair color lines, all of that stuff is the work you have to do

Chris Baran 15:42
it. And that’s the point, I think that’s the result there is that for people that and I want to get your advice from, if people really want to get into the educator game. Some things that we can talk about, here’s one thing that comes to the top of my brain is that if people want to get into education, and that can be just I want to teach in my salon, I want to help other educators grow I want to help the associates of apprentices grow is that they have to look at it that education is a different profession than haircutting. And hair color, and all of the other things that we do. It’s it’s it’s a different it’s really in essence, it’s teaching and to learn how to teach is really different. Because I, I’ll tell you, when I first got into it, I got into it just by luck, you know, and it was I’ll just say it was a few years before the 80s. But the reality was, I was in a competition and people said, Hey, you can do hair, you want to come work for a manufacturer. And I said sure, because I thought it was there. And my ego got really big until I got on stage and understood that I couldn’t teach my way out of a wet paper bag. And that was very obvious by people leaving the room that I want to hear what your take on that would be but mine is just that you got to learn how to teach. And it’s just one step at a time, just the same way as you as you, you know, if you didn’t want to get on stage, you could have been, you had trouble with your first haircut, your first hair color, your first barley budget, same thing, when you’re teaching,

David Stanko 17:13
boy that you just gave me a lot. I’m not sure if I can dissect back in and hit some key points. But here’s what came up for me when I moved from one salon to the other in Pittsburgh. And as I mentioned, I knew there was more than just shampooing. I started to put together the policy and procedures and the training manual and how to do a great shampoo. That stuff was interesting to me, you know, step 1234. Because it was fresh from what I learned in beauty school, you know, there’s a procedure for things to get a great outcome. So I started to get my feet wet there. What I learned, which I thought was key is not everybody appreciates that. Not everybody wants to be, you know, I’ll say told what to do, or as we say today share or suggested or let me you know, Coach with you. Not everybody is into that. And that requires both a learner mindset, as well as a teacher mindset. And similar to what you said about your experience about you did great stuff in a competition. I remember back I think it was 1990 it was the international beauty show in New York City. I was working for Italy hair fashion, and I got on stage and it just came to me. I just felt like I knew how to connect with an audience. And I’ll never forget when I walked off stage, Jim San Jamar know who I’m still friends with to this day said to me, I hope you like traveling, because you’re pretty good up there. And we’re gonna put you on the road. Yeah. And I thought, Huh, I’m on to something. Yeah, I’m on to something.

Chris Baran 18:56
You know, I loved that the word that you said there that I want people to think about is connect. And you know, I wasn’t there. I wish I was. But I will relate to you what happened to me. And I’ll bet that’s what happened to you is every time that I would go on stage, when I first started, I would watch people like Martin Parsons. And the next time that I would go on stage, I would be Martin Parsons. Or I would watch Blake Miller, and I would be Dwight Miller. And then whoever the flavor was that I saw last. That’s who I tried to imitate. And I would have to think about it before I got on stage. Now. I’ll never forget the time I went on stage. And I didn’t have time to think about who I wanted to be. I just had to be me. And I got a better response. And I went well, I guess this is a heck of a lot easier. And I know in training that we talk and talk about it’s just called being authentic. And I’ll betcha that happened to you.

David Stanko 19:56
It did. It did with a little twist of it. variation. Oh boy, Chris, there’s such a great conversation here. It sort of ties into Do you have mentors? And who are they? And it also ties into years ago, I had this travel agent who was ex hairdresser turned travel agent. And he was talking to me about, oh, you’re in Pittsburgh and in the salons, how’s it going? And we were chatting, and, and he said, Are you assisting? And I said, Indeed I am. And he said, here’s the best advice I’m gonna give you, assisting is the best thing to do. Because you often learn what not to do more than what you learn to do what and how to do Yeah. And that has stuck with me over the years. So when you said you’re, you’re sort of taking and the flavor of folks you just saw in order to get on stage and do that. I have I have and that ties into like, who are some of your mentors. You know, I have a tough time with who is your mentor, because I don’t have one person. But I’m an observer. I’m a voyeur. So I would check out all these people. And I would think that worked for them. That didn’t work for them. The audience responded to that. And not that, oh, they were really aggressive right there. And I don’t like that. That doesn’t feel part of me. And I think all of those observations crafted me into what I enjoyed doing from an authentic standpoint on stage. Yeah. Yeah,

Chris Baran 21:31
I think that’s, that’s really it. Because it’s all a learning game, isn’t it? It’s same amount of time that we had to put into learning and how we grew and we involved with with our hair, dressing craft, our beauty craft, whatever that might be. Is this the same thing for teaching, you have to become you have to become an observer. I love that. Okay, so we got from here, you were in the salon, you’re in education. Now I want to do the you have had probably one of the best corporate lives I’ve seen in our interface, let me qualify that. Because some people not know what I’m talking about, I have I have have still have a quasi corporate position. No, I’m not a part of I don’t, they signed a check for me as a contracted artist, but I’m not an employee thereof. But you you’ve had this amazing rise where you went from education, and then all of a sudden you became the the guru of the person to talk to when it came to color, hair care, et cetera. Tell us a little bit about what that was like the transition of when you went into from the hairdressing world of behind the chair on stage. And you were still on stage, even when you were in your corporate life? What was that? Like? What was that like for you? What was the transition? Like? And or maybe even top line first? What were some of the responsibilities when you get into a corporate world? And David, is now starts work for a manufacturer and they say, David, here’s what we expect from you.

David Stanko 23:12
Yeah, it’s a different game, for sure. You know, the hairdressing world, you can make off color jokes, you can be dumb, you can, you know, do all of that crazy stuff that you do in the salon with your fellow hairdressers can’t do that in the corporate world. It is not appreciated, it is frowned upon. Sarcasm works with your clients and your colleague does not work. When you’re in a business meeting with other executives, it is just simply not appreciated. And that was something I had to learn, because I had reached a degree of success. And people booked me and liked me and appreciated me for what I brought to the table. And I had to re filter all of that in a way that a new audience, which were college grads, marketing, chemists, the leadership teams would also now take me serious and and appreciate my input. The value I always brought was that I had boots on the ground. You know, I was a hairdresser. I worked with those products. I understood them. And so I felt I could speak in the first person about who that consumer is, which was me. Yeah, but it’s tough. It’s tough. Being inside is tough.

Chris Baran 24:38
Yeah. I don’t think I ever had that level of involvement that you did, but I remember having to move to New York and having an office, which I just went, Oh my God. It’s like, I don’t know how anybody gets any work done. Because every when I had an office there, people would come by and they would just can you come into this meeting, or hey, what do you think about this and I could Get any my work done, which meant you were working after hours. But what I love that you said and what’s I think what I think is so important in our industry is to have hairdressers that had boots on the ground, as you said, in the corporate world, because you literally were the link between those of us out there as a hairdresser, and the corporate world to know that, that you stood for us, you you were the reality check between the marketing and what they wanted to put out or what people wanted a product to do. And the reality of what you knew that that capability was. So was that was that hard to get those that message across to people? Was it? You know, and what, what, at what point that all of a sudden they say, okay, got it. Got it? Okay. David said, so. You

David Stanko 25:47
know, that? I don’t know, Chris, I don’t know that that ever gets across. I think it depends on how savvy the marketers are that you’re working with. And you and I have worked a long time for the L’Oreal group. Right can being the brand we both worked with. L’Oreal has some very smart and savvy marketers. They get it. They know the demographics and the audience. And they know how much I mean, they know all of that stuff. And because they’re young and aggressive, they’re interested to learn more about hair color, for example. There are brands that I’ve worked with that the marketers they don’t get it, they don’t color their hair, they don’t go to a spa, they don’t get manicures, you know, they might as well be marketing trees at Home Depot, as opposed to beauty in fashion. And it’s a very nuanced discipline to get into haircare and styling in beauty.

Chris Baran 26:53
Yeah. Yeah, well, and so because I know that and I think we both appreciate it all of I think the one of the biggest lessons I learned in corporate wise, I’ll never forget, at one time, Tim for Berger was I think he was in charge of education at the time. And, and I believe it was Pat Parenti, that was the general manager at the time. And, and, and Tim came in arguing on my side of why this particular thing should happen. That what happened there didn’t wasn’t important right now. But I’ll never forget that. Pat looked at Tim. And he said, okay, okay, Tim, I’ll do what you say. But next time you come in asking something like that, I want you to look at your cheque, and I want you to see whose name is on the top of that cheque and who you should be fighting for. And it’s in it and that that always stuck with me. And and to this day, I’m still grateful every time I see that check with that manufacturer name on there, because let’s face it, with them without them, they they provide a lot for the hairdressers in the industry and for you and I as well. So go ahead.

David Stanko 28:12
Well, I was going to just mention, some brands have a very specific love for education. They get it, they appreciate it. And other brands think education is secondary or third to their success. And look, you and I both grew up knowing that education is a product. Education is supportive sales. Education is who our audience is. And everything else surrounding it is the bells and whistles are the icing on the cake. But you know, education is key still is today. But boy, has it taken a turn today, huh? I mean, I just I still am. I don’t know it gives me pause when I think about how we define education today. And in look over the past few years that we’ve taken a lot of hits COVID put us out of the game. There were how many students that graduated Beauty School virtually, they didn’t get to do a haircut with coaching. And so that changed the game dramatically. But you know, some of those pillars just don’t change, which is I have your best interest in mind. I’m sorry, this is a bit of a rant, but I just I want to get this out for a second. There are so many of us on on these platforms that love education. And we do it because it’s our passion and it’s in our DNA. So what I want to say to everyone is Be nice, be kind, don’t make jerky remarks. Because these people, they’re not monetizing any of this content. They’re not getting paid typically from a brand they might get a free bottle shampoo. I mean, some do, of course, but a lot, don’t. These are folks that want to do education on the platform, because it’s what they love. You know, you don’t like what they say. It’s like a dating app swipe left.

Chris Baran 30:13
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it’s just wouldn’t it be nice if you, whatever. Wouldn’t it be nice no matter where we’re at whatever we do, when we’re on well, not only on a stage, but just talking in real life, if we could just leave some of the clutter and the divisiveness that’s going on and just just be nice. For God’s sake, you know, it would be great. Yeah. I mean, do you do you like call it pissing and moaning do your pissing and moaning at home in the privacy with your family? You know, but when you’re out there, be nice. I want to I want to jump in, because I want to make sure we get a chance to talk about sort of the next stage that we’ve had in your life. And, and, and I want to talk about Formula boss. Yeah. So you know, I mean, I mean, you know, I started podcasting yours, explained to us, would you classify yours as a podcast? Is it a webinar? Because you have a whole bunch of you don’t just deal with beauty related? It’s, you do, but there’s still you have a diversity that goes on in there. Tell us first of all, what it is. And then give us a little bit more about why you started it. And what what’s, what’s the gist on it? This episode is sponsored by the salon associate accelerator from trainers playbook.com. Are you struggling with the time and cost of associate training? Do you feel like your salon is running you will get your associates on the floor, all with 90% Less time from you. So you can get back to building your business. Get them world class design, finishing color, and client care skills they’ll use every day for the rest of their career. While you focus on realizing your vision, go to trainers playbook.com and get the salon associate accelerator. And now, back to the show.

David Stanko 32:16
Okay, so formula boss is a trademark name. It’s a moniker. So I own the trademark on that. And I’ve had it for years and years. But over the course of the past few years, I worked with brands that I held it back with because it was something I wanted, and I didn’t want to exploit it with some of the brands that I worked with. And it occurred to me over the past six 810 months, you started this podcast saying, Oh, lots of people know who you are. I don’t know about that anymore, Chris. You know, if you Google me a ton of press comes up. But it stops round about 2019. Because that’s really when the change happened from magazine stuff into social media stuff. And I didn’t. I wasn’t in a salon full time. So I couldn’t constantly produce content that I posted makeovers before and afters. The models in folks that I worked with, with brands, I wasn’t allowed to post about it. I couldn’t do any behind the scenes stuff. So the formula boss sort of sat dormant for a while. And then several months ago, I separated from a big brand I was working with and I realized, hey, I need to get my name out there again. So I relied on formula boss, I started doing this interview series, which I’ve come in and out of over the years, because I think it’s fun. Like you doing a podcast, it’s fun to connect with people and have conversations and you know, we know a lot of people, and I thought I’m gonna call on the people I know. Yeah. And I think what’s fascinating as a hairdresser, we know people from every walk of life, right? Unlike a, I don’t know another profession where it’s just the same customer all the time. We all know so many diverse types of people. And so I thought, I’m known for hair color. I’m known for beauty and product development. So I’ll try to kick that off. But then I also want to do some interesting stuff. So I may take it into a proper podcast format at some point. But right now I drop it on Instagram and Facebook and occasionally on LinkedIn. And I’ve interviewed I think seven people so far. I kicked it off with a hair color chemist, because that’s fascinating. And then my friend Brad John’s, who’s the OG celebrity colorist from New York City, a haircare chemist where we talk about bonders and silicones and those things, and then I thought hmm, I’m going to call my friend Spencer, who is a retired gay porn star. And I’m going to Talk to him, because he talks very candidly about mental illness and drug addiction, and analyzing himself and rehab and that stuff that we’ve all been part of either directly or clients or colleagues. And I thought this is fascinating that he wants to just be all so out there with it. And I think one of the the ones that I just dropped is a friend of mine, Gilbert King. Do you remember Gilbert King? Yeah,

Chris Baran 35:34
cuz he, we did some work with him. Yeah.

David Stanko 35:37
So he was a fashion photographer, he did a lot of behind the scenes shooting and stuff for for many of us in New York. And now he is in this true crime podcast world. And He’s authored three books. And I interviewed him recently, when a case he had been working on for five years, that guy was released from prison after 36 years of incarceration for a crime, a murder he didn’t commit. So the true crime podcast, it’s one of the biggest genres right now on all, you know, Netflix and prime and all of that, because people are fascinated by it. So I wanted to branch out using formula Boss, what is your formula for success? What is your formula for disappointment, and talk to all these people? So it’s been great, fun, and well received? And I’m going to keep going with it.

Chris Baran 36:42
Good. I see. I think that’s what’s so interesting in this is that, because like for me, I you know, and I’ll be, I’ll be honest with you, I think I’d be terrified to and I take my hat off you because I think I’d be terrified to talk to other people about things that I know nothing about. You know, and I’m not saying you don’t know, you’re not a criminal. But I, you know, I’m sure that it’s easy to have that conversation of where it went from, but I take my hat off to you on that I, you know, again, my probably my insecurities. I just want to be in an environment where people know and I know the topic, etc. But you’re giving me ideas because I especially when it comes to mental illness, there’s a gentleman that I was given lead on out of Ireland, who was a hairdresser, but has went through all sorts of depression and blah, blah, blah. And I want to have him I want to get him on to talk about all of that, because I think there is so much of that’s going on in our lives right now was I can honestly say when even when more when COVID was getting over with I even I won’t say it was depressed, but I found myself getting caught up in negativity. Again, you know, and I think that that’s just a mental wellbeing state. So I think the more that you and I can other people can help by just letting people hear what it’s happened to other people. Well,

David Stanko 38:12
you know, you mentioned earlier about the beauty best takes you in a lot of different directions. There’s a lot to do, I wouldn’t have met these people if it weren’t for my position in the beauty biz. Yeah, and all of the folks that I talked to we do talk about beauty, like Spencer Quest was his his stage name, the gay porn star, we talked about grooming on set and he taught me this trick he said I have a very hairy chest so you know you clipper this way on your chest but your abs you come to the center with the clippers that way it looks more natural. And I thought oh, I’m gonna post about a clipper cut tip from a retired gay porn star. I mean, how amazing is that? Oh, wow.

Chris Baran 38:59
You know, I just think that see there’s you but to your point we meet so many interesting people in our lives that you know, maybe I’m just you know, I’m trying to be too narrow focus just on here but I I’m sure that maybe when one time I’ll have to have a know me getting on with a gate with having a gate retired a porn star it probably would baffle me a little bit and I might stammer a little bit too much. I’m stammering now even thinking about it. So So and the we’ve got you on now right now you we’ve got the formula boss is coming to life. And I want to talk just a little bit more just about how this has transpired. And how this has helped to you know either has it changed you like do you find that you’ve? I’m not changed isn’t the right word evolved how it is being in the beauty business is this evolved you as a, as a human being? Have you? Have you changed in any way that, that this has helped you along? What would you say to that? Oh, that’s

David Stanko 40:10
deep. I think beauty does change. Well, I can’t say all of us, I’ll just I’ll do our first person that’s beauty has changed me. How so? You know, I don’t, this is gonna sound stupid, but I’m gonna say it, I don’t think I look my age. I think that because I’ve been around beauty and skincare and good products, and exposed to my clients who are into yoga and pilates and personal training in good diets, and meditation. All of that is influenced me, so that I take on some of that to what I think is self improvement mode. So I think that that part has worked. And also, you know, dealing with the general public is not easy at all. You know, we see all of these crazy tic TOCs and Instagrams of all of the people losing their shit at Walmart, and the care and behavior and on airplanes, and all of that. That was sort of not prevalent for a while. But now, it’s like the whole world’s been green lighted to just be that person. And it comes into the salon, I still work in a salon here in West Hollywood, in Los Angeles. And we see on occasion, there’s some stuff where I just I just shake my head, like, what did you just say to me? What? What? So how is that impacted me, you know, my listening skills have improved. And I think that people, when they’re paying me, they’re paying me for my opinion, into solve problems, that they have gray hair, etc. But they’re paying me to listen, I let them set the pace. It’s not the David show in the salon. You know, I just look you don’t want to talk. We won’t talk. You want to talk? A listen. So I think that that’s listening is a lost skill. And listening is something that I believe we could stand with a little bit more of.

Chris Baran 42:27
Yeah, I there was this book, I don’t even know if it’s in publication anymore. And it was called, it’s called winners and losers. And there was so many, it was just like a small book, half the size of a normal book. And it was just one quote on each page. And it would talk about winners and losers. And I, I I’ll never forget this one, based on what you just said. He said winners listen, and losers wait for their turn to talk. And I think that that really epitomizes what you were just talking about that, you know, active listening is just really listening to what the person is saying. And sometimes even if you have to respond what’s really the question behind the question that they’re really asking. Okay,

David Stanko 43:14
so I’m going to curse you.

Chris Baran 43:16
Go ahead. Go ahead. Did I interrupt? No, you know, I was jumping on you there. So I want

David Stanko 43:24
to curse you and everyone listening to the following. There’s a character on Saturday Night Live that Kristen Wiig does called Penelope. And she is the one up girl. So if you say, Chris, I, I broke my leg today. You’re responsible. I broke both of my legs. And I did it yesterday. So I did it before you did. And it’s worse than you. And there is this weird Penelope curse, and I can’t unhear it. I have clients that, you know, I’ll start talking to and if they say how are you? And if I say oh, you know, I’m not feeling so great today. I’m not feeling well, either. My stomach’s upset, and I had food poisoning. And then I just turn off. Because I think no matter what I say, You’re not listening to me. You’re just gonna one up, me and all of that. So I call that the Penelope syndrome. And it’s sort of prevalent today.

Chris Baran 44:22
To that point, I I also feel that that for at least from my part, that how the beauty industry has changed me on is that I used to be, I’ll just be honest, I was a bit of an asshole when I was a kid. You know, because I train I’ve told this story before so bear with me if you’ve heard me say it. But I know that there’s areas of the country that won’t hire me because the teachers that I had, you know, put in part of their teaching was to put down the student and I because you teach how you’re taught. I did that a lot. Without at the beginning of my career, and I had to learn that it might work for some people, but very few. And you can do a lot better by coaching somebody along and being nice and kind to them at the same time, as you’re coding it with some instruction, that I, what the beauty industry has done for me is, as my evolution has happened, I’ve become better at listening. I’ve bet my mindset has changed, my attitude has changed that. It’s not just about me, when I’m talking, et cetera. So, you know, sort of, to that question that we were just both of us were dealing with is how the growth in the industry and beauty industry can change you, and even corporate life, that when you do, all of that helps us grow. And I’m grateful for it, because I’m a bit of a different person now. I still could be an asshole and put that out there. Yeah, you’re right. I was there when that happened?

David Stanko 46:09
Well, this has been a this is, I don’t know, man, I You never know how these live chats are gonna go, you know, and what I think what I appreciate is the honesty in our conversation. And for those that have made it this far, listening, thank you. But that’s, that’s also, you know, to sort of the summation of teaching and listening and active listening, you got to stand the test of time, you know, listen to 60 minutes, and maybe 15 minutes will be relevant to you, and that will maybe influence you. So, I don’t I just, I know, it’s a little non sequitur. But I wanted to throw that in.

Chris Baran 46:50
Yeah. Is it so I want to I want to jump into, like, were started on it is more of the David to human being. Because, you know, like, we’ve been good friends for years. And, and I always so do admire you, etcetera. But there’s what would you say? is like, what was the proudest moment? And I’m just gonna say in life, but it might be in career, it might be whatever. But what are some of the proudest moments that you’ve had?

David Stanko 47:19
I think one would be moving to New York City. Sort of the process wasn’t easy, but it happened. New York is a tough city. It has its own spirit. It has its own energy. But it’s a tough city. But once once she embraces you, and you’re in, it’s true, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. So I would say moving to the city was one of my proudest moments.

Chris Baran 47:50
Yeah, it was, it is an amazing feeling when you can walk around. And where as a visitor you say, Well, I’m going to be leaving it but when you’re live there, I never felt Washington walking in Washington, Square Park with with my wife, Rita. And just going past that monument that’s on the was on the front of friends. For those of you listening, don’t know what that is. It’s an old TV program. But I’m saying, dammit, we live here. It’s a pretty it’s pretty intense feeling. And I do love the time that I lived there. I don’t anymore, but I, I found I was getting a little too hard. So we moved out what what would you say is if you had the most difficult moment in your life?

David Stanko 48:41
I think when my mother passed, Yep, that was in 2014. My dad passed in 2008. And one of the last things he said to me was, You’re my only son, and it’s all up to you now. And the second thing he said is you’re gonna have your hands full with your mother. Boy, did I. But when she passed, I took it really, really hard. And I think in life, you know, I was in a relationship at the time, my mother passed, my partner had this horrible accident. And I think that those things either pull you together or rip you apart. And in that particular example, it just ripped me apart. There was just no it set me on a pathway for a couple years, which was really unhealthy.

Chris Baran 49:33
Yeah. Yeah, you know, I know. Hi, my name is Chris and I do tick tock. But I remember seeing on tick tock, or it might have been Instagram or one of the other genres but I, I love this little saying that this gentleman had on grief. And he gave just a picture of an analogy of what grief is like because he said, everybody thinks the grief reflect when your mom passes or somebody that a traumatic thing that happens in your life and you carry this grief, and he showed a picture of a black ball inside a small fishbowl and he said that that’s what your life your life is the fishbowl and the grief encompasses seems to encompass your life. And he said what he disagrees with that every everybody says, time will cure all and it’ll make the grief go away. And and I thought what he said was just perfect. He said, Look at grief isn’t that doesn’t go away. And he showed just another another illustration of the grief the same size. The only thing was, is the fish bowl was way bigger. So the beef still there. But it’s it’s the grief is is sort of caught up and it’s still there. But everything else is going on around you, which makes it seamless. So I thought that was interesting. I’m sorry, you had to go through that. That’s it’s tough.

David Stanko 50:59
The, I

Chris Baran 51:01
want to get sort of jump into what we call our rapid fire segment right now. But before I jumped into that, I want to say like if people want to get a hold of you, because I mean, you’re still go out and teach and train and if people want to get a hold of you and book you in for something, how do they get a hold of you?

David Stanko 51:19
Yeah, so on Instagram, it’s ve t h e v, David Stanko, and on all other social stuff. It’s David Stanko, on Facebook and on LinkedIn. And on tick tock, it’s formula boss.

Chris Baran 51:34
Yeah, and that’s S T A N K. All right, that’s right. And okay, so I just want to run through this just quick rapid fire stuff. First thing that comes to your brain. Okay. What what turns you on in the creative process?

David Stanko 51:59
Oh my god, what turns me on in the creative process? That if I’m working on a client, they’re equally as excited. Mm hmm.

Chris Baran 52:11
And what stifles the creativity

David Stanko 52:15
micromanagement. Oh,

Chris Baran 52:17
yeah. An event or a show that you did that you ABS until there’s many but the one that comes out to your mind that you just loved.

David Stanko 52:27
Oh redkin symposium doing a q&a session in front of 750 people

Chris Baran 52:35
Oh, wow. The thing in life that you love the most

David Stanko 52:49
oh my gosh, Chris. What do I love the most? i Right now it’s my free schedule. Oh,

Chris Baran 52:58
I can relate to that one I can relate to that one in life What do you dislike the most

David Stanko 53:08
Debbie downers

Chris Baran 53:09
I’m with you. And what do you what do you love most about our industry?

David Stanko 53:18
The spark the always having cash to buy a drink the the the upbeat vibe of the beauty biz.

Chris Baran 53:32
And what do you dislike about it?

David Stanko 53:37
How disappointing leadership is with big brands

Chris Baran 53:44
a living person that you admire the most

David Stanko 53:55
I think right now I would say my older sister

Chris Baran 54:01
was that the one that got you into the beauty business or

David Stanko 54:04
now that’s that’s the middle girl is we call her the

Chris Baran 54:07
middle girl. And I’m hesitating now because I want to ask you why. But I I’m I think I don’t want to put you on the spot if it is

David Stanko 54:21
why I admire her.

Chris Baran 54:23
Yeah.

David Stanko 54:25
Her strength of character has stepped up in the face of tremendous adversity, disappointment and kind of fucked up life stuff.

Chris Baran 54:46
Gotcha. Gotcha. For person that you wish you could meet, living or dead.

David Stanko 54:55
To come to mind, one would be King Tut. And To the second would be Michelangelo because I would just like to have a job shadow day and see what that was like that guy sculpted architecture surgery cadavers painting. I think it’d be fascinating to job shadow for for a while. It’s

Chris Baran 55:18
amazing. Something that people don’t know about you.

David Stanko 55:24
I write poetry.

Chris Baran 55:27
I didn’t know that. Well, like, there you go. That’s, that’s amazing. You shouldn’t have there’s a songwriting job in there somewhere. I can see it coming. a month off. Where would you go? What would you do?

David Stanko 55:42
I have a fantasy of just doing like a European travel. I have a friend who runs a tennis camp somewhere in Tuscany. And I think that would be a fun two weeks and then just go and see what else is available.

Chris Baran 55:59
And I understand that your new hobby as well right now, isn’t it as tennis? Oh, my

David Stanko 56:03
God. We play tennis in Palm Springs. I kick Lee’s ask don’t tell him.

Chris Baran 56:10
He’s listening. Yeah.

David Stanko 56:13
Yeah, tennis is for sure. Fun. I lost weight. My cardio came up my spirit came up. But my buddy that I was playing with left la so it’s been a little far and few between playing right now.

Chris Baran 56:26
Well, good luck with your game. You’re your greatest fear. sickness. Favorite curse word.

David Stanko 56:41
Honest to God.

Chris Baran 56:44
Honest to God. I love it. It’s you. It’s different than what some people say on here. favorite comfort food.

David Stanko 56:55
This is an Eastern European thing. I’d have to say hello. CQI which is the cabbage the rolled cabbage with meat and rice and stuff. Yeah. In

Chris Baran 57:06
Ukrainians Hall of chi. Yes, being friendly. And that’s an I love that’s always it’s been one of my favorite dishes. But nobody can make it like my like my mum and wife. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

David Stanko 57:23
To be ah I was gonna say less of an empath. But I think that that’s a superpower. Yeah, I agree. Probably be a little less concerned about other people’s opinions of me.

Chris Baran 57:46
Interesting. I bear that one as well. Your most treasured possession?

David Stanko 57:58
I think it would be a Krugerrand gold coin set from South Africa. When I was there teaching, my dad said you should bring one back for me. And I did. We had oh, gosh, his name is escaping me. But I know you know him too, in South Africa, and he took my passport and he went to wherever you go. That meant and he bought me a gold Krugerrand set. And I brought it home and showed my dad and then immediately put it in a safe box and never gave it to my father.

Chris Baran 58:35
I want one day when I’m out there, I want to see it. The something in the industry you haven’t done, but you want to

David Stanko 58:48
I would say be head of color for a brand. And that means having serious influence on the marketing, the development, the social media piece and make sure that there is a strong flavor or vibe that’s consistent amongst all of those different departments.

Chris Baran 59:11
Okay, that one do over what would be and I’m not sure if it’s just a Canadian expression. If you do one thing over in your life, what would I and I want to I want to accept that you that you wouldn’t be the person you are if you didn’t do the things you did. But if you had one do over what would it be? Go to college. Ah M take what I don’t

David Stanko 59:33
know. But now that I’m a bit older, I see the value of a four year degree. Even if it’s never used, it opens doorways differently than what I think I’m involved in right now.

Chris Baran 59:51
Tomorrow, you couldn’t do hair. What would you do?

David Stanko 59:56
I would book a plane ticket to go see family and friends

Chris Baran 1:00:01
love it. And sort of just the last question. If you had one wish for industry, what would it be?

David Stanko 1:00:12
Don’t be so quick to fall into myths and gossip in rumors, and to do some of the work yourself. And to not be afraid to charge real money and don’t do any discounts. Yeah,

Chris Baran 1:00:31
that’s why stuff there. David, I just want to say thank you so much. And it was a pleasure, just to have one of our conversations that I love so much. And thank you for being here and giving up your time.

David Stanko 1:00:46
You’re the best, Chris, thanks for the invite.

Chris Baran 1:00:49
Thank you. And listeners, I just want to say if you if you liked what you heard today, and you want some more, please show us some love. You can throw out a five star rating if you want, especially with David on here. And just like us on our show page for wherever you get your podcasts and I’m Chris Baran and this is Headcases.


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