When he was just 22 years old, this week’s guest was appointed Creative Director at Sassoon’s. He was named Educator of the Year in his first year at Paul Mitchell. His no-fluff approach to teaching and his ability to break down the what, when, why, and how in haircutting have made him one of the world’s most sought-after educators. It was a genuine pleasure to get to know him better. Here is DJ Muldoon.
- He got started in the 90s at Sassoon’s in Santa Monica, where the motto was “you do it until you can’t do it wrong.”
- He’d only been there a few months when he was asked to appear in a commercial shoot and he met Vidal Sassoon in person. It was the beginning of a personal mentorship under Vidal.
- After years with Sassoon he moved to Paul Mitchell, working with them for nearly a decade.
- DJ partnered with several other stylists to create their own production company to shoot for Paul Mitchell and their own educational videos.
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 one more week of CB’s Headcases and you know, this week is I think is going to be an amazing one because the gentleman that we have on board here hailed out of Sheffield England and in my mind is a hair cutting genius. He’s a Sassoon protege he was named a Teacher of the Year in his catch this first year of working there and, and he was a creative director at 22 years old. Now. 20 plus plus years later, we’ll say he’s a globally renowned hair cutter. He’s developed education content from from some of the major manufacturers and brands. He is a two time hairbrained VM a award winner. He is the founder and co founder of the factory salon out of San Diego, California, creator of the highly successful educational platform called Knowledge destroys fear. I love that name. So let’s get into this week’s headcase Mr. DJ Muldoon, DJ Muldoon, I mean, I see you everywhere. I first of all, just want to say on behalf of head cases, welcome. It is a pleasure to have you on and to finally get to meet you face to face as we are.
DJ Muldoon 1:45
Thanks. So it’s really awesome to be funny how we meet each other this way.
Chris Baran 1:51
But isn’t that the truth? You know, we know. Here we are. I mean, you’ve been in the business now for 20 plus years, and I’ll just leave the number for me alone. But you know, we, on the road, we travel a circuit together, we see everybody here, we’re at the awards, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff from the bushy stuff. And yet, we’ve got to have one of these so we can actually get to know one another. So I just want to say, I said it in the intro. And we’ll say it again right now I just I really truly think that you’re a marketing genius. And, and it’s a pleasure. So I think we we bear some some resemblance is in here in our past is that is as Did I hear correctly that both your parents were hairdressers?
DJ Muldoon 2:31
My father, or your dad? My dad, my dad did the hair and my mom took care of the money.
Chris Baran 2:37
Ah, that’s just sort of like that’s like the relationship we have. I was in our family we say, you know, if it’s got a picture, you give it to me. And if it’s got a number you give it to my wife, Rita. But really, so tell me about tell me what it was like, I know what it was like for me and a lot of hairdressers that are out there didn’t have a parent that was a hairdresser. What was that like for you?
DJ Muldoon 3:01
It’s really cool. I mean, you know, I, I was born into it. It was already doing it for a long time before I came around. And I was very fortunate growing up, I my dad did really well for himself and got pretty famous. And so I kind of reaped the benefits. I’m an only child, you know, of all his hard work and all of that stuff. So yeah, I was pretty involved. My dad had quite a lot of salons and a few schools. So it was a big deal. So, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, when people say is this like, you’re kinda like, a career. I’m like, actually, no, it’s it’s actually my lifestyle. Yeah, it’s just what we do. Yeah. So yeah.
Chris Baran 3:45
So was there ever and I mean, was there ever a doubt that you were going to do it? Like, did you say my, give me a little bit of the history? I mean, leave in the hills produce, that’s my son, he produces the show, etc. and awesome. But it was, you know, I still lately is gonna hate what I say this, but, you know, it’s when he and he and my daughter Kim, were growing up, they always saw me doing everything and they said, listen, maybe they made a pact that we’re never going to work as hard as dad does. So we’re not going to be here. We’re not gonna get involved in the business. But the did you ever have that attitude? You just see how, what your dad was like and how we how hard he worked? Or was it did that just pull you in more?
DJ Muldoon 4:31
Um, it was really interesting because I just kind of lived that life. It was I was the son of the owner and my mom was always there. So it was like, that was the lifestyle. Yeah, I never felt that I was going to be a hairdresser. I was never pushed on me. It was never discussed or anything like that. I think what happened for me is once I got around to that age where you start thinking about what you’re going to do, then kind of I used to be always like, Oh, well, I could, you know, I could just be a hairdresser if I wanted. We both know it’s you don’t ever just be a hairdresser. But, you know, that was the kind of mindset back then I had, it was kind of always something I could do. But no, it was never pushed on me. I enjoyed my childhood, growing up in the industry and just enjoying being around. Yeah. But it’s interesting
Chris Baran 5:25
that how, I guess I was I was I was, I was just a super naive kid. And my mom was a hairdresser. And, and I always tell the story, so I’m gonna keep it really brief. But I loved cars, and I was going to be a mechanic, but my mom said, Do you want to be get into hair? And I said, Okay, so I couldn’t get fired. But the reality was, is that attitude of just becoming, I can always be a hairdresser and get something else or just I think that was, that was something I think that was permeated by our society, wasn’t it?
DJ Muldoon 6:02
Yeah, for sure. Definitely. That was always kind of a backburner kind of career or something, wasn’t it? Yeah. But you know, I was fortunate enough to see that it wasn’t like that. You know, there was a lot going on in the, in the behind the scenes. My dad on a few schools, so I saw that side of it instead of just behind the chair in the salon and all that kind of stuff. Just yeah, the
Chris Baran 6:31
now because I know that you eventually you were in Sassoon. And I and I talked in your intro about about your start there, et cetera. But did you work for your parent? Did you ever work for your parents first? Was that a No?
DJ Muldoon 6:43
No. So what happened was in 1990, I think another large corporation of salons, asked my dad if he would wanted to sell. And, yeah, he’d always wanted to kind of live the dream and move somewhere warm. So he said, Yeah, so it took me about two years to sell and sell up the house and everything and all that. And we were originally going to move to the Caribbean. But that didn’t work out. Because at the time there was a global recession, right. So tourism was down in Barbados, my dad was going to own a hotel, you know, he’s going to do something different. And so that didn’t work out. So we came to the States. And my dad didn’t do hair. When we came to the States, he did other things. He invested in one of his hobbies growing up as a excuse me as an adult. He obviously worked as a hairdresser is his hobby was to go scuba diving. But scuba diving in England is not like the most glamorous thing. You know what I mean? Yeah, you really you’re you’re you’re diving on like World War Two RX, one RX and stuff like that. So it’s kind of fun. Yeah. So we’ve always been into that. So when we moved to the States, invested in a scuba diving store, and he did that. So the first few years when I was here, when I was like, 16 to 18. I just was hanging out in a scuba diving shop helping my dad teach people to scuba dive. So you do
Chris Baran 8:24
scuba dive. You do scuba. Yeah. Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s
DJ Muldoon 8:29
been a long time. Yeah. So that that was how I had it for a while I you know, a big chunk of my life growing up, kind of with my dad being really heavily involved in hair and, and being at the kind of the top of the industry in the UK. And then completely leaving that we leave England moved to the States, and he owns a scuba diving shop. And that’s what we did for a few years. And then I got into
Chris Baran 8:56
I want to get into that just in a sec here. But what was that like for you? Living in the UK and then all of a sudden uprooting and coming to the States.
DJ Muldoon 9:08
It’s really bizarre, like I think at the time, you’re in the, the eye of the storm, as they say, you know, I mean, so you don’t really know, I think later on in life, you realize like the impact it makes on you and maybe family members and stuff like that. But at the time it was it was kind of surreal, because moving from coal mining village in the north of England to you know, countryside to Southern California, and everything’s available anytime, you know, whenever you want and just beautiful weather and beautiful people. Yeah, very different culture to where I’m from. But it was difficult, because I was probably at the wrong age to do that. I was 16 Now you know, so it kind of a little bit of a Have curveball thrown at me. But it helped me appreciate what, where I’d come from more than I’d ever done before, and probably kind of really helped me determine what I wanted to do as a career.
Chris Baran 10:16
In what way what was the catalyst
DJ Muldoon 10:21
I didn’t want to school was different here very different than it was in the UK, like the process of what I would have to do to get a career in anything. All I knew is that I didn’t want to sit down at a desk anymore and go to school. So I didn’t want to further that process. Yeah. So it kind of solidified that for me, because I saw how serious that was taken here in the States. Like it’s such a big deal. Whereas in England, no, I thought people didn’t really take that so seriously. Probably because they were quite so young, you know. But yeah, that really just helped me realize that I wasn’t going to go to college, I wasn’t going to do that. And I lived the more I was more into the creative side of things in life. Yeah,
Chris Baran 11:05
I find that really interesting in society as a whole with and I haven’t, I haven’t spent enough time in other countries, talking about school systems, etc. But I do find it really interesting that the pressure that is put on kids here that you have to go to college and and take that up and and you know, sometimes they’re leaving in their into hundreds of 1000s of dollars in in school loans, and they get out there and still making just a pit when they get out. You know where? Yeah, so I want to jump see, because here, I had some preconceived ideas in my mind. So I had was picturing you into soons. In the UK. Now, which was your were you in the San Francisco location here? Is that where you took your training? Or where was it? Santa Monica?
DJ Muldoon 11:55
No, I I graduated high school in 1994. And I went up to Santa Monica in like that September for a tour of the academy. And that’s when it was on the Promenade. Yeah, not the one that was on Santa Monica Boulevard, the old school from the from the early 80s. And just that the whole environment was just like, wow, yeah. And I’d grown up in the hair industry. I mean, all of a sudden those smells. Were there again. Having not been around it for a few years. Yeah. I went with I went with my parents. And they were like, Ah, this is amazing. And so yeah, that’s that’s kind of how it started. I went to Sassoon in Santa Monica. Yeah.
Chris Baran 12:41
Get some of that term solution. Dab a little behind your ear. And yeah, it feels like money to me.
DJ Muldoon 12:49
It does for sure. It smells good. I don’t mind it. Yeah. No, it’s awesome. It brings back great memories from the 80s growing up around her.
Chris Baran 12:58
Yeah, I don’t know, if refresh me on this one. Because I can’t even remember that it had to be I think it was in the 70s. I moved to I think it was in would have been like, I think maybe I’m guessing here mid, mid 70s. That and I think I don’t think they had the Santa Monica location. And they just had the same San Francisco one. Francisco close. Yeah. And that’s where I was. That’s where I went. And
DJ Muldoon 13:32
so that’s where like Allen Bush would have been. Yeah,
Chris Baran 13:35
yeah. And I think and we had, oh, my god, the, the names that we had, they were phenomenal. And I was just this young, upstart kid out of central Canada. And I never even really been out of the country before. And all of a sudden, I’m there. And it was just such a, you know, it was what I think it was the most was. Maybe I was disciplined, but I didn’t know it. But when I saw the discipline that went into it. That’s what hooked me. It was the pride. And and yeah, and even the hierarchy, because there was hierarchy in there. You know where you stood? Can you speak to that about how that was for you?
DJ Muldoon 14:17
Yeah, it was. You know, when when people like when you’re younger, and people use the term old school? Yeah. I don’t think you really know it until you get to an age where you’re like, oh, yeah, it was old school. Yeah. Yeah. For me, it was exactly how I thought it was going to be. I mean, I’d grown up hearing stories of how my dad was trained in the early 60s, and how that was in London at the time. And so I wasn’t like going into thinking that was going to be any different and I knew it was the Mecca. I knew the place. So I already knew that going in. And it was everything. I thought it was an more Yeah, that was very regimented, like you say was very you knew your place. As a student you obviously you’re a pain student, but you still you know your place. Yeah. out there. Yeah. But yeah, it was a it was a beautiful place. A beautiful, perfect time. I felt like I was on the cusp of when things were really starting to change. And I got just enough of that old school. Yeah.
Chris Baran 15:32
Who are your teachers? Who are the teachers? You had them? Oh,
DJ Muldoon 15:36
when I was when I went to the academy, the principal was Steven moody. No.
Chris Baran 15:42
Oh my god. Yeah,
I love Steven.
DJ Muldoon 15:46
And I, couple of the teachers that were there when I first started, it was literally their first time teaching was a guy called Julian Perlin. gira. Yeah, and a girl called Lucy Doughty. And they’ve gone on to become big artists themselves. But that was a time when, you know, when we were just, nobody’s really
Chris Baran 16:15
well, you know what, I think that the takeaway that I got from going there was and I’m, I’m, I’m kind of a buff on reading novels about, about assassins or, you know, just it’s it’s mystery stuff, you know. And every time that I hear them talking about anybody that was if whether it come from the military background, is that you you’re regimented, and you you know exactly what to do when you when you when you get to do it, and I that’s what I while, you know, because I understand that you you went on to other different things, because you were obviously a trainer there. But it was it was that, that that where they held your feet to the fire, and you had to do it and you did it till you got it right. And then when you got it right to stay with you forever, rather than just bouncing it on to you. Oh, you’ll get it at some point in time.
DJ Muldoon 17:06
Yeah, you did it until you couldn’t do it wrong. Yeah. Angle. Yeah.
Chris Baran 17:11
I love that. You did it to did it till you couldn’t do it wrong. I love that.
DJ Muldoon 17:16
Yeah. Yeah, it was it. That was the difference. And it was it was very apparent. Yeah. You the rotation of people that would come in and, you know, try to do it. And then they didn’t have what it took to do. It was just incredible. Like, is very hard. I don’t know if it’s like that anymore. You know, back then you’d have to have a tough skin. Yeah. Oh,
Chris Baran 17:41
yeah. Yeah, you got beat up a little bit of? Yeah, for sure. I remember. I remember Tony Beckerman. I was, I love the man. Everywhere that he everywhere that he went any Sassoon thing that was around I went to it with I must have had my s&m starter kit on because I enjoyed getting beat up. On I remember, he would always like they would always team you up with somebody. And I always felt so proud. Because he’d say, Chris, I want you to team up with this person. Make sure XYZ and then and then I had went to another class I’ll never forget this or went to another class. And and so as soon as we’re very strict on your blow dry, you know, when you’re done you blow dry in a certain manner. Yeah. And then I went to another class and we were lifting up the hair and cutting it and looking at it. And so I was I was doing that and I remember Tony walked by it and and I remember my the teacher I had that was different than so as soon as he says this is a check for it. You’re checking your haircut. And I remember Tony walked by him and I’m picking up the hair and I’m letting it ball I’m looking at it and he said well Aaron What are you doing? This I’m checking the hair and he said for what and I went so
I had earned my way back
but it was it’s funny now the you I again I was skulking on you and I heard there was a story out where was it with truce assumes that you were working with some supermodels or something as such. And
DJ Muldoon 19:17
so the Yeah, so when I was a student literally the first month they asked me if I wanted to be in a Vidal Sassoon commercial TV commercial for Asia. And what they would do is they would use students as you know, background kind of people in the background or being a faker system or something like that. So I said, Yeah, I’d love to. And so I showed up at the shoot and the shoot was in downtown LA. And it was at the Union Station. And so but it was from like 6pm to 6am it was through the night. So they had it empty in at night and dark and everything and it was just insane because I had not been in America that long and everything I’m like on a Hollywood set basically got all the airstream trailers. And it wasn’t any kind of like commercial, you know the models were actually supermodels. So we’ve got we’ve got one of the main models at the time was this girl called Rebecca Romaine. And her husband ended up becoming John Stamos anyway, you know, these were famous people at the time. And I was just like, wait a minute, what am I doing? Yeah, you know, this is crazy. But the coolest thing was, you got all these famous people there. But Vidal walked in. And he had this like major aura about him. And to me, he was more famous than the other people there. I grown up knowing about this guy called Vidal, Sassoon, this and that and there is in the flesh. And I couldn’t be I couldn’t get to, you know, what’s about the swimsuit model is Vidal and he was getting his hair cut in the trailer. And so I’m just in awe, just like, wow. And I just remember like looking on the floor and going, Oh, that’s good. As soon as hey, I’m just like, Here I am, you know, just surreal moment. So that was like six weeks into school. Yeah. It was early days. But, you know, that’s kind of what really helped me have an in with Vidal. You know, I met Fidel them for the first time. And then he took up an interest in what I was doing as a student. And then when I graduated, and I became an assistant, I became an assistant at the academy, not in the salon, so I was trained to be a teacher, and he always kept this interest, you know, so that started from me doing that commercial at the beginning. Wow, that’s amazing.
Chris Baran 22:00
You know, and I, what scares me a bit was is that, you know, because I think that there’s even though with all the media we have, et cetera, is that some of the heroes that we have in our life like Fidel, it’d be pretty hard for somebody not to know. I mean, I would not know what they’d have to crawl out from that, not to know who but else as soon was, because there was kind of a, I don’t think there was anybody in our industry that is, was more famous than he was. But I do find it that sometimes, I think that if you’re listening right now, wherever you’re at, if you’re a young kid starting out, or whatever, is, you know, go back and take a look at the history because I think the history of where we come from, and what we do is so, so important, you know, because it
DJ Muldoon 22:44
really is, it really is the what people did, to set it up for us to do it, how we do it now. You know, it’s, we’re indebted to these people. You know, I am forever indebted to Vidal Sassoon because that’s exactly what I do. Now. That’s how I earn my living down to that guy teaching. And me taking those, you know, things from him. I feel he’s just, you know, such a massive influence. And, you know, where there are people that don’t know who he is, you know, I’ve come across people in my travels over the last few years that, you know, you kind of have to let them know, it’s always my my job to teach people and, you know, let them know, where the beauty of this precision ism in our craft, you know, it didn’t come from him, but he really made it work for us, didn’t he? You know, it’s kind of, you know, he made it palatable for us, he made a production line.
Chris Baran 23:48
And the fact that that it was the belief, I think that he instilled on everybody, because you believed in him. And that was a he, I mean, my term, I’m sure, it might be their term, I don’t know, but I’ve always put it down to he took, he took it from field to architecture, where you could actually map something out. And you, you could see just like building that, like having a blueprint for a house, you know, exactly what to do and how to do it.
DJ Muldoon 24:15
It’s the being able to mass produce it. Yeah. So it has to be, you know, like, it’s like a factory. That’s really what it was. And he took that kind of Bauhaus for function, like you said, the architecture and just he took a kind of a service and made it an art form.
Chris Baran 24:38
Yeah. Yeah. The so tell me about now. So you were there and and I, so what was there a transition? How did you did you transition from that brand to your brand, or did you start somewhere else what?
DJ Muldoon 24:53
So So what happened with Vidal I, I worked my way through the academy and So I was an assistant then I became a teacher there. Being a teacher there that took me all over the world. I then became a creative director, Vidal Sassoon in the academies. And I really excelled. I did really well, I enjoyed it, I found my thing, and, you know, became quite a popular teacher there. But also soon, I had my hand in the development of the Vidal Sassoon ABC curriculum. So I you know, I’m one of the people that are involved in that. So curriculum was a big thing for me. And then after a while, I just, you know, I kind of just reached the point where it was, I’m kind of maybe I need to do something different. Yeah. I knew that. Once I felt that it was time to go. So I left Sassoon and I actually went to work with Paul Mitchell. Oh, yeah. And
Chris Baran 25:58
well, that’s where you were, that’s where you would have IRA.
DJ Muldoon 26:02
That’s where I’m at IRA. And that’s kind of where I first kind of would have started seeing you on the circuit because I went from being someone that only did a few shows a year. You know, the big ones that Sassoon would do, you know, you and Sassoon team was always very isolated. You know what I mean? So you wouldn’t really see much of everybody else. But when I did see people I always saw the Chromium see, yeah. So when I left, so soon, I went to work. I came down here to San Diego, I moved back down here. And I went to work with Robert. And that’s how I got involved with Paul Mitchell. That’s how I met IRA. And yes, I work for Paul Mitchell for eight years. And I traveled extensively. And I worked really heavily with the schools and wrote their curriculum that they use in their schools, too. So yeah, had a good time there. And then I went independent. Yeah.
Chris Baran 26:57
So tell me about that’s the part that I think when the when I hear educator is number one, but also people that that that got into hair, and you know, whether they wanted to work in a commission or whether they wanted to work just in an independence, there’s still a difference is that when you’re putting your brand together, what was I want to do two things, what was that like for you? And then I want to lead that into that how you came up with that knowledge destroys fear.
DJ Muldoon 27:27
Yeah, well, having left Sassoon, when I was at Paul Mitchell, I was super not isolated, but there wasn’t very many Sassoon people in the Paul Mitchell world. So I was always doing my thing, you know, I wasn’t doing their thing. So it took a while for my thing to become part of the Paul Mitchell thing. And, you know, eventually it did. And as that process was happening, I was developing what would later become knowledge destroys fear. The first thing we did I called the class common knowledge. You know, so like, you got a bit Alpha soon, and you take a classic course. Well, I wanted to call it common knowledge, you know, so that we could all get this kind of understanding of what’s what?
Chris Baran 28:17
Foundational foundational stuff, yeah,
DJ Muldoon 28:21
foundational stuff. And, you know, the knowledge is power, saying was always a thing that you would hear, you know, I’ve never been exposed to much like motivational stuff. Of Vidal Sassoon, you’d have the odd thing with when clay bar, he’d come in and do his exercise. But then when I went to Paul Mitchell, I was in when Clay was world, I was around all of this, like extra education and knowledge myself, person, not just the hair stuff, you know, the business side, the wellness side, the, you know, strategies and marketed and
Chris Baran 28:58
getting in your head in the right place. Yeah,
DJ Muldoon 29:01
and I always heard Knowledge is power. And obviously I was maturing and getting older. And, you know, I always to me that this industry was just like being a musician. Yeah. You know, it was arts, it was applied art. So, to me, I’m making a song or I’m making an album. And that’s my thought process. And it just started to develop more. And that’s how like, knowledge destroys fear came around. It just I knew I was very good at teaching people have always told me I’ve learned more in a class with you than I’ve done in years. I knew I had this knack for getting people to not be fearful. Yeah. So I kind of use the play on the knowledge is power thing.
Chris Baran 29:43
And that’s all that event because I mean, let’s not if it came around. Yeah. Because I mean, that’s what most people nowadays are fearful of. haircutting Yeah,
DJ Muldoon 29:52
for sure. That was always the thing it was having people so frightened and knowing how easy it could be be in, you know, just being someone that could calm people down and, you know, not come come with the pretentious approach of an amazing. Yeah.
Chris Baran 30:09
Me Look at how great I am. Yeah,
DJ Muldoon 30:13
I’m the 1% all that kind of business, you know, chip on your shoulder, like,
Chris Baran 30:19
DJ Muldoon 30:19
that’s a good use, you know. So,
Chris Baran 30:22
I just have a funny, funny little story because you mentioned Robert, Robert Cromeans, and a few guys, and I’m sure that if you don’t know where you are, if you don’t know who Robert Cromeans is good friend of ours. But I remember watching him the first time and I remember hearing him something about his, like his background, and there was some Sassoon in there somewhere along the line. And I remember saying to Robert, Robert, do you, would you, were you, uh, sooner. And he looked at me and he said, what he says, when you look at my work, to Sassoon, I would be the Antichrist. Remember that line, but he’s, I mean, he’s such a good guy in such a great way of giving knowledge out to people, etc. So how do you know so Okay, now your own your own business? Your you’ve got your own brand started? Yeah. And when? So when did that when, when when did that transition happen?
DJ Muldoon 31:17
So that happened in 2002 1008. I stopped traveling and doing platform work for Paul Mitchell. Yeah. And I just did the just written the Paul Mitchell cutting system. So I took that around the world for a couple of years. And, and then I was like, you know, I think I’m ready for the next thing. And literally, I’ve done it. I’ve done almost a decade at Sassoon almost a decade at Paul Mitchell. And it was like, what’s the next thing I’m going to do? So I knew then I was going to be independent. And so the next thing was, how was I going to do that. And the timing was perfect, because I think this was around 2008 2010. So you can imagine social media just started to grow. But when I left Paul Mitchell in 2010, it was the end of 2010. Instagram had just started. Yeah, I think early, early 2011. And I’d already got quite a following on Facebook and the Paul Mitchell world and whatever I’d had in Sassoon. And those people are now online, and they were on Instagram. And so I just rode the wave of, you know, all of a sudden the audience wasn’t over Paul Mitchell event. It wasn’t a Sassoon event. It wasn’t at premiere. It wasn’t at IBS. It wasn’t at whatever shows, it was literally online now. And I could just play to that audience. Yeah. So it was like another right time, right place kind of moment. You know, and luckily, I built the foundations, I’d done a lot of hard work to get to that point. But that wasn’t that wasn’t it over there was a lot more hard work, because now you don’t have financial backing unit, you’re not put you’re not put in front of this audience and that audience, you’ve now got to get that audience. And that, so keep them. Yeah, and that that was the fun. Now I’d already got that and done my bits in the other places. And now it was like, Okay, well, let’s try this new thing. And social media was the audience. And yeah, being independent works just because of that I feel for me personally.
Chris Baran 33:42
And to be clear, you’re talking about being an independent educator, not necessarily yet an independent. And I used a bad word there for anybody who’s independent. When I say just I take that back, I apologize. But it was is like we have different forms of like salon suites, where everybody can be independent. They’re working on their own their own bosses. But you’re I want to be clear on this that you were the difference where you did not probably one of the forefront, people that went into I’m just going on my own, I’m going to create my own Well, yes.
DJ Muldoon 34:14
Yeah, this is early, early days of like independent educators that you have seen with other brands doing their own thing. It kind of it literally like it rides right next to Instagram. Yeah. You know, social media, and it just gave us a platform. So you know, it was a possibility. And then it literally gave anybody else you don’t, you didn’t have to do any ladder climbing anymore. Yeah, it just helps. It helps that you did. So how
Chris Baran 34:44
did it so how was that like? I’ve talked to so many of yours and my friends out there and a lot of them who you know, they’re really into photography as you are. They they their their photographic work leans towards like, nah ha and photographic competitions and things such as getting work in magazines, right? How would you how would you put yourself in there? Because I’ve seen let’s face it, your work is always photographic, photographic always worthy of taking a photograph. I’m trying to use big words when I shouldn’t. But how did like what was it? What’s it like for you, when you’re, when you’re doing a shoot for Instagram or doing your stuff for your own? Do you? Do you do both sides of that, where you do a photograph for here’s the final product, I’m gonna use it for XYZ. And then now I’m going to do this stuff for social media.
DJ Muldoon 35:36
Well, the process of how things are done, I, I’ve been raised in the Sassoon world of how you do a shoot. And then I’ve gone into like Paul Mitchell world, which was a completely different now you’re doing shoots for Vogue, and all these magazines are in the works gonna be in all these magazines? Yeah. And you’re using, you know, a huge photographer, and all that kind of stuff. And I’ve never been exposed to anything like that. So I saw the process of how you make a collection, and then how you take pictures of it and stuff like that. And I, I’ve never been that hairdresser. I’ve always been a teacher. Yeah. And so I’ve always taken things and looked at things and how they’re done and look to well, how can I utilize that in my world? And once I started to be get into documenting like videography and stuff, because, you know, in the Paul Mitchell era, myself, Robert and Kashi kissa Mora, we yeah, we we did our own production company. And what was that called? We call it a mullet production, right? Yeah. And it was quite a cool thing. Because no one was doing it, we would kind of one of the first that that as far as like, that time period. And so we started filming everything for Paul Mitchell. Because you know, you’ve been in a shoe, corporate shoe, and you’ve got all these people that don’t do hair.
Chris Baran 37:09
Yeah, telling you what it should look like
DJ Muldoon 37:12
telling you what to do and what time schedule, you’ve got it to be done in and then you get to the voiceover and you realize they’ve just edited every bit that you needed out of the video. So I was like I said to Rob, I’m like, why don’t we do this? Yeah, we’ll buy a few cameras mean to cash yourself, teach ourselves how to use Final Cut. And that’s what we did. And then we ended up doing all the major shoots for Paul Mitchell for a while. Yeah, so I’ve been into that. But I never really loved the photography side of it. And I feel that that was just because for me personally, I was a teacher, right? I like the energy, the education, the tutorial part of it. So once I started making videos for social media and my brand, I realized that what’s missing is like really cool. Education tutorial how to do this haircut how to do that. Yeah.
Chris Baran 38:07
Yeah, that’s a kind that’s really interesting. And there’s I think there’s this OSI or hairdressing society is leaning as much to that and more than it was than it is all of that other stuff now, so because they want everything quick and fast. Now, you don’t want to be shown a haircut over 30 minutes, you know, as you would have to do if you’re on stage, but it really is. It’s great for that. 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. But if you could, you know because there’s no there’s many people out there you have such an amazing following that they’re gonna go if I could only do what DJ does, and I don’t know how. What would what would you say? Like if you had to do just three things to get started not to overcomplicate them. What would you tell that aspiring young stylist that wanted to start getting into just teaching on Instagram? And what to do? What were the steps you would tell him to do first?
DJ Muldoon 39:51
Well, the first thing, you if you’re doing it on your own, the first thing they’ll do is make a video, right just film yourself. Yeah. Just do it. Do it. Like I said before, do it. So you can’t do it wrong. Just do it until you like it. Yeah. And post it. You know, you can use Instagram, you can use YouTube, you can use anything, just put it out there and just start. Obviously, you there’s all the psychological things that come with it, you just have to get over everything and just do it. You know? Tough, but you have to hear a little bit in the thick layer. Yeah. Yeah, and, and just do it, you know, make the videos. But you know, I always say like to anybody starting out, find the people that you want to D like, and go hang out with them. To go be with them, those people go, go do what you want to do with the people that are doing it.
Chris Baran 40:52
Yeah, that’s really gonna learn isn’t it? Will
DJ Muldoon 40:56
you know, if you think about how we are? We’re still very tribal. Yeah. You know, it’s a, it’s probably one of the oldest human instincts, but we’re still very tribal, whether it’s sports, or whether it’s cutting hair, coloring hair, you know, whether it’s filming it or taking pictures of it’s, once you parent, your crew and you people then things just move better down. Yeah.
Chris Baran 41:19
Do you own your videos? Do you tend that? Would you say that they should just shoot and talk at the same time or shoot your video, cut it and then talk? What would you tell them to do?
DJ Muldoon 41:31
Well, you know, depends on what you’re comfortable with. Yeah, I, I would, you know, early days for me, I cut first and then you go in and do a voiceover. But I’d be in a studio sat next to Robert comienza. Who could talk a wall to sleep? And no problems. Yeah, and I don’t have the ability to talk like that. But, you know, not everybody has that. Confidence. You know, people get anxiety when you put a microphone in front of them. So, you know, what I do is I do a mixture of stuff because people learn in different ways. Yeah. And people sent sensitive. So sensories are different. You know, I’ll do a video that has just music, there’s no words. I’ll do a video that’s got music, and it’s got subtitles. Yeah. Or I’ll do I’ll do a video that’s got me talking. I’ll do a video that’s got more multiple camera angles and me talking or, you know, just different flavors for whatever anybody wants, how they learned.
Chris Baran 42:36
And sometimes it’s just just get off the pot and do it right. Just don’t literally have to do is take your camera out for God’s sake and just set it on a stand and, and shoot. I remember watching the video where this was when a lot of people were just starting with rough stuff just to put out and I remember I didn’t take the advice but they I just remember they said it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. Just keep going. Everybody nowadays watches so many things on YouTube on tick tock, etc, where they’re making mistakes. They don’t care if you make a mistake. Just keep going.
DJ Muldoon 43:10
It’s so true. Exactly. Whereas we use the thing was never to show the mistake before Yeah, that’s right. You know, and it’s like, that goes back to like when I was talking about before like hearing all those sayings Knowledge is power. We don’t make mistakes, we make discoveries. Right. So it’s like, we’re gonna learn from everything we do. Yeah, you just have to literally get over yourself and do it. Yeah, the hardest part is yourself really just stuff to do Yeah.
Chris Baran 43:39
And I just a personal opinion, but I often blame society based on that we’re so afraid to make a mistake for this because we’re seeing so differently if we make one that we don’t we don’t even try to make the mistake anymore and if we just get off our backside and just do any mistakes so the world is not going to crumble around us. Yeah,
DJ Muldoon 44:01
you’re human and it just shows everybody like oh wow. Like Me Yeah, no everybody’s gonna do that
Chris Baran 44:08
was it was their mistakes that you made at the beginning?
DJ Muldoon 44:13
Oh, yeah, there must have been loads of mistakes. I think one of the you know, not listening is a big thing for me not listening you know, I kind of winged a lot of you know, and but again, I was in the right place at the right time and the right people show me the right way. At the beginning. Yeah, and so your brain catches up and then you’re like, oh, okay, now I actually have this and I can do this but there’s so many mistakes, making videos you know, I made so many mistakes. I remember some of the early mullet production videos we made we like we did like a whole day of filming three months roles, then realize that the lighting was terrible, we couldn’t use it or anything like that. Or we forgot to do something. And so then we had to wait like six weeks for the hair to grow out in order to get the girls back in.
Chris Baran 45:15
Oh, so I guess what, from and just from a personal level for you, DJ, what pushes you
DJ Muldoon 45:28
i, what pushes me as always been my peers. The people around me they’re doing this, I’ve lived in a very isolated world as far as being an independent educator. You know, everything’s pretty much by yourself and that, but there’s not, it’s not like, I’m the only one doing it anymore. There’s a lot of people doing it now. And it’s a lot of the people that I used to work with, you know, so it’s, I look at, you know, platforms like hairbrained, you know, these are all friends of mine, I used to work with a lot of them. So I, you know, I’m watching what they’re doing. And that’s pushing me further into what I’m doing.
Chris Baran 46:11
It’s interesting, you know, as because even what you said, there kind of it makes me sad to a degree, because when you say, I’m independent now, and I, and maybe it’s just because you’re not around them and whatnot, but I just, you know, I think our industry for so long, we’ve always had that, oh, you’re with this company? Or were you were this or you do this, and I do that. And we, and I think it fosters this. I don’t know the word. I’m looking for the separation, when you’re still bloody hairdressers, you know, so if it’s hairdressers doing hairdressers teaching, why can’t we help one another? You know, is Yeah, it’s true. Yeah, I It’s kind of makes me sad. But so just notice
DJ Muldoon 46:51
that I feel I feel the the, the term independent educator now is a little different than what it used to be. No, it’s, you know, not everybody is solely on their own anymore. I am an independent educator, it’s my own brand. But I am in partnership with a brand as well. So, you know, I’m independent as what I do, but I still have my toe in the door, you know?
Chris Baran 47:21
Well, listen, you know, if anything ever that I can ever do, or help with whatever that might be, you know, I always got your back, I think that we have to, we have to start saying, Look, we just got to help one another. Yeah. What about mentors to like, if you had to, if you had to put yourself down for it was your mentors, things that helped to shape you the way you are now. And obviously, for sure, soon, I want to take a wild stab. He
DJ Muldoon 47:49
Vidal was a big one, I was very fortunate to get to know Vidal a little bit. And having mentor me. So that was very special. But, you know, my biggest mentors, my, my dad, my parents, my mom, you know, they, they’re the ones that set it all up for me and gave me an example of what to the industry is. You know, Robert was a good mentor, you know, show me different things. I’ve had some really quality mentors, Steven Moody was huge for me, you know. And then, you know, I have, I have really amazing friends and peers in the industry, and they’re all mentors to me.
Chris Baran 48:37
I, I take my hat off to all the people that are out there. And I think because that, you know, I just always believed that if we came from a place of abundance rather than scarcity, we, we’d be just willing to help everybody along knowing that just because I remember, I remember, this would have been Oh my god. 70 something. We were at hair world and and that was all you know, at that time. So as soon as we’re there, the Come on, Charlie, Charlie Miller’s team was there. I don’t know if the rusks were there at that time, but that was at in Austria with at hair world and, and everybody was doing their show and I was there with redkin. And I just remember. I remember because I was good friends with with Charlie, but everybody had their booths and everybody had closed doors. It wasn’t like the, the the pipe and drape stuff that you had no, they had doors and then you had opened the door, knock on the door and everybody was very secretive thing. If you went to somebody’s door, they’d knock just in case you’re working on somebody, something that they didn’t want you to see. They just opened the door and you’d see this little narrow slit and somebody would say, oh, no, no, no, you can’t come in and but I remember this shows you where I stood in the line of duty He at that time, member Charlie and the team were in the room. And I knocked on the door just to say hi and, and the door opened a sliver and they looked in and, and, and, and I remember this is come on in India and God, the Son came to the door and he turned around and looked around the room. He said, Oh, it’s okay. Everybody is just Chris. Okay, apparently I’m not a threat to anybody in here. But it was really, it was funny. But the reality was, as everybody was very secretive about their work, especially if they were doing avant garde, etc. Yeah, I’ve always come from a thought that if you, if you hang on to an idea, then the universe will reward you with another one. It’ll just make you stick with that idea. And you get stuck. Yeah. So that’s what I love about people like you is that you take the things that you do the things that make you better, and you actually give them away.
DJ Muldoon 51:03
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I feel that you know that. There’s another saying that success. unshared is failure, right? Oh,
Chris Baran 51:11
wow, that’s going to write that one down. That’s amazing. I had not heard before. I’m full of them. Yeah, I’m a fat, like me, I’m a fountain of useless information. You know, people, people see you, DJ, they see the work you put out. But they don’t see sometimes, you know, the other people like yourself, they don’t see the crap that we had to crawl through to get to where we are. Right? What was Was there any setbacks that you had in your career rough patches that you have to go and I, the reason why I like to talk about this, because simply is that, you know, everybody else out there knows that you and I have them, then it seems okay, that they it’s okay for them to get through it when they do too. So Oh, for
DJ Muldoon 51:55
sure. I mean, I, I had lots of I had a major personal life issue that got in the way of my career that I had to get over, you know, I went through a divorce. Sorry to hear. So, ya know, we go through things don’t which is part and parcel of life and how you kind of navigate through and, you know, mine was kind of industry based. And it was a big deal. And kind of why I’d left Paul Mitchell and why I became independent. Got it. So it kind of it helped me get to where I needed to go. It’s it kind of gave me the fuel to, you know, navigate the waters that I would I was now in in and trying to get through. Yeah, but yeah, I mean, that’s the thing. I don’t think there’s one of us that have not been through something in life for how to career setback or a lifestyle mark. And, yeah, you just have to, like you said before, you have to just do it and get on with it. You know, it’s like, nobody’s going to do it for you. So there’s,
Chris Baran 53:05
it’s not like, it’s not like a It’s not like a gas pedal that you just keep pushing down and down and down. It’s got to come back up and down again. And that’s what I remember. It’s Go ahead. Sorry, I didn’t mean to step on you,
DJ Muldoon 53:18
or Yeah, with all the good, there’s going to be a little bit of something that’s negative that comes into you can’t have all good, can you? For some reason? It just doesn’t Well, yeah.
Chris Baran 53:27
It’s just like, yeah, it’s just like on the old airplane movie, the dude who has to hit the fan every once in a while, you know? Exactly, yeah. Because I can remember, even in my career, this stuff going on, and I just didn’t think I was going to make it through another day. Yet. You know, even though I didn’t see that the time, sometimes that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me, and I just didn’t see. And it wasn’t to get through the other side that it’s there. So
DJ Muldoon 53:55
for sure, you just have to keep going. Keep doing it.
Chris Baran 53:59
DJ, I’m gonna hit on to our we’re just about at the end of our time here. And I don’t want to you’ve been so gracious with your time and I just want to hit on our rapid fire questions. And, and so I know this one’s gonna be I’m interested to hear your answer on this one. What what turns you on in the creative process?
DJ Muldoon 54:21
The creative process? I would say, the kind of it’s endless, the limit. You know, I mean, the possibilities, your creative process, it’s, there’s no like, oh, you can’t do this. You can’t do that. Whatever comes up in your head,
Chris Baran 54:42
yeah. I love that.
DJ Muldoon 54:44
It’s like one of the few industries that you can do that. Yeah.
Chris Baran 54:48
Yeah. Your creativity is only limited by the images that come up in your brain. What stifles the creative the creative process for you
DJ Muldoon 55:00
Oh, I for sure, people. You know what I mean, people can get in the way like, yeah, that was the good thing about being an independent educator or an independent artist is it’s you get your own. It’s up to you. So it’s, you know, when you start working with other people, then that will change your creative process because it’s then a collaboration,
Chris Baran 55:24
thing in life that you dislike the most.
DJ Muldoon 55:34
Chris Baran 55:36
On what do you love the most?
DJ Muldoon 55:39
Chris Baran 55:42
most difficult time in your life.
My 30s The 30s While you had to stretch your stretch,
so I’m curious. What was it in the 30s that made it difficult?
DJ Muldoon 56:02
Divorce that really changed everything, you know? Just yeah, the 30s weren’t as fun as what people said they were gonna do. But the 40s have been amazing. I love it.
Chris Baran 56:12
I love it. The thing that you do dislike most about our industry?
DJ Muldoon 56:24
I don’t know. I’ve never really been asked that. I don’t think there’s anything I dislike. I couldn’t say there’s anything that I see that is like, dominant that I don’t like I feel our industry is such a positive beacon. What we do in our industry if if people did that, everywhere else. Wow. Yeah. You know, the way we come in and help each other out is insane. Yeah, everybody did that then be about a play. Yeah,
Chris Baran 56:58
I was gonna ask you what you liked about it. But I think you’d just told me. What’s the proudest moment of your life?
DJ Muldoon 57:07
Becoming a parent becoming? That, obviously on the personal level, proudest moment, career wise. The first year of being a teacher, I was awarded Teacher of the Year.
Chris Baran 57:24
So it was a good that’s a feather.
Which living person do you admire the most?
DJ Muldoon 57:33
Chris Baran 57:35
I’m glad to hear they’re still alive. I was afraid to ask the question. They’re still here. Yeah, that’s awesome. person that you wish you could meet living or dead?
DJ Muldoon 57:46
Oh, I always wanted to meet Bob Marley.
Chris Baran 57:48
Ah, you heard you’re coming out with the movie. Yeah. Yeah,
DJ Muldoon 57:52
I’ve seen the trailer looks really Yeah, because
Chris Baran 57:55
doesn’t it? Yeah.
DJ Muldoon 57:57
I was always into musicians. I’ve always been into music. And when I read I don’t really read fiction. I read like biographies and usually music and probably a frustrated musician. You know, that’s
Chris Baran 58:14
looking behind you never know
something that people don’t know about you
DJ Muldoon 58:27
know, I can play piano. I think people might know that. Some people do anyway, I didn’t.
Chris Baran 58:38
If you if you had a month off where would you go and what would you do?
DJ Muldoon 58:43
Barbados on the beach?
Chris Baran 58:47
Would you still into scuba?
DJ Muldoon 58:50
It’s been a long time since I’ve done it, but I definitely would somewhere like that where it’s nice and warm. And yeah, just plop off the boat into the walk down the thing
Chris Baran 59:00
one day I’ll tell you about. Because I have two certifications. Patti? Yes, diver. And I’ll one day get together. I’ll tell you the I’ll tell you the if you’ve heard of the one shark tank there’s the movie called What’s it called? The arena? The arena. Okay, Bahamas I’ll tell you the story about diving in there with the sharks.
DJ Muldoon 59:23
Chris Baran 59:23
What’s your greatest fear
DJ Muldoon 59:32
think my greatest fear is rejection. Oh yeah. I feel I don’t do good with that. Again, we have we have to have a thick skin don’t with hairdressers. We deal with them. But yeah, I’m not really a fear rejection more than most.
Chris Baran 59:50
Favorite curse word.
DJ Muldoon 59:54
I’ve got a few. But I think I think I think forecast to be the word. It’s just this wrong it’s right. Yeah,
Chris Baran 1:00:01
I saw in one of the write ups that were on you they was that how did they put you in? A box of bollocks?
DJ Muldoon 1:00:09
Chris Baran 1:00:10
the bollocks, bollocks. Yeah, we won’t go into what that actually translate to the your favorite comfort food
DJ Muldoon 1:00:21
my favorite comfort food would be a full English breakfast.
Chris Baran 1:00:26
DJ Muldoon 1:00:27
Oh yeah, all of it.
Chris Baran 1:00:29
Oh yeah, Beans, beans and eggs, beans eggs. Yeah, there you go.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
DJ Muldoon 1:00:40
Oh, I would get a bit more hair. Oh
Chris Baran 1:00:44
well, yeah, my mind is skidded partway down my back now so I feel you you’re you’re most treasured possession.
DJ Muldoon 1:00:59
My most treasured possession. I I’ve got something that’s pretty, pretty valuable. My grandfather was a survivor of the Dunkirk invasion in World War Two. And anyone that survived that’s got a medal.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:19
Yeah. Well, so that’s quite
DJ Muldoon 1:01:20
a prized possession to have i
Chris Baran 1:01:25
for everything that he did, et cetera. I mean, all of us are so so much in debt for that. And for that
DJ Muldoon 1:01:33
is pretty cool. A mate of mine. In England, Mark wooley. He owns electric. I know him. How is it? Yeah. Is ours is a good mate and on the wall. He’s got a little plaque there. And he’s got his grandfather’s metal the same exact one. That is
Unknown Speaker 1:01:50
pretty cool. Yeah. Something
Chris Baran 1:01:52
in the industry. You haven’t done but you’d like to?
DJ Muldoon 1:01:59
Oh, my God, I’m really fortunate. I’ve pretty much done. What have I not done? I guess I’ve never answered now, huh? Well,
Chris Baran 1:02:11
Listen, Stephen moody can do it. So can you exactly. One. Okay, if you had one do over. I mean, everybody always says, Look, I wouldn’t do overthink anything different. Because that would make me different than I am. But yeah, that’s not acceptable. One thing that you would do over if you could do something over in your life.
DJ Muldoon 1:02:35
I, I would go back to when I was in school, I would definitely pay more attention. Oh,
Chris Baran 1:02:43
it’s interesting. I just did a with we, we did a webinar today for students and educational teachers, etc. And we and that was one thing that just came up was when the registration about being more attentive. While we were there.
DJ Muldoon 1:03:00
Yeah. That’s you know, that’s, there’s reasons why I wasn’t into it back then. But yeah, I mean, if I went back there with my head now, pay more.
Chris Baran 1:03:12
Okay, tomorrow, you couldn’t do hair or anything to do with the industry? What would you do?
DJ Muldoon 1:03:22
I would cook. Oh,
Chris Baran 1:03:23
you and I are getting together. I love cooking. Oh, yeah, that glass of wine would be wonderful.
Unknown Speaker 1:03:30
Yeah. Isn’t it funny? Our
DJ Muldoon 1:03:32
address is like to cook. Yeah,
Chris Baran 1:03:34
I think what to me? It’s, it’s it’s solace. It’s therapy. It’s, it’s putting like, I’ve never cooked by it. Well, I will. I will try a recipe every once in a while if I really like it, but I just I Smell Taste look. Yeah, and it works. Sometimes we’re done other times. If you had one wish for industry. What would it be?
DJ Muldoon 1:04:01
I would just make everything accessible to everybody. Yeah. Well, whatever. You know, one person gets everybody should get kind of scenario. Yeah. I feel like education should probably be the same across the board.
Chris Baran 1:04:20
shake your hand on that brother. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody just got together and said look, I’ll give up all my shit. You give up your shit. Let’s just what is it called? What do we name it? Everything is the same across the eye. Yeah. Anyway, listen, if What if how do people get a hold of you? If they want to come to one of your classes they want to? They say hey, I want to just even DM with you get a hold of you and watch your videos. What are they?
DJ Muldoon 1:04:49
So you can get hold of me through Instagram. I like to use Instagram mainly. Though, you know, it’s better than anything I feel I I’m up there as Daniel Joseph Muldoon or you can find me as DJ Muldoon. And then you can find my other page which is knowledge destroys fear and that’s just, you know, full on hacker in education now. But yeah, you
Chris Baran 1:05:15
know what I always believe in in celebrating wins. And, and you know, my win today Daniel is getting to know you better, and sort of been able to get in your head and see how you think etc. And I, I know that all the people that are listening and watching are, are happy about the same. So DJ, I just want to from the bottom, my heart say thank you so much for giving up your valuable time and being here with us on head cases.
DJ Muldoon 1:05:43
Thank you so much. It’s been an honor. It’s been you know, such a pleasure to get to know you and this hour that we’ve been together. Yeah, I can’t wait to see you in person. It’s gonna
Chris Baran 1:05:52
be we’re gonna make it happen, pal. We’ll make it. Like I said, anything you need from me. I’m only a phone call away.
DJ Muldoon 1:06:00
Thank you very much. It’s been an honor. Thank you. Cheers.