ep66 – Lori Zabel

This week’s guest is a global ambassador for Redken, a multiple NAHA nominee and winner. She has trained thousands of stylists around the world, she is one of the top colorist in North America, and she is the Creative Director for Dop Dop salon in New York City. I’m ecstatic to chat with Lori Zabel this week for Headcases.

  • Lori landed in cosmetology school after her uncle signed her up for it and she got accepted.
  • She travelled from Saskatoon to Victoria on her own to try to get hired at Chris Baran’s salon, and coincidentally, Chris had just travelled from Victoria to Saskatoon to train at Lori’s former school.
  • “Surround yourself with amazing people and you are going to be the next amazing person”.

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.

Welcome to this week’s head cases. Today’s guest is a global educator for Redken. A multi NAHA winner and nominee she has trained 1000s of stylists throughout the US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Her audiences range from in salon to stages of 1000s the industry touts her as one of the top colorist and the kicker is she cuts a mean head of hair as well. She prides herself in creating unique looks that are wearable. And while being a celebrity she hones her craft in the salon, where she is Creative Director for DOP DOP salon in New York City. This is my second fellow Canuck to chat with this week. She is a true teacher, mentor and inspiration and most importantly, friend and a member of my family. So let’s get into this week’s head case. Lori Zabel

Lori’s Zable, I mean, it’s a pleasure to have you on head cases. And welcome.

Lori Zabel 1:29
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Chris Baran 1:31
Well, thanks for being had. I mean, it’s we’re starting off so humbly here when as I introduction she’s Lori qualifies in her family as as daughter, she has taught her rights in our family. So just so everybody knows that we’re, we are that close to one another. But, you know, to me, I think it’s really really it’s more important I have to say that you’re the second person on this week that was actually of a Canadian and for those for those people listening or whatever, I can call her a stubble jumper and it’s no other meaning that we both came from the Saskatchewan area and and that just means that you know the stubble was something that they had in the wheat fields and blah blah blah. So we call out all Saskatchewan writers stupple jumpers. So welcome stubble jumpers. Great to have you here. We’ve got your buddy hug on.

Lori Zabel 2:23
Do actually yes, yes. That just means it has pockets if it goes over your head, that kind of thing. You know, we live in those. Yeah, yeah. Only people in Saskatchewan call it that though. That’s right. Where else in Canada even? Yeah, no,

Chris Baran 2:34
they don’t know what is a bunny hug. It’s just a hoodie. That’s all it is. So let me ask you this. What if you had any interesting if we had Sean on just this last few days ago, and and we asked him about if there was any interesting things that happened with your either Canadian accent or Canadian isms that got you in trouble? Or just got you that kind of the RCA dog in the headlights or in the gramophone going out and wondering what the hell you’re talking about? Was there ever any of those?

Lori Zabel 3:05
Yes, well, when when people hang around with me, they go back home. I’ve had this I tried to remember who it was. They would, you know, we’d spend time together when I lived in New York and stuff. And when they would go home, their husband said, Did you spend a lot of time with Lori this week? And they’d be like, why? You always say, because now you ask everything in a question like form? Oh, yes, yes. So that’s definitely a thing when I lived in Australia, too. So they used to have me say certain things all the time in Australia, just to see how I would say it. And then I tried to imitate them. And that, of course, was even worse. So yeah. And then when I moved to the States, after being in Canada, and then Australia, and then moving to the States, my my accent apparently is so messed up that at the beginning of every class or everything I do, to introduce myself, I have to say, I’m Lori Zabel. I’m Canadian, lived in Australia. I lived in New York now live in San Diego. And I literally had to say that in the first few minutes, Chris, because about 20 minutes into meeting somebody they’ll say, you’re Irish. Pardon, and they haven’t listened to anything I’ve said they only tried to figure out what my accent was where they

Chris Baran 4:32
leave from I remember doing a show with Brian Smith. And and we were on stage cutting and and he said and for those of you who don’t know Brian is Scottish has been here in America for what sort of 30 some odd years and his his accent still as thick as when he left but he was on stage and he was going yeah, I’m gonna do this wee hear cut and and you know on the top and I’m gonna use my texture see So I’m gonna make it a wee bit floaty. And you know, it’s like 30 on the top. And everybody in the audience had this blank look on their face and I stopped. I said, Brian, let me translate. He says he’s making the top look a bit furry. Anyway, that’s I mean, so we all have our we all have our I would say that we’re like two countries separated by a common language. So our accents are different. Just so you know, for anybody listening and watching here. But Lori, I just want to I want to take a wee step back. Now, did I say that we step I talked about right for two seconds. And he said, The I have this theory, as you well know that I think that you either people, either one knew they wanted to be a hairdresser from day one when they were kids, or they fell into the profession, which was it for you.

I fell into it was signed up actually. Yeah.

Or was part of part of probation?

Time I just got

Lori Zabel 6:07
two of us, doesn’t it? Yeah. It is. Know, I was interested in a school that had a bunch of classes offered. And some of them sounded interesting. And so I asked the school to send me some papers, and I needed a student loan back then. And so my mom said, Ask your uncle to help you fill out the paperwork. So I did. And of course, the school sent me every curriculum they had. And so my uncle, of course, filled out every paper they sent. And before and then I went to school, and I had no idea and they just said report at this time of the day and this day, and and there I was, I was in hair school. And

Chris Baran 6:54
so your uncle actually picked picked the profession.

Lori Zabel 6:58
Yeah, yeah, but not on purpose. I think he just you know, and I think I’ve only kind of cut his hair maybe once or twice in his life, the poor thing, but yes, it wasn’t for his own benefit. Yeah.

Chris Baran 7:12
Yeah. Okay. So before I

Lori Zabel 7:13
knew what I was, I was in hair school, and I was getting good marks. So I just stayed.

Chris Baran 7:18
Yeah, okay, good. So and to give props to give props. That school was at a Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Yeah, that was our good friend, Harvey.

Lori Zabel 7:27
Harvey. Oh, my gosh, I just owe so much to him for helping me so much. In school. And after school I’d been I wouldn’t have met you without him. So, you know, you can blame him or him?

Chris Baran 7:45
Or vice versa. Just yeah, that to that point, I remember going in and he had one of those schools where when you have an owner that really cares about the kids, you know, and will do anything for them. And both Harvey and come on, Trevor, Harvey and Trevor they were always in there whatever they whatever the kids wanted needed, they would do. So I thought that was great from there. So now you got out of school, got out of school. And then what? Because the transition I want to find here is we have so many people in our industry that get out of school and then they have they find a path and your path went down some of theirs where you went into a salon but I’d like to know what the path was. And then how you chose to upgrade and when did that what happened there?

Lori Zabel 8:33
What do you mean upgrading was when I met you, is that where you’re

Chris Baran 8:37
upgrading or downgrading? I don’t know what that was. That

Lori Zabel 8:40
definitely was. So I you know, even when I finished school, I don’t think I really I thought I was a cosmetologist. So I didn’t apply for a hairdressing job. But somebody called me and said, Hey, your teacher, Harvey Moran said that you’d be great and I should hire you. And I was like, I don’t even have a resume. They say, Oh, you don’t need one. It’s fine. You just come in and I’ll I’ll hire you. And that was Larry James was Loski in Saskatoon. And he was great, because he was he did competitions and things like that. So I would go to hair shows and follow him around and, you know, do things like that. And then and then I worked in Regina at a salon called butterfly salon know that oh, the women that worked there. Don’t even know where she is these days. Christine Motil she was one of the toughest people in all of Saskatchewan. So I thought wow, I’m gonna go and work there because I think I need you know, I need to learn some things.

Chris Baran 9:43
And by tough we didn’t mean she wasn’t an MMA. She was just a very strict. She was a strict she was

Speaker 1 9:53
yes, she was a very strict. Yes. We won’t go there but yeah, no, she wasn’t in that but She was, she was known as being tough. And again, Harvey helped me get a job there. He’s like, Okay, well, if that’s where you want to go. And then I had a client say to me one day, what are you doing here? And that’s your hair? She said, No, it was he is him. He was a doctor. And he said, Well, yeah, but you don’t have any attachments here. You don’t have any kids. You don’t have any, you know, thing tying you to this city. Why don’t you get out of Saskatchewan? And so he was the one that suggested that Victoria would be a good idea. And I was like, Oh, yes, I’ve heard about this guy, Chris Baran. And he’s the best hairdresser in all of Canada. Just so you know, that was your reputation. And that’s what I started. Yeah, yeah, you started the rumor, and it spread very well. And I thought, Oh, he’s from Saskatchewan. He’s like, you know, stumbled jumper as you said, and for sure, he’ll hire me because I am as well and not realizing you didn’t even know in the salon then. So. But anyway, long story short, I went all the way to Victoria and tried to look you up. Well, that didn’t work. So I called the school and, and talk to Harvey and I said, Listen, I’m trying to find that Chris Baran guide. Do you know what his salons called? And they said, well, it’s Christopher Jays. But he’s here right now. You were actually at the school that day. You’d never been to the school when I was there. Just saying.

Chris Baran 11:32
I didn’t know cuz you were there.

Lori Zabel 11:36
Anyway, long story short, then I ended up begging for a job. And Greg Young who bought the salon from you, because you were traveling so much at that time and everything. I props to Greg, you know, yeah. Amazing guy. He, he he’ll tell you that he hired me because I was wearing really cool pants. I had Palazzo pants on then they weren’t quite in style at the time. I’m trying to remember I think I paid $3 for those things. But anyway, that’s a sideways story as we squirrel all over the place, right? Anyway, so then I ended up with you, I didn’t even meet you until I think probably two weeks into working there by then I was like, whatever, Chris bear and like, you never even here. So not true. Then you adopted me right after? I guess you thought I needed that. So that was good. Yeah.

Chris Baran 12:28
Yeah. So that was so I mean, that’s our pas. And just so everybody knows here that the I don’t know this called nepotism, or whatever. But you know, I don’t have Lori on here because she is of that quality and our family. And she’s a part of it. I do that because she is probably one of the most amazing colorist and and I think the hardest part, Lori is that when you’re sometimes when you’re christened, you know, and I’m right now for those of you who are watching, I’m doing the night thing, like I one hand left one hand, right, like you would know what that was. And I’m knighting you as not only a great colorist, but you’re one hell of a hair cutter. And sometimes people don’t, don’t do both nowadays. And if they don’t, they feel don’t feel as comfortable with one than the other. So. And by that, well, the reason why I’m going there is sometimes people have just average clienteles. But your clientele is always very unique and very diverse. And when I say diverse, I’m not talking about societal diversity, I’m talking about most of the people that you do have really cool haircuts. They you are you do very quick color techniques. But how what advice could you give to people? About how to attract those that kind of clientele?

Lori Zabel 13:47
That’s a good question. I think if you, you know, you, you speak to people about what they what they could have rather than asking in their chair, what would you like? I try not to ask that question. What what do people like unless it’s within their coffee? And then I never remember when I get their coffee machine anyway. But the instead of asking them, you know, what they would like to do today, and I hear that so much when you go into salon europeas. So what would you like to do today? And I’m like, No, I let people know what I think they should have. I if I asked them anything I asked them, What don’t you like about your hair? Because they don’t know their possibilities? Yeah. So if you ask them what they don’t like, you can solve those problems. And then also, you get to do what you want to do, you know, you know, what would look better on them? But you know that if they don’t want their hair touching their face, you’re not going to give them like, you know, that big sweetie fringe kind of thing, right? Yeah. So I think you know, But to attract them into your chair, I think you have to ask the people who you do do fun things on their hair, ask them to send their friends and family that also like to do that. Because that’s how you get. That’s how you get clients. Or, I mean, you know, we’re Canadian. So we like to sit at a bar, right? And so to me, I sit at a bar and talk to people all the time. And that’s how I pass up my card all the time. Or, you know, if I see people with cool hair, I’m like, I really like your hair. I’m a hairdresser, and I give them a card, not to steal them from somebody else. I like their hair. But if they’re like, oh, you know what? That’s funny. I’m looking for a hairdresser. Or maybe just some day they need one. So I think. Yeah, I don’t know, I go round around in circles about that. I’m not really sure, Chris. Yeah,

Chris Baran 15:50
well, you know what, I think you hit on a really important part, there was the you know, and I think that you know, is it called stealing, when you when you when you’re getting a hairdresser from somebody, nobody’s going to leave somebody if they love what their happened. So I don’t believe that anybody steals clients, people put up will put up with with you longer. And it’s actually a fact nowadays that men actually put up with somebody, even if they don’t like the haircut, if they just liked the relationship, but women on the other hand, are always shopping. And, and the reality is, is like what I I love about your work, and what you do is you just you just it’s great work. And then you just say here’s my advertising, and if people are doing law, and please understand for everybody watching and listening now, you know, if you’re my specialty, and cutting is going above the shoulders and up. And that’s where I build myself. And I have nothing wrong with people that do long hair and do Bali version, do all of the long hair things. But if that’s all you’re putting out in your work and your social media, that’s all you’re gonna get. And if that’s what you want, awesome, but when the tide turns, and it goes back to short hair is are you equipped. And I think that’s what I love that you do is you get people in and out fast in your color technique and your cutting technique. And, and you’re always thinking of a one other little things whenever wants to cut hair. It’s just, you know, it’s leaving a piece of hair or doing something else that makes it Lori esque, as opposed to just traditional work.

Lori Zabel 17:22
Well, I mean, thank you for that. But I think, you know, I learned I learned, you know, my skill of hair cutting from you. And I say that because you were developing compass cutting back when I was assisting you. And, and I remember somebody saying to me at one point in time, not to me just in general saying, well, Lori is not the best hair cutter. But anybody will sit in her chair because of her personality. And I thought, oh, and I was like, Oh, that was like a backwards compliment. So then I knew I needed to learn how to cut hair. And that was left handed. Okay, I’m still left handed. You didn’t change that about me. But you helped me get my first pair of left handed shears, right. And so. So anyway, you taught me how to cut hair in the mirror. Remember that? And then, and then you would always leave pieces and things like that. And then I would do your clients when you were out of town and they’d say, I don’t know what he’s doing with this piece. I don’t know if you want to cut it off. And I’m like, oh, no, don’t cut that off. And then I went to work with you know, Benny tog Nene, who’s also one of your best friends. Yes. And so when I went to work with him, he always left a piece here and there everywhere. So I do that kind of now too. I you know, you pick up things from your mentors, right? And so then people who trained you and things and I always call those personality bits now so my clients actually love that and, and, you know, when you when I have new clients come into my chair, they’re usually recommended from somebody else I already do, which to me is the best referral. And when they come in, they sit in my chair and they say oh, I washed my hair if they’re getting a color especially I washed my hair already I was told to go okay, and then they said and I’m just supposed to sit here and just let you do your thing. Like fantastic. My clients train people so I don’t even have to do it Chris anymore. Learning I have to say what you know what, what I want to do on their hair like I’m gonna do kind of say what I’m going to do on their hair but I don’t have to convince them to do something different. They just sit in my chair because they know that so you kind of build the reputation and I think that’s good even in the salon. You know when I work at doped up salon in New York City, which is amazing. Been there for 22 years. Must have started when I was eight because I started

Chris Baran 19:58
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was 19.

Lori Zabel 20:06
And where were we? What was I talking? Oh, I know when the when the staff asked me for a haircut, they never asked me for a trim, like the standard, like saying around the Sun is never asked her like, you don’t ask Lori for a trim, you don’t waste her time. And and I kind of take that as a compliment. That’s not a bad thing. You know, if you want something different, and you want to let me go crazy, then yeah, sit in my chair. Yeah,

Chris Baran 20:38
no, I agree. And that’s and that’s just part of being a designer, isn’t it? It’s like, that’s one thing I found that if you can set yourself up a designer, as a designer, and as people, if you go to a clothing designer, and this is a standard thing that I say to people is that if I get when you’re thinking and talking to a hairdresser, who is the person that’s going to design, yes, there should be an exchange of ideas. But if you if somebody said you were going to somebody that was, you know, pick your favorite designer, and if you said, here’s $25,000, and you go to that person, and you say, you say what would you know, just say here, you can have you can only have one outfit? What would you say to that person? And nine times out of 10? They’ll say, Well, what would you think? And yet hairdressers as a whole? They’ll, they’ll just think that what they should say, Well, what do you want, and, and you can you can bridge that just by in your consultation and just saying, Look, I know, you may have something in mind, but blah, blah, blah, and then give him some suggestions. And that’s one thing that I’ve always seen that you do is you you’ll you’ll give them an idea of give them a suggestion or a feeling of the way you want their cut, whether it’s straight or curly or whatever. How do you do? Is that Is that something that that was ingrained? in you? Did you have to figure that out? What was and what would you would you say that there is a pattern that you would use that that hairstyle is out there particularly young kids trying to get into the game that they should do?

Speaker 1 22:08
Well, I think, you know, it’s it’s all in your in your questions, right? I think for for me when you know, when I started a hairdressing, it was the 80s, right? The late 80s. And then in the 90s. Also, we went, we went to so many hair shows. And so when I get back, I would just I just assumed that whatever crazy things and I mean, there were some crazy things right? mazing there were crazy things that people would do when I would come back and I think but that’s what I learned at the show. That’s what I should be doing on my client. So I just assumed that that’s what they wanted. I have changed the flavors, because you know, back in the day, you’d put like black and red and burgundy and blue and you know, that kind of thing everywhere. Still love that. But, you know, maybe it was just different flavors of chocolate and marshmallows and that kind of thing instead. And so I didn’t know not to explain, like, you know, just assume that. But I think also I think most people get into hairdressing because they want to do something different. At least I did. I didn’t you know, I mean, once I got into it, it wasn’t a plan. But when you get into hairdressing you don’t want to do that. I would I would hate to do the same thing every day all day long. Like if I have to do more than one long layer in a day or in a week, Chris. Alas, my, my I work with an associate, right? Did you tell them your name? Or did it if it’s a new client? They’ll come in and they’ll say, Oh, you’re your new clients in your chair? Do they have long layers? Yeah. Did you tell him your name? No. Kikko tell him your Lori you could do it. They’re like, what? You see me do the long they’re just do it. Because they don’t want to do. Horrible, but I don’t know if that answers your question. I think just know that people sit in your chair. Because you suggest all they can do is say no, yeah, pinko, right and go but at least you spark the the thought. Because then you if you tell them what you’d like to do and why the whole time. They’re doing their hair between when they see you now to like six or 10 weeks or however long down the down the pike. They’ll say they’ll come back and say, you know, you were you’re saying about that? You know, blah, blah, blah. Maybe we should do that. So you know. That’s if that’s the worst thing that could happen. It’s great. I

Chris Baran 24:43
have to seed right. So how did the transition to education. So how did that happen?

Lori Zabel 24:51
What were you assigned to me up? I have nothing to do with anything I’ve ever done.

Chris Baran 25:00
But the point is, is that we did that we did that with all of the people. I mean, I can remember with Jeff, with Jonah, with Greg. And we just said, if we were doing a show you’re going on stage. And I remembered, I think it was, I think it was Jonah Boyer. He said that look at if he said, I’m going to Prentice, what am I doing on stage? And we said to him, look at you with your training, you know, as much and more about trim that’s going on, and some of the people that are out there right now, so you’re qualified, get out, just get out there and tell them what you’re doing. So sometimes, that’s all it is to have a start. Yes,

Lori Zabel 25:38
yes. And, you know, I mean, I don’t know that I would have ever I mean, I would have gone along with you to shows and things like that, which I probably already did at that point. But I, I don’t think I knew I’d be good at it. So it’s really great to have somebody who believes in you that you can do it. I remember you saying to me, Oh, I signed you up for this class, blah, blah, blah, you’ll learn to be a read con artist, blah, blah, blah. And I said, Okay, you said, so do I have to do really think I can do that? And you said, yeah, that’s kind of why I signed you up. And I said, Okay, you said, so do you want to go? And I said, well, didn’t you already Sign me up? And you said, Yep. Good luck.

Chris Baran 26:26
So, I mean, so but the point it here’s the point is that everybody that’s out there knows you knows what you’ve done. And you certainly have climbed a mountain since you’ve been there. So but I want to just take you back then. Not the shows that that maybe you and I did together. But was there any interesting Canadian shows that you did, as Lori’s Abell or US shows that you did that really stood out as a great and interesting learning experience? I mean, something that was interesting that happened, you either had to work your way out of it, or, or an interesting thing that happened to chose?

Lori Zabel 27:04
Well, I Okay, so it wasn’t in Canada or the US, it was actually Mexico. And it was hysterical. So then, at that point in time, most of the time now when I do hair color, for instance, on the stage, I mock hair color, it’s pre done, and then I just mock it, whether it be a model or a mannequin. And but before I learned that lesson, I went to we were doing this amazing show in Mexico, and I mean, glorious people I worked with Fanta, the whole thing was amazing. There were some really like crazy points in it that I’ll leave out for the moment. But the onstage Well, first of all, I was wearing like this Charlie Brown headset so that I could have translation with my show partner, which was hysterical. But I’m doing hair color onstage live. And I’m using high fusion, which was a really bright color. But you know, it would take a good 20 minutes to process, right? So I’d put it on, but we only had so much time before they would come back on stage. And so I explained to the team, like leave it on for as long as you can, and then rinse it off. And then you know, bring her back on. So they did and so they rinsed her off, they came back now you have to imagine like Latin hair curly, everything, like a ponytail, like, you know, like, oh my god, yes. And so she comes back on and her hair is dripping. It’s a brand new show. And it was like, we had these brand new towels that they sent on stage with this girl. And like towels are never washed before. So the towels literally like, as you can imagine, just repelled the water. She comes out about five minutes on stage. And she’s got this chair, and it’s something wet and you can’t see the color. And I’m thinking, oh my god, what are we going to do? Because there’s no way I can get her hair dry in five minutes, right? Then thinking. Like sweating, I’m also wearing a vinyl jacket that’s part of the store I’m going to leave out for now. And oh my god, I’m just like, Oh, what do I do? So I’m like, Okay, so let’s get the rewind. So I pull up styling product. And I like do this, you know, and it used to web and everything and made this big deal about how I’d set her hair. And I think if you want to see her color, you can see her later. Knowing full well Chris, none of those people were going to be back in my classroom again for the rest of the day. But just telling them like this is what the color will look like when it’s all dry and it’ll be amazing. And thank you so much and then whatever I had to do to wrap up and you know, blah, blah, blah. But yeah, then in there when I got off stage, I was like yeah, okay, so then we’ll, you know, never do live color on stage again. And so Uh, yeah, I don’t think I have since then I think you could imagine, like, you’re just sweating and like dying. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. So that was one of the things like me on my own without you and things like that. Yeah, that was probably one of the regrets I remember.

Chris Baran 30:20
I can remember being at a show. And this was a Canadian show when I was first starting off. And that’s when everything was perms in the 80s. And I, I remember wrapping this perm on stage, because that’s what you did. And then you would give an instruction we had, you know, every time you went to show you new people, and sometimes there would be people that, you know, whatever they, they’d never worked with you before. And they just follow the instructions you gave them. And so I remember doing the perm wrap on stage or what what was there when it was done. And I remember putting the permit solution on. And then I looked around, and then I hopped out of the chair, and I said so. So I want you to time this for x amount of time, and then I want you to neutralize it. And I remember the then they brought I think she was coming back on for the next show. And she walked on stage. And I took the cowl off and I went to comb through her hair and comb more or less stuck in her hair. Because it was and I was and so I remember I just turned around and I just said, are you okay with going short? And she said, Yeah, whatever you want to do. And so I just like, cut all her hair off. And I said, you know, when you’re doing this kind of shape, you don’t necessarily have to comb the hair out. You just take one I was I think I had that same vinyl outfit on but I took all her hair off. And she had just came out really cute, I think may have been the start of a Pixie, I don’t know. But the point was I after I got off stage. And so what the hell happened to her hair, it was in really good shape. And they said, Well, you said to neutralize it. So we put the neutralizer on right over top of the perm solution. So by the time they gave it to me, this hair was an absolute mess. But it’s some of those things that you had to work yourself out of in those days. So you’ll learn out very quickly be more consistent. When this comes off. You’re going to do X, Y and Z. And that’s it. So good stuff. So that’s

Lori Zabel 32:16
why you’re used to take me on the road with you. Yes, yes. So many

Chris Baran 32:20
would you like going through the game that you went through in education and it’s changed a bit now you know, you sometimes you don’t always have maybe that person that will help you get the leg up into that. But was somebody that was out there right now listening to Lori’s able, and they watch you on stage and say I want to be like Lori’s able, what would the things that you would tell that person, that young person or that person that wants to go and get into education? What would you what would you tell that person to do?

Lori Zabel 32:50
I would say go to everything you can go to education wise, you know, and volunteer for as many things as you can, you know, I remember volunteering many times for a, you know, just to pass perm papers, you know, you know, do you know, do and shampoo, just be there, like clean up, rinse colored balls. And even the things that sound like really crap jobs. And I was a stylist, you know, I was a hairdresser had clientele and everything. But I would go so that I could be around the most amazing people. I mean, the people I’ve met Chris, oh, my goodness, like, just an been able to be backstage with and and things. You know, when I started, there wasn’t social media. I mean, we didn’t even have a computer. Right? So you know, to volunteer and do things like that. Now, you might think, well, I don’t make any money doing that. No, you don’t. But it’s more valuable than anything I could have ever done. Just seeing what they would do. And when you show interest in doing something, somebody always wants to share that. Right. So, you know, just being there. I remember also like, I mean, yes, many times I was thrown into the show to be a model back then. And I mean, you did that to me more than once Ruth Roche did, I don’t remember who else would do it, everybody. And even when I was in cosmetology school, if I would go and get my hair done at the hair shows and be a model there so that I could be behind the scenes and see what they were doing. And to me, that was like the best education just being around those people. You know, everybody always says if you surround yourself with amazing people, you’re going to be that next amazing person. And I think that it just rubbed off for me. And yeah, there are many times I remember one time modeling for you at symposium, and that was the first time I ever got paid at symposium and we we used to do a lot have, you know, I did all the wig work and all the color work and stuff like that with you on all the prep days, and then the show days I would do makeup for for all the artists. And then that one time, one year, I nearly went into no flexes as ever, if you recall the day before because somebody bleached my hair and not their fault. Just I’m allergic to bleach. And so but a few weeks later, I got home and I have not got got 75 Oh, yeah, that’s right. Sign me up to be a model tastic that was great. But would I do it without being paid that $75? Well, I did. I didn’t know I was getting paid. I you know. So if you’re going to if you really want to do something, get yourself in there, sign up, do it for free. Your education that you will get from it will more than pay for itself in your career. Yeah.

Chris Baran 36:01
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. Yeah, so I mean, so I mean, let’s face it, there is going to be people that are out there that are going to get into the industry and they might become I mean, if you looked at Benny Takanini he was he always had his hands were always swollen because he was he refused not to wear with, with color, etc. That was part of his job. But what did you do to help you to overcome that allergy or the urge? Because you still do your magnificent color using bleach all the time? How did you learn to master working with it and not get reactions?

Lori Zabel 37:24
Well, I still do. Duct tape works really well. You know, when your hands are breaking over? And that’s, that’s the thing. I’ve learned to be very, very neat. I don’t know. And please don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. When I first started working with you, it wasn’t the colorist don’t know no response their face yet. And I know nothing. And I learned that I had to be very particular and very precise. And yet you can have color all over and things like that. But also working with with somebody who can shampoo for me, and things like that, if I can, that really is the best because if it hasn’t gotten any better. One day, I’ll invent bleach without whatever it is that I’m allergic to doing it.

Chris Baran 38:17
But the point is, is you still do color, even though you’re allergic dBu, you had developed an allergy to it and you’re going there, right? The so I’m going to kind of take that in now now how we went down the path of the where you were in the salon. Now you’re on the road all the time, and let’s face it, you you’ve been to I mean, God knows how many countries that you’ve, you’ve taught him and, and but what I love about what you teach is you’re you’re still you’re Lori, you’re Lori the human being you, et cetera, and then you but now you’ve also you know, let’s face it, you’re NAHA winner. And I want to go down that path. And here’s I’d like to go a little bit different than some people do about. Yes, it is about putting a collection together. But what why do you think that the average person even if it’s not for nah Ha, what’s the benefit of them? Doing a photograph of them? I’m not talking just social media. I’m just talking about doing a proper photograph or a proper shoot that you you do for your salon or for some kind of editorial work or whatever. Why would do you advise that they do it? And if so, what were things that you would tell them that they should do about their collection?

Speaker 1 39:40
Well, why would you do it? is a really good question. I don’t think I’ve actually done what I should do with a lot of my collections and things like that, like, you know, when you when you’re done with them often. You’re so hard on yourself. You look at that you think yeah, whatever, okay, I’m done with that, and you don’t think about anymore, should send it to magazine should send it to different things. But I think if you were just going to do it in general, I think it really pushes you to be creative. But also I think you can see something different in the photograph than what you see in real life. You know, just to push yourself to be creative, if you want to do something different, like different, like, okay, so if you want to do hair, like I do, say, for instance, and maybe you don’t, but you want to do something that’s super creative. It’s a great outlet to be able to, to do that. Because you can, you know, you don’t have any, you know, it’s a photograph, it’s no limits, it’s, you know, and sometimes, you know, you look at it, you think, Oh, that’s not how I expected it, to turn out. But you’ve got to try it just to just to try it. I think it’s just something different that what you then what you do every day. It you know, it pushes your creative buttons, so that you, you know, maybe do that with your clients behind the chair as well, I guess. Yeah,

Chris Baran 41:13
I think Well, I think what I heard you say was that you don’t like everybody’s eight or I love the fact that you’ve Lori’s able is a brand. You know, and and you know that if you’re gonna go to a Lori’s able class, you get Lori’s able hair. That’s what you go there for. And you go there for the inspiration in that. And I think that if you take your work, and I know that you’re always hard on yourself and your work, even though your work is incredible. But if people listening and watching right now think about whether you even if you don’t like the work as much like I don’t think you were I or anybody has ever done a shoot where it went, Oh, well, that turned out exactly like I wanted it to. But when you put that on a wall, and you have people that your your clients in your salon that walked by, and they go, that’s amazing who did that, and you go, Well, you know, I did that, or Loir over there did that they will, really, and that, that sets your brand. That that is that makes that’s part of your branding, that make people respect what you do. You know, it’s, you know, whether you’re doing a redhead or whatever, that’s walking down the street or an amazing hair cut down the street, those things send people to you, not the one not necessarily the ones that like I’ve seen you what you some of the work that you do, I remember watching you cut a curly headed Bob, and you got to the front in your left, just those curly pieces out the front. You know, somebody else that’s walking down the street, may have curly hair, and they don’t necessarily have, they’re not going to cut it into the Bob. And they’re not going to want the long piece cut out. But they say Damn, Who did your hair because if you did that, you could do that you could take care of my longer hair, or my Bob That’s to the shoulders, and you can style my hair. You know, those are the things that we always have to think about our brand.

Speaker 1 43:09
Yeah, it’s it’s exactly that, you know, doing something different than what you do every day, which I never want to do, like, one don’t want to do the same thing, the same thing, the same thing. But also your clients, they may not, you know, you could have like, no change Betty, right, that doesn’t want anything different. But if you if she knows that you can do something different than just send us consulting. Right? Like, people want to know that you know how to do it, even if they don’t want it.

Chris Baran 43:44
And what if somebody was planning, let’s say whether it’s in your salon, or you’re gonna go, you want to say, look, I’m gonna take a risk. And there’s a young kid that’s out there and says, Hey, you know what, I’ve got some groovy friends that are going to let me do whatever I want to do. And you’re going to, I’m going to take a shot at entering a competition what pick one? What What would they what would what should they do? What should they think about? Especially I want to I want you to focus on, particularly on the color side, because we spend a lot of time talking about cutting. What should you focus on with color?

Speaker 1 44:24
Well, I think I mean, for me, I mean, definitely, you have to have a good team if you’re gonna do to, not to do the color specifically, but you have a good team for the whole photoshoot thing. But also because I mean, I’m not very good at all other things, even though I’ve done all of them. If you’re thinking about color, and what it’s going to look like in the photograph, for me, I think of some contrast. So I often think of Okay, so there should be at least two levels. Those of difference in the color, or it should be a very warm and very cool. It shouldn’t look like you put all all colors on at the same time and nothing against like all the rainbow hair and different things like that is not really my style. What is. But if you if it is, what is it that is like the focus of it, of that, like instead of it just being like all of it, you know, usually, when you look at something that really attracts you to something, it gives you like a feeling. But also, there’s something to focus on, there’s something to look at. And so, you know, it has to all go together. But it also, you know? Yeah, I guess it just has to have like a total look into it as well. And then, you know, for me, honestly, Chris, most of the time, color can be super, super simple. And we try to make it too difficult. And really, if it’s super shiny, or matte, or whatever it is. But if it’s really well finished, like the finish on it is really it doesn’t have to necessarily be smooth, it can be wavy, curly, any of those, those things. But what is what is that, like? It has to that that detail really is important.

Chris Baran 46:29
And what I feel like most people do is look up, look up Lori’s work, go to NA, ha, and look at the kind of the work that she’s done on there. And, and in particular, in the color side. And yet, because you’ve won in haircutting, and you’ve won in color, so but gotten your color work? What’s your process? Like? Before you even think about the color? What do you do to get your ideas for the direction that you want to go into into a collection? Well,

Speaker 1 46:57
it’s a lot of research. And, you know, most of my inspiration comes from fashion. And from, you know, looking at not not the hair that’s happening in fashion, I don’t want to do what somebody else has already done. But I like to look at patterns, you know, and what the era is what the color palettes are, you know, kind of gives me that all the way around type of feeling like, you know, I’ve been known to even just look at like something like my jacket and come up with like, Oh, you do a wider stripe and a narrow stripe and a little pattern. And so yeah, just looking at that pattern. Honestly, when I come up with these things, it’s a, as you well know, it’s a painful process for me, because I’m trying to reinvent the wheel, you know? And so, and I obviously can’t yet yet yet. But yeah, so I love looking at, you know, the overall look of what’s happening in fashion and kind of storyboard that look at all of it. And, and then of course, it’s try try try try and throw away a lot of things. And then but well actually, I should never say that. We never throw the things away, you keep all of those because some random weird thing. And it’s happened in one of my collections before you pull out on your own. This is really great. Chris Harvey did that to me once and so it’s, you know, and then things just happen from there. So even the stuff you don’t like, sometimes that’s ends up being the, you know, the key that unlocks the rest of it, you know,

Chris Baran 48:39
and so I, you know, I want to go a little bit deeper on when you say a pattern because I, you know, I’ve worked with you often enough, I know, even I remember the one time things weren’t working and you just looked at your cuff and your cuff on your jacket had this pattern in it, and you just shifted on the fly. And so tell us about like, what do you do when you see Atlanta and somebody somebody people might have, okay, it’s a pattern in your cup. It’s, it’s the look in your, in your jacket you’re wearing right now. And people that are just listening right now she’s got like wide stripes and narrow stripes on her shoulders. But how do you apply that to the hair? So it just doesn’t look like stripes on a cuff etc? How do you how do you do it and apply that?

Speaker 1 49:22
Well, so I love to work with head shape. And so I never, you know, many times I do put it right in the center so that when you move it one way, it looks one way when you move it oh another way it looks a different way. But I like to work with the head shape and think about like, where’s that hair going to live? What how’s it going to play? And then you work with like maybe smaller lines or bigger lines. And then contrasting colors, maybe a really cool a really dark or at least a few levels different from each other. So that shows up especially on a photograph.

Chris Baran 49:56
And you know and I know that when Justin minute ago, you said that you were talking about. So much of what you do is research. And I really believe that most people don’t realize how much time goes into actually developing a collection, you’re not just, you know, pulling it out of your backside, and here it is, and tada.

Speaker 1 50:21
No, and, you know, the research is, is really, you know, you spend a lot of time prepping for it, and all of the stuff that you keep trying, does, like not all of it ends up being a part of your collection. And in fact, sometimes none of it. I mean, my first collection had nothing to do with anything I practice. But what I did figure out was what I didn’t want to do. And then I figured out what I did want to do, you know, so sometimes that’s just part of the process as well, for me,

Chris Baran 50:54
I don’t think it’s that far different for everybody is that, you know, you’ll look at most people, if anybody’s gone to a hair show, and they’ve seen some work on stage, you know, avant garde work or whatever, you know, forget that 85% of the time that’s in there is you put into research and half of it is stuff, finding out how whatever you want to create the new, it doesn’t just materialize, you have to figure out how to do it. And there’s a lot of failures that happen in there beforehand. So, you know, with that in mind, I know once you’ve got sort of the sort of that it’s always like sort of a it’s never an eight and a half by 11, glossy that comes up in your brain, it’s a bit more fuzzy, but do you do what’s the options you do? For? You know, often you can’t get somebody to do they say I got a great idea for cutting the color, but you can’t get a model that will do it. What do you do in that case?

Speaker 1 51:48
Well, using wigs or wefts, and you know, you’ve you’ve taught me how to make wigs, which is really fantastic. It’s amazing. And so using wigs, and Wes really helped to you know, you can add them to somebody’s hair or you can, you know, just make a whole wig for them. And then you don’t have to worry about as long as they have a great face because that’s what I understand is the best part of the picture, you know that the connection. But yeah, and you know, honestly, when we’ve done the wigs, before, I often end up doing them on a flat surface and not I find very frustrated because I like to work in short hair as you do. Moscato must have gotten that from you made me think but working on on it on short hair, you know, I love doing patterns and everything, but patterns look good when they hang down from your, you know, the the parietal ridge lower. And when I’m trying to do a pattern, I don’t have that material to work on, I’ve got two or three inches. And so my struggle with myself often is how’s it going to look when it sits on the round of the head? You know, so you always have to, there’s so many things to think of. And so many things just screw up before you can get to what really works as well.

Chris Baran 53:07
So what do you do? If you’re like, if you’re making a, if you’re trading a look, and you want it from the front or a three quarter that for people, if one wants a three quarter that would be just imagine if your face on? Yeah, it’s 90 degrees, but it can turn so one eye is more looking and you’re getting the nose and part of the profile, etc. If you’re creating that, do you create a whole word, a wig? And the whole wig as it’s a full wig that you can do? You can shoot it all around? Or what do you do there?

Speaker 1 53:38
No, no, actually, usually, the back of the rig has absolutely nothing on it. Sometimes, if it’s a ponytail sticking out of the other side of her head that you cannot see you can only see the part of the wig and you know, many times yes, it would be a great idea to do the whole thing, but I’m really concentrating on one particular area. So to spend all the time on areas that you’re not going to shoot is sometimes not great. Sometimes it is because that’s the part that ends up being the you know, we call it the money shot. But you know, and

Chris Baran 54:12
that’s, that’s I think the key point there is just to remember how you’re going to put your collection together. And it doesn’t mean you know that you can’t do that. It just means it’s a waste of time. If you’re if you’re doing it for a photograph and you’re only getting one shot you can’t see the back. So number one cost wise, budget wise you’re not you’re not doing it and then you don’t have to worry about money as money and time. So I just want to take a little jump in here and just to say like from Lori what what kind of pushes you like you’re in just insofar as your career goes what what really pushes you and why do you do what you do? Why do you push yourself so hard?

Speaker 1 55:01
Well, I don’t want to be bored. No, I think you know, we doped up salon where I work in New York, we call it Attention Deficit hairdresser disorder is ADHD. And so I think, you know, I don’t want to do the same thing over again, although honestly, the older I get, I can’t remember what I did before. So remember, you know, if I did that before or not, but it’s more just doing something different all the time? I don’t. Yeah, if I had to do the same thing over and over and over and over again, all the time that makes me really frustrated at

Chris Baran 55:39
so in the evolution that you had in your career? Is there something that you wish that you wouldn’t have done?

Speaker 1 55:48
No, I don’t think I you know, I like to have no regrets on things. What I wouldn’t have done. Like, if you say, what would you do differently? I would say, I would probably change the collections, like, you know, they you shoot them, and then you’re done. And everybody’s like, Oh, they’re great. But now I’m like, Yeah, okay. And then I never want to look at them again. So I would probably change them. But that’s only because that’s what I’m like, Yes. And

Chris Baran 56:15
Lori’s evolution, not just the, your collections, is there something that you wish that you would have done that would have either elevated you quicker or something that, you know, if you had a spark, you know, damn, if I would have done that different I would have done, I would have rose to XYZ faster, just so people listening can get what that might have been for them?

Speaker 1 56:40
You know, I, I think I would have started a lot of things earlier. I, you know, I did, I volunteered for a lot of things I was at everything went to everything. And I wouldn’t change any of those. But many times I was just maybe following everybody or helping everybody else instead of doing for myself. And I think in that way, maybe I would have done that a little bit earlier, you know, might have entered the Han screwed up more times. And yeah, just done all the things earlier. And also, you know, I always put my hand up to do things. But I never put myself in front of everything. I kind of just put my head down, worked hard and hoped everyone noticed. And apparently that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I’m finding that out.

Chris Baran 57:32
And if you had the right, okay, so now we’re at Lori rate now that you’ve been to so many countries, you’re on the road all the time you’re teaching at major seminars, you’ve done photoshoots, you’ve done major campaigns for companies and done hair for those campaigns. Now, if you took a look back to Lori, that young girl in Saskatchewan, not even knowing that she’s going to get into hair, but knowing that she not even knowing she’s gonna go somewhere. That’s great. And if you had a chance to either talk to Lori or to write her a note, and just have a conversation with her about what she should do differently, or what what’s in store, what would you what would you say to Lori

Lori Zabel 58:23
Don’t worry. try as many things as you can, and it’ll all work out. Beautiful.

Chris Baran 58:32
Okay, well, it’s, it’s time for our rapid fire relay here. So just you know, whatever a quick one words if and if it’s something that’s really important, more importantly, as we say, then you can carry it on a bit further. So what turns you on in the creative process?

Lori Zabel 58:55
There research I actually really enjoy figuring it out, and

Chris Baran 59:00
what stifles in

Lori Zabel 59:03
being told what to do

Chris Baran 59:07
an event or a show that you’ve done in the past that you know, I always say the one if you wish you could have went out on that one because you just everything you did was perfect. So I’ve know you’ve had a lot of them, but first one that comes to your mind.

Lori Zabel 59:22
I’m not sure that you said perfect. So my brain

Chris Baran 59:25
is your perfectionist. So let’s just write it down. Just

Lori Zabel 59:31
break it down. I love to doing hair Expo in Australia. That was pretty amazing. It definitely wasn’t perfect. I learned a lot, a lot of things. So many things I’d change. But it was really an experience that we did different things than I’ve ever done before or since on onstage

Chris Baran 59:52
thing in life that you dislike the most.

Lori Zabel 59:57
Doing the same thing over and over and over again. The thing that you love the most, trying different things.

Chris Baran 1:00:05
Most difficult time in your life, I

Lori Zabel 1:00:08
can think of anything. That was really difficult. Maybe you always trying to decide where I was going to go next moved a lot, you know, to different countries and things was always where

Chris Baran 1:00:20
thing you dislike most about the industry

Lori Zabel 1:00:27
that I think people don’t think of us as professionals that this is my profession, this is what I do for a living. This isn’t my hobby. And so many people think that they should have things for free. And really figuring that out, you know, last while could be really wealthy. Rich.

Chris Baran 1:00:51
What’s the thing you love the most

Lori Zabel 1:00:55
about our industry, the people, the people I work with the fact that we get to make people feel good look good, client wise. from an education standpoint, the fact that we can teach people about our mistakes and how to make more money and do better at their career. Yeah,

Chris Baran 1:01:16
proudest moment in your life.

Lori Zabel 1:01:19
Probably when I won my first na Hawk, because I was able to, although I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of people. In fact, I know I do. Sorry, Jeremy. When I know maybe that was the second one. Anyway, I digress. The the first time I won, I was able to thank all most of the people that really helped contribute to

Chris Baran 1:01:45
who I am. Yeah, cuz it is, you know, even though some people whether you like it or don’t like it, or you would or wouldn’t enter a competition, there is a certain amount of validation that goes along with it. I think that you know, if it’s anything else, just to prove to yourself that you can do it, yeah.

Lori Zabel 1:02:03
Yeah, well, after so many years of doing hair, and I assisted many people to win those awards and things to then be able to do it. With me it was like, Oh, it wasn’t like I did have something to do with it. And I and I’m still relevant. Yeah.

Chris Baran 1:02:22
living person that you admire the most?

Lori Zabel 1:02:28
Well, I say my mom because you know, she’s pretty amazing. I love you know, I would love to be a little more like Tracy Tagname be amazing. And I’m very much like you so I guess that’s that’s just a given right there.

Chris Baran 1:02:48
It’s just you can’t grow a beard much like I can you know, when I can’t wear my hair as quite as short as you can so person you wish you could meet

Lori Zabel 1:03:00
think Lucille Ball would have been really great. She was very clever, but she’s an

Chris Baran 1:03:04
amazing redhead. I think that you must have with you when you’re on the road. Like for the free No, no. Always after the correct. a month off. Where would you go? What would you do?

Lori Zabel 1:03:25
Well, uh, South Africa has been on my bucket list for decades now. So that would be good. I think that would be great.

Chris Baran 1:03:36
What’s your greatest fear?

Lori Zabel 1:03:39
cockroaches? Oh, no. That not enjoying what I do. Oh.

Chris Baran 1:03:49
Favorite curse word. It’s more of a little out of the side of the mouth thing right?

Lori Zabel 1:03:58
Favorite doesn’t always come out that way.

Chris Baran 1:04:01
I know sometimes it need to. favorite comfort food. Wine. Wine. The operative word there was food. It is a great Oh. Ice cream. Ice cream flavor

Lori Zabel 1:04:20
Jamocha almond fudge.

Chris Baran 1:04:22
Jamocha Yes, I have never heard of Jamocha

Lori Zabel 1:04:28
I’ll get you some next time together. What it’s like kind of coffee chocolate flavor. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Chris Baran 1:04:35
Never heard of that. But get some. I will get that and have it with wine. Not overtop. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be

Lori Zabel 1:04:50
should be earlier on things, but I don’t think that you know that’s I’m okay with that. I’ll be late when I die. Patients possibly

Chris Baran 1:05:02
Yeah me too on that one your most treasured possession

Lori Zabel 1:05:08
were black and white very get sitting beside me

Chris Baran 1:05:11
see that? See something in the industry you haven’t done but you want to

Lori Zabel 1:05:16
know well I think I’d like to do you know, I think about like, Oh, I’d like to do another show here or win another award or whatever. But I’ve have done those kinds of things. So I’m, I’m not opposed to doing more, but

I don’t know. Just leaving it in a better place. I guess then I feel like it is now.

Chris Baran 1:05:49
Gotcha. If you could have one do over in your life. What would it be?

Lori Zabel 1:05:57
One do over? Nope. Got nothing. wouldn’t change it tomorrow. You

Chris Baran 1:06:03
couldn’t do here? What would you do yet?

Lori Zabel 1:06:07
Well, since I can’t, can’t cure cancer, I guess I will. Will have to maybe, you know, just keep making people look good. You know, dress them do makeup.

Chris Baran 1:06:19
Yeah. Love it. If you could have one wish for industry, what would it be

Lori Zabel 1:06:28
that hairdressers are taken seriously, that they prosper. They have maybe a retirement home. They have a retirement plan. They’re valued more than as much as Oprah how’s that?

Chris Baran 1:06:45
There you go. I love it. Now Lori I know that you’re on the road constantly but that it’s if people want Lori to come in do you do in salon work? Yes.

Lori Zabel 1:06:58
Oh, I love it. Yes. I love going to other salons. Yes.

Chris Baran 1:07:01
If if somebody wanted to book you to come in to teach them color cutting avantgarde work, session work, whatever. How would they get ahold of you? What would they do?

Lori Zabel 1:07:14
I think the easiest is on my Instagram, which is Lori’s able. Lor, I Z EY BL so

Chris Baran 1:07:21
but they can get a hold of you. And they can also go through their distributor and get you through there as well. So, yes, Lori, I just want to say thank you so much. It was a pleasure to have you on always. I mean, it’s whether we’re talking on the phone, person to person or whatever. It’s always a pleasure. And I want to thank you for giving up your time being here with us.

Lori Zabel 1:07:40
Thank you for having me on this and thank you for all that you’ve done for my career as well.

Chris Baran 1:07:46
Cheers. All the best

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