Karen Brune Mathis
Paul Mitchell opens local hair-design school
With hairdressing predicted to be one of the state’s faster-growing jobs, the national Paul Mitchell The School opened a $1.3 million location at St. Johns Town Center.
It likely isn’t the last.
The school opened in January and already has 140 students. The owner of the 10 Florida schools, Giulio Veglio, said Thursday that he expects to open a second school in the area.
“From the response, by September we will have a waiting list, so I can see another location going up in Jacksonville,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t mind the second school also going into St. Johns Town Center.
Veglio and other Paul Mitchell executives, including co-founder and the star of fashion-magazine ads, John Paul DeJoria, attended the Jacksonville location’s grand opening Wednesday at St. Johns Town Center.
Kristin Balvin, St. Johns Town Center director of marketing and business development, said the school is a good addition.
“The salon brings a fun, new vibe to the St. Johns Town Center,” she said.
The 8,000 square-foot location employs about 20 people and trains students not only to meet state licensing standards, but also to hone business and workplace skills. The school’s goal is to place every student in a job after the 1,200-hour training, which takes about nine months full-time or 14 to 15 months part-time.
It’s a growing industry, according to both Veglio and the state. The state’s predictions for Duval County job growth show an average 1.9 percent annual increase across the board between last year and 2017.
However, the field of hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists show a projected 2.2 percent annual growth, with skincare specialists predicted to grow more than 4 percent a year.
The state also reports that the average annual pay for hairdressers, stylists and cosmetologists is almost $31,000, and for skincare specialists, that average is almost $49,400.
Veglio said that after tips, the amount can grow substantially.
Veglio, who grew up in New York and started cutting hair 30 years ago, said the industry adapts to trends, but there’s one aspect he doesn’t see will change.
“A computer will never cut hair,” he said.
The recession has also affected the industry, in many ways for the positive. He says some students are enrolling after completing other careers, having been displaced from jobs or going through hard times. At the same time, he said that customers might give up some expenses, but not the need to look good.
“We give up a lot of luxuries before we give up hair,” he said. “Hair is something, whether you are sick or healthy, it can make your day or break your day.”
Veglio said tuition for the Paul Mitchell program in Florida is $14,000 to $15,000. The school trains students not only in the basics and fine points of hair, nails and skincare as well as the law of cosmetology and legal requirements, but also teaches students about business. Guest speakers are invited weekly to talk about the industry, including running a salon.
He said the school “not only helps kids pass the state board, but also write a resume and a business plan.”
The school offers discounted hair services to the public, which Veglio said might take longer than other salon visits but also allows students to train on live models under the watch of a supervisor.
Veglio, who is based in Orlando, said there are 110 Paul Mitchell Schools across the county and that he has seen students range from 16 to 64 years old. About 80 percent of students are women, but Veglio sees a shift toward more men.
Veglio is a partner in the Florida stores with several other investors, including Paul Mitchell Systems.
He said the Jacksonville school operates 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It is closed Sunday.
Veglio said the school has been operating under another name in Jacksonville about a year after buying an existing school in Westside, but sought all the regulatory approvals to change the name and move.
Veglio tells students to expect lifelong learning in the industry.
“Their spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends may come and go, but that mannequin head will be there forever.”