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A lifelong appreciation of teachers led Laura Landino to lead her own hairdressing academy—and to ensure local youngsters have opportunities to learn. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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For Laura Landino, making people feel good is just as important as making them look good.
“I think part of being in the industry of beauty is just making people feel good,” Laura says. “That’s why I got into the industry back in the day.”
Though she began her career as a hairdresser, now, as the owner and director of Paul Mitchell the School’s North Haven location, Laura’s role is inspiring young people to follow her into the industry of “daymakers.”
The “daymaker” concept comes from a book by hairstylist David Wagner, who tells the story of preventing the suicide of one individual with the care and attention that comes from a simple hair dressing.
“We’ve inherited the name ‘daymaker’ because that’s what we’re doing every single day…making people’s day a better day,” Laura says.
Laura says that a lot of beauty schools, even the one she attended, focus on the hard skills of makeup, hair dressing, and skin care and avoid the soft skills of customer service, confidence, and conversation. Those skills, she says, can sometimes be more important than the hard skills taught by the school.
“It’s people being nice to themselves, starting to build their confidence, being passionate about who they are every day, giving themselves inspiring messages every day,” she says.
Laura got into the beauty industry simply because she loved doing hair, but before that she wanted to be a teacher.
“Since I was 10, I used to pretend that I was a teacher,” she says.
Laura thinks this came, in part, because of she grew up with Italian immigrant parents who didn’t speak English at home.
“I looked up to all my teachers with respect because they were giving me an education,” she says. “When I went to school, I didn’t speak English.”
Not wanting to go to college, however, Laura decided to attend Galmar Academy, a beauty school in North Haven at the time. She started her own salon at the age of 24 and eventually opened a new one with her husband.
“We were hiring students who were graduating from schools that I felt really needed the extra culture, they needed the extra education,” Laura says.
So Laura bought Galmar Academy from her former teacher.
“With this career, I’ve gone from a hairdresser to teacher,” she says. “I chose to do something that I really wanted to do but now I’m really following my dreams because I teach people every single day.”
Two years later, she purchased a Paul Mitchell franchise and adopted the curriculum. Teaching the culture of the beauty industry became more important than ever.
Part of Paul Mitchell the School’s mission, Laura says, is to give back to the community. For the last two years, the Ulbrich Boys and Girls Club has been the recipient of their fundraising.
Last year, the school donated 10 new iPads as well as a “facelift” and reconstruction for the Wallingford club’s media room.
This year, the club is looking to expand its programs into North Haven and Laura says the school wants to furnish the new location with a media room, too.
“Before they had…old PCs. [The goal] was to modernize the look of the room to help students to come into the new age of technology, giving them the opportunity to do their homework on the iPads,” Laura says.
They’ll be presenting a check for $3,200 to the Boys and Girls Club to make North Haven’s media room a reality.
Throughout the year, students at Paul Mitchell the School are encouraged to engage with the community both through fundraising projects like fashion shows, car washes, and dress-down days and by connecting through outreach programs. In the past, students have offered makeup 101 classes to the Boys and Girls Club patrons and participated in arts and crafts days at the North Haven Memorial Library.
“I believe that we season our students as seeds and we grow them every day with one of our cultural pieces,” Laura says.
To nominate a Person of the Week, email Nathan Hughart at n.hughart@Zip06.com.
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