Team player

Leonardo Rizzo, the international creative director of the Sanrizz alon group, reveals why forming an art team is vital to the modern salon business…

The Sanrizz Art Team is intrinsic to our seven-strong salon group and its continued success. Comprised of six key players from across the group, we each bring our own strengths and expertise to the table. I create the concepts for our collections and artistic direction for the brand and specialise in Avant Garde leftfield creations. Sharon Cox and Graham Holmes are colour specialists, always pushing the boundaries with new techniques and products. They’ve also recently helped to formulate the new Alternative Hair colour range.

Laura Ford-Daniel is a master of precision and creative cutting and my brother Rudi Rizzo’s barbering techniques are second to none; his work is edgy with a focus on geometric shapes and sharp lines. Finally, Bento Fonseca is the doyen of dramatic updos and super glam Italian-style blow-dries.

I think the biggest advantage of having your own Art Team is taking complete control of your own branding and imagery, which is imperative in an industry centred on style. You don’t have to rely on generic branding from manufacturers that might not fit in with your salon or clients – we teach each collection directly in salon, translating the images into wearable styles that work for our clientele. In addition to this, we can showcase the talents of our Artistic Team on an international stage at hair shows, educational seminars and photoshoots – I don’t think there’s a better way to promote your brand and create a buzz amongst your peers!

Of course, there are drawbacks occasionally – the commitment of an Art Team can often be a burden on time. Meetings after a full day in the salon and lots of travel can impact on our lives, especially for those of us with families. And obviously, creative differences can occasionally get in the way. But I find that a combination of communication and occasional compromise helps keep these issues to a minimum. Organising time together is essential too – everything from meetings and castings to rehearsals and conference calls need to be synchronised. As the saying goes: Fail to prepare – prepare to fail!

Another big consideration is fitting in Art Team responsibilities with day-to-day salon life. In all honesty, it can be tricky; I run a full column every day at my salon in Guildford, so every day that I spend out of salon can impact on clients who wish to book. Usually, the clients are very understanding but of course we appreciate how frustrating it can be, especially when so many of them have such busy lives themselves.

Thankfully, at Sanrizz we’ve managed to strike a pretty successful balance of show work and salon life and we’ve had some incredible opportunities this year. In February the Art Team was invited to Cosmoprof’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in Bologna, presenting our 2017 collection Labyrinth. Rudi and I also demonstrated at the Middle East Hair and Beauty Show in May at Dubai’s International Exhibition and Convention Centre – it was on another level from anything I’ve ever seen in this country! Then in September we were delighted to be a part of the Vernissage show for Alter Ego Italia which kick-started Milan Fashion Week. But our biggest highlight every year is of course The Alternative Hair Show, launched by my father, Sanrizz founder Tony Rizzo, in 1982.

This year we celebrated our 35th anniversary with artistic teams from all over the world joining forces at the Royal Albert Hall to raise money for The Alternative Hair Charitable Foundation, Fighting Leukaemia. To date we’ve raised over £12 million.

Working with an Art Team means that there is a continuous outlet for your creativity – there is constantly something to plan for and that really keeps morale up and the momentum going. Shortly, we will be hosting groups from Belgium at our Academy, taking part in inspirational courses headed up by our key educators, and we are also currently expanding our Sanrizz Network education across the UK and Ireland, which is a very exciting prospect. And of course, we are already looking forward to our 2018/2019 collections, brainstorming ideas and getting mood boards together.

To say it’s busy is an understatement, but I feel thankful to be working in an industry that I love alongside like-minded people who share my passion.

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