Nurturing the Next Wave of Cincinnati Style Pros

Photography by Catie Viox

Jaylynn Sholler knew as soon as she walked through the doors at Mitchell’s Salon & Day Spa that it was where she belonged. “I knew right away that this was where I could further my education and enhance my stylist abilities,” the associate stylist says. 

Sholler is working through Mitchell’s acclaimed stylist training program, which matches aspiring stylists with seasoned veteran mentors who work alongside as the apprentices learn cut, color and styling techniques. Sholler’s mentor, artistic director Melissa Graf, loves her role in the process. “I’m surprised by how much I learn in this position not only about hair, but the industry itself,” Graf says. “It keeps my mind fresh and young because they (apprentices) are so inspired and passionate.” 

Elite artist and mentor Michelle Miller agrees. “I simply can’t become stagnant as a mentor to the assistants. They are fresh out of school and they keep me on my toes with lots of questions. Recently I learned a new braiding technique – the waterfall braid. They teach me things that are younger and newer.” 

From the assistant angle, it’s the nuts and bolts of this trade that are being reinforced every day thanks to their mentors. The focus on the basics makes a big difference. Assistant Nora Bowen credits the program with both technical and personal growth that has led her to feel “far more confident” in her work than when she started. “They truly want us to believe in ourselves and to succeed in our careers.”

Linda Edwards, an elite artist and Mitchell’s director of education, credits the company’s dedication to its staff at every level for the success of the training program. “Our assistants go through 12 months of intensive classes that are the next level up and above from school. The classroom is a safe place for learning here.” Assistants work weekly with Edwards and several directors to help master their craft, including a great deal of hands-on experience with models. 

Artistic Director Crystal Lewis considers the opportunity to share her knowledge with the assistants each day her “greatest joy.” She echoes the win-win sentiment expressed by many other Mitchell’s mentors: “The biggest surprise is that I feel I’m learning as much as they do as I teach.” 

The Mitchell’s program is well known in the industry. In fact, assistant Ashley Gruber says she chose Mitchell’s because of its reputation and how the company represents itself. “I love the professionalism. I love what Mitchell’s stands for. I’m able to learn from the best and I have an amazing and supportive team standing behind me who believes in the same passion that I do.

“They want to bring out the best in their stylists and make sure to set us up for success. And that’s something I wanted greatly. Mitchell’s goes above and beyond to provide their staff with the best education and training. They have set me up for a great future in the company.” 

Edwards says she is proud of the program and of the Mitchell’s family. She says the company’s unique training approach is one way among many that Mitchell’s promotes its core values at every level of service and expertise. “Our hard-working associates dedicate their passion and time, and our directors do the same with the associates. We all communicate and work together as a team to help any associate get to the next level so they can be as successful as possible.” 

If Sholler’s outlook is any indication, Edwards can rest assured that the program is an inspiration to the associates. “I’ve never felt at home as a stylist as much as I do here,” Sholler says. “In fact this is the best opportunity I have ever had in my life – it’s life changing and I am so thankful to have found Mitchell’s.”


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