Cosmetology Graduate Lands Her Dream Job in NYC

Cosmetology Graduate Lands Her Dream Job in NYC

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At the AVEDA Institute Madison and the Institute of Beauty and Wellness we have the pleasure of welcoming AVEDA Global Artists, celebrity stylists, and leaders in our industry on a regular basis to guest educate. Our students also receive the opportunity to work one-on-one with the guest educators in our Top Ten program. Read below about Kristin’s road to success.


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Hi, my name is Kristin Ritley. I am a recent cosmetology graduate from IBW. I started in the January 2015 accelerated cosmetology class as a 28 year old skeptic. I had worked in the financial industry for 5 years and became terribly unhappy with my life. After my boyfriend made a big career change I thought, why can’t I do that? We talked about things that really make me happy: making people feel good, sending out positive vibes, and being a part of great life events. I had always been in love with doing hair and makeup, from high school theater to my sorority days in college so I thought- why not! I was nervous leaving my solid job, especially at my age, and going into a career field that is so opposite end of the spectrum- but I did it.


The first few months of beauty school I was re-learning things I never thought I’d be learning: chemistry, anatomy, and psyiology, to name a few. I was nervous and worried. Is this what I signed up for? The first color I did, I botched. Honestly, I used the wrong product and about fried my friends hair off. It was terrifying and quite frankly, embarrassing. I’m telling you this because that mistake changed my life. After that I was so set on doing my best and absorbing every bit of information my instructors and guest educators gave me. I became great at formulating color. I learned techniques from our guest educators that made me feel so comfortable applying color, and then the magic happened- we learned to cut hair. When I say I love cutting hair, I mean I LOVE cutting hair. It was during this module that I let go of any insecurities I had about leaving my previous career, and gained a whole new outlook on life. I knew I could be good at this– I could be really, really good. I took time to get to know my guests. I talked to them about what they wanted and gave all of my suggestions for what I thought would be best. My consultations got better and my timing got quicker. It was amazing.

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Shortly after that, we went through some guest educators who focused on special event hair and editorial styling. All of the sudden I thought, gosh, I could cut hair, I could color hair, I could work on fashion week and editorial shoots- life all of the sudden became so EXCITING! I started to work extra hard to get into the Top Ten so I could work closer with our guest educators. This was, by far, the best part of my time at IBW. Not only did I learn added education from these people, but I became in tune with networking myself throughout the industry. These relationships have benefited me so much throughout school and recently afterwards.

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Thanks to Geno Stampora, an educator we met at the beginning of my program, I was introduced to Sam Brocato of Sam Brocato Salon in New York City. Thanks to Mary Brunetti, I was introduced to the  Sally Dorman Sally Hershberger Salon in New York City. As of today, I can prouldy say that I have an extended offer from SDSH. I also have made it through my first round of interviews with Sam Brocato and have an offer (pending on my demo haircut in August). WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT! I can’t believe that 15 short months ago I was working in finance, stressed and over worked, and today I am packing my bags for the Big Apple and assisting with some of the top names in the industry.


I can not stress enough, how important and amazing the guest educator program is at IBW. Even if you aren’t in the top ten (many times I wasn’t) make a point to talk with the educators after their presentation– introduce yourself, take pictures, and let them know what your goals are. The best thing about the guest educators (and the entire staff at IBW) is that they WANT to help you. They want you to succeed and reach all of your goals. It’s amazing the opportunities that these people can help you have. I am completely over-joyed at my experience at IBW and the relationships it helped me build. I am confident that I have a hand up on my competition, that I have a foot in the door of the beauty industry, and that I have the mind set of someone who knows what they want and goes after it. I have IBW to thank for that. Work hard for what you want, reach farther then the stars, and take advantage of every opportunity afforded to you. There is nothing too big for your grasp in this world.

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