cosmetology alumni sam storms

Institute Insider: Cosmetology Alumni Sam Storms

On the fourth episode of the Institute Insider, we interviewed Sam Storms, an alumni of the cosmetology program at The Institute of Beauty and Wellness and current hair designer at Neroli Salon and Spa. (Sam was also joined by her dog, Rusty, who sat in on the interview.)  Sam shared her journey from school to the workplace, and talked with us about how she’s been keeping up with her career. During this time, Sam has been taking advantage of the free education that is available at work and within the hair industry. She’s excited to go back to work at Neroli, where she is a stylist at the Eastside location.

Sam graduated in July 2019. She finished school with seven classmates by her side, with the help of their instructors, Gina Vallejos and Shari Andrews. Sam explains that she appreciated the openness of the instructors during her time at the institute because it allowed her to gain different perspectives of the craft from those who have been in the industry. Gina was especially inspiring to Sam.

“I’m always on Instagram watching videos, and I would show her a video and be like, ‘what is going on here, why are they cutting it this way?’ and [Gina] would break down the video and kind of explained what was going on,” Sam said. “It was always nice getting her perspective since she’s been in the industry for so long.”

When it came to Sam’s favorite aspect of cosmetology, she had no hesitation to say cutting. It’s something that she knows not everyone enjoys; it’s very methodical and precise. To her, it was more of a meditative experience – in fact, she called it her happy place. Sam now maintains her happy place at Neroli Salon and Spa, where she is now works as a hair designer. She trained at Neroli’s downtown location before starting her job at the Eastside location. During the training process, Sam explained that Neroli held master classes every Monday for new team members. There, she deep-dived into the material that she learned at the institute and perfected the time management skills needed to work in the fast-paced salon environment. Because of Sam’s persistence, and bringing in models every week, she was able to finish her training at Neroli in four months. What is amazing about this is that it usually takes people six to nine months to complete, depending on the training needed.

When Sam was still in school, she took a job as an Aveda advisor at the downtown Neroli location. She explained that this is one of the best decisions she could’ve made to complement her education. It helped her better understand how the salon environment works. This allowed her to really hone her skills of product knowledge, learn how to time her services and support team members to prepare her for her future position as a hair designer.

We asked Sam for some final advice for those thinking about entering the industry and enrolling in the cosmetology program at either one of our institutes.

“I think if you want to do it, do it, but do it to the best of your ability,” Sam said. “Be ready to work hard, because I think some people who go into cosmetology sometimes think it’s going to be easy, but in reality, it’s really hard. There’s so many things that you have to think of; you have to think of face shape, you have to think about how the hair is going to lay with color, and you have to think about the chemistry behind it. There’s so many factors that go into it. So don’t be afraid to work hard, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t grasp something right away.”

We love what Sam has accomplished already, as a student and as a newer hair designer, and we look forward to seeing her future work. Follow her on IG @hairbysamstorms.

Interested in starting a journey of your own with us? Contact our admissions team today to learn how to get started.



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