Danielle Wulf is a highly experienced hair stylist with over 24 years in the industry. She became a Redken artist 16 years ago and has since been passionate about sharing her knowledge and expertise. Danielle initially focused on the business side of hairdressing, particularly excelling in the Art of Consultation program. She then expanded her skills to include design and color, working with professionals from around the world. Danielle is known for her versatility and teaches various principles of hairdressing, including color, finish, design, and business. She is dedicated to empowering stylists and providing them with practical information to enhance their daily work.

Redken: You have many certifications including the color certification program. In fact, you are a firm believer in investment in education, and that is truly a priority for you.

Danielle: Absolutely. I do have all my certifications, including the color certification. I'm design certified and finish certified with [Redken]. Certifications are important because they have grown my business so much by adding these accolades to my name. What [drew me to] Redken is [the quality of education]. Not only are we giving [stylists] the information about the products to help them behind the chair, we are also utilizing tools to make sure that that information stays in their brain for them to continue to have that positive environment to learn.

Yeah, that's important. And, it's interesting that you're talking about how you're transmitting information to your client. What would you say is the importance of the client knowing what you're doing?

It's super important. Gone are the days when you mixed up the magic in the back and you were like voilĂ , here's your perfect look and it's just a secret and that magic. The consumer, especially nowadays, with internet and access to so much information, [is] striving for it and [is] looking for it. And sometimes, most likely, they're not getting the correct information. They have, maybe some 12 year old on TikTok saying something to them and they don't truly understand. That's where the professionals need to come in and take the industry back - start educating their guests on exactly what they're doing. There is no secret. It's by letting them know what you're doing on every step that it's going to make you look more professional.

And how do you go about educating also in your community? Whether that's your peers or other stylists in the industry, how do you go about promoting education, etc?

We always talked about word of mouth being your best kind of traveler. Going to classes, attending trainings and things that you can get, networking so you can start to learn all different types of education that are out there. But I think the most powerful tool that we have compared to what I had back in the day - which was like leaving flyers and post-it notes and stalking waitresses and giving physical physical items - now we have the power of social media, so quick videos things, keeping up on our social media pages. [This] is [what] can sell your class or [what] can sell a hair pad or a product for you in your sleep, realistically.

Would you say social media is your go-to channel to communicate with the industry?

Yeah for sure it definitely is my go-to. I've made huge connections being more present and each day. The more you teach, the more connections that you can have. It gets people excited and interested to come to your class or even if you're thinking of it [in the perspective of a guest], it gets them to know who you are. Multiple referrals to chair come from my Instagram page, which is very neutral. Some posts are very geared to hairdressers and some are geared to clients. But lots of my clients even message on a class. They're just excited when they hear about it, even if they don't know really what it is. So it's a great thing that you can have that as an educator. You can talk to your guests and also talk to your stylist.

For those who are trying to build more engagement on their social media platforms, what would you say helped you connect your audience to your content?

Social media is not something that I grew up with, so it was hard for me. When I started getting into it, I had a hard time finding purpose because I felt that it was very advertisement, very gimmicky. There was no connection and that's not the type of person I kind of am. At first, I felt like I was just using silly hashtags and just putting stuff out there to put content out, but not having meaning behind it. But then I took it back, and I would say it was the pandemic that helped, because we were looking for these connections [since] we couldn't connect with people. People started reaching out to me through DMs, and then I started helping them through DMs and things like that, and then getting that engagement to what did they want to see, like, 'Danielle, can you please show me a way to cut a fringe?'. Sometimes we get really caught up in what's the latest trend on TikTok, what's the latest trend [in general], and we're trying to be very gimmicky, but that takes away that personal connection. Even though it's the digital world, you still can have these meaningful connections with artists all over the world, or helping somebody out, and nothing feels better than getting a DM saying, 'oh my gosh, that formula blew my mind away, it helped me out so much!'. So being able to have that DM part of it, I think is what's connected me because I can see from my audience stuff that they like, stuff that they think that they're going to help grow. They can [even] message me and say, 'I'm stuck on a colour formula, I need some help right now'. And I can jump in and help them out. So there's still this personal connection. For me, I needed to have that to continue to post and post, because otherwise it just felt like a page of just fakeness, not really me.

So taking what people are coming to for, and not only helping them directly, but also understanding that that's the type of content other people might want to see, and that it can truly make a difference in their day to day - whether they're a client or another hairstylist that just wants to learn better how to use a specific Shades EQ formula or something.

Exactly. I think we overthink it sometimes, especially as artists. We want to give everybody something they think they've never heard before, like this big wow factor, when realistically the smallest thing like holding your comb on how to cut a fringe could be the mind-blowing takeaway for so many audiences. So keeping it simple, because those simple little things that helped you out along the way end up being big Impactful things. It doesn't need to be this huge colossal thing or this big gimmicky thing. It could be a 10-second video on how to put a foil in properly and it could literally change so many people's lives.

It's not always about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes you just need a refresher or a fresh perspective on how to do something repetitive, like you say, foiling.

Yeah, just a simple tip. Attention span used to sit around 90 seconds and then it kind of set to 60 seconds. I think this year we're down to about 30 seconds before somebody's swiping by. So you want to get your point across, have some good visual impact, but keep it simple. [Besides] it's easier for you as well, so you don't have to worry about it as a content creator, creating these four hour YouTube videos when they can just be little bite-sized problem solution things for the stylists out there.

Circling back to lifelong learning. How do you find is the best way to encourage someone around you to pursue certifications?

The best way [to pursue them] is to either talk to your local distributor company because all of your sales consultants are going to have all this information for you. [Online] you can go to eventbrite.ca, Redken.ca or Redken Group for Stylists (on Facebook). I'm very fortunate and excited that in 2024, we'll be bringing back design certification, which we only had in our country two years prior to the pandemic and we haven't had it since. I'm the lead educator for it, and my co-partner Matthew Scott will also be helping out. We're doing three [classes] through the country.

How has pursuing education helped you establish yourself and your business in the hair industry? Of course you become an authority, but has it also helped you establish yourself amongst other hairstylists, too?

Absolutely. When we first start out as a junior artist, [we tend to] feel, 'do I earn the right to be here sometimes?'. [Especially] when we go to some of these trainings. But you move forward and you start sharing your education, you find out that you surround yourself with like-minded people. Redken brought me to even where I am at my salon. That's how I've been there for 10 years. The path that [also] got me to renting the chair was through the connections I made by teaching and going to education [classes]. When you go to education or when you're facilitating education, you get to meet so many people that continue throughout your life. Some of my best friends in the world have all been met through Redken or taking some form of class. Stylists need that brand of people behind them. We give and give and all day long, we give a lot of energy, but I think we forget to take some back. By finding a community of like-minded people, it is like a weight being lifted off your chest. You don't even have to say anything. I can just walk into the room and just know like, these are my education people and I just feel comfortable here.

Comfortable and confident. I think that's important in the hair industry because feeling safe to put yourself out there is significant.

Yes, absolutely. We all have that [thought], 'is my idea good enough?' - those little voices talking to you. But when you get in a collective room with like-minded people, even if sometimes you hold back, most likely the person beside you is going to say it because they're thinking the same thing too, and then [you say], 'yeah, me too!'. You then realize you're not alone. As you start to gain confidence, it's nice to put that out in the room. It's such a unique community of hairdressers when you're in the education part to feel the love and support. I don't think any other brand does more than Redken. They really support you no matter what and always have your back.

Would say that's one of your preferred aspects of the Redken tribe?

Absolutely. I even say in my classes to my attendees, 'You can DM me at midnight', [and I will answer]. I give back as much as I can, because I had lots of amazing mentors in my life that were able to give me, if it's a PowerPoint, a hot tip, a question, some way to have this Redken tribe community. I've been fortunate to do my GMP [Global Mentorship Program], meaning I've been able to travel to New York and different countries. It's so unique to the Redken tribe, because it doesn't matter if you speak the same language or not, you know you're in a Redken artist room. You all come together.

That's a really beautiful thing.

It is. It's really unique. Redken's done a [great] job at making sure that we all have like-minded people and we all feel accepted no matter what is going on. It doesn't matter your style, fashion, any of that. Even what you do, from the hair cutting to barbering, we're all under one roof and that's to make salon professionals have a better life and earn a better living.

Check out Danielle's instagram page @DANIELLEWULFFJUSTHAIR