A Note From Derek:


I started working in a neighborhood salon when I was 18 years old. We were an Aveda Concept salon at that time so we took 2 classes per year-there Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collection classes. That was the extent of what my continued education looked like for a decade of my career. I was perfectly happy being a busy stylist and doing hair in my”perfect” little box.

In my heart though, I knew there were missing links in my skill set. My clients were happy with their hair, but I wasn’t happy with my work. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I always loved to cut hair but I knew something was missing, I just wasn’t quite sure what exactly that was, or how to advance myself further. I had never been a part of an apprentice training program as a young stylist and I had never been involved, let alone immersed in, an education culture.

The first time I ever heard Nick Arrojo speak was at IBS NY in 2010. Everything he said struck a chord with me. He talked about the importance of training hairdressers right out of school, the value of retail sales, and the importance of thinking with a business mind as an owner. I wasn’t yet an owner at that time, but I knew that I would shortly become one. Within a year, I opened my own salon and got connected to the Arrojo culture. I slowly but surely took strides in the right direction.

I decided to take every class I could at Arrojo and I went on a mission of personal development and technical skill improvement. I got addicted to learning and I ate up every word I heard from Nick and every instructor that taught me, no matter what level they were at. I immersed myself in the culture that Nick created. I attended every Happy Monday’s, all Academy classes, and eventually attended Boot Camp in 2014. If Arrojo was on the road somewhere, I flew or drove there. I literally let nothing stop me. I was relentless in the pursuit of what I wanted. Attending Boot Camp was the best thing I ever did for my career. At the end of the fourth week, I asked Nick what I needed to do to get on stage with him. He was so kind to me and told me that if I kept working hard, I could have the chance to cut on his platform at IBS NY in March of 2015. Work hard I did, and I made it to his platform for that IBS. It is easily the greatest accomplishment of my career. It’s what has lead me to teach with Nick at every major show and work by his side on a regular basis.

I encourage you to push yourself and to step outside of your box. Doing that literally changed my life. Join me on a mission to excellence and together let’s help elevate the industry that we love.


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