MEET HAIR INDUSTRY ‘ROCK STAR’ ANGUS MITCHELL
OWNER OF ANGUS MITCHELL SALON IN BEVERLY HILLS
AND CO-OWNER OF PAUL MITCHELL SYSTEM
FOCUSES HIS GROWING EMPIRE ON TWO THINGS:
RAISING THE BAR ON STYLIST EDUCATION AND SEEKING
NEW WAYS TO EXPRESS HIS PHILANTHROPIC HEART
* * *
The Son of Revolutionary Hair Stylist and Hair Care Line Creator
Paul Mitchell Donated a Historic Coastal Property on Hawaii’s Big Island on
December 27, 2011—Originally Purchased by His
Father in the Late ‘80s—to The Nature Conservancy
Anyone can follow in their father’s footsteps and carry on the family business–but it takes a soulful visionary like Angus Mitchell (www.angusmsalon.com) to keep that path fresh and vibrant, build on that legacy and continually raise the bar by educating a whole new generation of haircutting professionals.
The son of revolutionary hairstylist and hair care products legend Paul Mitchell travels the world, creating a media sensation everywhere he goes with his rock concert-like multi-million dollar, multi-media hair shows. Mitchell and his crew of technicians, cameramen, stylists, choreographers, dancers and models have drawn thousands to their events everywhere from Las Vegas and The Royal Albert Hall in London (where the crowd topped 10,000) to Italy, Germany, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan.
As the Artistic Director of Education for John Paul Mitchell Systems—the company his father founded in 1980 with John Paul DeJoria, Angus has trained a new generation of professionals in Germany, Switzerland, Japan and throughout the U.S. His simple message: cut hair, develop your skills, be creative and enjoy success. While he is fond of saying, ‘when all is said and done, it’s only hair,’ encouraging his audience to find their own voice and sense of freedom always inspires cheers and standing O’s.
February 20-24, 2012, Paul Mitchell Schools will invite students from all over the country to its annual four-day Caper event at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Allowing Angus ample stage time to teach and interact, Caper is one of the company’s largest annual showings.
“His mission, the foundation of everything Angus does, is raising the common knowledge in the industry for the hairdresser,” says his wife and business partner, Michelle. “It’s not just about having all these great Paul Mitchell products and telling people to follow him. His heart is just like his dad’s. The business is always secondary to making the world a better in any way he can. John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) has been a wonderful vehicle to get him to all these places where he can touch people in ways that go beyond the world of hairstyling.”
Even as Angus is jet-setting from country to country, imparting his wisdom and inspiration via 15-20 hour workdays, his truest heart resides in two places: The Angus Mitchell Salon on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, which he and Michelle opened in 2009; and Kiholo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, where Paul Mitchell intended to build his dream home before he passed away from liver and pancreatic cancer in 1989.
The Mitchell name, Angus’ personal reputation and strong word of mouth has triumphed over the sluggish U.S. economy, and the full service (coloring, makeup, hair, extensions) salon now has 20 employees (some part time) to serve its growing clientele. Training hairdressers to work at the salon is the core goal of the JPMS culture, and all of the stylists have been trained at Paul Mitchell Systems. While the hundred plus schools across the U.S. provide training for those seeking to become licensed hairdressers, the salon is gearing up to launch the Angus Mitchell Academy to provide advanced education to those who are already licensed. Set to open early in 2012, it will begin with a two-day class conducted by Angus and Julian Perlingiero, the Academy’s Educational Director who is also the John Paul Mitchell company’s International Educational Director. Perlingiero and Angus will provide exciting new advanced educational opportunities to personally share creative new haircut, hair color and creative trend collection artistry.
“Technology and chemistry in the hair care industry change every day, and it’s important that our stylists stay on the cutting edge. We want to excite our hairdressers with knowledge that will spark their imaginations, and in turn they can offer their clients something different. But it’s not all about being avant-garde. Many of our clients are regular people who simply want quality cuts. I believe that hair should be simple and beautiful. It doesn’t have to be so avant-garde and so geometric that it looks like a shape that should be put on everyone’s head. It can be softer, with more movement and air. For me, it really depends on the person; it is about suitability, more than on a certain style.”
The stylist extraordinaire also recently introduced his new line of men’s hair products called Mitch (www.mitchtheman.com), which has received recognition in Esquire Magazine. The branding of Mitch will include the memorable tag line: “Style Isn’t Born. It’s Groomed.”
On December 27, 2011, prior to the debut of the Academy, Angus generously donated a historic coastal property in Hawaii, valued at $6.5 million to the Nature Conservancy. The idyllic seven acre parcel, located at Kiholo Bay on the breathtaking North Kona Coast of the Big Island, is home to historic fishponds and dozens of green sea turtles. It was once part of the landholdings of King Kamehameha I. Paul Mitchell acquired the land in the late ‘80s, during a critical time of his life.
In the ‘80s, this was the region where Paul Mitchell discovered the vigorous ginger known as awapuhi, which became a cornerstone ingredient in the hair care products created by John Paul Mitchell Systems. In 1983, the company established a fully functional awapuhi farm on the Big Island.
“The property became a comfort to him and a place of healing as he fought cancer,” says Angus. “During these months, he spent much of his time and energy planning the construction of his home and the restoration of the fishponds. My dad shared his love of Hawaii with me and I fell in love with this beautiful land. This parcel was his Eden—his Shangri-La. He thought it was the most beautiful spot in earth, as do I. It evokes a wonderful spiritual energy and beauty and I believe I am best serving his intentions by having this land protected in perpetuity. I know there are petroglyphs from ancient Hawaiian cultures there as well, It is with great pride that I have preserved the land in its natural state while in my care, and it is my hope that modern Hawaiians will see it as a place of serenity where they can also walk in history.”
Hawaii is special now to Angus and Michelle for other reasons. On July 4, 2010, they were married in Hilo on Angus’ macadamia nut farm. The multi-cultural ceremony took place at the bottom of three tall waterfalls (which provide electricity for the farm) with some of the 120 guests, in the shade of banana trees, peering down near the top of the falls. The couple first met in the early ‘90s, when Angus was first establishing himself as a stylist for Vidal Sassoon and the Trinidad-born beauty Michelle Raab worked on the business side of the Sassoon Academy. In those days, and for many years after, Angus had a reputation as a ladies’ man. As he went through numerous relationships before falling in love (and joining forces in business) in 2009, Michelle’s daughter Mee was born in 2007 when she was married to her previous husband.
The Kiholo Bay parcel may be the largest item Angus has ever given away, but his heart for philanthropy knows no bounds. “Both in the U.S. and when he travels overseas, Angus is always looking for a fresh way to help people, whether they are simply disadvantaged or have been displaced by natural disasters,” says Michelle. “When we started getting serious about our relationship, he told me, ‘If you’re on board with me, that means you’re going to join me in sharing everything we have to make people’s lives better. We’re not just going to accumulate things for ourselves.’”
Angus says, “I feel blessed and privileged to have this life and I don’t ever forget the work ethic my father instilled in me. Just as he faced hard times when he was establishing his own career, I chose to start at the bottom, as a stylist for Vidal Sassoon. Just because my name is Mitchell doesn’t mean anything was handed to me. I have spent 20 years in this business earning my reputation as a hard worker, and I put my full passion into everything I do, whether it’s running the salon, mentoring kids, going out and spending time talking to students at our schools or helping with the foundation run by Paul Mitchell Schools.
While they are currently pursuing more charitable causes to devote their time, money and talents to, Angus and Michelle have contributed in various ways to the Pancreatic Action Network (in honor of Paul Mitchell) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (to honor an old friend of Angus’). For the latter, they hosted a “cut-a-thon” at the Beverly Hills salon and had a silent auction.
Each year, thousands of future professionals and staff members from Paul Mitchell Schools donate their time, talent, and energy to support a variety of charitable causes. Over the past eight years, their annual, three-month-long “FUNraising” campaign has raised over $6 million through bake sales, fashion shows, cut-a-thons, grassroots outreach and countless other activities and events to support the schools’ philanthropic efforts. In addition to hosting and participating in charity, fundraising (and FUNraising), and community support events, Paul Mitchell Schools runs the nonprofit organization, Andrew Gomez Dream Foundation.
This organization has many notable humanitarian achievements, including the building of two homes through Habitat for Humanity; feeding thousands of African orphans; providing resources for caregivers through the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation; providing hair care services for the poor, homeless, and underprivileged; helping beauty industry professionals in the wake of natural disasters; providing educational opportunities and financial assistance to students, cosmetologists, and cosmetology-related enterprises that are disadvantaged or facing hardship; and supporting the victims of AIDS, breast cancer, homelessness, domestic abuse, and hundreds of other causes.
Other charitable service projects that the Angus Mitchell Salon ~ Beverly Hills has supported include Pan Can, Boomer Esiason Foundation, The Luxe Life, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bullets for Peace, Art of Elysium, City of Hope, Kelly Hu’s 2nd Annual Poker Tournament benefitting Best Buddies, and held a Tornado Relief Cut-A-Thon benefitting tornado victims of Joplin, MO via the American Red Cross.
Carrying on the legacy of his late father is certainly no easy task. “No one asked me to go to beauty school. It was my decision to work endless intense days to make a name for myself in the hair industry, says Angus. “My father’s spirit and gratitude for everything in life was inspirational in shaping me into the man I am today.”
Angus fondly recollects the story about being a young boy, “I told my father that the tree doesn’t fall far from the apple. My father would say “Son, it is the other way around. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Angus responded, “No dad, you are like me.” Even at the age of six, Angus felt that they were spiritually connected. Today, Angus’ motto is to “Live life selflessly, not selfishly. No matter what me, Michelle, my salon, schools, product line and charities have accomplished, there is always something more to be done in the future.”