My name is Gary Franceschini, and I’m an educator and master hairstylist in the province of British Columbia. I work at Vancouver Community College, where I have been teaching hairstyling for many years.
I started my career path in hairstyling when I was 18 years old, as I had family in the business. After 18 years of working in the industry full-time as a stylist and salon owner, I decided to pursue a career in teaching. I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with others who were interested in pursuing a career in hairstyling, and I have been doing so ever since.
I have been volunteering with Skills/Compétences Canada for the past nine years. During this time, I have held various positions, including serving as a judge and a technical committee member. I got involved at the provincial level when our department’s Skills representative decided to pass the torch. I was excited to take on the opportunity.I find volunteering with Skills Canada to be very rewarding as it allows me to give back to the industry and my studentsand I get to help inspire the next generation of hairstylists.
What motivates me to volunteer is witnessing the continued success of students from my college, British Columbia, and across Canada. It’s incredible to see the talent and passion that these students have for hairstyling, and I am honored to be a part of their journey.
Can you discuss the importance of continuing education in the hairstyling industry, and how do you pursue further training?
As a professional hairstylist, continued education is extremely important to stay on top of trends and the ever-changing opportunities that the industry has to offer. Hairstylists can find advanced training at prestigious institutes such as Vidal Sassoon, Tony & Guy, and Bumble & Bumble to mention a few. Additionally, many product companies and beauty supply wholesalers offer excellent training that is affordable to stylists at all levels in their careers. Most reputable salons often have an in-house education program or a strong commitment to helping their stylists find educational opportunities.
Can you describe any particularly memorable or satisfying experiences you’ve had while working as a hairstylist or as a teacher?
So many come to mind! I have spent the last four years delivering the hairstylist foundation program in a high school setting. Teaching younger learners who have not always loved or have not always been engaged with school is so rewarding. Seeing their development and watching them learn to love school is incredibly fulfilling. It is so exciting witnessing a student find their passion. I also have four of my graduates working in one salon, I’m filled with pride when I visit that establishment and get to watch four of my previous students excelling and flourishing in their careers! The past thirteen years of teaching have been some of the most rewarding times of my thirty-two years in the industry.
What are some of the most important qualities that you need to possess as a hairstylist, and how have they helped you succeed in your career?
As a hairstylist you need to be a good communicator, an active listener, and have the ability to visualize the desired results. Being creative is equally important, but the art of conversation is a real asset for consultations and keeping communication open with our guests. Hairstylists really have to be the total package! And we are!