5 minute interview with Mitch Stone, founder of Mitch Stone Essentials.
How did you get started in hair?
I was doing construction and playing music in a garage band. I hated construction, and wasn’t good enough to make real money playing music. In the midst of all this, I was getting my hair cut by this really cool guy that owned a salon. I would model for him for free cuts and color. I really loved the atmosphere. Make your own hours, cash in pocket, work around creative people.. I was sold! The stylist, Don Carlisle, told me if I went to beauty School he would let me apprentice with him after I got my license! The rest is history, I didn’t end up assisting Don because I got the chance of a lifetime assisting the world famous Rossella Cuzena co-founder of Sebastian. That helped transform my career big time.
How do you tell a story through hair styles?
Great question. Working in NYC I learned that every shoot is a story. Not unlike a film and the way it is shot. Each new page part of the story and when you look at hair in this way it is super helpful when crafting new hair styles! I usually think about the event, the clothes, the person/personality, the make up and it really guide me to the type of hair style a look calls for.
What made you decide to develop your own line of hair care products?
I had been hired to be the face of the brand for Pantene, Paul Mitchell and finally Gillette. During my career, I did a lot of hair commercials- Pantene, Revlon and others= I always wondered why companies only put vitamins in the shampoo and conditioners that washed down the drain in 30 seconds or less, and why no one had thought to put a complex in styling products that stay on the hair all day. So when my contract with Gillette ended, I decided to start designing my own line! I knew I could create an amazing brand with the highest quality ingredients that features a reparative complex!
What is your favorite hair project that you have worked on?
Wow thats a hard one… So many… My first great job was Michael Jackson’s music video for “Black or White” then “Remember the Time”. Both these videos were jaw dropping and times I will never forget. They changed my career forever! The next big jump was moving to NYC and diving deep into the world of high fashion. I was working amazing jobs with the highest level of fabulousness one could imagine! The last job that was life changing was working with my now girlfriend Kim Basinger on the film I Dreamed of Africa. Working for four months in the nature of Africa watching elephants, rhino, buffalo and monkeys pass me on the way to work was not only beautiful but imparted such a magical feeling on the entire movie crew that we will carry with us forever. Twenty years later, Kim and I started dating and the memories from this job were and will forever be a big part of our connection. Africa is like no other place on earth!
What do you do for fun?
Surf! Also write and play my guitar badly:)
What is your favorite meal?
Italian and sushi mostly :) My girlfriend is a staunch animal rights activist and has shown me a lot about the mistreatment of animals which has me eating a lot less meat. I do enjoy a good BBQ however but usually it’s fish or chicken :)
You clearly bring immense enthusiasm and passion to your work. Tell us a bit about those qualities developed within you.
I for me, life was a struggle as a young person. At some point along the way I realized: screw it have fun at all costs! I realized there’s nothing to lose by being light and happy. Not taking this journey too seriously.
Not to say we don’t all have hard times, and there are times to be serious. But especially for what I do, I’m not saving anyone’s life, so my colleagues and I make a point of bringing lightness to our work, making fun of ourselves and each other, and being stoked on life. It is infectious and when we are all smiling, it just makes work a better, happier place to be.
For someone young and not yet passionate about something specific what advice would you give to them?
If you haven’t found your purpose / inspiration for your life work then close your eyes and feel it. You know deep inside, you may just not believe it yet. Think about what you could do if your dreams could make anything you wanted happen then go for it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
I will never forget all the experienced stylists at the salon saying to me “what makes you think you can work with celebrities?” I said "Because I know I can and I know I will!”
Sure there are a million others that want my job, but if you listen to that it makes reaching goals and doing the work a lot harder. Just get tunnel vision and make your unique mark you can and WILL do it :)!
A great quote I heard and never forgot from author Michael Beckwith when he was promoting his book The Secret on The Oprah Winfrey show:
“Mediocrity attacks excellence.”
It really spoke to me because there are so many people that will try to drag you down, especially when we are young, they don’t believe in themselves, so they try to keep you scared and stagnant right next to them, so God forbid you leave them behind. DON’T buy it:)
I was always inspired by music.. art.. beauty. It is all around us. Nature is the greatest artist and you don’t need to look far to be impressed or inspired. Keep taking some time alone to feel the answers come to you then just take one step at a time and the world will show you where you are supposed to be. I used to think this way of thinking was silly when I was young however thankfully I had no choice but to trust it. Now that I’m older, I see I was right on the money. Trust the journey:)