There was no lack of enthusiasm Tuesday evening as John Paul DeJoria, Chief Executive Officer of John Paul Mitchell Systems, and Winn Claybaugh, Dean of Paul Mitchell The School, arrived in Mt. Vernon to celebrate the recent opening of Rend Lake College’s Cosmetology Program.
RLC is the only public community college in the nation which has been accepted as a Paul Mitchell Partner School.
DeJoria and Claybaugh had time for everyone Tuesday, both always available for conversation, pictures or a handshake. The open house was held at Studio RLC -- the salon associated with the college’s Cosmetology Program -- located at the Rend Lake College MarketPlace in Mt. Vernon. Hundreds of people were in attendance.
"Why would Paul Mitchell partner with Rend Lake College?" Claybaugh asked the crowd. "It’s all about relationships. The reason we have a Partner School here is because of our relationship with Rend Lake College. I think we’ve started a new family here."
Claybaugh thanked the parents of the Cosmetology Program’s students -- or "future professionals," as they are designated by Paul Mitchell -- for entrusting their children to Paul Mitchell and Rend Lake College.
Claybaugh emphasized that in the Paul Mitchell culture, everything has to be fun. "Passion and desire will get you farther in this career than anything else," he said.
"John Paul DeJoria and Paul Mitchell many years ago had a vision that this would happen," said Claybaugh.
Claybaugh also offered his appreciation to the Cosmetology Program’s instructors, who are called "Learning Leaders" in the Paul Mitchell system. "What you are doing warms my heart. I’ll be your cheerleader. I’ll make your dreams come true."
Claybaugh then introduced DeJoria. "His passion is future. His passion is Rend Lake," said Claybaugh of the Paul Mitchell chief.
DeJoria related portions of the history of John Paul Mitchell Systems, saying that while his competitors have repeatedly been bought and sold, Paul Mitchell "is in the professional beauty industry -- period -- and we’re not for sale.
"We’re different," DeJoria said. "We want to teach somebody how to have a career." He said students in RLC’s Paul Mitchell Partner School will learn not only about hair care, but also how to handle merchandising, how to build a clientele, how to present themselves and other factors that will lead to a truly successful career.
He said trying to learn these types of things after graduating from a normal cosmetology program while working full-time in a salon environment is much more difficult than learning them in a Paul Mitchell Partner School.
"Here, you’ll learn to perform like an artist," he said. "You’ll have fun, have a good time doing it and make a very good living."
DeJoria said when he learned Rend Lake College wanted to do something special with its Cosmetology Program, he and Claybaugh got behind it all the way. He said RLC has managed to put together an artistic, quality facility and put the effort forth to do it right.
Rend Lake College was chosen as Paul Mitchell’s first partnership with a state-run college "because of heart and because of what they wanted to do for their students," DeJoria said.
"We want to upgrade this industry. We want to raise the consumer’s viewpoint," he said.
"What you have in store for you is the most incredible career," DeJoria told the future professionals. In the next decade, the public will make 100 million additional salon visits and there will be up to five jobs waiting on every Paul Mitchell Partner School graduate, he said.
DeJoria said Paul Mitchell searched for years for the perfect partner before happening upon Claybaugh’s school in Provo, Utah. In contrast to other cosmetology schools DeJoria had seen, it seemed that 90 to 95 percent of the graduates of Claybaugh’s school remained in the business up to 20 years later. Plans were made to spread Claybaugh’s methods throughout the nation and make other cosmetologists feel the same way.
"This is a great career and a great school. We are 100 percent behind what you are doing. We are very proud to be associated with our first state-run school," DeJoria said.
Although less expensive than other Paul Mitchell schools, RLC’s program lasts roughly the same length of time -- one calendar year.
RLC’s Paul Mitchell Partner School opened its doors in early November 2003 and new classes are enrolled every nine weeks. Studio RLC is now offering its services to the public. Operating hours are 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and walk-ins and appointments are welcome at this full-service salon.
For more information about the program, contact Cosmetology Program Director Kenita Dudley at (618) 242-8459. For information about financial aid, contact Doug Carlson, Director of Financial Aid, at (618) 437-5321, Ext. 1385 or 1298.