Everyone has a hair story. For some hair is a shield; for others it’s a beacon. Our relationship to our hair evolves as we do: growth, shape, color, texture. But too often (in our view), beauty companies ask us to focus on what goes wrong rather than right, adding fuel to our self-loathing. What if we could learn to love what we’ve been taught to hate? Our products are tools that help liberate us from negative norms that limit the expression of innate beauty.
We asked some provocative questions about hair care and came up with some surprising answers: Is shampoo the best way to wash? (No. It’s the worst.) Why are there so many shampoos for every type imaginable? (Simple: Persuasive marketing.) How many hair products do the best hairdressers in the world actually need? (About 6, tops.)
New Wash is an exceptional, revolutionary cleanser that works on ALL types of hair versus hundreds of traditional, specialized shampoos – and transforms hair that has been ritually abused by detergent, styling, and bleach (and makes conditioners – essentially fabric softeners – obsolete). Our edited range of three styling products are each surprisingly versatile compared to the overwhelming number of cremes, lotions, and sprays shouting from store shelves and cluttering bathrooms.
When we created Hairstory we also created a new way to sell products: No regional distributors; no bulk sales to salon owners; no retailers like Sephora or e-tailers like Amazon. To our knowledge, we are the first to reward hairdressing professionals for referring other professionals to sell our products. This is a breakthrough that could change an entire industry.
The Hairstory staff is a well-balanced team of analytical and creative minds, and all have a seat at the table (one large table, in fact). Let us introduce ourselves.
Jackie Bauer (product development, operations, marketing) left her hometown of Miami, Florida to pursue a dream of becoming a ballerina. She was admitted to the nation's premier ballet boarding school, and finally to the American Repertory Ballet in New York City. A career-ending injury forced her to seek opportunity at the Estée Lauder Companies as executive assistant to the President. In 2003 Jackie joined Bumble and bumble as director of special projects; in 2006, she left to pursue other projects: Producing Vidal Sassoon the Movie and Vidal Sassoon the Book. Jackie re-entered beauty products with the launch of Purely Perfect as Vice President. Today she heads Hairstory product development, maintains the integrity of the products she co-created, devises process guidelines, and ensures that our marketing efforts are sharply focused and well-coordinated.
Mauricio Bellora (President) is the force behind the company’s sales effort and the architect of our direct selling model. He is both scientist and businessman; he is a Doctor in Pharmacology and Biochemistry at University of Buenos Aires, where he was also professor of microbiology, and an International Master of Administration at INSEAD, France, and studied at UCLA Leadership Institute. He was the youngest country manager at Allergan Pharmaceuticals before becoming regional president and introduced Botox to Latin America; was country president for Mary Kay Cosmetics, international CEO of Natura Cosmetics, and CEO at Monavie. He has also been published in science magazine Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, among others.
Beau Bollinger (hairdresser and coach) was sparked as a child by watching his mother’s hairdresser use her creativity to help people look and feel amazing. He has been a hairdresser for over 15 years and has represented Hairstory since our launch. An an independent practitioner, he sees clients in a salon in Dallas and uses Hairstory products exclusively on every single one. He is obsessed with drawing on his resources and experience to guide other hairdressers to success, whether selling more product, opening their own spaces, hiring help, or breaking into six-figure income.
Alexander Brebner (creative direction) was raised in bucolic Marin County, California, studied graphic design at Rhode Island School of Design before joining the migration of graduates to New York City. His claims to design fame are working at at M& Co. in its prime with Tibor Kalman, and creating the collection logos with his own hand for product legend Bumble and bumble where he served as visual brand steward and a vice-president through the mid-’00s. His involvement with Hairstory began with the earliest discussions about creating an alternative path for people in our industry, and his facility in both visual and written language drives our marketing.
Ella Chodos-Irvine (graphic design) grew up in Seattle surrounded by creative energy, and moved to New York to study graphic design at Pratt Institute. After a few dorm room dye jobs, she came across Hairstory while seeking a much-needed hair transformation, and found her way back to join the creative team a year later. When her eyes aren’t glued to a computer screen, Ella likes getting her hands dirty in other mediums, and works with paint, textiles, and ceramics.
Roxie Darling (colorist) is a painter. Her canvas is hair. Her career spans over a decade with Bumble and bumble, Cutler Salon, and Hairstory. To be in her talented, tattooed hands is to experience a form of spectral therapy, a process of self-reflection and process of chemistry. In her world, color is emotionally resonant, energetically charged, and culturally significant. When she speaks with you, her eyes make only occasional contact with yours – not out of bashfulness (she’s decidedly not) – as she gathers clues from clothing, choices, energy, attitude, discords, and aspirations to conjure a personalized alchemy. She challenges conventions and broadens minds. She relocates our points of reference while seducing our eyes.
Julia Elena (colorist) was born and raised in Louisiana, trained at Aveda cosmetology and moved to New York four years later to pursue happiness in a city that never sleeps, surrounded by creative people. She found her way to Hairstory Studio three months after settling here and began her journey as a color apprentice working next to Roxie Darling. Time flies when having fun, and she is now a part-time but full-fledged colorist who also loves dancing salsa and painting with watercolor and acrylic on canvas.
Eli Halliwell (Chairman and CEO) stopped using shampoo on November 22, 2014, and has never once gone back. Eli was so taken by New Wash that he quit his Wall Street job and teamed up with Michael Gordon and Mauricio Bellora to bring Hairstory to the world. Before becoming a Wall Street investor, Eli started and/or ran several other companies, but, prior to launching Hairstory, his crowning career accomplishment was helping bring Bumble and bumble University to life. As much as he loves Hairstory, Eli’s primary passion is his family and cooking, gardening, taking long walks, and doing yoga together. They also have a dog and usually a handful of chickens.
Erica Halliwell (HR, finance, and customer service) was raised in Canada, is married to CEO Eli (the reason we often call this a family business) and is mother to 2 pre-teens (and occasionally all of us). Erica earned her undergraduate business degree at Queens University in Kingston Ontario, has been teaching Yoga since 2005 – you can find her twice a week at Yoga Works in Irvington, New York – and in our Studio when not working from home while balancing kid duty.
Meaghan Houck (videography) first came to Hairstory as a model and later a creative intern. After a short stint at Parsons School of Design, and a young adulthood as an artist, Meaghan decided she felt more in her element learning, growing – and sowing her wild oats – at our studio than at school. Meaghan has since become indispensable as an imaginative and prolific videographer with a distinct sense of humor. Meaghan also acts as model scout, attracting friends, talents, and personalities to enrich our storytelling.
Andrés Marrelli (marketing services) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating as an economist, he joined the trainee program at Natura, where he worked for 7 years both in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo in the LATAM division as marketing and revenue management manager. In 2009 he moved to the US and started his MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management. After graduation, he joined Parfums Christian Dior in NYC, and joined Hairstory (and quit shampoo) in 2015. Andrés loves cooking (you have to try his pizzas), running, spending time with his new wife and playing the trumpet.
Lucy Nystrom (photography) joined us in 2014 as a photo assistant. A native New Yorker, she attended boarding school in New Hampshire and studied fine art and communications at Rollins College in Florida. Lucy’s father, Dick Nystrom, is a professional photographer, and she grew up on set and developed a pronounced interest in photography in high school. She practices yoga on a regular basis and hopes to one day be a certified instructor.
Andrew Rosenberg (coach) joined Hairstory right out of NYU as founder Michael Gordon’s executive assistant, became our press liaison – essentially storytelling – and spoke passionately to writers and editors about what we represent: simplicity, transparency, and sustainability. He credits Hairstory with lessons in entrepreneurship, compassion, and what it means to be a part of a vision larger than himself. He introduces our culture and products to independent hairdressers all over the country and is thrilled to be able to offer ways to improve their lives and careers.
Lexi Schmidt (customer service and business support) grew up in the backcountry of Minnesota, the sandy beaches of Florida, and developed a strong connection with nature and the outdoors at a young age. She attended Florida State University, moved to New York in her last year to work in a top fashion house, and fell in love with the city’s diversity and energy. She has since developed a strong interest in energy work and Yoga, and recently received her certification in Reiki healing. At Hairstory, Lexi helps customers embrace New Wash, and assists hairdressers embarking on their Hairstory journey.
Gina Schiappacasse (press and social media) worked as a designer and illustrator in the fashion industry, and brings a strong creative eye to our company. Gina was led to Hairstory by modeling for colorist, Roxie Darling, and first joined us as a social media consultant to launch Hairstory channels. An avid self-styler, Gina has always had a passion for working with – and drawing – hair and continues to illustrate and develop content for us while serving as a canvas for Roxie’s remarkable work.
Wes Sharpton (resident hairstylist) began cutting hair at the age of 19 in Lawrence, Kansas. Seeking a bigger challenge, Wes made tracks to New York City, where he joined the hairstyling mecca Bumble and bumble and began honing his skills and giving cuts to everyone from cool, downtown kids to actresses, models, and beauty editors. Today, our ‘scissor wizard’ splits his time creating Hairstory content and working with a wide range of clients. He believes that finding the perfect cut is not about hiding imperfections or adhering to rules of face shapes, but rather flattering unique features and enhancing natural beauty. Wes credits Hairstory products for allowing him to give better haircuts, explaining that detergent-free New Wash helps create a healthier and more consistent texture for everyone.
Michelle Tsiakaros (customer service and business support) graduated from Boston University and began her professional life as a videographer for the Boston Ballet, and assisting documentary filmmakers. In New York, she worked as a camera assistant on various short art pieces and feature films, and between stints she sensed a new challenge when she saw a post on our website for a customer service position. Michelle still makes the short films in her downtime, and pitches in for shoots in our studio, but she finds joy in walking customers and hairdressers through their New Wash experiences, and brainstorming ways to bring Hairstory to more people.
Anna Wolford (coach) began her career in fashion and beauty but found her passion for hairdressing when she joined Bumble and bumble in 2001. She served as Michael Gordon's executive assistant before finding her true niche at Bumble and bumble University where she ran a tight ship while training educators. Her expertise in all things operational (and earning a cosmetology license for research) combined with a desire to elevate our industry suits her role at Hairstory building strong relationships with hairdressers and helping their businesses prosper.