While we were in Las Vegas attending the 2016 National Redken Artist Connection (NRAC), we received the pleasure of spending a little one-on-one time the lovely Sheri Doss, Vice President of Education for Redken and Pureology Worldwide. We discovered a lot about this born and raised California girl, who said goodbye to sea-level and moved across the country to NYC back in 2008 to take her career with Redken to the next level.
We kicked off the interview with one very important question…
Are you freezing?
I think my soul is definitely a California girl, or somewhere sunny. But, I love my job. If I didn’t love my job, I wouldn’t choose to live in New York. I think I would just love to visit. I love how it has a lot of different cultures and how you can walk from one block to another and hear 10 different languages being spoken. Culturally, I think that it’s the most amazing city. I lived on the beach in Venice Beach, California, so I miss getting up and having coffee and watching the waves which don’t really happen in New York, but other than that, it’s a fun city to live in!
Being that you have had this long career with Redken, you must have personally evolved over time. What’s the best career advice or a real turning point for you in your career, other than title changes, you’ve received or that you can give?
I think the best advice for me to give is to remain open-ended and to not be so fixated on a specific position. I think that if I’m driving down the road and I’m looking to the end destination, I could miss an exit that has the most amazing opportunity for me, and I don’t think that I’ve ever been fixated on a specific position so it’s allowed me to be flexible with what I do.
You know if you asked me 20 years ago if I would’ve ever been full-time with a brand, I would have told you “No,” that I was going to be a high school math and English teacher and I was still going to college. If you would’ve asked me 10 years ago if I would ever move to NYC, I would’ve said “No.” It’s really just a matter of being open and flexible, that would be my advice. As it relates to how I’ve grown.
For us at Redken, (we want) every striving professional (and for me it’s everyone in the world), “to learn better so they can earn better. and to live better.” But it’s that “live better” that sets us apart, and so we believe that it’s about working from the inside out.
The amount of opportunities that have presented themselves to me over the past couple of years, opportunities that I could work on me outside the office, has been amazing. I find that I am able to transform my own thoughts into opportunities every day.
To add to that, is there someone that has given you really good advice, that has changed you and given you that great outlook?
There are a few. There’s the founder of personal-based training skills for Redken, Christine Schuster. She was an SVP at Redken for a very long time. She was the one who really initiated this focus on personal grounding in combination with our meaningful content and methodologies. I’ve had a lot of interaction with Christine and she was always a great coach and mentor and still is. I think that even now our new General Manager, Leslie Marino, who comes from a very luxe retail background, with her first introduction into the professional world with Kerastase, which in the US and is still a direct sales force, so it is completely different than the business model of Redken. I sort of count Redken as her first professional distribution brand, and so the way that she sees things is completely different because of her previous experience. It definitely challenges me to change how we approach things and I love that because it only can make us better.
I do have an influence outside of the industry who has been really important to my life and that is my mother. She’s a huge influence and she’s really the one that instilled that confidence in me at a young age and she just taught me you can change anything, any situation you want and you can do anything you possibly want to do.
What is the most vulnerable you’ve really felt in your career?
Oh, every day [laughs]!
Was there ever a time or period that was more of a challenge for you?
I think as a person, I have an ability or a desire I should say, to do the very best. I don’t think that’s really different than a lot of people, but I do think it’s combined with a little bit of people pleasing. I think that anytime I’m doing something that’s on behalf of the brand, there are so many people I’m trying to please. If you think of NRAC as an example, you have your corporate management you’re trying to please, you have marketing you’re trying to please, you have integrated communications you’re trying to please. And then you have the artists, but then there are various artists; there are US artists, International artists, artists that were put on national accounts. And then I have my team themselves and inevitably the goal for me is to not exclude anyone because it upsets them and I don’t like upsetting people. So I think anytime I’m in a situation where I’m trying to care for everyone, the vulnerability comes in making sure it’s taken care of, and when it doesn’t happen, it leaves me feeling very sad and trying to fix it. It’s hard to please everyone.
So Redken has had this ongoing motto, “Learn Better, Earn Better, Live Better.” What’s your personal motto or a quote that you wake up every day and try to remind yourself to be or to do outside of that?
The first thing I do every single morning is I pray and I end my prayer with five things that I’m grateful for. Sometimes it’s more than five things but rarely is it less than five things. I think for me it’s about being grateful for everything that’s offered to me. It’s such a blessing, the life that I live. It’s so exciting and there are times I can choose for it not to be so exciting and that’s all mental. I think for me my motto would be “Seek first to understand.” So often you hear something and you jump to a conclusion versus trying to understand what the other person is thinking, what they’re saying, what they’re doing, how they’re feeling. Once we understand that, it usually helps us to relate to the person better and you can better answer or help them.
A lot of the growth that came up this weekend for Redken is this embarkment into engagement on social media. If you had to come up with your own personal hashtag, what would it be?
I use one a lot, to make it simple and less specific to something else, I would say #lovemylife. We’re excited about, from a marketing perspective this “First. Best. Next.” for Redken. From an education or platform artist perspective, the word “first,” is from when we first had artists in the industry. It was all about their skill set, their technical skills and flashy hands on the stage. For us at Redken, we became “best” when we implemented training and engaging and making sure there was an experience they could take home for them. And so “next” is about how do we take this technical expertise combined with our methodology and then deliver it in a way that is relevant today which is through social engagement.
Our site/publication is called Industrie and we spelled it with an “ie” on purpose – it’s the French way of spelling Industry and was once defined to us as an artisan who works with their hands to create things of beauty and substance. So tell us, how do you define beauty and substance?
I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t live my life as my authentic self. The reason I’m here all these years later is that I can be me every single day. I think beauty is being you; to be authentic, to be true, to have integrity and to be real.
On a personal level, what do you do outside of your professional career that is your creative outlet?
I can very easily tell you. I do travel a lot, but any moment I am not traveling is spent in my kitchen. I love to cook. I don’t say I’m good at many things, but I’m very good in the kitchen and I’m also vegan. I try out and test a lot of recipes. I have a vegan blog, Instagram and website and so I work on that whenever I’m not running around for Redken. It’s fun in the sense that it’s a little like running around in the back room mixing color. It’s sort of how I feel in the kitchen. I come up with an idea and I think, “How can I create that if I mix a bunch of things together?” I think a lot of times it’s great, thank goodness, but every now and then it’s an epic fail. And it’s like “whoa,” and my husband knows it’s an epic fail and we both know we have to go down to the bar and have a couple french fries or something instead.
What is your go-to recipe then?
Tacos! Tacos are my go-to recipe. They’re so easy. First of all, the invention of the tortilla. Also, my father was Mexican and Cherokee Indian so I have a little bit of this affinity for the Latin culture. My mother lives in Central America and I love tacos! You can put almost anything in a taco and it’s amazing. I’ve been trying different things, like trying to emulate fish tacos and what not. There’s a great book, and it’s written quite humorously, called “The Taco Cleanse,” and it sounds hilarious. I mean, if you could do a cleanse, and it could be a taco cleanse, I mean, why not, right?! But it’s fun and it has a lot of different taco recipes in there and I usually don’t follow a recipe to the T, but I try to get some inspiration and try to recreate it. You can breakfast tacos, dessert tacos. #tacosforlife. That’s my new hashtag!
For the record, next time we’re in NYC, we’re going to make sure we stay until Wednesday so we can hit Sheri Doss up for Taco Tuesday at her place.