Behind the Scenes: Zodiac Signs
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Behind the Scenes: Zodiac Signs

Posted on: February 21st, 2019

The Design Team at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is made up of elite stylists, colorists, make-up artists, estheticians, barbers, and other professionals that use those talents to create the majority of the images you see within the campuses and marketing material. During their most recent photoshoot for the zodiac signs themed Creative Demo coming up in March of 2019, Amy Collazo, Design Team Leader, fills us in on all of the behind the scenes fun and inspiration for the looks.

“As part of the Design Team our job is to organize all of next year’s themes by the fall of the previous year. During 2018, we used our students, staff, and guests on Facebook help us narrow down the final 3 photoshoot and creative demo themes for 2019.  First on our list for 2019 was Zodiac Signs.” says Amy Collazo.

Part of the Design Team’s job is to attend as many industry shows and events as possible in order to research upcoming beauty trends and themes to inspire our students.

“We wanted to portray who we really are based on our signs. During our first meeting, we selected 4 zodiac signs that represented 4 of our Design Team members and then narrowed it down by the element of creativity. We knew that Sagittarius needed to be fierce, so we drew our inspiration from the female archer. Her look needed to be adventurous and have a passion to lead the pack. She is an alpha female. We really wanted Taurus to represent the strength and focus of the bull. We wanted him to have a natural rugged look, with sharp and defined features. For Scorpio, we wanted to showcase the dark side of beauty. We gave her a classic hairstyle with a twist, and her eye makeup mirrored the black coating of a real scorpion. Our Gemini was, of course, the “twin.” The light and dark, the soft and sharp.” says Amy Collazo.

For every photoshoot the Design Team does there are equally as inspiring storyboards that go with them. These storyboards are built from pictures, art, colors, and overall inspiration for each look, including a headshot of the model’s face and hair for reference.

“On the day of the shoot, we really use the storyboards only as guides, that way during the shoot we can really unleash our creativity and what we’re feeling from the hair and makeup in the moment. It’s honestly amazing to see what the team comes up with on the day of the shoot just using those boards as a baseline. We all get our hands on each model and get to add our own touches. It’s like a conversation that one person starts and the other person finishes. The best part of these photo shoots is being able to use some of our most talented students from each of the campuses as our assistants. The students get hands-on experience with all the models and the environment of what it’s like to work on a real photo shoot set. These shoots are so important to the Design Team because we want to inspire our students to think outside the box when it comes to our creative demos and help show the importance of what good teamwork can create.”

The Zodiac Signs Creative Demo and Beauty Showcase will take place on Thursday, March 21st, 2019 at 6pm at all 16 Tricoci University campuses. For more information on the event please check out our Facebook page.

The Team

Amy Collazo – Hair and Makeup
Bearj Antonio – Facebook Live
Deana Boozer – Hair
Erin DiGangi – Photographer and Producer
Glynis Gonzalez – Support
Trish Galbavy – Hair
Sam Parker – Makeup
Tony Geyser – Hair

Models included Andrew Waldrop, Miriam Coix, Bella Crum, Dhruval Patel

Joni Dabson, International Award Winner

Posted on: January 21st, 2019

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Graduate, Joni DAbson, Wins International Award from nuts and bolts training

Joni Dabson, Tricoci University-Janesville campus graduate, wins international award in competition against thousands of entries

Impressed with her work ethic as a student, along with the ability to grasp and practice the business skills taught in the cosmetology program at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, Campus Director Trisha Hoffman submitted a nomination on behalf of recent graduate Joni Dobson to the annual Nuts and Bolts Training Company competition.

Nuts and Bolts is a leading business curriculum provider to the beauty education space. Each year, every school using the Nuts and Bolts curriculum has the opportunity to submit a nomination for an outstanding student to their international business student competition. Thousands of entries were received from several countries, but one stood out amongst the finalists. Joni Dabson surpassed all the criteria to ultimately win the coveted award “International Business Student of the Year” from Nuts and Bolts.

Hoffman invited Dabson back to the campus on Tuesday, January 15, under the guise that she was a finalist and the school wanted to celebrate her accomplishment. However, to her surprise, the Founder and CEO of Nuts and Bolts, Jim Yates, was at the campus to present her with the real award and a $1,000 check.

“When I learned of the competition as a student, I told my campus director that I was going to win it,” said Joni Dabson, Professional Cosmetologist. “She helped keep me motivated to work hard, and now I’m overwhelmed that I did it. I actually won it!”

“I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments and this award,” said Trisha Hoffman, campus director. “I am looking forward to watching her career blossom.”

One thing is certainly clear from the celebration that took place at Tricoci University’s Janesville campus, if Joni Dabson sets her mind on accomplishing something, she will get it done. Although that’s not really a surprise, as that seems to be a common sentiment amongst their staff and students.

Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day

Posted on: May 29th, 2018

Complimentary Services Offered to Cancer Patients and Survivors on Tuesday, June 5

There is no question that cancer treatment is difficult. Chemotherapy and radiation cause all manner of side effects, including some that are appearance related like dry skin, thinning hair and more.

Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day (CSBSD) is a national effort to provide cancer patients and survivors with the opportunity to get some much-needed pampering. Students at all 16 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campuses in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin will support the 15th annual CSBSD on Tuesday, June 5, by offering complimentary hair, makeup or spa services for cancer patients and survivors.

Cancer survivors and patients can call 877.286.0096 or the nearest campus to make a complimentary appointment.

CSBSD is a day when those in the beauty and related industries in all 50 states volunteer to offer complimentary services to all men, women and children cancer survivors, regardless of cancer type or date of diagnosis. The event was started by Barbara Paget of Highland Park, Illinois in 2003 after learning about a salon in California that offered complimentary salon services to cancer survivors and patients.

“We are proud to invite all cancer survivors to participate in our Cancer Survivor Beauty and Support Day activities,” said Ross Bravo, CEO of Tricoci University. “This is a great way for us to give something back to the cancer survivors in our communities who experienced so much when fighting their respective illnesses. CSBSD gives our students the opportunity to provide a little personal kindness and pampering.”

Each Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campus will offer different services to cancer patients. To learn about the services offered at the Tricoci University campus nearest you, and to make a complimentary appointment, call 877.286.0096.

Elgin Campus is Restoring Hope

Posted on: May 8th, 2018

Raising Awareness of homelessness, supporting House of Restoration

A family-friendly event to raise awareness of homelessness, restore hope for the less fortunate, and raise funds for the non-profit organization House of Restoration Inc. in Elgin are the goals of Restoring Hope, an event set to take place on Sunday, June 3.

Restoring Hope begins at noon in the Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Elgin campus parking lot, located at 264 S. Randall Street.

“House of Restoration is doing amazing work to help the homeless and less fortunate in Elgin,” said Ray Richmond, Tricoci University’s Community Liaison. “We want to do everything we can to support their ministry and its important work. Restoring Hope will be a great and fun way for us, and the surrounding community, to give back to our fellow neighbors experiencing hardship.”

The event features free makeovers performed by Tricoci University of Beauty Culture students under the supervision of licensed instructors, free beauty demonstrations, a runway show at 2 p.m., live music by the IAMbassadors, and family-friendly entertainment and vendors. Elgin Councilman Corey Dixon will give the opening remarks. Donations for the House of Restoration will be accepted at the event, but not required to attend.

For questions about the Restoring Hope event, call 847.376.0740.

More about House of Restoration

House of Restoration Inc. a non-profit organization committed to serving and providing resources to individuals and families in hardship and loss in the greater Elgin area. They also act as a hub-agency to additional resources for those in need. To learn more, please visit

New Spa Owner, Bernadette Munguia

Posted on: August 14th, 2017

Tricoci University Alumni to Owner of Heavenly Handz Day Spa

One of Tricoci University’s Highland campus graduates will soon be named owner of her own spa! Bernadette Munguia graduated from the Esthetics program in 2013 as a Massage Therapist looking to increase her revenue. She also suffered from acne and was determined to help herself and others who suffered from the same.

“My passion is making people feel better about themselves. I chose Tricoci over the others because I felt welcomed right away. I was impressed by how much was offered in the program and how they were willing to help me with anything they could so I could achieve my dream career.”

Heavenly Handz was established in Hobart, IN in 2004, but after 12 years, the previous owner was ready to retire and gave Bernadette the opportunity to keep it going. In January of 2017, Heavenly Handz Day Spa officially reopened with new ownership and new services for its clientele. Heavenly Handz offers massages, full body waxing, aromatherapy wraps, body exfoliation, paraffin dips, scalp, foot, and back treatments, in addition to facials and chemical peels, eyelash applications, eyelash extensions, makeup applications. They now also offer discounted packages called “clouds” on some of their most popular services.

“Heavenly Handz Day Spa is a spa where you walk in as a stranger and walk out as a friend, we give our all to everyone. It’s also a place where you can go and not break the bank. Many people live pay check to pay check and don’t get to “treat” themselves because if it. We say if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others and that’s why we do what we do. Honestly, I always said I wouldn’t own my own business. I didn’t want the hassle of the call offs or the stress of bills and the embarrassment of closing my doors. But I have a GREAT support system and a partner who is absolutely amazing and we back each other up every step of the way so all of those worries are no more.”

We asked Bernadette where she gets all of her inspiration from and what we found is that’s not an easy answer. “First, all of our clients that have stood behind us every step of the way and have supported our small business this far. We would be nothing with out them. Second, my business partner Meghan Cervantes. Shere assured me that we would be in this together and work side by side and we did. We did for 6 years prior to this, overcame huge obstacles that were thrown at us, and we didn’t let it break us apart. We always say ‘the best is yet to come’. And last but not least, I do all of this for my children, they are my world. As a parent, we teach our children the way of life, but if you take a step back you realize that they are actually the ones teaching us. Teaching us patience, how to love, and how to be strong. And for this, I will always be grateful. As I always tell them, I would give up my last breath to tell them I love them.”

“One piece of advice that I would give to any current student would be to NEVER give up. Even when you feel like giving up or just walking out, DON’T. Because sometimes the mountain you think your climbing is just a grain of sand.”

Contact Heavenly Handz Day Spa

710 N. Hobart Rd. Suite C
Hobart, IN 46342
Phone: (219) 945-1940
Facebook: HeavenlyHandzDaySpa

Rockford’s First-Ever Barber-Beauty Battle

Posted on: August 2nd, 2017

Ready. Set. Cut!

A competition like no other made its mark on Rockford Sunday when the first-ever Barber-Beauty Battle was held in the parking lot at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.

And it was all for a good cause.

“This was the biggest event on this kind of scale for domestic violence awareness in Rockford,” said April Cauthen, Campus Director at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture’s Rockford campus. Tricoci University was the lead organizer for the Barber-Beauty Battle, which also featured a Bike and Car Show and many family-friendly attractions.

Cauthen estimates that more than 2,000 people attended some part of the event, including members of River Valley Community Church, which held its morning worship services at the event venue.

The Barber-Beauty Battle was emceed by Joe Flano, an internationally known barber with Major League Barber, who emcees similar battles across the county. Barber-beauty battles are competitions, pitting students or professionals against each other to create the best fade haircut, the best graphics in a haircut, best creative makeup or hair style.

Cauthen said seeing her students compete with other students and professionals on stage was one of many moments of pride for her during the event.

“I love that our students were on the platform showing their skills to the entire world,” she said. “That’s the pride and joy of being in education — seeing your students step out like that.”

Cauthen also expressed pride in the number of groups in the community who came together to publically support Remedies Renewing Lives and The Amanda Reed Foundation, two organizations that help victims of domestic violence. Cauthen added the event raised approximately $3,000 in donations for those two groups.

In addition to local beauty professionals and students several Tricoci University campuses, a group of barbers traveled from Janesville, WI, and Midwest Barber Academy, a competing school, also sent their students to the battle as well.

Event Sponsors Included CRH Magazine, Custom Nardi Systems, Lino’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant, Luxe Salon, Mad Men Barber Shop, 15th & Chris (Burgers & Ice Cream), Guitar Center, Sparkling ICE, River Valley Community Church, National Guard and many others.

Semou Soumare, Master Educator

Posted on: July 7th, 2017

Meet Semou Soumare, Master Educator and Teacher Trainer

Ms. Semou Soumare’s love for beauty and hairstyling started at the tender age of nine. As a young girl, she loved to experiment with her own hair and created new looks often. She was eager to stretch her creative talents by styling her sister, mother, family, friends and neighbors as she grew up.

In 1994, at the age of 24, Semou followed her sister and immigrated to the United States with her own young family in tow. She immediately went to work in her sister’s braiding salon and even stepped up to manage the shop alone when her sister required a leave of absence. The experience left her hungry to learn more, expand her skills, and become a licensed professional.

After moving to a new state in 1998, Indiana, she began training for a career in a different industry and quickly realized her mistake. Semou belonged in beauty industry–it was her passion. She left the technical school and enrolled in a prestigious beauty college to perfect her haircutting techniques and advance her customer service skills (a college that would later become Tricoci University of Beauty Culture).

She went on to have a large client following at several different salons before realizing something was still missing. Ultimately, she returned to school to earn an instructor’s license so she could give back to the industry and teach the next generation of beauty professionals; something that has become an even greater passion of hers today.

In her time with Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, Semou has continued to grow and develop her talents. She has become a mentor and coach to fellow instructors and has helped many students launch successful careers in the industry. Currently, she is teaching future educators the best ways to teach others.

As a testament to Semou’s expertise in the field, “Sophisticated Black Hair Magazine” has sought out her advice regarding natural hair care topics and techniques on more than one occasion.

In her own words, Semou says, “My goal is to continue coaching tomorrow’s educators to their fullest potential, and I look forward to continuing to do that at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture.”

At this time, Semou is a Master Educator of Cosmetology and a Teacher Trainer at the Indianapolis Campus. She is fluent in three languages; French, Wolof African, and English.

Always the student, she has also decided to return to school to train for an Esthetics license.

Learn more about Semou and Tricoci University of Beauty Culture by visiting our campus. To set up an appointment, please call 317.841.9400.

Father-Son Haircut Fundraiser

Posted on: March 7th, 2017

Father-Son Haircut Fundraiser Will Help Midwest Christian Academy Build New School Gym

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Barber Students Excited to Give Back, Help Their Neighborhood

Chicago, Illinois – The gym at Midwest Christian Academy (MCA) needs serious help. The facility is unfit for student use because the roof leaks and the electrical system is faulty.

There is hope, though.

Barber students at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture’s Northwest Chicago campus are coming to the MCA gym’s rescue with a father-son haircut fundraiser on Wednesday, March 29.

The students will offer $10 father-son haircuts from 3:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. inside the MCA gym, located at 3465 N. Cicero Avenue. No appointments are necessary and free parking is available on the MCA campus.

“It is such an honor and privilege to provide this experience for my barber students and for Midwestern Christian Academy,” says Amy Collazo, campus director at Tricoci University’s Chicago Northwest campus.

The fundraiser is personal for Collazo because both of her children are MCA students, and the school is just a 15-minute drive from her campus.

“Our children deserve the best facilities for their educational needs, just as our students have here at Tricoci University,” she says. “My barber students are all around the most giving and positive leaders in the industry, it will be amazing to see them mentoring the future!”

Collazo says fundraisers like this are necessary because student tuition is MCA’s only income source. “The school doesn’t get state or federal funding like other schools do,” she says. “Staff members make a lot of sacrifices to educate our children.”

The barber students are excited to do something good for their community.

“Being able to give haircuts to boys and fathers as a bonding day is really an amazing feeling,” says Jay Putman, barber student at Tricoci University. “I hope while I’m gaining experience, we are also helping create memories.”

Niko Dervishi echoed Putman’s sentiments. “It’s a great opportunity to gain experience while supporting and giving back to the community.”

To learn more about the Midwest Christian Academy gym rebuilding project, visit

Fades & Fringe Model Search

Posted on: February 10th, 2017

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Launches Model Contest for Young Men and Women

Do you know a young man or young woman who has “the look”?

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture is launching a model contest called “Fades and Fringe” to find as many as six young men and women to become the new faces of its 14 Illinois and Indiana campuses.

The contest begins Tuesday, February 14. Winners will receive up to $1,000 each for participating in a photo shoot with Mario Tricoci and the Tricoci University Design Team. Each contestant will also benefit from having their hair, nails and/or makeup professionally styled by Tricoci University’s Design Team for the photo shoot.

Images from the photo shoot will be used across Tricoci University’s online and mass media campaign platforms, including website, social media, billboards, CTA ads, print ads in publications like Seventeen Magazine, and more.

“We are really excited to launch our first model search to find men and women who represent the Tricoci University brand with modern, professional, edgy, chic and on-trend looks,” says Krista Smith, VP of Marketing and Communications at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture. “Our contest and the resulting images that will be splashed across our media platforms present a great opportunity for new, unsigned models.”

The contest begins Tuesday, February 14, when prospective contestants can submit photos of themselves for online voting. Each contestant is required to submit at least two and no more than seven photos of himself or herself to the model contest mailbox at Image portfolios for each contestant will be posted online at by March 13. Online voting will take place March 14 through 20.

The rules of the “Fades and Fringe Model Contest” are as follows:

  • The contest is open to men and women 16 years of age and older who are not currently signed to a modeling agency. Contestants under age 16 must obtain the consent of a parent or guardian before entering the contest.
  • Email submissions must include one traditional headshot and a full body shot to be eligible for the contest, along with the contestant’s name, phone number, birth date, height, and dress size for women or pant and shirt size for men. Photos will be accepted between February 14 and March 10.
  • Contestants and the general public will be able to cast votes for their favorite models March 14 through 20. The six men and six women who receive the most online votes will be invited to the in-person final selection round, scheduled for March 27 in Chicago.
  • As many as three men and three women will be selected from the in-person round for the paid photo shoot, scheduled for May 4 and 5 in Chicago. Contestants who win both rounds also agree to have their hair cut, styled and/or colored and/or their makeup altered to meet the Tricoci University Design Team’s vision for the photo shoot.

For additional information about the contest, please visit

Free Haircuts on Veterans Day

Posted on: October 25th, 2016

Tricoci University of Beauty Culture Offers Free Haircuts for Veterans, Active Military on Veterans Day, November 11

Armed services personnel are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to ensure the safety and security of our nation at home and abroad. That’s why all 14 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campuses in Illinois and Indiana will provide free haircuts for male and female veterans and active military personnel on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11.

Male veterans can choose a haircut or shave at Tricoci University’s campuses that offer a Barber Program. Barbering is offered at six campuses, including Northwest Chicago/O’Hare, Northeast Chicago/Rogers Park, Libertyville and Bridgeview in the Chicago area.

“We can never do enough to say thank you to the brave men and women who protect and defend us. This is a way we can honor their sacrifice,” says Ross Bravo, CEO of Tricoci University of Beauty Culture. “We hope our students are busy all day. We are honored to observe Veterans Day in this way.”

WHO: Male and female veterans and active military personnel.

WHAT: Free haircuts provided by Tricoci University cosmetology and barber students.

WHEN: Veterans Day, Friday, November 11, during campus hours (hours vary by campus).

WHERE: All 14 Tricoci University of Beauty Culture campuses in Illinois and Indiana.

WHY: To thank veterans and active military personnel for their sacrifices to keep our nation safe and secure.

HOW: Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments are not required, but can be made by calling 877.286.0096.

Tricoci University provides the most current, technically precise and versatile education available in the beauty industry today. All services are provided by students under the supervision of a licensed instructor.