We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Walker Olson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danielle Walker, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Mentoring the next generation of stylists brings me great joy. Taking that next step from cosmetology school out into the job market is often so challenging many graduates end up in low paying salon jobs or leaving the industry all together. Taking time to work with new artists not only reignites my passion for the industry but ensures that young people will gain a pathway to being successful.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Your hair is the accessory you wear everyday . To change your hair is to change your life. It can truly alter the way you feel about yourself as well as dictate how you move through the world. In my work behind the chair I find that the most important time spent together is in our initial consultation. Truly taking the time to communicate with your client about their hair, how much time and effort they are willing to dedicate to a particular style , and even diagnosing issues they’ve experienced in the past can set you apart from others in this industry. The art and the importance of the consultation was something taught to me early on in my career during my time as an apprentice at a corporate salon and I took this with me on my journey to become a session stylist on set as well as a business owner. The road to where I am in regards to my business is paved with continued education. Sharpening both the technical and business side of this industry is imperative to anyone looking to maintain stability and longevity in this fast paced industry. Continued Education is an investment and can be a difficult financially for someone starting out. I overcame some of these challenges by entering a mentorship program that guaranteed additional education however the trade off was very little pay. At the time I had to make some sacrifices and take on an additional job in order to make ends meet . It was a tough not having any days off for about 2 years but during this time I learned how important hairdressing was to me and the people I met during that time are still in my life today. I think its important to note my goals early on included working for myself , traveling , being financially independent, and loving what I do and after 15 years I’m still achieving those goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am so proud to be an Arizona Native. I absolutely love to show my out of town friends the best my city has to offer. If I had a guest in town for a week I would have to start our mornings off with some of my favorite breakfast spots: Snooze in Tempe, Hash Kitchen Scottsdale, Breakfast Bitch in Phoenix all great for mimosas and people watching . T.C. Eggington’s in Mesa or Daily Dose Scottsdale for great food and relaxed atmosphere. Or, you could skip breakfast altogether and just go to Mahalo Made for a Hawaiian shaved ice with freshly prepared organic ingredients. Middays are perfect for exploring I would check out Phoenix Art Museum, The Musical Instrument Museum , or take a drive to Arcosanti, an experimental town located about 70 miles north of Phoenix. The goal of Arcosanti is to explore the concept of archeology which combines architecture and ecology. They also host a bronze bell casting business as well a cafe. If you are looking for a light hike with awesome views you can continue North to Sedona there you can find the famous Cathedral Rock. If hiking isn’t on your list you can spend the day checking out local artisanal shops, snapping breath taking photos of the red rocks or vibing out in the vortex. Evenings are for delicious craft cocktails I would definitely check out The Century Grand in Arcadia for a one of a kind train car experience you have to see to believe! Just make sure you call ahead for reservations as seating is limited . Another one of a kind experience is Charlie’s in Phoenix. It’s a cowboy bar that is LGBTQ+ oriented but is still friendly to those who perhaps are not. Depending on the night, you can find anything from line dancing to drag shows. They are famous for their late night Mexican food options, serving up some of the city’s best tacos into the wee hours of the night. Phoenix has a thriving nightlife and accommodates many tastes. If you are having a more casual night and love nature, the Desert Botanical Gardens are an excellent choice. Or, you could spice up your evening by checking out Toca Madera in Scottsdale for great people watching, fun cocktail menu, and fire dancing performances.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Thanks to the mentorship of Jay Wesley Olson and the endless support of my talented colleagues at The Bespoke Salon I’ve been able to pursue my craft at the highest level, I am forever grateful for all the love and encouragement I received over the years.