If Destroy the Hairdresser is the gritty individual business program, Heather Yurko's PIP University is the sunny and extroverted cousin with a dynamic tribe ready to Positively Impact People. What is the purpose? It is philanthropy. It is being a daymaker. It is a mindset that demands you walk the walk as well as talk the talk. And it's all about the dollar bills, y'all.
PIP University offers classes at a main campus in Kentucky, and travels the country for what they call PIP Stops. They are part business building, part technical skill growth, all about teaching the PIP message. So what do they believe in?
- Thank Yous
- Showing up Like A Boss
- Working On Excellence
- Receiving Feedback
- Applied Knowledge
It's all about the Money, Money, Money. But sometimes it's not. To know PIP is to know Heather Yurko's journey through the beauty industry. As a cosmetology school graduate she started as an apprentice in 2009. She had no clients, could only work a few hours a week, and was paid just above minimum wage. Within two years she had the biggest book and the highest prices. Two years after that she was an official Six Figure Hairdresser. When a pinnacle like that is reached, most stylists hit cruise control but not Heather.
When the money came in it was nice but Heather realized it wasn't everything. Was she happy? Not totally. She had more to give. What was her real purpose? It was driving her crazy. PIP's origin story started on June 9th, 2011. Meditating on what she was put on this planet to do, she envisioned it: Positively Impacting People. The next day she went into the salon with the goal of PIP-ing everyone she ran into. It started philanthropically: fundraisers, a PIPapalooza, a PIP board in the salon for everyone to share how they were making a positive impact.
What was her next step? Opening a teeny tiny salon...that soon became medium tiny...then not so tiny...and is now a 5,000 square foot salon and the PIP University Main Campus.
As PIP developed from a philosophy into a Facebook group and eventually into a University that offers classes, Heather continued to find stylists wanting to participate in her message. Currently there are two co-deans of the University. The creat-ress, Heather Yurko, and Kelli Mason, a salon owner from Michigan. 'When things click, they click,' Heather said, comparing the moment she connected with Kelli almost to an Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell moment. 'I am very fortunate that I have Kelli to lead this tribe with me.' When the stars align to put someone in the right place at the right time to be found by the person who needs to find them; that's Heather and Kelli. What did it? Social media...a facebook group for hairstylists to be exact. Heather eventually started her own group for PIP U, and Kelli became an active if not fervent commentator who embodied the PIP mission. Less than a year ago Kelli became Dean along with Heather. While we may rail at it's invasive qualities and allows for the inauthentic Instagram star to be viewed as an expert, there are also these insanely powerful connections that are made online.
Why is PIP University different? For starters, it less of a platform for Heather and Kelli to become industry stars, it is an attitude and education unto itself whose Co-Deans and tribe members commit to.
Heather Yurko's journey through the salon industry has been a path to PIP University and we wanted her to share some important stepping stones. Learning humility was the first one out of her mouth. 'There is a power in starting at the bottom. If you don't go through humble beginnings, you don't know what perseverance is like. If you don't go through that, it will be very hard to sustain the punches and trials that come with critical success. There are levels to achieve in each part of a stylist's journey. Hopes and dreams that are not mediocre are not going to be comfortable to reach.' Tricky waters require skilled sailors and Heather guides her stylists at her salon and PIP tribe members with this message. When you come from the bottom and want to make it to the top, it MUST be a struggle to sustain success.
Coming soon to the PIP curriculum are courses for salon owners and managers. This seems to be a highly requested course throughout the industry and Heather is determined to get the information and skills needed to be a top of the line leader into the hands of the people that need them. How does an owner know if they need help? It's not only about the money brought in. Heather notes that if you ask yourself every day 'do I love my career?' and the answer is not a resounding 'YES!' that is a failure to Heather. Her goal is to get everyone; owners, leaders and stylists, to that answer. PIP University aims to help stylists AND owners be a success and get them to where they want to be.
Heather gave us book recommendations for her PIPers and our #hairbabes that help her keep PIPing along
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Positively Impacting People's key word is POSITIVELY. We asked: what is she like in her negative moments? In her negative moments Heather is very impatient and very demanding. The people she cares about, her staff, get a negativity that can still be rated professional but the ride or dies sometimes experience the lashing out. Especially when the situation is her fault and she knows it. Still, it is refreshing to hear a positivity-centric philosophy acknowledge that everyone...everyone can feel power of The Dark Side.
How can you be PIP and experience negativity? What is the other side of the coin for PIP University? This is another of Heather's Passion Points. In order to experience a life of PIP AUTHENTICALLY, it takes walking through strife and eating shit sandwiches (her words) and coming out the other side. The key is not NOT dealing with the negative, just don't dwell on it.
Don't let it become you. Here are some PIP Pointers to work through the challenges that WILL happen to all of us at some point in our careers.
- Be still. Focus on something you dig until you are calmer.
- Find something to be grateful for.
- Shift your perspective.
When you've done all those, the time has come. THIS IS THE HARD ONE. Whatever the emotion or difficulty is, it requires a difficult conversation. Co-worker, leader, it has to happen. The 3 things need to happen before the conversation can happen for you to get the outcome you desire. Directly look at the challenge and have a straight on no bullshit conversation.
As a side-note, the author of this article, while in the process of transcribing the interview, used Heather's advice to have a fierce conversation with her kid ABOUT having a fierce conversation with someone he disappointed earlier in the afternoon. Holy crap. It worked. Ok, back to the show.
Heather was made to feel like a failure in high school, which is probably why PIP University is about building up everyone around her. Who is PIP for? If you struggled in high school. If you've ever felt like people look down on the career of hairstylist. If you want to grow your business and technical skill. If hair is your passion. If this is your dream job. If you want to connect with other like-minded stylists. This is the University for you. You can find their semester curriculum at PIP UNIVERSITY. The courses Dollar Bills y'all and Balayage Like a Boss are ready for you.
In the meantime, check out the PIP University page and PIP University Hairstylists Group. In it you will find hairstylists from every brand and every walk of life, ready to answer questions and support each other in moments of storms and rainbows.