“Hair is my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Sam Daly (@bottleblonde76) tells us. If you know or are familiar with Sam Daly, you probably can’t imagine her doing anything else either. The energetic entrepreneur and Pulp Riot Educator is known for her creative color, and has been a force within the industry for the past seven years. But getting to see how she got to that point, you have to rewind the clock.
Sam started her career 25 years ago, working and living in Germany for seven years before moving to Sarasota, Florida where she worked at one of the city’s many high-end salons. It was during this time that she started to get massive burnout. “I was working at an upscale salon seeing 14 clients a day. I would sit in my car looking at my schedule and think, ‘How am I going to do 14 people today?’ I would cry.” When Sam found herself thinking about what other jobs could be out there, it felt like an awakening. “I needed something different, something to reignite the fire in me,” she remembers. “I knew I could do better work, but I didn’t have the time. I felt like I was sacrificing my creativity.”
This led Sam to getting an agent and doing some editorial assistant work in Miami. Sam, 37 at the time, thought about how long it would take for her to become a lead stylist if she continued down that path and started to reevaluate. “Suddenly, I started to notice Instagram. It wasn’t oversaturated at the time, and I saw people becoming known. It was a shift. There were no more six degrees of separation between me and SalonCentric and Behind The Chair,” she recalls. Sam saw the opportunity and went for it. She hired a model, colored her hair, and posted a pic. “Cosmo reposted it, POPSUGAR featured me as one of the top thirty beauty Instagrams to watch. It set a fire inside me again,” she says. “Instead of being reactive to burnout, I was proactive to burnout.”
That’s when things really started to take off. She flew herself out to Butterfly Circus and while there, she met David and Alexis Thurston. Five months later she got a text from David asking if she would take the stage as an educator at Butterfly Circus LA. Sam felt a mix of fear and excitement, “I had never educated on stage.” And of course, she knocked it out of the park. After her presentation David came over and told her, “You killed the show.”
When David and Alexis launched Pulp Riot in 2016, Sam was one of their first eight educators. Suddenly she was travelling the world again and quickly starting to make a name for herself as both a stylist and an educator. That same year she was named one of the country’s top four hair colorists at the Style Awards in Hollywood, California.
In 2018 when Pulp Riot was sold to L’Oréal, Sam settled back into Florida and set her sights on opening a salon in Sarasota, a city full of upscale, high-end salons. According to Sam, “They were all catering to the same woman. There wasn’t a cool, diverse place where everyone could feel comfortable.”
Opening the doors of her salon, BottleBlonde76 served as a welcoming, inclusive space catering to the edgier residents of Sarasota, “a land for misfit toys” Sam laughs. The independent salon was such a hit that it was followed by the opening of a second, commission-based location. After just a year and a half it had outgrown its space.
Fast forward to present day, Sam’s third salon is in the works, currently under construction in a 3,500-square foot warehouse. When it opens its doors, it will be just one of 300 salons running on a futuristic business model–a hybrid between booth rental and commission-based pay. “It’s a very futuristic way of looking at salons, taking the best parts of commission and booth rental and making it work,” Sam explains. She had first heard about this model during a conference where Futurists from Harvard spoke about new ways to disrupt the business industry. “This is going to be a salon of the future. No front desk, no retail, very modern, very futuristic,” Sam says of her third salon.
Owning two thriving businesses with a third in the works isn’t the last stop in Sam’s career. Her next goal? “Helping younger stylists. Empowering them to get to where they want to be, hopefully faster than I did. I can help put them on the right track. Listen to what they want from their career. Be a mentor.” Sam has encouraging words for up-and-coming stylists, “There’s room in the industry for everyone. It’s not just a handful of people that are elite. Now you can get noticed anywhere. Your work can shine.”
Photo Credit: All Photos rel="noopener noreferrer" Courtesy Of Sam Daly (@bottleblonde76)
Written By: Ani Palen
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