Cosmetology has always been more than a career choice for Julie Raridon.
"For as long as I can remember, I have loved studying hairstyles and figuring out how the hairstylist accomplished the color, highlights, updo or haircut," she said. "It is never just a finished look to me but many steps on the journey to how and why the completed style looks the way it does."
It made sense for Raridon to become both a hairstylist and an educator, and she found work in salons and at various private schools. She currently operates a home salon and teaches in College of DuPage's Cosmetology program, where she enjoys sharing technical skills along with the business of building and retaining clientele. She likes to create a classroom atmosphere where students are engaged and enjoying themselves as they learn.
"Upon leaving COD, I hope my students feel skilled and talented as hairstylists and equipped with the knowledge that the sky's the limit in this profession," she said. "There are so many components to salon life, but my students leave more than ready to begin their career. I hope they always remember some of their beginning skills as these will follow you forever, which they then can share with other stylists they meet during their careers."
Raridon has always been inspired by people with great work ethics who are dedicated to their beliefs, and she cites her mother as a prime example.
"She persevered and always showed great leadership in both her everyday and professional life. She taught me to be where you are: At work be present, at home be present. I try to keep that in my mind every day," she said.
"I believe this industry thrives during hard economic times, and it gives me great satisfaction to share my knowledge with my students. Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and many hairstylists are very giving people. Every day in the salon is a new day, with a new canvas to explore."