Meet the Owners of Innovate Salon Academy

Some of the greatest businesses ever started were ones that set out to solve a problem. The focus is on making the industry and world a better place for everyone else in it. For the owners of Innovate Salon Academy, the story is no different! Our owners, John Sickles, Donna Hernandez, and Sean Sickles all set out with their 75 combined years of experience to educate and train outstanding cosmetologists.

The Beginning of Innovate Salon Academy

John and Donna both own salons of their own. John founded the Jon Lori Salon 32 years ago, and Donna founded Color Bar 51 and Tangled Up. Sean has worked in salons for much of his life. Each of them observed a tremendous problem with the cosmetologists that came to work at their salons: The students were not equipped to be successful. Most of them learned the basics of cutting and coloring hair, but many of them did not have the skillset to be effective in a salon. These students were prepared to pass the state board, but not prepared to impress employers.

To address this problem, John, Donna, and Sean worked together to create Innovate Salon Academy. Their goal is to educate and train cosmetologists that they would be proud to hire for their own salons. The founders want their graduates to not only pass the state board, but to make strong impressions with employers.

“We want our students to be as salon-ready as possible coming out of beauty school. Not just to pass the state board, but ready to work at salons. Many salon owners now won’t take students from other schools because they know our students are trained better than the rest.” -Donna Hernandez

An Attitude of Positive Impact

When asked about why they love working in the beauty industry, the owners say that it’s because they enjoy making a positive impact in the lives of others. As owners of both salons and beauty schools, these owners get to see their students not only during their education, but long afterwards. Since many students continue to become stylists at their salons or educators at Innovate, John, Donna, and Sean get to see how their students succeed after graduation. They find a large sense of satisfaction when they get to watch their graduates move on from school to start careers, buy homes, and have children. It’s enriching to be a part of the process!

John, Donna, and Sean all agree that the best part of working at Innovate Salon Academy is the students. Their passion and excitement is contagious, and it makes it easy for the owners to strive to provide the best beauty school experience possible. Many students are finally pursuing a career they have wanted for a long time, so joining them on the journey is thrilling!

The Innovate Salon Academy Name

Innovate Salon Academy is a school built for students in New Jersey. From top to bottom, the brand and identity is all about that innovative east coast style that has become world-renowned. For this reason, Innovate Salon Academy encourages students to participate in the larger fashion world. New York City is a brief 45 minute commute from our South Plainfield campus, which allows students the opportunity to explore fashion as the world sees it, not as a corporate franchise would have them see it. The Innovate Salon Academy name is all about being a trend-setter on the leading edge of modern style.

Join the Family!

Innovate Salon Academy offers courses in cosmetology, esthetics, and barbering with an emphasis in modern fashion education. Which career has been your lifelong passion? Start your new life with an Innovate education! Reach out to us for more information on how to get started!

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4985 Stelton Road ( Hadley Ctr )
South Plainfield, NJ 07080


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Innovate Salon Academy
712 Route 70
Brick, NJ 08723


25 Scotch Road
Ewing Township, NJ 08628


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