Alumni News

Cosmetology alum reaches back with a letter to instructor John Rogers

Award winning stylist Benita Sims praises SMC's Cosmetology training for her success at retailer Ulta.

REC'D FEB 26, 2014


Hello John,

It has been a long time since we have spoken. I hope all is going well with you in your new position and I hope you are well. I am writing because you and Santa Monica College have been on my mind lately. Since I graduated from the cosmetology program I decided to take your advice and work for a corporate company and I enjoy great success with them. I work for Ulta in the Bay area. Ulta has over 1000 stores throughout the US and their salon does amazing business. I am one of many thousand or so stylists for this company and this year I will be honored as one of their top stylists. I just found out that I am the crème of the crop (that’s what they say, LOL) for this company and rank #30 out of those thousands of stylists. I produced $101,432.05 in 2013 I am one of only 39 stylists that produced over $100K for Ulta. For this they will be honoring me in an award ceremony in Chicago in March.
     I tell you this because I was asked to explain how it is I became so successful at this job in such a short amount of time, and how it’s possible that I make it look so effortless. I immediately gave praise to Santa Monica College and all of you amazing teachers. I explain how exceptional this program is, how Mr. Dee laid it out so many years ago and how it is unlike any other program in community college, but it works for us. I told them about how Mrs. LeDonne emphases how important it is to understand the basics of hair cutting and she gave me a B in her class because my 90 degree cut was not right. LOL but trust me I learned very well. The basics gave me the foundation to be creative and are key to my success. So please tell the new group to learn the basics. Its important. I told them how you countered her with a more creative spin on hair cutting and styling and how you taught us to stay in our lane and be convenient in what we do and that there is no such thing as a bad hairstyle as long as the client likes it. I talked about Mrs. Ijames’s theory classes that make me sound so much smarter than I am; and how much fun we had in Mrs. Sue & Mrs. Gilla class and how Mrs. G and the wonderful teachers in salon held our hands and guided us every step of the way. Because of all the wet sets and blow drys I can do now do amazing blowouts. Again tell the students not to skip those lessons on hair direction, trust me it is so important.
     I knew when I started in this career that I would be successful but I could not have done it without all of you. Everything that you all taught me is being utilized on a regular basis and is being passed down to other stylists and they are very appreciative. So I thought since I talk of you all so frequently that I would take the time out to say how amazing you all are and it is because of your guidance that I am a Master 2 stylist with Ulta and producing over $100K worth of business, next year I am shooting for 200K. So when I am accepting my award at the end of March I will be accepting on behalf of all you amazing teachers. Thanks again from a very grateful student.


Benita Sims



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