PASO ROBLES – Edward Tedeschi has a tattoo that stretches across his upper chest, a loyal tribute to of crew of 14 friends who grew up skating Tucker Avenue after the Paso Robles High School bell went off. His “Tucker Avenue Crew” tattoo represents every rail and ramp within the vicinity of Paso Robles, when he was living off Wayside Liquor’s 50-cent sodas and gummy snacks, reading skate mags at lunchtime and breakdancing at Oak Park.
Edward Tedeschi was part of the very first class at Pat Butler Elementary. He is the third of a long line of Paso Robles Edwards: His son Edward is the fourth of the Edwards, himself, his father Edward Jr., who owns S & M Fire Protection in San Luis Obispo, and his grandfather, all Paso Robles locals.
It would make sense that Tedeschi would want to live in Paso. Both his family and his wife’s family in Templeton would be able to help with the care of their children. But what success he had as an international talent in the cosmetology world almost kept him away for good.
He had a big offer, Senior Creative Director for Vidal Sassoon, with immediate travel dates set for Brazil and Mexico, but chose to keep a pact made between he and his wife to raise their children in the place that held the most promise for them, the place where they both grew up and had fond memories. Tedeschi grew up with his cousins, uncles and both sides of his grandparents. They wanted the same for their own children: Edward (IV), age four, and Poppy, who is five months old. Family is everything to Tedeschi, so much so that his Instragram (@edweird), is not only a collection of high fashion runway models sporting his avant garde hairdos, but also a touching display of artistic family photos of his children, branded with the telling hashtag: #familyfirst.
Paso has grown to a point when the addition of wineries, restaurants, new chefs and a certain amount of non-pretentious urbanism appeals to Tedeschi. He can still skate every day. He can ride his motorcycle and thrift shop at the local flea markets and Morro Bay antique stores. And now, to benefit the city’s advancement into the big leagues, he’s making hair artistry at The Commons Salon on 12th Street.
He and his wife bought their first home in Paso, so it’s official: Edward Tedeschi is staying. And those across the country who have grown used to Tedeschi’s work on their hair, now have to schedule in wine tastings and book into boutique hotels for their hair appointments. He has clients driving up from Orange County and flying from Boston to keep their favorite hair stylist’s hands on their hair, and his schedule is filling up fast. But the news is, he’s taking new clients.
“We always wanted to be back in Paso Robles,” Tedeschi said. He got choked up when he thought about the time his wife presented him with an envelope that revealed his wife was pregnant with Poppy. At this very moment, Tedeschi’s wife, Rebecca, received a Nor-Cal-based promotion at her own job as Senior Visual Manager in the Fashion Industry, and so the couple had to make a choice to pursue their careers forward, while at same time, raise their children.
“Both of us were very career driven at the time,” Tedeschi said. “I feel like I still am, but even after our son was born, every time we’d be driving home from visiting up here and we’d talk about it a little bit more. I think I was a little bit nervous. I always love the area but I was in this upward trend with Sassoon.”
Tedeschi’s story is one of passion and persistence. He was in a band and did a year at Cuesta College. Following one of his buddies to San Diego at age 18, Tedeschi enrolled in Grossmont College to pursue courses in business. His plan was to open up his own skate shop.
But his plans made an 180 the day one of his roommates needed a haircut.
“We were young and broke and I said, ‘Oh, I’ll do it,’ so I got these orange kitchen shears,” he said. In addition to a spontaneous haircut, he also experimented coloring his friends hair. The result was “okay” and Tedeschi said he would probably be mortified if he saw it now, but somehow, that haircut gave him thought: he liked cutting hair.
So Tedeschi moved to Orange County for Cosmetology School.
“As soon as I started it just kind of clicked,” he said. About half way through school Tedeschi felt confident in his ability and was anxious to start working in a salon setting. He had a ‘buddy’ working at Sassoon Salon in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, who talked Tedeschi into getting his hair done there.
“I was sitting there just silent,” he said. “Watching every little thing that they did and I was watching the people around me. I left there thinking, ‘I don’t know anything about cutting hair and this is where I’m gonna work.’”
Tedeschi remembered that pivotal haircut as the time when he stopped coloring hair to focus on cutting. He ditched his brushes and razors for strictly scissors and comb, trying to emulate everything he had witnessed during that haircut. Then he began trying to get Sassoon to hire him, checking in over and over, asking for work. But Sassoon kept telling him he needed a license first. So five minutes after Tedeschi found out he passed his state boards test, he called Sassoon. He started working two days after that, and learned he might not have known all he needed to know about hair from cosmetology school.
“All the things I thought I knew, they were like, ‘no, you don’t,’” but he liked the mentoring model that Sassoon salon provided. As Creative Director, he would later become a key mentor for young talent like he had been at the time, as the position is much like the ‘graduate school’ of cosmetology, where the most experienced stylists go to perfect their craft.
“I don’t want to say [I learned] the right way of cutting hair, but a specific way of doing it,” he said. “There are so many different routes. There’s no right or wrong. For me that’s what I needed.”
Tedeschi’s talent, passion, and tenacity began to pay off within his first year as an apprentice. In 2007, he was transferred to Sassoon’s Salon in Boston. He was dating his wife at the time, and she stayed behind to finish her last year at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles. He said he felt a little guilty, missing his friends and family, as his career caught stride, and he enjoyed the cultural experiences Boston provided him. But he kept on track, and soon his talent was recognized and rewarded with a promotion to Assistant Creative Director. His parents flew out to Boston to celebrate his accomplishment. This was the first time his father, Edward Jr., had ever been on a plane.
Tedeschi continued to grow with Sassoon, working in Boston for almost four years, until another promotion to Creative Director flip turned him back to the Costa Mesa Salon.
In the meantime his work was published in magazines and his collections were featured on the Sassoon websites. He’s worked many, many fashion shows, and even worked the balmy hot September Fashion Week in New York, which he thought would be the epitome of craziness, but he described as more of a backstage theatre-type experience, “fantastic, busy, and sweaty.”
He worked with Anne Fontaine and other big names, but Tedeschi doesn’t put much energy into the glitz and glamour part of his job. His passion came from mastering the art of haircutting, evolving from going for the ‘wow’ effect to perfecting the everyday hair style. He led the industry with his ideas on styles and trends, travelling to London, Barcelona, and all over the United States. He taught courses in haircutting skill work, and developed teams of new talent at world-wide Sassoon salons.
Tedeschi was on paternity leave when he was summoned to Beverly Hills for an offer to take a regional position as Senior Creative Director, a role he genuinely liked and was extremely good at. He said the offer was flattering, but gave him a panic attack at the same time because of the resolution he and his wife had made to move back home. He decided to kindly turn down Sassoon’s offer. #familyfirst.
He had been scoping out the salons in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles and had already found the Commons Salon, where every hair station has a mirror set in a wooden easle, as homage to the hair artist. The front wall is a big window, showcasing hair creativity at work. Aside from some salons in Beverly Hills, he could think of no other place around that offered a departmentalized approach to hair styling. On top of that, it would take him only five minutes to ride his motorcycle to work from the house he wanted to buy in Paso Robles.
“There are a lot of salons up here, there are some great locations, and some good people working there, but what caught my eye about this salon was the simplicity, and the fact that the emphasis was on hair. It was not a nail salon. It didn’t have a clothing boutique or this or that, and there’s nothing wrong with those places, but for me, I want people to come somewhere, where they know they’re coming there for their hair.”
Tedeschi met some of the other women working at the Commons who specialize in color and found they had a similar taste level, with plenty of talent. He felt right with The Commons’ model that allowed him to focus on cutting, so he would not have to dilute his passion. The Commons was the perfect place, so he told his wife, “Alright. We know we want to be home. We just have to go for it.”
He said the hair trends for Fall 2017 is “hard to say,” but he sees styles moving away from “static hair” where everything is pulled down. He said he’s all for bringing up some length, but not making hair over done. Hairstyles will be more loose and free-form. But one of Tedeschi’s big philosophies is keeping the hair cut suitable for his client’s lifestyle.
“I like making people look cool. Look beautiful,” he said. “I like to give them a hair style as opposed to giving them a haircut that they have to style. I think the cut should be the style as opposed to having to style the cut.”
Tedeschi will work with the color specialists to consult on the color to limit the shampooing to only once during the salon visit. He spends the time explaining the haircut to his clients. He is not opposed to bringing in a photo of what his clients want their hair to look like, even if the photo is just a picture of the bangs they want. He takes the methodical approach to each consultation, asking questions like, “How much time do you spend on your hair?” and “What do you want to say with your hair?” and he will keep in mind the client’s bone structure and body type, clothing style and professional life without making too many assumptions. He wants the haircut to work for each of his individual clients, so he’s reluctant to say he has a signature haircut. And though he has strong opinions on what will look good, he enjoys collaborating with clients and co-workers at The Commons.
Now Tedeschi has worn off the nerves from his decision. At age 33, he digging the slower pace of Paso Robles. He said he still doesn’t miss a day of skateboarding, but he’s also changing lots of diapers these days.
After working for Sassoon for 12 years, Tedeschi’s move back to Paso Robles has come at the right time for The Commons’ salon owner Lila Fuson. She’s over the moon that he decided to focus on family back home. Fuson started the Commons one year ago, and has spent years in the business. She only hires advanced, well-versed cosmetologists. “He’s an artist,” Fuson said. “And the medium is hair.”
You may contact Reporter Beth Giuffre at [email protected]atascaderonews.com for questions and/or feedback.