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How the Elevated Stylist Retreat Went Online from StartWell in 2020

October 28, 2020

Since its inception their Salon’s ethos was rooted in a strong value for education, culture and fun – something which lead to the cofounders’ exploration of mindfulness, meditation, yoga and other wellness modalities.

Sonia Yarkhani and Jody Kezar met each other 10 years ago as hair stylists who worked together, which resulted in co-founding Evolve Salon and subsequently launching an annual event called the Elevated Stylist Retreat.

With an aim to share what they were learning, and benefit their industry as a whole, the Retreat’s aim involves building community whilst encouraging a work/life balance for hair stylists.

Innovation Despite The Pandemic

Faced with difficult decisions this year when considering whether to host a 2020 session of their Retreat, Kezar and Yarkhani embraced out of the box thinking to evolve Elevated Stylist into a hybrid event – hosted from a single physical location with a broadcast that featured in-room wellness practitioners and speakers as well as offsite presentations, all merged into a live experience for their community connecting online.



“Our experience with StartWell has been nothing but amazing, it was literally the perfect space to do our online retreat … it was good vibes all weekend and we loved it.”

– Jody Kezar, Co-Founder, Elevated Stylist Retreat


Live-streaming From StartWell

As soon as the team visited our campus and StartWell’s Hybrid Event Studio it was apparent that they understood its value for producing an intimate experience for their online community.

Watch highlights from the 2020 Elevated Stylist Retreat

With exclusive access to our Hybrid Event Studio that has its own entrance on King Street, the team felt safe and comfortable – something which seems to have translated on screen to help the 20 hours production stay engaging for the virtual audience who participated for morning yoga sessions, daytime talks and even a DJed party in the evening time. Our in-house AV team handled camera and microphone work plus live video switching to allow the production team to focus on stage content plus interacting online with participants through chat, polls and 1-on-1 video sessions.


Photos from Behind The Scenes