The most trusted name in beauty education, Pivot Point International is continuously innovating to meet our industry’s changing needs. Three generations of Passage family leadership – all beauty school graduates and licensed beauty professionals – have committed to Leo’s legacy of doing what’s right, making a difference and never compromising integrity, ethics or trust.
Focused exclusively on the beauty industry, Pivot Point’s technology platform, educational curriculum, tools, kits and mannequins are trusted by industry professionals and hundreds of thousands of students on six continents each year. Global expansion began in the 1960s with Australia and Scandinavia, continued throughout the ’70s to the rest of Europe and, in the ’80s and ’90s, across Asia and Latin America, extending Pivot Point’s reach worldwide.
THE PURSUIT OF PURPOSE
As a teenager, Leo Passage assists in his father’s barbershop in Belgium. Leo soon moves to The Netherlands to apprentice in a salon owned by a friend of his father’s—who happened to be the president of the Dutch Hairdressing Federation—and becomes inspired by beautiful hair and the creative world of competition.
“Seek and appreciate the best mentors in your life. Surround yourself with people who have a positive attitude and always believe in you. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning and make your career a hobby so you have fun doing it.” — Leo Passage
AN ICON EMERGES
Leo wins more than 100 European competition awards, including the Championship of Holland in 1957 and receives an invitation to join the Dutch Olympic Hairdressing Team. Leo would later be recognized by Modern Salon as one of the top 50 hairdressers of all time.
THE FIRST PIVOT POINT SCHOOL OPENS
With a deep desire to share his knowledge and talents, Leo opens a beauty school in Chicago, offering classes to both professionals and students. He starts with five students and would eventually grow it into a network of millions around the globe. Pivot Point is born!
“I use the terminology of design and analysis that was proven already in many other areas. Break it down and put everything back together. I was able to share that with my peers and it made sense.” — Pivot Point Founder & Chairman, Leo Passage
OUR ROOTS, OUR INSPIRATION, OUR LEGACY
Inspired by the teachings of the Bauhaus, the most celebrated Arts & Crafts school of the 20th century, Leo establishes the first design philosophy for hair: The Scientific Approach to Hair Design. Northwestern University and the Art Institute of Chicago verify and ensure correct design terminology is used in Leo’s education, which utilizes terms previously restricted to the traditional design arts, such as architecture, painting and sculpture.
“An object is determined by its nature. In order to design it so that it functions correctly—a container, a chair, a house—it is necessary to study its nature.” — Master Architect and Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius
SHARING PIVOT POINT EDUCATION WITH THE INDUSTRY
As more and more schools ask if they can teach Pivot Point’s unique design system, Leo builds a Member School network. Approved schools that adopt the Scientific Approach to Hair Design can proudly display the Accredited Pivot Point School logo. Translations allow expansion into Puerto Rico and Europe in the late 1960s.
“We knew that our concept was right, and that we could bring hairdressing education into something everyone around the world would benefit from.” — Leo Passage
CREATING A BETTER MANNEQUIN
As the company’s reputation and influence continue to grow, Pivot Point collaborates with custom hair manufacturers to design new, high-quality mannequins that are hand-implanted to mimic natural hair growth patterns and densities – offering the most life-like and realistic learning experience to students and professionals. Hair manufacturing partner, Mr. Pang (Pang Kam Chiu), is very influential in the hair and beauty industry and extends the global reach of Pivot Point education into Asia.
“Most of the major manufacturers in our industry use Pivot Point hair because it showcases their products very well. What’s unique about Pivot Point products is that they are as real as it gets. We want our mannequins to act like they would on a real live client, day to day. Our hair is implanted the same way it would grow on a human head.” — Robert Passage, Leo’s son and current Chairman & CEO, Pivot Point International
WORKING TOWARD A MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Leo Passage invents the first ever Slip-On mannequin. This innovation allows a stylist to utilize one single head form with a variety of hair lengths, colors and textures, and marks Pivot Point’s crucial first step toward creating more environmentally-friendly solutions.
“Never compromise integrity, ethics or doing what is right.” — Leo Passage
SHARING PIVOT POINT EDUCATION WITH THE WORLD
Pivot Point receives permission from the U.S. government to participate in a history-making exchange with Chinese vocational educators and tour mainland China. Leo Passage and a crew from Pivot Point schools around the world were the first to visit the People’s Republic of China after U.S. President Nixon’s famous visit. Widely seen as a breakthrough in education, professional exchange and international communications, this historic spring tour opened new frontiers all over the global beauty industry.
A NEW BENCHMARK FOR BEAUTY EDUCATION
Pivot Point’s Scientific Approach sets a new benchmark for hair education by defining a universal design language and logical concepts that explain “why” techniques produce predictable results as well as “how” to perform them. Four basic length arrangements and their combinations are identified and color-coded for consistent reference in all future libraries. Mathematics professors help develop accurate terminology that can be translated into different languages. This becomes one of Pivot Point’s most widely translated education programs, and its timeless concepts continue to be taught all over the world.
“At Pivot Point, we believe in the importance of teaching a hair designer the why behind the how something works. Knowing how only results in technical skills. Knowing why allows the freedom to create.” — Leo Passage
SEE. THINK. CREATE. ADAPT.
Pivot Point’s Modular Sculpting System is launched, an innovative hair system that begins with a head form and progresses from smaller to larger hair pieces positioned on sections of the head, designed to teach hairstyling techniques from simple to complex. The program is first released for ladies sculpture, and would then be specifically redesigned to support each new Scientific Approach course as each is developed.
“I usually connect our design education to music. How do you learn music? One note at a time. Learn your notes, and create music compositions. Designing hair is similar: learn your components and you can compose hair designs, no matter how trends change.” — Leo Passage
MAKING COMPETITION ACCESSIBLE
Pivot Point mannequins are approved for OMC Hairworld and Worldskills competitions. This gives young designers the opportunity to compete more affordably than professionals who work with live models. Leo puts a strong emphasis on competition as a creative outlet to channel skills and challenge hair designers. Pivot Point would continue to support and sponsor competitions throughout the world for students and professionals.
THE FIRST ONE-STOP SHOP FOR BEAUTY SCHOOLS
By making educational content, hair and tools available in one place, Pivot Point becomes the first single-source school supplier. Student kit options are highly customizable and have been market-tested by students, educators and professionals.
“Having a Pivot Point Academy and understanding the day-to-day activities of running a school provides us with a unique research-and-development competitive advantage.” — Robert Passage
A PIONEER IN TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN EDUCATION
Pivot Point pioneers video education on interactive laser disc and adds barcodes to student coursebooks and teacher support materials to quickly access specific frames, video segments and slow-motion playback. This innovative approach to education gives educators control and makes it easier for students to stay on track.
“So we’re talking continuous education, lifelong learning for all of us. Our education and how we deliver it continues to evolve.” — Leo Passage
COMMITTED TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) becomes Pivot Point International’s charity of choice, spearheaded by Leo’s daughter, Corrine Passage, and schools participate in nationwide Cut-A-Thons to support the mission. Pivot Point Cares for Kids™, created to support the international efforts of the NCMEC, communicates important safety information and raises funds that helps continue NCMEC’s important work. Over the years, Pivot Point has raised over $1,000,000 to support the nonprofit organization.
“Like many high schools and colleges across the country, we want our students to recognize the importance of community service to their own professional development.” — Corrine Passage, (1962-2012) Leo’s daughter and Pivot Point’s Senior Vice President, Production and Systems Development
RECOGNITION BY OUR PEERS
Pivot Point wins six America’s Best Beauty Industry Efforts for Salons – including Best Salon Industry Education Program, Best Print and Electronic Education, and Best Direct to Salon Communication. As one of the industry’s most-honored organizations, Pivot Point has been recognized by Intercoiffure, the National Cosmetologists Association, NACCAS, City of Hope, the Cosmetology Hall of Fame, HairAmerica, HairWorld and Beauty Changes Lives, among other prestigious organizations.
WORKING TOWARD A MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Pivot Point introduces Snap Cap, a more environmentally-friendly mannequin, eliminating waste and saving space. Snap Caps are designed with hollow headforms and replaceable caps, eliminating the foam fill inside a traditional mannequin.
“The significance of one headform is that after the product is used, a cap can be discarded and a new cap can be used on that same headform. This reduces our environmental impact and still provides a premium experience. ” — Brandon Passage, Leo’s grandson, 4th-generation hairdresser, and Senior Director of Hair Product Management
DIGITAL LEARNING EVOLVED
Artist Access, Pivot Point’s online learning system is launched. Designed for use in the classroom and at home, students and educators can now access all learning materials anytime, anywhere.
“Our goal is to stay at the forefront of educational strategies, hair trends, fashions and techniques on a global basis, and deliver these through the latest technologies and media, such as e-Learning.” — Leo Passage
DOING WHAT’S RIGHT
Pivot Point is SA8000-certificated on all of its manufactured hair products to guard against forced labor, provide workers with safe working environments, respect the rights of workers to join unions and practice zero-tolerance for discrimination. The #LookfortheTag campaign emerges to bring recognition to Pivot Point mannequins all having this certification.
“The SA8000 certification affords our partners the confidence that our educational hair goods are produced in sanctioned conditions. My father often said, ‘People are at the core of our business.’ Our moral compass must continually guide decision-making, including our commitment to lead with integrity.” — Robert Passage
THE NEXT EVOLUTION OF ONLINE LEARNING
Pivot Point introduces LAB (Learn About Beauty), a groundbreaking online learning platform built specifically for the beauty industry. LAB combines best-in-class educational content with a collaborative ecosystem that supports multiple learning styles, capturing the progress of learners within a social learning platform. Communities of learners are encouraged to collaborate and share accomplishments through activities, games and feedback – blurring the lines between learning and fun.
“Learners prefer to actively discover information, rather than have it told to them. They enjoy collaborating with peers, getting feedback along the way and expect to do it all digitally.” — Sabine Held-Perez, Assistant Vice President of Education Strategy & Development
SUPPORTING STUDENTS THROUGH SCHOLARSHIPS
The Passage family establishes a $1 million endowment fund with Beauty Changes Lives in remembrance of Pivot Point founder Leo Passage. The fund supports student scholarships and lifelong learning to encourage students and professionals to continue their journeys in beauty and wellness.
“My mother and I knew that a great way to honor my father’s legacy would be through an endowment to Beauty Changes Lives in his name. My father believed wholeheartedly in providing hair, beauty and wellness professionals a thorough and complete education in their craft, as well as how to be successful.” — Robert Passage
Specifically designed for the digital environment and a blended learning experience, the launch of Pivot Point Fundamentals offers a flexible and modularized library for Cosmetology (2016), Barbering (2018), Esthetics (2020) and Nails (2022), focusing on teaching students to be successful professionals. Pivot Point Fundamentals is a comprehensive beauty education library designed for successful licensure pass rates and entry-level proficiency. Pivot Point’s extensive involvement in the professional industry helps create curriculum designed to make students more “salon-ready.”
“Technical skills are only one part of the overall service. The details leading up to the service and after the service should not be overlooked.” — Vasiliki Stravrakis, Senior Director of Education Research
WORKING TOWARD A MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Pivot Point introduces the next generation of Snap Cap, Snap Cap 2. The new iteration of the eco-friendly foamless alternative to traditional mannequins is much easier to use through engineering enhancements, without sacrificing the high-quality hair students and professionals have come to expect from Pivot Point.
“It’s important to not only reduce our environmental impact, but also train our customers to get the most out of their hair. A single piece of hair can be used for a dozen or more exercises.” — Brandon Passage
BRINGING TEXTURE EDUCATION FRONT AND CENTER
Pivot Point increases the portfolio of textured hair mannequins and offers a wider range of curl patterns – from wavy to coily – so that students can build a more diverse skillset and be confident working on all hair textures.
“At Pivot Point, we stand for justice, equality and fair and respectful treatment of all people. Doing what’s right and making a difference are central to our core values. Accordingly, we will do everything we can to foster social change. From our earliest days, Pivot Point has striven to keep our eyes, ears and hearts open to the needs and wants of communities of color around the world. We recognize the contributions people of color have made to the beauty industry and believe our industry is better because of them.” — Robert Passage
A BETTER TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION
To support schools during the pandemic, Pivot Point’s new technology platform LAB 2.0 is launched. Schools are transitioned to the new platform quickly, including hundreds of new customers who can now offer distance learning and time tracking to their students.
“We understood that the COVID-19 health crisis would create uncertainty and cause significant disruptions for everyone, including schools in our industry. As an education partner, we knew the importance of supporting them during these difficult times as they transitioned to remote learning seemingly overnight.” — Corey Passage, Leo’s grandson, 4th-generation hairdresser and Pivot Point’s Digital Marketing & E-Commerce Senior Manager
WORKING TOWARD A MORE SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
The educationally inspired and environmentally conscious Slip-On mannequins are brought back to Pivot Point’s comprehensive portfolio of products to add another eco-friendly alternative to traditional mannequins. The all-new launch of the re-envisioned and historically important learning tool allows up to 51 workshops in a single shipping box. Benefits include more hair for less cost, lower shipping costs and space-saving design and the reduction of hair waste with a specially designed curriculum flowchart.
COMMITTED TO SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Pivot Point is recognized by Loyola University of Chicago’s Family Business Center for outstanding efforts on behalf of the environment, the professional community, business partners and employees.
“Ethics drives all of the decisions we make.” — Corey Passage
Pivot Point Academy was awarded the Golden School Award as School of the Year at the annual American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS) conference in New Orleans. Pivot Point Academy was recognized in the tier one category, which includes school groups with less than 400 total students.
The academy, located in Bloomingdale, IL, is co-owned by Denise Provenzano, Frank Ellermeyer and Pivot Point International. Denise, also the owner of the Zano chain of salons and spas, manages the school’s day-to-day operations with a strong focus on graduates’ salon readiness. Frank, former Chief Technology Officer of McDonald’s Corporation and Cloud Executive Advisor at Amazon Web Services Cloud, manages the school’s digital strategies and marketing.
CONTRIBUTING TO A MORE JUST WORLD
Pivot Point continues to commit to a more equitable world by providing tools and inspiration to support diversity and inclusion across our industry. These include publishing an industry-specific DEI-B (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) reference guide for schools, special mannequins to help beauty schools more effectively teach texture, adding additional texture content to our learning platform and launching a competition to give learners and their instructors professional industry recognition for their texture designs.
Watch this space for future Pivot Point milestones, innovations and achievements…
Pivot Point will continue to represent the best of our industry – providing cutting-edge content, tools and technology that empower schools, educators, learners, salons and beauty professionals to enjoy their greatest success. We invite you to be part of the story!
To quote Pivot Point’s original textbook A Scientific Approach to Hair Design – “This book does not end on the final page. It begins here.”
THROUGH THE YEARS AND INTO THE FUTURE. Leo's guiding spirit and passion remain with us today—and will endure tomorrow.Gallery
" In life, we start here and end there. What we do in between makes a difference. "
Immigrant, hairdresser, competitor, teacher, innovator, artist, leader. Leo’s journey from humble beginnings to industry icon helped millions find their true potential through education. Run time: 1 hour and 29 minutes.Watch Now
Positively impact learning and development within the global hair, beauty and wellness industries; fostering sustainable careers that endure.Learn More
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