Maria McCool has never been one to blindly accept the status quo. The co-owner of Calista Grand Salon and Spa and Calista TOOLS founder, began her career by defying the conventional thinking of her high school teachers. She entered herself into cosmetology school before her 16th birthday.
Her determination is a common thread in her life long career, leading into the creation of Calista TOOLS, a revolutionary hair care system that delivers the previously impossible: lustrous, healthy locks with modern, high performance style.
"I saw a huge selection of hair care products in the market that only performed one thing says," Maria McCool. "Many lines nourished the hair or added shine, but didn't help create fashion-forward styles. While others delivered the latest styles, the ingredients used, would jeopardize the integrity of the hair. I knew there had to be a way to create a formula that would nourish and strengthen the hair and deliver high fashionable styles."
McCool's career, in addition to being behind the chair, started as a competitive hairdresser winning many national titles, evolved into an international educator and platform artist for companies including Paul Mitchell, Aveda and Eugene Perma of Paris. As a salon owner and image specialist it was natural for McCool to pour her vast knowledge into formulating Calista TOOLS, launching the brand on QVC in 2007.
Stepping into the QVC limelight was a sort of homecoming for McCool. "My team and I first started working with QVC in 1994, servicing the hosts with their on-air looks," she recalls. "We formed a trusted relationship that continues to this day. I enjoy working with the talent, polishing their image from head to toe."
The Calista TOOLS line now offers fourteen styling and cleansing products. Each contains innovative components like Pro-Element that drive vital nutrients and select minerals deep into the hair and scalp. Argan oil is the latest ingredient being used in the line for superior weightless conditioning.
McCool isn't about to stop seeking innovations that serve her growing fan base. She prides herself on creating personalized looks, and great style. She is forever seeking out potential industry breakthroughs and her attention to detail shines through in everything she does.
Serendipitous synchronicity has been a running theme in McCool's journey. She recalls a fortuitous day back in 1989. She had been mulling over names for the opening of the first full-service spa and salon in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her car broke down in front of a bookstore so she seized the moment and bought a baby names book. "As I was sitting there waiting for the tow truck, I opened to a page with 'Calista' up top," she says. Derived from the Greek kalos 'beautiful', Calista means 'most beautiful.' It was perfect, Donald Moore, my partner and I opened Calista later that year. We now employ 80 people, many of whom were with us on our first day."
Between her image consulting business, Calista Grand Salon and Spa, and the Calista Tools product line, Maria manages to thoroughly enjoy her three children and all their sports, hobbies and energy levels which seem to match their mom's. "It's hard for me to believe that when I was the age of my oldest child, thirteen, I was giving my first perm and cut to someone other than my dolls." McCool says she remains as excited about her work since then "I love the art of transformation," she says. "But the true reward is seeing a woman light up with delight, when we uncover her true beauty."