Shaping a successful future

From abandonment and growing up as an orphan to running his own hair salon: Bui Van Son’s journey

Commitment 17 May 2021

The social initiative Shaping Futures has given itself one mission: to empower people. Run by Schwarzkopf Professional, the worldwide program is dedicated to teaching disadvantaged youngsters the craft of hairdressing so they can forge a brighter future for themselves.

Shaping Futures Team

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation, which supports the initiative, we would like to share the success story of our Shaping Futures alumnus Bui Van Son in Vietnam. For Son, the hairdresser training he received through Schwarzkopf Professional's social initiative was a life-altering experience. Trained in 2012, he now has excellent long-term career prospects and even runs his own salon.

Finding his passion

Son was born in Thanh Hóa, a city in the Central Coast region of Vietnam. At the age of 13, he was abandoned by his parents and from then on grew up in the SOS Children’s Village Thanh Hóa, along with his little brother and sister. Son struggled at school and had a hard time keeping up with his classmates. However, despite not being the best academic student, Son wanted to find his calling and prove to everyone that he, too, could be successful and earn a living thanks to his ambition and determination. It didn’t take long for Son to discover his passion: hairdressing. “It was actually my uncle who introduced me to hairdressing. I realized that I liked it and that I had a talent for it,” he tells us. Following this initial encounter, Son started his training with Shaping Futures – alongside 24 other students from the SOS Children’s Villages.

Craig Smith, Son’s favorite trainer in the program


I find it hard to put the experience into words other than saying that I don’t think I will ever be the same person again – in a really cool way. I felt this massive sense of responsibility, to deliver a skill that could make the difference between a life less than ordinary… or one of hope. That responsibility has not, and will not ever leave me.


Turning his dreams into a reality

By participating in the program, Son felt like he would finally be able to prove that he could make it in life. “Shaping Futures gave me the skills to cut and dye hair, and the confidence to work with customers,” Son reports. “The program was amazing. I immediately found a job and traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, where I worked in a pretty famous salon for two years,” he continues. He was able to practice and enhance his skills on the job, and gained a lot of confidence in the process. In 2016, Son decided to move back to his hometown to open his own professional hair salon.

Son during the Shaping Futures program


Shaping Futures has given me the motivation, faith and inspiration to try my best to fulfill my dreams and aspirations, to become a professional hairdresser and have a stable future, and to help people in difficult situations like myself.

Today, Son is giving back what he once received, closing the circle of Shaping Futures. Since 2018, he has returned annually to the SOS Children’s Village where he grew up, to join the Shaping Futures training – only this time as a trainer in his own right.

Simon Ellis, International Creative Director Schwarzkopf Professional


Put someone who is passionately wanting to share with somebody who is passionately wanting to learn, and you create something special, something that is truly long-lasting – you create a career. For me, that is Shaping Futures.

How Shaping Futures evolved

Born from a small Japanese project with Cambodian street children in 2008, Shaping Futures evolved into a global initiative in 2010 when Schwarzkopf Professional partnered with the leading non-profit organization SOS Children’s Villages. Since then, the initiative has helped put over 2,500 young adults in 30 countries on a path towards a brighter future. Shaping Futures is supported by the Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation, which is committed to driving social progress.

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Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation

30 million euros donated to over 4,000 projects, supporting around 3.5 million individuals in more than 100 countries around the world: The Fritz Henkel Stiftung foundation, through which Henkel channels its social engagement as well as that of its employees and retirees, is turning 10 in 2021. The foundation is closely interconnected with Henkel but operates independently from the company. It supports projects in the fields of education and science, social issues, art and culture, fitness and health as well as environmental protection with a specific focus on promoting equal opportunities and sustainable education. For this purpose, the foundation works together with non-profit organizations and partners around the world.