“Fantastic customer service is vital,” says Mascolo. “I learned very
early on that you have to train your customers to come regularly for a
Another thing in the brothers’ favour in the early years was their
speed. “I remember Christmas Eve 1964,” says Toni. “I did 59 clients
that day and Guy did 66. We opened at 5.30am and didn’t stop until 9pm.
Then we had a few drinks with the girls in the shop to celebrate.” It’s
that sort of work ethic that set the Mascolo brothers apart.
But early on the brothers, soon to be joined by their two other
brothers, spotted an opportunity. The women would come in and ask about
haircuts for their husbands. So the Mascolos opened, what Toni claims,
was the first unisex salon in the world and the business took off.
“Then we started doing a lot of shows, and we came up with product
ideas, such as types of gel and mousse. We produced books of our hair
styles and cuts and soon we were travelling to America, Japan,
It was while Toni was in America that he came across the concept of
franchising, something the boys applied to their business and one of
the reasons for its global success. So today, the Mascolos only own 20
of the 230 UK salons outright.
But as with many Italians, it is the family that is central. “I think
working with family has a lot of advantages,” Toni says. “You work as a
team, have shared responsibilities and great loyalty. But you must have
clear job descriptions and you need to have set guidelines when it
comes to the financial side of the business.”
And there’s a good reason for this: “We used to split the profit down
the middle, Guy and I,” says Toni. “But while I would be very
economical and try to keep all the profits in the company, Guy would
spend the profits. So we decided that we would put a set amount of
money in the pot to grow the business and we would only keep our own
profits, not split both of our profit.”
Going forward, Toni says 2009 is a time for opportunities, a time when the best brands and products on the market will do well.
And despite the success and awards, he still cuts hair in his Bond
Street salon. “Where would you rather be, sat in an office all week or
in the salon talking to customers and meeting people? I love it.”
This interview was previously featured on the Telegraph Business Club website