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An Interview with a Hair Legend – Toni Mascolo: The Autobiography

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 13:15
(Left) Toni's Autobiography; (Top middle) Toni & Pauline are presented to Pope Benedict XVI; (Top right) The Mascolo Brothers; (Middle bottom) Stylish Interiors by TONI&GUY; (Bottom right) Toni receives his honorary OBE in 2008

Toni Mascolo’s autobiography is really a love story – of one man’s passionate commitment to his craft and to the people he holds dear.

Toni Mascolo’s lively, informative memoir is both captivating and, at times, a very moving account of a career spanning well over 50 years. It reflects on every aspect of his life, from the heartbreaking loss of his mother in 1962 at the age of just 45, to the thrill and pride of being a father and grandfather himself, to the privilege and honour when he and wife Pauline were presented to the Pontiff for a Papal Knighthood. The book also explains how he went from being the eldest son of a family of Italian immigrants, to the Chairman and Chief Executive of the largest and most successful hairdressing chain in the world. In an interview for ESTETICA, Toni gave us fascinating insight into the story behind the story.

Was the publication of “TONI: My Story” a long-held desire; did you always know you had a book in you?
"I have always believed it’s a story worth telling, but the decision to do so was quite recent and spontaneous. I really did wake up one morning and say to myself ‘Let’s do this’! Your book gives out a clear message that through all of life’s ‘ups and downs’ every experience can be utilised to open new doors and provide new opportunities... I am a great believer in not dwelling too much on the past, but always looking forward at what else I can achieve. What I’ve done in the book is to focus on how I’ve moved forward and endeavoured to embrace change whenever it’s been offered to me. As an entrepreneur, I believe that if you don’t change, you wither and die: you get trapped by your own philosophy and belief and it eventually strangles you. They don’t necessarily have to be huge changes, but however small they are, they need to be made with clarity and confidence."

Your book also creates a picture of a very successful man with a mission to help others to enjoy their own success...
"While planning the content of my book, the same question kept coming into my mind: ‘What for me have been the most important qualities in order to be successful?’. Of course, there’s changing and moving with the times as I’ve just mentioned, but you also need to have consistency – you need to stick at it and work towards your goals, as there is no quick fix. You also need balance and equilibrium – to keep a level head and concern yourself with all the aspects of your business, not just the ones you enjoy the most! There is also one important quality that is often overlooked – courage! If I think of something I really want, I go for it there and then. I can recall many occasions when I’ve met people who have had all the elements in place to build a really successful business, but they’ve failed because they’ve lacked courage."

We’ve said that your book is a love story The important role your family has held in your life features very strongly throughout.
"It’s no secret that we, as in many families, feel a huge closeness and sense of responsibility towards each other. Having said that, I always remember that we are all individuals and therefore each and every one of us should follow our own path and play to our own strengths. This inevitably means accepting that while we are all very united and committed as a family unit, each and every one of us has endeavoured to be true to our own philosophy and to strive towards our own destiny."

What responsibility to you feel towards the wider TONI&GUY family, working in over 500 salons around the world?
"I don’t exactly feel I am responsible for them –they are all individuals living their own lives– but I do give my own input in trying to help them to be the very best they can. Sadly, there are always those occasions when, however much I try and help salons that appear to be in difficulty, they have their own agenda and I end up feeling as though I’ve been stabbed in the back. There has even been an incident where I’ve helped a franchisee out of a financial hole, only to discover that the moment they’re back on their feet they go into direct competition with me by opening a salon along the road! I don’t dwell on it though, they’re the ones who have to live with themselves afterwards, not I. Thankfully, the good news stories far outweigh the bad ones!"

You write in some detail about the TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation, which you set it up with your wife Pauline in 2003.
"It’s become a very important part of our lives. Our charitable work in the UK began with us supporting the Variety Club, then things took off in 2003 when Pauline and I visited King’s College Hospital in London and we realised how many children’s lives could be saved by being able to open a new ward. We’ve raised over £700,000 so far, which has gone towards completing a state-of-the-art ward at the hospital. Over 95% on the funds we raise go directly towards financing the ward, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. On top of all your other achievements you’ve even introduced your own pasta sauce!

  • So do you have any thoughts on retirement?
  • "Retirement? I haven’t even got time to think about it!"

Toni's book is available to buy now from www.amazon.com

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