Recognized as one of the top 20 hairdressers in the USA, Frank Gambuzza is president-elect of Intercoiffure America/Canada, the global leading association of the hair industry’s elite, and co-owner of Salon Visage, one of America’s most acclaimed salons, with his wife and partner Belinda.
Estetica had the pleasure of interviewing Frank Gambuzza, and we’re thrilled to share our exclusive interview with you!
1. What do you think 2015 has in store for you, specially concerning your new role at Intercoiffure America/Canada?
“I’m very excited about my new role as President of Intercoiffure America/Canada. It will be much like my first time opening a salon again, and I will approach it with the same enthusiasm and business principles we use at Salon Visage and our other brands. I also know my 25 years with the organization, 15 of that on serving on the board, and the support I’ve already received will allow me to hit the ground running.”
2. What makes an association like Intercoiffure different than anything else?
“The goal behind Intercoiffure since it was established in Paris over 100 years ago has been to bring together not only the most talented and creative stylists in the world, but also people who are successful and respected business owners. It’s unique in that you can’t just write a check and become a member. You have to be recommended by a current member to join. I intend to celebrate that history while embracing the future of where the beauty industry is headed.”
3. Looking back in your life, what have you done to not get lost in the crowd?
“I’ve listened to and heeded the advice of good mentors, one of whom told me, ‘If everyone else is going left, you go right.’ They taught me if you settle for mediocrity you’ll get lost in the crowd. If you strive for excellence, you’ll stand out.”
4. What moment has been the most rewarding in your career?
“When I was 16 I won a New Jersey state haircutting championship. It showed me I had the wings to fly and gave me confidence in what I was doing. Incidentally, I wasn’t licensed yet, and they tried to take it away from me. My boss at the time told the board “If you’re coming to get this award, you better not come alone. The kid won it fair and square!”
5. Who’s your hairstyling idol, and why?
“I have a few but particularly Joe Lupo who was my first teacher and still the best barber I’ve ever known. Vidal Sassoon for his vision, longevity of his impact in the business and his non-negotiable standards. And Aldo Coppola because of his rule-breaking creativity and ability to always invent his own newness.”
6. What’s your greatest strength?
“My greatest strength would have to be the ability to connect people in a non-conditional way and bridge meaningful relationships. It most likely is the result of growing up the middle child of five boys.”
7. What’s something most people don’t expect from you?
“That I am extremely conservative when it comes to business. Most people look at hairdressers as edgy and not always business savvy. Our accountant primarily works for doctors and lawyers, and he told me one time I am the most conservative of all his clients.”
8. What’s the best two cents someone’s ever given you in the industry?
“Well it wasn’t just two cents it was actually 100! “There are only 100 pennies in every dollar.” This advice helped me understand profitability and that if I want to make sure I get paid as an owner, I had better start with that goal and work my business plan back from there, a method known in the financial world as “reverse engineering.”
9. If you could have dinner with 3 people dead or alive who would they be and why?
“Jesus – He was the only person to ever live on earth and never sin. A fact that has never been disputed.
Walt Disney – He didn’t give up on his dream to build the “Happiest Place on Earth” despite being turned down 302 times for financing.
Frank Sinatra – As a kid who grew up on the streets of New Jersey as I did, I’d love to hear about the early years and how he came from where he did to become one of the most beloved entertainers of all time.”
10. What inspires you most often?
“Change. We tend to think, “When I get there, then I can breathe easier or not have to work so hard.” The reality is there is no ‘there.’ That’s not to say we can’t be proud of where we are and what we’ve accomplished. My goal is to get better every day than the day before no matter where I am. That’s what keeps me going. “