Beauty business takes passion and people skills
To Maurice Fiorio, hair is serious business.
The styling veteran has been in the industry for 42 years, is the spokesperson for Revlon Professional, and has a chain of 10 salons, named Fiorio, across the Greater Toronto Area.
He also runs an academy, and is a regular on City Line with Marilyn Dennis.
He credits his success to a life-long passion, as well as smart business sense, and good people skills.
“To break in (to the business), you have to love people, fashion, beauty. You have to present well, and passion is a key element,” he said. “Go into a school that can teach technique for colour and cutting with an emphasis on presentation, and a compassion for people, to understand their needs.”
Fiorio started his career in Lille, France, first as an apprentice in a salon, then getting both his licence and his masters — which is not a component found in North America — within eight years.
He said his passion for hair started with his mother who cut his hair as a teen in the mid-’60s.
“My friends at school were envious of my hair because they all had buzz cuts, and I had a bouffant,” he said. “They couldn’t get theirs that way because the barber wouldn’t do it, so they begged me to have my mother cut their hair. When I saw what it did to their emotional aspect of being, when I saw how hair could affect you, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
In Canada, it generally takes seven years to achieve a licence, along with a year of school and a year as an apprentice. Fiorio said that before taking the step to owning a salon, one should have at least five- to-10 years of experience, and a steady regular clientele. “If you can’t keep clientele at the salon you are working for, don’t even think about opening your own,” he said.
Starting out can be a costly venture that can easily run up to a quarter of a million dollars.
“That is for a decent salon that is well put together, with six to eight cutting stations, six colour stations, and six washing stations,” Fiorio said.
Keeping technique fresh is vital to staying on top of the industry. Shows and seminars for colour, styling, and cutting are a must, and are often provided as incentives from companies whose products are endorsed by the salon.
Above all, know how to treat clients right.
“The successful salons are managed well, and the person in charge is a great motivator and people person,” he said. “They are on the front line with the clients like a maitre d’ at a restaurant, directing everyone and providing great service.”
Visit Maurice Fiorio’s website at: www.fiorio.com