TIGI: The Next Chapter
After the loss of his brother and his passion, Anthony Mascolo is back and more inspired than ever!
TIGI: The Next Chapter
Family, Passion and the American Dream
By Mary Rector-Gable
Photography by Alex Barron-Hough and Mauro Carraro
There’s something about authenticity in our industry. We’re built on it, and you just can’t fake it till you make it. You either have it or you don’t, and if you don’t, you might as well catch the next bus out of the business. It’s as easy for hairdressers to spot a fake as it is for them to raise an eyebrow when a client swears nobody has touched her hair since her last appointment.
So, it’s no wonder that hairdressers love other hairdressers who have as much passion for hair as they do. Now imagine a hairdresser whose passion was so unrelenting, that to make his dreams come true, he uprooted his family, moved to a country where he didn’t speak the language and opened a salon where he worked 12 hours a day to create new opportunities for his wife and children. You’d root for him, wouldn’t you?
And what if that family of hairdressers went on to risk everything again, this time by one of the brothers moving to America to pioneer the dream…but lost it all again and again? And finally after starting and stopping three times, imagine if they finally did it—if all the right pieces fell into all the right places, and they made it big. You’d definitely celebrate with them, because only another hairdresser can possibly understand how hard it is to be successful in this business. Success doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Mostly, it doesn’t happen without passion. And while passion is great in the good times, every hairdresser knows that passion is the ONLY thing that keeps you going in the worst of times.
THE FIRST CHAPTER
Sixty-one years ago, Franco Mascolo moved his five sons from Italy to London, and launched what has become a hairdressing dynasty. For as long as any of us can remember, the Mascolo name has been synonymous with the very best of hairdressing. By moving to London, Franco was able to help his sons Toni and Guy open the first salon in Clapham, and through his coaching, he kept guiding them to open better locations. Mayfair was the next salon, and it was there that they began to offer education while serving clients. Franco’s sons Anthony and Bruno soon began traveling all over the world, while Guy and Toni stayed back to make sure the business was thriving.
Following in their father’s footsteps, Guy and Bruno decided to cross the big pond and capture the American dream. It didn’t happen overnight. The first time Bruno tried, he met some unscrupulous investors and was cheated out of his money and had to go back to London. He had fallen in love with the American Dream and convinced his brothers to send him back to try for a second time. Again, he met even more unscrupulous people who cheated him out of even more money, and he had to go home. This time his brothers were reluctant to give him any more of their money, and he had to sell his house, his car and everything he owned to go back. But something magical happened this time. Bruno realized the first two times he hadn’t fully committed himself, but this time, he had nothing to go back to, and he was committed to making it work.
In 1985, Bruno finally launched TONI&GUY in America, and Guy quickly followed to help him build the American Dream. Capitalizing on education, they had the opportunity to build a network of distributors and felt it was the right time to start a product line. At that point, two brothers were in the UK and two in the U.S. The education was exemplary; the trends were ahead of the curve and thousands of stylists, salon owners and even educators from other companies became a part of the education network.
These were incredibly fruitful years for Anthony Mascolo creatively—he was creating styles and doing intricate work that nobody had ever seen before. The awards were piling up—three British Hairdresser of the Year trophies by the time he was in his mid-30s. But his creativity was outpacing his tools—he was frustrated by the lack of products that met his needs to bring his visions to life. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so he and Bruno decided they would create their own products. They formed a new company called TIGI. At this point, Bruno’s wife, Kyara Mascolo, joined the company and thanks to Kyara’s innovation in product development and Anthony’s innovative images, the company launched its first product—The Bedhead Stick—and began what would become one of the industry’s most innovative and successful product companies in history.
Fast forward 29 years. Bedhead and Catwalk have become two of the most celebrated lines ever launched. Then there was the innovation of color—copyright©olour—and prestige hair care with S-Factor and Hair Reborn. Who can forget the world’s most elaborate hair shows and the company’s greatest asset—the largest education team in the world? The journey wasn’t easy. There were many struggles, but the success has been sweeter because of the bumps in the road, and success has never been taken for granted.
Like so many other entrepreneurs, you’d probably expect TIGI would have been sold, and the Mascolos would be living on some warm island enjoying the fruits of their labor. Well, in fact, the first part of that statement is true. TIGI was purchased by a large company—Unilever— in 2009 to incubate innovation and provide creative insight, while at the same time benefitting from Unilever’s Global scale, reach and technology. But the second part seems almost ridiculous if you stop to think about how the story began. The Mascolo family risked everything for their dream, for their passion and for their love of hairdressing. They had no intention of walking away from the industry they love to the core.
THE CHAPTER NOBODY WANTED WRITTEN
In early 2009, when Unilever purchased TIGI, Bruno and Guy retained the TONI&GUY salons and schools in the U.S. and Anthony stayed on at TIGI in London as Creative Director. Then, the unthinkable happened. Just two months after the sale, Guy Mascolo died suddenly of a massive heart attack. In an instant, Zak Mascolo, Guy’s son and a budding hairdresser, lost his father, and Bruno and Anthony lost their brother and best friend.
Guy was Anthony’s older brother, and his death sent Anthony on a dark journey of sadness that he freely admits was (and still is) hard for him and his family—personally and professionally. “After Guy died, I lost my interest in being creative; I lost my passion for pretty much everything,” Anthony reveals. He also admits that not being at the creative wheel to steer the direction of TIGI allowed the company to move in some directions he might not have chosen at the time. “We became too consumer focused and lost touch with our roots—hairdressers,” he reflects. “It was such a hard time. The loss of my brother disconnected our brand and our extended family. We were all dealing with it differently, and we lost our way as a family and lost what our brand has always represented.”
But, as Anthony has done many times throughout his life, he found his way back through his artistry. An award-winning hairdresser and photographer, he started putting together personal projects—photo shoots, films, digital experiments—that were often not even hair related. “To get back to the days of my greatest inspiration and creativity, I needed an outlet—a creative space where I could rediscover my passion and do whatever I felt the urge to do creatively. So, Pat (his wife) and I purchased a wonderful old building in London called The Library, and made it our personal creative space. There we can be artists and create whatever we want, whenever we feel the need.”
The momentum from his personal projects has led to a massive creative renaissance that is far-reaching. His latest shoot for TIGI’s S-Factor brand is a perfect example. It’s cool, irreverent, cheeky and gorgeous—quintessential Anthony Mascolo—and his excitement when talking about the images and the short film that he made to document the shoot is contagious. “It’s all about WAG’s,” he says. (WAG’s stands for “Wives and Girlfriends” for those true Americans out there.) “That’s the European term for the whole glamorous, red carpet, Kardashian thing. It’s a simple idea that I’ve wanted to do for ages—one girl done three ways. She’s arriving at the club, she’s surrounded by a million photographers, she’s leaving the club later that night. We’re telling a little story. Most of all, we’re showing hair that I really think hairdressers will want to see.” And with this project for S-Factor, the restoration of TIGI is off and running.
THE NEXT CHAPTER OF TIGI
It’s clear by now that Anthony’s a family man. His family includes blood relatives—Pat Mascolo, his wife of 29 years and the steady hand and creative eye behind nearly every makeup design in every TIGI image; plus his brother Bruno, and nephew Zak. It also includes his extended TIGI family in London—including Tom Monaghan, TIGI Global President; Global Creative Director Nick Irwin; Global Creative Technical Director Christel Lundqvist; European Creative Director Akos Bodi; European Session Director Maria Kovacs; Creative Director Italy Marco Lafrate; Mike Esa, Show Director and Jiv D, Clothing Stylist. There’s his U.S. family—the U.S. TIGI team, including U.S. Head of Education Thomas Osborn and U.S. Technical Director Richy Kandasamy. And now Anthony is proud to welcome to the TIGI family—TIGI Americas General Manager, Elisa Fischer.
Elisa Fischer is no stranger to turning around brands that have strayed from hairdressers’ radar. She’s a bona fide member of the beauty industry “tribe.” She started her career at L’Oréal Professionnel, then moved to Matrix, where her responsibilities varied through the years, including spearheading the comeback of Logics and becoming Matrix Vice President of Marketing, where she was responsible for developing one of the “bring Matrix back to the hairdresser” campaigns called Spread the Love. From there, she was happily serving as Vice President of Sales at Redken and Pureology when she met TIGI Global President Tom Monaghan at a hair show last year. Tom knew the ebullient Fischer was a rising star in the beauty industry and wanted to chat. Ultimately, he invited Elisa to take the helm at TIGI in the U.S. “I was absolutely happy doing what I was doing in New York,” Elisa says. “But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that TIGI was a brand that I’ve always admired as a marketer—the packaging, the fun language, the style and creativity. What I respected most of all was the clear authenticity of the brand and the family and their love for hairdressers. I knew that even though the company was owned by a corporate giant, it still had the entrepreneurial spirit that it always had. How did I know? Because the entire family was still there, committed and dedicated to the brand, several years after being acquired.”
Elisa accepted the offer, moved her family to Dallas and got busy. In short order, TIGI made some decisions.
RECONNECTING WITH HAIRDRESSERS IN AMERICA
Creativity is the first step. Reconnection is the next. At its peak, there was nothing like being part of the TONI&GUY/TIGI culture. The work was world class and one-of-a-kind. The education was simply the best, and the educators were rock stars. Every class and event was exciting and just really great fun—amazing looking people creating great looking hair. “It’s time,” declares Anthony, “to get back to that passion and authenticity.” Luckily, Elisa, who shares his vision, has the guts and gumption to bring it to life.
Elisa and Anthony decided that hairdressers in the U.S. need to feel the TIGI love again. “While TIGI is known for the incredible World Release events with thousands of hairdressers, we want to get up close and personal—intimate again—with hairdressers, so we’re creating a Colour Tour to build on the already high double digit growth of TIGI color in the US.,” Elisa reveals. “These aren’t shows or big productions. There will be demos, technical Q&As, a nice lunch where everyone can connect and get to know each other. Our guests will meet Christel Lundqvist and Richy Kandasamy. Anthony, Bruno and Zak will be a constant—it’s all about family. Anthony will be in the U.S. several weeks this year, and I want everyone who is part of the TIGI family, and the whole industry, to feel his presence again. As for that big World Release? Well, we’ve got that coming to the U.S. this year—to Vegas, baby—and we’re thrilled to be hosting our TIGI family from across the world.”
Before Elisa joined the company, Anthony and Tom Monaghan felt TIGI needed to reach out to their salons a bit more on the sales side, so they expanded the company’s partnership with the Beauty Systems Group (BSG) in order to offer more access to TIGI products for hairdressers, especially haircolor. “We’re maintaining our direct sales force,” Elisa assures, “but we need more support for salons in their own backyards.” Speaking of more support, Elisa is also committed to going back to the Educational foundation that TIGI was built on. To lead the charge, Elisa made one very quick appointment. She named Thomas Osborn as TIGI’s U.S. Head of Education. Elisa says, “We must have a clear strategy and direction for education in the U.S. Thomas is perfect—he’s been part of the family since 1988, and he actually opened the New York TIGI Academy with Zak. He’s that rare combination—an amazing hairdresser with the ability to lead, strategize and communicate, and he is the perfect role model for all levels of stylists.
REUNITING THE FAMILY
There’s very little that’s stronger than a united family, which is why TIGI has made another key strategic decision. Although TONI&GUY’s 25 schools and 40 salons—based in Southern California and run by Bruno and Zak Mascolo and President Debbie Webster—is a separate entity, the synergies of the two brands hold immense opportunity. Or, as Anthony states, “Both are brands on their own. But all the TONI&GUY salons and schools use TIGI products exclusively—including copyright©olour. So it made sense for us to rejoin forces and launch our first, co-branded basic cosmetology school earlier last year in Plano, TX—TONI&GUY HAIRDRESSING ACADEMY/TIGI CREATIVE SCHOOL. We have the same brand DNA with a vision to upgrade the industry, and what better way to do that than through a cosmetology school? TIGI will be using the schools for advanced classes on the weekends and allow their educators to provide the education we’ve always been known for to TIGI Salons.”
Elisa adds, “The TONI&GUY/TIGI organizations have always been world leaders in education, but to see it first hand, I have to say I was blown away. When I visited the new TONI&GUY/TIGI CREATIVE SCHOOL in Plano, my mouth dropped—it was beautiful, sleek, sexy and such a professionally-run, well-organized facility. It became very clear very fast the strength of the education is part of the ‘family’ values!”
Working with Debbie, Elisa notes, “We will be much more proactive about presenting TIGI as part of all TONI&GUY activities. The brand will be much more visible. And we want to connect and nurture those relationships with TONI&GUY students and stylists. They only use TIGI—they are our best ambassadors!”
There’s more exciting news for fans of the TIGI World Release event. After taking a slight detour to Dallas in 2013, the extravaganza will be returning to the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas on August 24, 2015. World Release is one of the most anticipated and popular events in the business, where the TIGI team pulls out all the stops in education, style, creativity and showmanship. Anthony and Elisa believe that producing the event in Vegas sends a clear message: a cool venue in a cool city create the right backdrop for the energy that comes from TIGI World Release.
An authentic Italian family always includes three things—passion, food and children. The Mascolo family has passion in spades. Their food is their incredible knowledge of cutting, styling and color…and their recipe for success is to mentor, to teach, to inspire and to grow their hairdressing family. Guy, Bruno and Anthony always shared their knowledge of hairdressing. From their personal Mascolo family, now counting four generations of hairdressers, (Anthony’s son Josh is now his assistant) to their extended family at TIGI, they have built the largest hairdressing family in the world.
To formalize the efforts of mentoring young hairdressers, TIGI launched TIGI Inspirational Youth, a program which nurtures young talent. After ten years in the UK, TIGI brought IY to the U.S. last year with incredible success, thanks in part to the online, four-part “miniseries” on BTC which charted the journey of the young stylists who traveled to London to spend a week at a boot camp with TIGI’s most senior educators and leaders. These young stylists were given cutting and coloring training, the opportunity to do their own photo shoot, pick their own models, receive presentation coaching and, ultimately, present their work on one of the biggest stages in hairdressing—the Premiere Beauty Show. This year, the winners will go on to compete at the Global World Release event.
For Anthony, Inspirational Youth strikes a particularly poignant chord. “If I wasn’t given certain opportunities as a young person,” he reflects, “I don’t know where I’d be today. We make so many mistakes when we’re young. With Inspirational Youth, we can teach hairdressers what we’ve learned, to crash course it and experience it. They learn how to communicate and present, which all builds confidence, and confidence generates energy. And for those of us doing the mentoring in this program, it’s a great way to push us to go forward. If you don’t teach people what you know, then you never need to learn anything else. They help us as much as we help them. They keep us inspired.”
There it is. The next chapter of TIGI. As so often happens in life, history repeats itself. This story is no exception.
The passion to create is repeating.
The willingness to get up and start again is repeating.
The love of hairdressing is repeating.
The company for hairdressers, by hairdressers—with Anthony Mascolo firmly at the heart of everything they do—is repeating.
We can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.