This week’s guest is Geno Stampora, industry expert and business guru. And he has probably held every single job there is in the beauty industry.
Geno’s work has featured in numerous salon and spa magazines over the years. He continues to be in demand as a keynote speaker, contributing artist, and consultant to the industry.
It was a great pleasure to sit down and talk to Geno Stampora and the time flew by as he shared so many great insights.
- Geno shares how he stopped doing hair to become a speaker to help hairdressers.
- He really has done it all, from shampoo to coaching.
- “There is greatness in everyone, there is a genius in all of us.”
- Geno shares the Law of Diminishing Effect.
- It’s now your job to find inspiration in everything around you.
- Geno says that there is a place for everyone in this industry. This is the greatest time ever to be a hairdresser.
Chris Baran 0:00
How great would it be to get up close and personal with the beauty industry heroes? We love and admire and to ask them how did you learn to do what you do? I’m Chris Baran, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success.
This week’s guest as been traveling the world and he has been helping our industry grow not only financially, developmentally and personally, but he has been in almost every industry mag that’s out there. He has been in articles in consumer magazines like Elle Magazine, Glamour, The New Yorker, Washington, mag, and many others. He’s considered an industry expert and a business guru. He has been inducted into NAHA’s coveted Hall of leaders. And I might add only 20 of the 25 other people in our industry have gotten there. And I’m pleased to introduce this week’s headcase guest, Mr. Geno Stampora. Mr. Geno’s Stampora is a pleasure to have you on here. I mean, I was just so everybody knows beforehand we were just chatting away while we’re setting up the technical and I said that you know we are sort of friends by omission we talk to each other at every show that we go by we we have great conversations. We go in the lineup I always call them the the guest artists petting zoo, where you have to have pictures with everybody like when we’re like remember the last time we were together? At remember that would add beauty changes lives? Yes. And you have to stand up take picture with every person, I was called that the guest artists petting zoo. But just for everybody that’s joining us. We it is later in the evening we are having I’m gonna go just you know, here’s to you. Cheers. Thank you so much for giving up your time. I know your schedule. I know what you do. I know how you inspire people. And I’m just so happy that to have you on board.
Geno Stampora 2:10
It’s my pleasure. And I’ll tell you what, I feel the same way about you, Chris. And I’ve, I’ve admired your work for for 100 years out there on the road. And like you were saying earlier, we’ve never really had a chance to get together and just say, Wow, man, you’re doing this, you’re doing this and we’re into this and Time flies, you know, you talk about schedule, and I’m really winding down and I’m enjoying it. I’m really loving it. I’m having a good time.
Chris Baran 2:36
Yeah, you know, I was talking we did one with with Michael Cole. And you know, I know that we’re all we will run around the same circles. And I was talking to Michael he says why the hell is it that when everybody else in the world is winding down, we’re winding up. You know, I think we just get busier and busier. But listen, I again, I just Gino, I’ve looked up to you. I’ve learned from you. I’ve sat in your audiences. And I and I know I feel the same way as everybody else does out there that you you helped change people’s lives. And and I’m just grateful to have you on here. So
Geno Stampora 3:11
Well, thank you, Chris. And it’s, it’s feels the same on my end. You know, it’s, it’s great to be here great to support you. And it’s certainly always nice to have an opportunity to talk to our, our incredible beauty community and just let them know that we’re here for him and we care and that there is a the great thing I’ve always felt about the beauty industry is there’s a great opportunity out there for everyone.
Chris Baran 3:37
And go and because you know and you know, you brought up a great point. Because I think that, you know, sometimes I talk to people and I think you can come from two worlds one, I live in a place of abundance or one I live in a place of scarcity. And I think I you know, there’s that it’s a one or other but like you said there’s plenty of room for everything that we have. And I think if everybody would just realize that whether it’s the guy down the block, your guy next door, an artist that you’re onstage with or, you know, competing worse than if you’re listening in I mean, yes, I am doing air quotes. But you know, I think there’s a place for that place for everybody.
Geno Stampora 4:17
You know, not only do I agree, but I’ll tell you what I look at you and I and I mean, I’ve seen some of the most incredible work that you’ve done. You’re a you’re a phenomenal artist, and you’re a very talented hairdresser and you’ve done great stuff throughout the I’ve never seen anything on stage that you’ve done. That wasn’t miraculous. That wasn’t really proud, though. I know. You’re gonna say there were times but you’re looking at a guy that I became a speaker because every time I tried to do hair on stage, I screwed it up so bad that the model would cry. The front row would freak out and I thought, Okay, I’m gonna stop doing hair and I’m, I’m gonna find a way just talk people into understanding that They have great potential and, and great opportunity, kind of like you and I talked about,
Chris Baran 5:05
yeah, what the the so I don’t want to pass by the fact that you you use I mean, I don’t think there’s an area of our business that you have not been in. So tell us a little bit about what are all the areas of the field that you’ve actually contributed to add a part of,
Geno Stampora 5:27
you know, you’re probably right. And I think it’s because I’ve always had this thing about, maybe something’s missing. So when I went to beauty school, right after beauty school, I went right on the floor and started as a hairdresser. And then within a couple of years, I was manager, part owner, and then owner of the salon. But even when I owned the salon, I kind of felt like, it just wasn’t everything. And my sales consultant would come in, and it seemed like they had the greatest job in the world. So I became a sales consultant. And then I became a distributor. And then I opened to Beauty School. And then I had two beauty schools, and then I had three salons. And then I thought, you know, I had the greatest staff you could ever ask for, I’ve always had to think about people and, and I’ve always felt that if you give people the space to be themselves, and you find a way to create an environment where they can be the best that they can be, you’re going to have success, you’re going to be successful. And, and it was hard work, but But it sure did work. I mean, it’s been wonderful. So I’d venture to tell you that I have probably done everything from shampoo boy to to coach. Yeah,
Chris Baran 6:41
you know, it’s it, I find it really interesting when because it’s this evolution that happens to people, you know, and, and I think that when you’re going through all of that, that you’re going from the salon, schools, the distribution, etc. I don’t want to I want to pause just for a second on schools, because we may have a lot of students that are listening, watching wonderful in the program here. And so just for for reference, when what year was it, you know, give or take five years, 10 years, whatever, that you had the schools
Geno Stampora 7:21
84,85 and 86. Yeah,
Chris Baran 7:25
and I know that you, first of all, I’ve watched with you been with you, at when you did us, you always so generous of your time, and you always talk that beauty changes lives, and you do the you do the thing for the students. And and so I want to talk to you just about what do you notice? Or if any, is there any difference that you notice in this in the student from the 80s? And now?
Geno Stampora 7:53
Yeah, I think there’s a big difference. I think that, you know, I still am the facilitator for the professional beauty Association speaking program. And I’ve done that this is my 25th year, and we’re getting ready to do it again, next month. And boy, I just can’t wait to get there. And I can’t wait to see these students full of life and full of excitement. I think that it’s kind of hard to get into Chris. But I think that COVID and being locked at home for a couple of years. And the changes in the structure of the way young people are being raised, so to speak. I don’t like to talk about generations, the Generation X Jenica. Yeah, I think I think people are people. And we all want respect. We all want success. You know, we all want the things that we want. But I do believe that today, there is a larger percentage of people that if it’s too hard, they’re not going to do it. They’re just they’re just not going to put themselves out on the limb like you and I did for years, you know, in creating, I mean, we started shows, you know, we were the ones that that created that. And I remember calling salons and saying I’d like to come in and work with you. And they’d be like, well, well, well. How many models do you need? And I said, Oh, no, no, I don’t need models. I need a flip chart. And I’m just gonna come in and talk. And I’ve had this conversation with Michael Cole a million times where they would say to me, yeah, no, we don’t think that would work, you know. And little by little you built it up to where they realize it did work. But I do still believe that. There are young people coming into our industry that are better brained and better prepared and more balanced than ever before. Like I do believe the industry is in great hands.
Chris Baran 9:53
Yeah, I tend to agree with you and especially when you’re talking about the apply just call him generation now to be because I don’t really know what the club is. Yeah, yeah. But I just think that that I hear so many people talk about the generation is coming up now. And they’re just say, like, I wish they would just be like, like I was well, and I think that, you know, sometimes you just have to stop and you got to say, stop just for a second. And they’ll flip it. And is it that they need to be like us, or we need to think more like them. And we need to create environments that are more like them. And we need to say, Okay, well, if somebody only wants to work three or four days a week, how can we shift what we do to maximize? So give me give me an example. And I is that that I was we did, we did a program with Daniel Mason Jones. And just a short bit back and he said, Look at he, I have people that work for me. And I, Lee, if you can come on in, because if you can remember Lee is our producer. But I think he said that this girl that worked for him were was you call me ally early. But I think it was 18 hours that she worked in a week. And she pulls in six figures. Am I right on that Lee? Was 27 It will lose close to 18. Yeah, no. It was like, that was a math number. But hairdressers, 2027 hours you works a week and make six figures. Unbelievable. So and so I think that that we were the ones that are shift. And I’d like to hear like, what do you what do you tell people? Right now, when especially the students and the owners, when that comes up,
Geno Stampora 11:40
I get more calls from owners that want to know how to talk to their young staff how to how to hire them, and how to get them to fit in. And I always tried to say to them, don’t expect them to be like you because they’re not they weren’t raised like you were they weren’t grown like you were they didn’t have the things that you had. I mean, today, you know, you’ve got social media, which I don’t know if you saw I did a I’ll actually it’s not on yet. But I did a podcast not too long ago where I talked about digital dementia, and digital distraction. And well, you have to be careful that some people are digitally distracted, they live in their phone has social media, so they don’t understand. They have to be taught how to build and how to communicate effectively, and, and how to grow people. But But I think to say to the young people out there, there’s only one thing you need to discover, and 27 hours is great. 20 hours is great. When you can figure out the hours that you need to work to make the money that you want to make. However, you must become aware of your complete potential. That’s the key. And the key is if you become aware of your complete potential, then you understand that you’re truly working smart and not hard you’re using, you’re squeezing every hour dry. You know what I mean? Right? Yeah. And I think that there’s a big, there’s a big difference there. And and like you said, Chris, we really I mean, it’s come it’s come of time 2023 We have to find a way to fit these people in to accept what it is they want to give and create an environment for them to give their all whether it’s part time, full time, 20 hours, 30 hours, I mean, I don’t know anybody that wants to work as hard as I did. But back in my day, that was what you had to do to be what you wanted to be today. They’re finding new ways to be what they want to be without having to put in all those hours. And I kinda like it because I think they’re, they’re almost born with this understanding that life is short, you know, how do we really find a way to squeeze the day dry, make the day matter make life matter? What’s really most important in life. And I mean, for you and I, I mean, I’m a hairdresser, throw and throw, if you slit this wrist, there’s no blood in there. It’s shampoo that comes out of my veins. I mean, you know, that’s kind of been my whole life. So I’m, I’ve had a love affair with the beauty industry since 1974. And it’s not the most important thing in my life, but it’s one of the most important things. I mean, I am so proud and so happy to be here and to work with this great industry and these great people and all the things that we’ve done and created and still continue to do.
Chris Baran 14:46
Yeah, you know, and I’m just this is gonna sound like a weird segue. But I listen to the way you talk. And, you know, I think that if people would just understand that the way that you Talk to people, helps to inspire, helps to motivate helps to get them. You know, like, there’s the, there’s the little shot in the arm that I, that I, that I needed. And so I mean, I’ve heard people talk to you, as talk to about you as a motivational speaker, I’d like you to what do you? Is that what you are? Is that how you feel? Is that what you’d say? Is that the way you’d Introduce yourself?
Geno Stampora 15:30
Now, you know, I’ve never said that I’ve never had it in print. It’s not in any of my bios, I don’t know that I really believe in motivation, I think that we all have to motivate ourselves, that’s for sure. But I also believe if you take an idiot, and you motivate them, you’ve created a motivated idiot. So I’ve always introduced myself as an inspirational speaker, that I will entertain you and I will inspire you. And, and, and really, you know, my goal, Chris, very much I know is similar to yours. without us even talking about it. I’ve always felt that there’s greatness in everyone. I get on that stage. And I look at my audience, and I’m like, Okay, there’s greatness in every one of you. And I know, I’m not going to reach every one of you. But boy, I’m going to reach a few of you. And we’re going to bring that greatness out and show you that you have the future and you have potential and, and you know, people don’t realize, but there’s genius and all of us. You know, it’s just a matter of refining fine tuning, having coaches, having mentors, you know, studying and learning and always trying to think of something new. It’s out there.
Chris Baran 16:46
Yeah. And failing. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, you know, I love what you’re saying, and particularly the fact that I, you know, I always say I’m not smart enough to think of this stuff on my own. But I am a great observer, I’m a great listener. And I can I can pass on information. And I can’t remember who said it, it probably was somebody very much smarter than me. But they said that, if you’re a motivational speaker, motivation is one of the is a shorter living things so I can motivate you, but it’s going to die, it’s going to die away, as soon as the motivation is gone. But if you can inspire somebody to believe in themselves and to work with themselves, to make themselves better, that’s what keeps them moving forward all the way. And I that and so the reason why I brought that up is because when somebody told me that you were a motivational speaker, I wanted to hear what you thought, but I went, you inspire people. So you, you know, there’s a big difference between motivational speaker and an inspirational speaker. Absolutely.
Geno Stampora 17:53
I agree. Totally. I agree. Totally. And, you know, you can I guess you, I think you could cut that with a knife, you know, the difference. But one of the things I tried to tell people always over the years, especially people closest to me, my employees, my family, my close friends, that inspiration doesn’t last a long time either that once you’re inspired your goal, your job is to keep that inspiration alive. I just spoke for the John Miko group in in Cabo San Lucas a couple of weeks ago. And I swear to you, oh, was was so you know, how wonderful that that uh, that a poor idiot hairdresser like myself could actually get paid to go to Cabo. And but I said to everyone there, look, there’s a law, it’s called the law of diminishing effect. And that law is going to take place the minute you leave, and now it’s your job, to seek inspiration, to always be searching for inspiration to lead an inspired life. You have to find inspiration in the trees and in nature, in a sunset in people in the things around you. And actually, if you don’t mind me blabbing along I’ll tell you a great story that I shared with all of them. And I let it back to them in the end. And that was my wife and I were out at the Outer Banks a couple months ago in North Carolina. Are you familiar? Yeah. You’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere and real kind of country, but there’s beautiful beaches and so I called a pizza place and I said, I’m looking for some pizza. I see that the pizza places name is Vinnies pizzeria. Is this mini he goes yes it is. I said, Vinnie, are you Italian? He goes, Yes, I’m Italian. Everything I wear is Italian. And everything I use to make the pizzas is Italian. Why do you ask and I said well, I’m from Virginia, but originally from New Jersey now in Virginia. Have a lot of Greeks make pizza, and it’s good pizza. It’s just not Italian pizza. Oh, no, sir, you’re fine with us. You’re gonna have Italian pizza. Well, he told me to arrive at 210 to pick up my two pizzas. I came a few minutes early. Soon as I walked in the door, he said, You must be Gino. I said, I am. He said, You’re early by a few minutes. And I said, Yes. I didn’t know how long it would take me to get here. I’ve never been here. He says, Well, now that you’re here, let me grab the sleeve. That’s the big wooden thing that they pulled the pizza with. I want to show you your pizza. He showed me the pizza said is that enough of oregano? I said, No, no, I’d like a little more Reagan on that he goes, let me show you the other other pizza, the white pizza. And I said, it’s not for me. You don’t have to show me because now I want to show you take advantage. And then we’ll let him Chris. But so he shows me I said everything’s perfect. puts him back in the oven. They crisp up, he puts them in the boxes, he brings them to me and he says the boxes aren’t closed on purpose. You’re only 10 minutes away, the pizza won’t get cold. If you close the box all the way, the pizza will get soggy. Leave the crack open and let some air get into the pizza. It’ll stay crispy and perfect. Just like I want you to enjoy it. The last thing he said was you see my passion is that you bite into the best piece of pizza possible. And I said to him 70 years, and I’ve never had this knowledge from a pizza man before in my life ever. I was overwhelmed. I got in the car, I drove home, drove back to the house, the beach house, the pizza was incredible. And I called one of my friends and I said you know, if people would just figure out, what’s your pizza? What’s your pizza? We’re in here is your passion. You know, what are? What is it that you’re trying to do trying to create truck truck because there’s, like I said earlier, like you shared, there’s room for everyone. But you know what you could create your own perfect niche in this industry, like your friend that works 27 hours and pulls in six figures. Right?
Chris Baran 22:11
They can go? Yeah. You know, I think that there’s magic in that. Because when people bring that full circle, as we always do back to what we do in the business. And we always assume that we that everybody knows what to do, and why we do what we do. So if we would just give them that pizza relief. Here’s what you do when you’re blow drying your hair. And when you’re doing this at home, here’s what you do. And you could bring that magic that nobody I’m sure that most pizzeria is assumed you know, the that same information I’ll give you it just to sort of expand on that. You know, I don’t know about you. And you can probably tell from my body type that I do like hamburgers, the same way and we went we’ve had hamburgers all of our life. And we went to five guys and the five guys we went there we got our order we’d like to eat at home or in the car on the way whatever. And, and the gentleman told us, okay, I’d put your french fries in the bag with your burger. He said don’t close the bag for the same reason. And he said, Don’t close the bag, because your french fries will get soggy. I love it. And I went for all of the places I went to in my whole life. Nobody’s ever told me. What what could we do as hairdressers that we know that we assume that they know. And when we tell them that creates loyalty for life?
Geno Stampora 23:50
Well, you know, I think first of all, never assume always be the teacher. Never assume if they even if you’ve said it to them 1000 times before say it again, as a professional to, to to to create true professionalism. Every time they come, you should remind them use our professional products. Please reschedule for your next appointment before you leave. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about me. If there’s any issue with your hair, skin nails, please let me know because it’s important to me that this is the best ever. You know, my job is to exceed your expectations and I was looking actually like you were grabbing some notes. I grabbed a couple notes and I thought about you know it’s probably a great time to share with everyone out there in your your audience that this is the greatest time ever for the beauty industry. Through COVID We’ve reached a whole new plateau that they see value in us like they never have before. Right down to the importance of visiting a salon forgetting about your life. Just just getting lost in in beauty and creativity for an hour or two, and letting everything else fall behind. And I think that people see us in a much different light now, we should truly take advantage of that and, and make sure that they understand that that’s not going to go away. And now that they see this new higher value in us, it’s important that we provide incredible value to them every time all the time. You know, I had a friend that used to say to me, Oh, well, I think you know, my friend Yoshi, Toya Yoshi. Yoshi said to me one day, Gino, you know how I got to how good I am. Because I mean, he’s so good. And he made that book of all of his haircuts. And I was actually on stage explaining to people and at the Chicago ABS show, because they couldn’t understand Yogesh, I’m talking about the book. And I actually said, Actually, I get all those haircuts, not yours. And I’m flipping through the pages. He’s kind of flipping out, we’re having a hilarious time. But he said to me, I asked you to work with me because you have a heart Chino, you always talk good, all things good. And I came home and wrote that down, and it still sits on my bulletin board, right in the center on a pink, sticky note. All things good, be known for all things good. And a great hairdresser knows not to get into a personal story, you get into everything related to beauty, a beauty story. And and, and you share that with them instead of any personal stuff. And I’ll just never forget that because he floored me, he he blew my mind. And he almost made me feel when I got back to my hotel room, I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, wow, you know, you’re known for something good. You know.
Chris Baran 27:09
You know, I love what you said. And as particularly when you were talking about value, and and how COVID made people look at things differently. I remember doing a video program during COVID, we were doing a video program, a hybrid program where we are not hybrid, but purely digital. And I’m not sure if you know, Wendy Bellagio a, she’s out of Calgary has successful salons out there. I know when she had the most brilliant and it was a simple thing that I’m going to give you just a reader’s divergent Reader’s Digest version. But it and it’s gonna be easier for the the auditory audio people. But I’m gonna I’m holding up two pieces of paper right now that you if you’re watching the watch version, you can see they’re both same color, but I don’t have a different color. But in the packet that she would hand out, she would hand out all of this essential oils and things and there’s separate combs and brushes and capes and everything. But what I thought was the most brilliant thing that she did is she had two pieces of paper inside. And I’m just going right now you can see that they’re obviously both green. But let’s say just ones green ones red. And, and she she said, If you don’t want to have a conversation, because you want just pure quiet time, take the red piece of paper and put that on the desk. I love it. And we won’t, we will just make sure that you have no distractions, you can just calmly Have you wade through it other than minimal conversation we have. But if you want to talk, you put down the green piece of paper, right? And we will have a conversation and I went that’s value. That alone is worth another $10 raise on what you do just because you’re looking after people
Geno Stampora 29:11
no doubt and you’re thinking customer first. Yeah, no. So you’re you’re introducing that right from the start in their in their intro packet. And all of a sudden they realize wow, these people really do care about me they care about whether I want to have a role and and you know, when I teach dialogue, one of the things I always ask them to say is listen if you want to talk to me and if you don’t want to talk to me and especially me because while you can tell on the podcast I heard may give you a chance to say too much of anything in your own podcast. And and I would say to my customers listen, I’m Italian from New Jersey, I’m a talker and I talk away if just if you want me to be quiet, just say Be quiet, not an issue. But I think if if and Wendy is such a perfect example of thinking customer first, you know what, what does beauty look like through the customers eyes? Some customers might not be able to say, I don’t want to talk. But gosh, how easy is it to just slip the red sheet on the on your station, and you know, then that they’re done. And you can still share with them the important part of your presentation with them, you know, it’s most important, there’s a few things I do need to share with you. Even if you wait till the close and you share with them. The you know, the the important stuff, the professional products rescheduling. Tell your friends. Yeah,
Chris Baran 30:36
yeah. Yeah, so I did a little bit because I know that you’ve got a great pulse on the industry. So I pulled up just a couple of facts. And I’m just looking on my notes here, because this is what always happen to me. For those of you watching, you’ll see that I have like a myriad or a plethora, I’ve always wanted to use the word plethora in a conversation. But I pulled this stuff up and I and I know you’re the perfect guy that I wanted to talk to about it. But this is I just took a look at the state. This is from the US Bureau of Statistics. And I just I wanted to look at what was the stats on hairdressing. And so I brought this up and and this was again from this is 2021, median, prices pays, etc, right? And the median pay in 2021 was to $29,680 per year, or $14.27 per hour. They went on to say in there it says on the job training none. This like these were stab wounds to my freaking heart. I agree. And then it said here’s the part that I went to it said number of jobs 2021 That was 608,900 job positions for hairdressers. And this is to be clear barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists in the United States. And what’s your thoughts on that?
Geno Stampora 32:21
It’s so hard, Chris. First of all, I don’t think you can look at statistic numbers from the US Bureau because so many people keep their cash still. In go, I can tell you one thing that I think I made more than $29,000 in 1975, the first year I was behind the chair, and it’s gone straight up since then. I mean, you know, I’m looking at retiring and thinking to myself, I never would have imagined that I’d have the money that I need to retire. Yeah, through the success of my career and beauty. So first of all, I think that that, that that’s kind of malarkey that you know, I’ve got a young girl that I met seven years ago at Beacon, my friend Fallon mir alt, Fallon is now seven years later, ahead of everyone in her salon, she has the highest ticket price. She’s the number one with retail. She’s number one with customer retention. And it’s all because of coaching. It’s dialogue. It’s the right words, the right understanding. And she was just the one to take it to the limit. And I don’t know what she makes, but I know she’s making six figures. I know it. Yeah. And, and I think everybody should and I think everybody could. The other thing is, but I never look at jobs in our industry, because I feel like if ever I’ve had someone say that’s moving. I have a friend that is moving to Tennessee. And I called some friends in Tennessee that own a couple of salons and I said, this girl is dynamic, wonderful, your lover and they said to me on the phone, she’s hired center center down. And I think in our industry like with you, if you have someone who’s special, you’ll open up a chair for him, you’ll create a slice for him. So there’s a there’s a job there for everyone. Statistics even within our industry, modern salon, American salon salon today, you got to wonder sometimes about where the statistics are coming from. And then you have to realize that you know what, go back to work and create your own statistics, create your own list and and make that happen. So I don’t put too much into them. You know, I try to look more at the people I know now. I believe there are a lot of hairdressers out there that are satisfied with 29,000 a year and that’s probably what they’re doing is probably better than they thought But I think I mean, you and I both know, I have 25 Beauty professional friends that are multimillionaires that have their own planes, you know. So, you know, I don’t know if the 8020 rule even works with us. But I think it’s important to understand that incredible success is right at your fingertips. And if you’re willing to do all that it takes, you’ll get there. You know, when when I was in 2009, when I was inducted into the North American hairstyling awards Hall leaders. And
Chris Baran 35:41
there pause that pause there for a second, because I just want to say congratulations, because like there’s only what 25 Other people Yeah, that have received that. Yeah, pretty. That is pretty damn cool.
Geno Stampora 35:54
I’ll tell you I still look at it. I saw your award back behind you there on the on your morning shelves, and I still look at my award and think to myself, who would have ever thought that poor boy lunatic from Point Pleasant, New Jersey, could be inducted. But when I got on the stage I said to them, when they asked me why I said there’s two very clear reasons. Number one, I’ve had a love affair with beauty since Beauty School. I love us. I love everything about us. I love who we are, I love what we do. I love to be in the company of hairdressers and salon owners, because I really do believe there’s no one quite like us. And number two, back about 30 years ago, I decided that I was going to give 100% Every time I had a chance to do a haircut, do a speech, do a presentation, teach a seminar, coach, a salon owner. And then I plussed it about 20 years ago, I thought I will now give 100% 100% of the time. And I’ll let nothing get in the way of me doing that, including tonight. I mean, I couldn’t wait for tonight I’ve been go going over my notes all day I talked with Marjorie yesterday, I said, I’ve got some ideas and some things to talk about. And I had no doubt that I knew you and I Not a problem. I mean, we’re we’re basically cut from the same cloth. So it wouldn’t be wouldn’t be an issue. But I think that that makes all the difference in the world, Chris, you know, and I know that that’s what you’ve done. And, and believe me people think sometimes when when you’re you’re backstage doing that hair, that it it comes out and looks so beautiful on stage, what they don’t realize is you don’t have a chair of the pumps up. You don’t have running water, you don’t have the tools that you’re used to having yet we create because we care. Yeah, you know,
Chris Baran 37:58
I think that’s probably one of the best words that could have been used on there was just the word care is if you would just care people like you would care for yourself and so on. And I it’s interesting thing that I’ve talked to some of my European friends, and they I don’t know if it’s changed since because I’ve been along. I’ve been I think about four years, I spent a lot of time over in Europe. But that’s the one thing that they said that when you come to America, you’ve got to come to America to learn about customer service. Is that that they’re generally that’s the customer service here is that, particularly in our industry is good. And I think that for most people, that they do care about their clients. I think what they do need is specificity in their terminology. And like you said, scripts, dialogues, right, that don’t become scripts. And I think there’s a difference scripts that don’t become scripts, right? You’ve got to have dialogue and the way that you talk to people, right?
Geno Stampora 39:00
You can take you can take the script and study it and make the script yours. You know, find a way to make it yours. Just a couple of quick stories not to interrupt you. But regarding scripts. First of all, do you know that in the making of Jaws the original Jaws movie, Steven Spielberg had the mechanical shark and the shark was to jump on the boat and open and close his mouth a couple of times, while the shark malfunctioned. everybody freaked out and didn’t know what to do. And Steven Spielberg said what we need is remarkable, incredible music. And they came up with Dun, dun and anybody in the world can play that that song, you know anybody. And there’s another great well, there’s so many we could do a million of them but especially with movies and actors, which are really very similar to us. They They learn how to establish that that true understanding not only of creativity, but really of their if there’s a better way we’ll find it. You know? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So please continue.
Chris Baran 40:15
No, no, I love where you’re going. And please, anytime you’ve got stories listen, I’m I love stories. I think that’s what makes it makes us grow. And to that point I was thinking about our industry this morning when I on it was CBS that I was watching. And that Willam Willam Defoe on. And in his new movie that they’re talking about, which is called Inside he plays this art thief that gets locked in a penthouse in Manhattan and can’t get out. And, and they were talking about his his dialogue and his script that he had. And he said that when you’re acting, and this is where I thought the parallel came in between acting and what we do behind the chair, is you can have a script in a very short amount of time that you have to give out. But then you you like he said, He’s the only one He’s the only person in the whole show. There’s he’s the only one. There’s nobody else in the show. I love it. And it’s a thriller. And so he asked to go deep to create dialogue that wasn’t in the script, of course, but still stay within the parameters of what he’s supposed to talk about. Yeah. And I went, that’s such an amazing parallel between what we do at the chair when we talk about the script. So you’re doing a consultation, and you’re saying, well, abc, def, etc, that you would do normally. But sometimes you have a different person, and you’ve got to go deeper, and really analyze deeper and you got to think and listen and so on. And I and I think that there’s such an amazing parallel between what he talked about what an actor has to go through, when they’re improvising or having to give more than what the director has to share. And what you as, like he said, there’s other games you have to do. You’re just you’re, you’re a character, you’re just doing your thing, you have to do exactly what they tell you to do. But then there’s a thing that you bring life and breeze into the beauty of this art by just what you say,
Geno Stampora 42:23
yeah, you become that character, you become the end, you know, always went on. I mean, I am the master of scripts, I give scripts to people all the time. And I always tell them, I give letters a price increase letter a fire a client letter, although we say to them, don’t use the letter, read it, rewrite it, make it yours. Add your words, add your flavor, you know, put your flavor in it, put your spices into it and make it be yours. It’s the same thing. When people hear scripted dialogue. They’re like, oh, boy, I don’t want to sound like a robot. Well, you want if you understand that, a script is there to show you what has to be done. And then you creatively decide the process and how it would be and should be done. But I’ll tell you, since we’re on this one thing, and it would be a great thing to share with everyone that’s on in your audience do, I believe the greatest issue in the industry today, that the thinking that’s costing beauty professionals more money than anything, is a lack of professional dialogue, how to ask, how to persuade, how to get people to understand the importance of buying products, the importance of buying their tools from us the importance of supporting everything about the salon, not just your haircut, the importance of using professional color, and then using professional products to protect that color afterwards. I mean, my main goal was I want you to look your best every day until you come back here. And if I tell you to come back and 41 days, it’s because I know in 41 days, you’re not going to look your best. I know hair. I know beauty. You know what I mean? And I think if if if the average listener would really take the time to perfect their dialogue perfect. Their opening, perfect their shampoo story, perfect. Their service story, perfect. Their finishing story, perfect their closing story, they’d see a significant increase, not only in income, even in temps because people don’t want to reward you if you exceed their expectations, right.
Chris Baran 44:34
Yeah, I agree. You know, like, I’ve had a great teacher of mine that said, people don’t pay for you for their knowledge. They pay for your opinion. Right? So it’s just like, I can come to you for my hair. But I paying you more money than I would anybody else. For your opinion of what’s going to look good on me, I love it. You know? And so rather than, you know, I mean, I’m not even going to go into that rabbit hole where people say like, what do you want today? Because that’s we’ve, you know, it’s just, you know, overdone we’ve talked about it and nobody’s doing anything about it. But if people would just take it into their brain, that you’re an expert. And if they want an opinion, then just give them their opinion. And, and I always believe this, here’s what I one thing that I love that I can’t remember the gentleman that that gave me this, I wish I could. And like I said, I’m not smart enough to think of it my own. He said, Never tell somebody that this is what you need. Because if they don’t like it, then you’re out of a job. I love it. But he said to me, if here, I’ve got a couple of ideas, and electives, throw these ideas at you. And you tell me the one that syncs the one that really hits home for you. Why don’t you feel really good about I love it. And then he would say, well, here, first of all, hear me out, I want to do XYZ, or I’m gonna do ABC. And he said, Tell me what you think of those two. And that started the dialogue that made put him up. And if you think about it, I do a bit that on stage where when I’m talking to people about how you’re an expert, I’ll just say look at here’s $25,000 If I don’t physically give him $25,000, but he said, here’s the scenario, if I gave you 25,000, or $10,000. I said go to a designer, and tell them no what what, that you can only have one outfit, what would you say to that designer? And inevitably, people say, Well, what would you what would you? What would you suggest? Well, that’s what that’s what you are near to designer? Why are you saying, What do you want, right? And in that moment, that people will, if they be if they realize they’re the expert, but give people parameters, they will eventually get down to exactly what it is the client they want. And it’s just called another way of doing it. Right consultation.
Geno Stampora 47:18
That’s great communication. That’s That’s great communication and action, you know, that’s what it takes. That’s what it takes to stand on your feet and find a way to connect with them. And then it’s always nice to ask them ask a client questions where they’re going to come back at you with a response with an answer with something that makes a difference. Yeah, I love it. I love it. You know, I think sometimes we we look at what might be easy. Now, that was so hard at the start, you know, I had the hardest time believing in myself, I had the hardest time believing in the fact that that I had something to offer, not only an audience, but that I had something to offer a client, I guess then, and I had clients that at one point, were bringing me so many of their children at full price. And I’d be like, Why are you bringing me your children, somebody else here could do them for for much less money. And I would always hear, it’s not about the money. It’s about the way you make my child feel when my son leaves your chair, he feels like he could do anything. And that’s when I began to realize that nobody can compete with the way you make a customer feel. If you can really make them feel just right, you’re gonna win no matter what I mean, I think a great style and a great haircut and a classic look at a great Bob and all that stuff. It’s really important. But I’ll tell you what, I did crappy hair, 40 years, and nobody who was crappy hair. They just loved it. Because they love me because I was there you know, to, to give for them all that it took.
Chris Baran 49:00
You know, that’s such a powerful statement. Is that just to look after somebody, you know, just to take care of them when they come in? Yeah. And it’s the loyalty that that that drives, you know, so and you know, and I’m gonna I’m gonna be very candid here. Because when I when I, I went to soons and I, I learned how to cut hair in a certain way. And I I got a big head and I and I and I went well, you know, look at me look at how good I am. Yeah. And, and I ended up turning off some people even though their hair was amazing. Yeah. I pissed some people off just because I didn’t know as opposed to if I would have taken that knowledge as I’ve done since then I learned my lesson and said, look at I can take that knowledge, apply the knowledge that I have, turn that into a better dialogue. And rather than talking about me Talking about how it fits you. And, and it just makes such a big difference in the loyalty that it
Geno Stampora 50:07
creates. Yeah, you have to be careful sometimes reading your own press, you know, especially when you write it yourself, no doubt about it. And a lot of people do. And a lot of people are doing that today more than ever before. But I think it’s really important to stay humble, find a way to stay humble. And you know, while we’re on this, I think it’s also important to, don’t think with your ego or think with your head, try to always think with your heart, your heart will never steer you wrong. And if you put your heart in front of that guest that’s in your chair, no matter how tired or hungover you are, you find a way to, to delight your guests. And if you do that, that’s job security. You know, people ask me all the time, probably same as you. Are you busy on the road? And I’m like, am I busy? I could work 365 days a year, if I wanted to, oh, well, what about the holidays? I said, No, no, if you understand, they don’t celebrate July 4 In the UK, I can go over there and do a show, you know, they don’t celebrate July 4 is in, in Canada, I can go out there and do so. And they would say really, and I’d be like, all you have to do is exceed their expectations. And you’ve got eternal job security, you you you never have to worry about that. You know, you never have to really look at where’s the next paycheck coming from. Not if you’re really paying attention. And you’re, you’re really finding a way to, you know, nail that home.
Chris Baran 51:40
When you say expect exceeding the jaw exceeding their, their expectations. Give me an example. Give me an example. What links to the other person, I would say, well, everybody has expectations, but I’m living up to mine and so on. What does that mean? How would you how would you suggest that happens to people,
Geno Stampora 52:01
I think that every client comes to us, especially the first time because for one reason or another, they were unhappy where they went last. So we have to find a way to to figure out or ask them what their expectations are. And then go beyond that. Give them a little more knowledge, give them a better shampoo, rinse them better, make sure their neck is dry, talk to them carefully, comb them out carefully, don’t hurt anybody show true respect, using your tools and taking the time with them behind the chair. And then making sure which really, I mean, come on. anybody listening in you and I both know, if a client doesn’t like their hair, you know it, you know, when they look at themselves in the mirror. So you have to find a way to make sure that that they love it that that we constantly exceed expectations that were that prepared. You know, I had a I had a friend one time come into work on a Saturday morning, phenomenal hairdresser of 20 times or more better than me, so talented, incredible. He’s hungover. It’s Saturday morning, he’s 10 minutes late. What’s the problem? He said, I’m hungover. I said I could I can smell that you’re hungover. So you’ve got to go get rid of that smell right now. And you’re we’ve been entertaining your claim your client is here. Well, before the client came out, Chris, I put a flip chart next to his station and rode on, please experience Daniel today 50% off, he’s hungover. And he came out and saw that and said, Oh my god, are you really gonna leave that there? And I said, Well, I’m not Daniel, but I should. Because you’re not all there. You know? And I was gonna say to the clients look, even hung over he probably do a better haircut than me. But if that’s the case, you should maybe no, you know, we really have to find a way to be prepared for success. Do you? Do you deserve success? Do you? Do you deserve that full book? Like, what are you doing? I mean, I asked people for for 40 years in my audiences, are you fully booked? And so many people are like, No, I’m like, well, then what are you willing to do to get full? What what are you willing to change? What are you’re willing to grow, to work on to read to study to practice in order to make that happen? You know, I think a lot of people, they want the success and it’s almost if we go all the way back to how we started this podcast tonight. It’s a lot of the young people. That it’s it’s the it’s the now thing. I want it now I don’t want to wait, I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to have to really pay my dues. Well, you know what, if you’ve earned the right, you can have it now. But if you haven’t earned the right, that’s not going to come to you. And you can go from A to Z if you want, but at some point in your life, you’re going to have to do B CDEFG and all those other letters, you know, because you you can’t fake truth, you can’t fake professionalism. You can’t fake the feeling of knowing that you gave your all you earned the right, you gave your 100%. And I think today, more than ever, probably the best thing I’d like to share with everyone is to provide true value. This to understand that value to a guest is the difference between what they get and what they expect. It’s just that little difference. And how do you give them that again, more than they expected. So you know, you own them. You own your future.
Chris Baran 55:45
And it’s almost like, it translates into worse and the worst translates into how much they’re willing to pay. You know, to me, that’s what I think. I always say I’m a capitalist through and through. Who’s I think that yeah, well, exactly. I mean, I’ve had none, and I’ve had lots and I liked lots better.
Geno Stampora 56:03
I agree. And I’ll tell you, Chris, I always say that people that say it doesn’t matter or lying. It does matter, or they haven’t come to grips with the fact that it does matter. I mean, one of the things I always told my children was you have to understand something our lifestyle is created because of the beauty industry. And because of my work ethic. And those two things give us everything we have, you know, try to get them to understand that that’s what it takes, you know,
Chris Baran 56:32
listen. Perfect. I have a bunch of rapid fire questions. This is a perfect segue into that. Let’s do it. And I just wanted to throw out a series of questions for you here. Just one or two word answers or the first thing that comes to your mind. If you say pass, that’s okay too. Okay. What turns you on in the creative process?
Geno Stampora 56:58
The customers face
Chris Baran 57:00
what stifles it
Geno Stampora 57:04
All right, I can’t find the right words my own not being able to connect the dots not being able to get my ability out there. Love it.
Chris Baran 57:18
Okay, good an event or a show that you love the first one that comes to your mind when you did on that you’re involved with
Geno Stampora 57:25
the Davidson Crystal City show. A love it.
Chris Baran 57:29
Okay, good things in your life that you dislike in your life, not our industry, but in life that you dislike the most.
Geno Stampora 57:39
Not being able to copy a lead on my guitar. Ah, that’s probably the worst things I disliked the most solicitors calling that I don’t want to talk to people using me versus getting to know me and working with me.
Chris Baran 57:57
Oh, wow. That’s brilliant. What are the things you love the most in life?
Geno Stampora 58:02
My wife, my children, my guitar, my office, my industry? You the people that I’ve had the privilege to get to know and work with? And you know, it’s funny that I’m trying to stay one word, but I can’t do it. I find now that the closest people in my life are the people that have been through the same journey. I’ve been through all the people I’ve worked with.
Chris Baran 58:31
Love it. Most difficult time in your life.
Geno Stampora 58:36
Hoo boy. Probably my teenage years. It was tough. I grew up really poor, very abused. No. I was horrible in high school. I didn’t do well I quit school. I have no formal education. Probably just the most difficult time was my my teen years and early 20s and me getting to know me.
Chris Baran 59:03
God bless. I’m glad that you found them.
Geno Stampora 59:06
Yeah, the two
Chris Baran 59:12
things you hate most about our industry
Geno Stampora 59:17
people that don’t love it as much as I do. People that suck the industry dry numbers and large corporations coming in and taking out the creative process and making a salon owner or beauty professional become a number. The fact that customers sometimes don’t really listen to what’s best for them.
Chris Baran 59:40
I love it. person you admire the most
Geno Stampora 59:45
in the world.
Chris Baran 59:47
Geno Stampora 59:50
I can’t give you one but I’ll give you a five, two. So hotma Gandhi, John Lennon
Vidal Sassoon. Oh he was what he did what he gave to us to our industry. Always such a outstanding representation of who we are. And let’s see there was one more people have more Elvis Presley.
Chris Baran 1:00:20
Oh yeah. person you wish you could meet
Geno Stampora 1:00:28
Chris Baran 1:00:30
love to meet him loved it’s gonna happen one day.
Geno Stampora 1:00:32
I’d like to know if it’s for real. You know, I’d like to really I got some questions
Chris Baran 1:00:39
something people don’t know about you.
Geno Stampora 1:00:43
I have difficulty sometimes. believing in myself.
Chris Baran 1:00:53
God bless that’s.
Geno Stampora 1:00:54
I have to remind myself who I am Chris. Sometimes
Chris Baran 1:00:59
snapping a finger and I’m just giving you a month off. Where would you go and what would you do? nothing do with hair.
Geno Stampora 1:01:05
Siesta Key Florida. Oh, yeah. I love Siesta Key. I have so much fun there. And part of that would have to be the casino at Sarasota. The Hard Rock Casino.
Chris Baran 1:01:18
Love it. Well, I’m wishing you all the success on that one. Things that terrify you are a thing.
Geno Stampora 1:01:25
Yeah. Snakes. spiders.
Chris Baran 1:01:30
Spiders. That’s for me.
Geno Stampora 1:01:31
Sometimes the dark. I have difficulty with the dark sometimes if it’s pitch black. Usually in a hotel room. I’ll leave my TV on. I’ve never in all my life never been good with the dark. I don’t know that it terrifies me. But I could let it if I’m not careful.
Chris Baran 1:01:46
Yeah, yeah. I have I have sometimes in a hotel room. And it’s dark. All wake up semi wake up thinking that somebody is looking over top of me. And it freaks me out. I understand. Favorite curse word
Geno Stampora 1:02:01
shit. covers everything.
Chris Baran 1:02:05
favorite comfort food?
Geno Stampora 1:02:07
Chris Baran 1:02:09
Love with butter. Oh, absolutely something in the industry that you haven’t done but wanted to.
Geno Stampora 1:02:21
Gosh, I think I’ve pretty much done everything I’ve ever wanted to in this industry. I can’t think of anything.
Chris Baran 1:02:31
Awesome. Okay. And I’m sure it’s here in Canada we call it a do over do FSA do over you understand what I mean by do over? Okay, if you had one in life in industry and whatever we said snapped her fingers. Here’s a one do over one do over you can do what would it be?
Geno Stampora 1:02:53
trusted myself earlier in my years. Took me a long time. My 20s were tumultuous and they didn’t have to be. I was already there. I just didn’t know it. You know what I’m saying? Yeah, yeah, I
Chris Baran 1:03:06
do. Okay, tomorrow, you couldn’t have anything to do with the hair industry couldn’t speak. Couldn’t be a public speaker. What would you do?
Geno Stampora 1:03:16
Work with old people. What would you do? Talk to them. Just give them a hand any year. A heart.
Chris Baran 1:03:28
Love it. Yeah. Yeah. It’s interesting, isn’t it? How our in our our culture in North America or other cultures in the world. Bestow great honor and respect on the elderly. We tend to have a throwaway mentality.
Geno Stampora 1:03:48
You are Yeah. Here have you seen Garrick on Netflix? No, I have not. Oh, this is for all of you. If you want to everybody out there if you want to do something cool. It’s Ricky Gervais, but it’s not the Ricky Gervais that you know, you look up the show, Derek D E. R E. K on Netflix. It’s not easy. But it’s it’s life changing.
Chris Baran 1:04:12
Love it. I promise you I will do that. Okay. Couple of things. Firstly, if you had a wish for industry, and you could change it. What would that be?
Geno Stampora 1:04:26
My wish would be that every beauty school student knew that. They were there for a reason. That that beauty school can be an awakening and that there is a place for every one of them out in our industry. That will be my wish.
Chris Baran 1:04:45
One thing that all the people that were listening and watching right now, if you could get them to let go of something or stop doing something, what would that be?
Geno Stampora 1:04:57
Get out of your own way. Mm hmm. Have faith and trust and confidence in yourself and get out of your own way. Become aware of your complete potential. Let you be all that you could be. Live the life you’ve dreamed of make things work, make life matter. Don’t make enemies, you know, just peace loving, you know, love all and serve all make life work for you. It’s way too short. I mean, you’re dying soon you’re gonna be dead. Why not? Just let it all go and have a good time?
Chris Baran 1:05:31
Yeah, we should say peace, love and rock and rollers. Yes. Gino. I don’t know what to say. I just feel like I, we said at the beginning that we we’ve sort of passed each other to the dark. We’ve talked to each other. We know each other by profession. But I feel like I’ve got a kindred spirit that’s on board and like minded, and I just can’t thank you enough for giving up your time that you have to be with our public and our head cases that we have on here. You are welcome. I just want to say thank you.
Geno Stampora 1:06:12
Thank you, Chris. You’re welcome. And it’s my pleasure. And I feel the same way I always have I even when we passed each other in the halls going from classroom to classroom, I thought, You know what, if we had time, we could have a good time together, we could be best friends. So not only is it a pleasure to be on here, but it’s an honor. And I’d love to do it again. Let’s, let’s do let’s do
Chris Baran 1:06:34
it sometimes. Let’s do it because there’s so much more that we could talk about. And I had a new a new good friend named James Alba. Out of Your New Jersey area. Yeah. that I talked to the other day, and I loved his line, and I’m going to use it right here. And he said to me, whether you want it or not, we’re going to be best friends. So I’m gonna use that line and say whether whether you want it or not one day, buddy, we’re going to be best friends and we’re gonna have dinner and
Geno Stampora 1:07:04
I love it, Chris, and you know what I have to tell you, I love James Albert. So he’s the son i He’s my son. I mean, yeah, he is just he’s the future of our industry. No doubt about that. No debt. Wonderful, wonderful guy. Yeah,
Chris Baran 1:07:21
I agree. Yeah. My friend. Thank you so much. And I bow to you.
Geno Stampora 1:07:27
Thank you, Chris, the same to you and thank you, everyone. God bless you. Be safe, stay strong. Make life matter. Thank you. Cheers.