My very special guest this week is so committed to elevating the salon industry that he wrote a best-selling book about it called “Beautiful Business”. He won NAHA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Editorial Stylist of the Year, and was inducted into the London Hairdresser Hall of Fame. He has a very successful salon in Manhattan and I am proud to call him a good friend. Please welcome Sam Brocato.
• Sam became hooked on the beauty industry at 16, when his mom took him to her part-time job at a local beauty school
• early in his career he showed his boss an ad in Modern Salon for training in London, and he gave him the money to sign up. Everyone was there at Sassoon’s – Vidal, Trevor Sorbie, Christopher Booker, Roger Thompson
• Paul Mitchell and Horst Rechelbacher both encouraged Sam, even if it was in very different ways
• The title of Sam’s book, Beautiful Business, refers to using both sides of the brain – creative and logical. Sam has always tried to use both to propel his very successful career.
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 Barron, a hairstylist and educator for 40 plus years, and I’m inviting all our heroes to chat and share the secrets of their success
Well, welcome to head cases where interesting conversations happen with the hair industry leaders of today. Now I’m really excited about today’s guest and catching up with an old friend. He has traveled the world as a hairdresser, artistic educator, motivational speaker and I can say he is a visionary. He has a best selling best selling book by the name of beauty business. It has been on the best selling list with Amazon and New York Times. He is an NAHA editorial stylist as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner. He is the world’s top hairstylist and inducted into the London’s hairdressing Hall of Fame. He’s received the Intercoiffure honor of the prestigious Knight award, and that has been presented from the counsel of the Oder dilla Chevelle ye his haircare line to Together Beauty features clean, innovative toxin free formulas. He’s had multiple locations salons and his school Empire which was in his native Louisiana as well as New York City. He’s a legend in our industry. So let’s get into this week’s headcase Mr. Sam Brocato Well, Mr Brocato, am I allowed to call you mister
Sam Brocato 1:51
Chris Baran 1:55
it’s listen it’s always a pleasure. I mean, I think the last time being on the industry together we always get this time to be you know, running around we can be in the same facility but half of the time we see each other very little on the road and I think the last time that that we were really I’m anybody listening I’m using air quotes that shows you how old I am. But the was you were you at our apartment in Manhattan. And was it you and Was it cold calling was God was calling me because he was looking at he was looking at getting into the film industry at that time. Yeah, with cameras etc. What Is he is he there now? Is that what he’s going on while the camera
Sam Brocato 2:34
$130,000 Camera three days ago. He’s doing all Tito’s everyday you see by Tito’s he’s done a shot at? He’s doing? Yeah, he’s doing really well. And he’s in a nice space because because he’s done a lot of advertising work. And so far, no problems with being replaced by anything or anybody
Chris Baran 2:57
yet. Well, here’s crossing our fingers for that so far. But yeah, so it was it’s a listen, but it’s always a pleasure. You know, and the one thing you can always tell is when you’re friends with somebody, for those of you just listening and watching right now, we were bantering about before and having some shits and giggles but it’s funny you know you can not see somebody for a long time. And it’s either really awkward, or it’s just like it was the day you met them last and I have to say it was just like the day when you were an apartment and it’s it’s always a pleasure.
Sam Brocato 3:28
Always a pleasure how funny if I could literally stand up and it would take what four minutes five minutes to walk into my apartment two year old apartment. Yeah, yes we are.
Chris Baran 3:37
Yeah, exactly. And the funniest thing is is because I you’re still there but I escaped I escaped Manhattan I got a little bit too little bit too hard. 111 How would you say I would say I’ll put it altercation with a taxi with a with a taxi cab driver said I just went you know I’m getting a little too hard here. So that led me to move I wanted to go to somewhere it was a little bit more calm came and Fountain Hills Arizona certainly now No, but listen, this is about you and I I know that I just want to ask you one question first. And I do want to go into the hair and the why hair etc. But the first thing I want to ask you is you know it’s tough when well I don’t know if it’s tough. I just want I want to get people call you a legend or an icon and you hear people say that all the time I’m saying about you right now because you are you said How does that sit with you?
Sam Brocato 4:43
You know, I heard the woman that wrote The Handmaid’s Tale. I heard her on Tim Ferriss show about a year and a half ago and Tim was just gushing about her being a legend and this amazing woman and she stopped me she says Tim you I’m old. She said, there’s a lot of people who are a lot smarter than me. And I could probably name some people if I could think back that were in your 30s passed away. They were just amazing people. And, and had they still been around and put in the time and done with it. You know, you just you work at the things you love and you’re passionate about. But for me, I don’t know, I don’t think that much about it. I just, I went to see Jackson Browne with my wife last night. And we just sitting there watching Jackson, he’s just such an amazing human being. And he no more cares about a spotlight or all that he just the craft. He loves to work, he loves the audience, he loves his band. can feel that?
Chris Baran 5:41
I think it first of all, thank you for the humility. And I know you are and that was not I was not trying to be facetious on that. But it’s really interesting when you get labeled as something but yet, you know, like, the may or may not say that it might be if you’d say it right now then you’d be the first one. But the reality is, is when your wife tells you to take out the kitty litter. It kind of brings it right back right back to reality that you know this legend you know, handles cat poop every once in a while.
Sam Brocato 6:13
Always want to try to write into the cat though.
Chris Baran 6:19
So, listen. So I want now I want to just jump back on and jump into that DeLorean and we’re going to hit on that flux capacitor, whatever the hell it was. And some of the young people that are just listening and watching right now they’re wondering what the hell we’re talking about.
Sam Brocato 6:34
We just saw that on Broadway back to the you know, the lead. I didn’t even know it was on Broadway the lead. I can’t remember Len Lena is a real good customer of ours been coming for eight years. But it’s a great show. If somebody would come with a really high powered energetic, fabulous. Yeah, but go ahead.
Chris Baran 6:51
I’ve got to go see it when I get back on travel. Yeah, but now Okay, we just got in it. We’re getting out of it. And we’re back to that 17 year old kid that just got out of beauty school. So you must have you went in when you were about 16. Then
Sam Brocato 7:10
the fall before I turned 17. My birthday is in November. So I went in, and I would have been going into my senior year of high school, but the teacher just wouldn’t accommodate my needs. And so I ended up getting sent home one day and my mom, my mom says to me, your dad’s gonna be here for lunch, and he’s gonna be very pleased that you’re here. And so why don’t you come with me? She did a two hour gig a day during the books for a beauty school. Five days a week. And I went with her. Yeah. And that was that was
Chris Baran 7:48
that was that you got hooked? Yeah. Well, you know, it’s, it’s funny how we share so many things that are similar. You said that you didn’t they didn’t even you didn’t agree with the teacher. They wouldn’t accommodate you. The line I use is I said I always say so when I was finished with grade 12. So let me restate that. When I was finished with grade 12 I never finished grade 12 I just Well, let me put it this way. I finished it. I just didn’t pass it.
Sam Brocato 8:21
I totally got it. And I probably I never would have gotten a high school diploma had the governor who I knew of Louisiana. I want you to tell him the beauty school and you can’t own a beauty school in Louisiana if you don’t have high school diploma. I’m gonna do you a favor, Sam. He said I could sign off and let you get those done. He said about I’m not gonna do it. He said go get your GED. That’s a general education diploma. Here and and I did and it was a it was a big moment. For me. Good for ya. The big moment. I didn’t realize how important it was.
Chris Baran 8:51
Yeah, well, maybe when I’m 85 Run back for might be the oldest kid in there. But so No, but you went to you went to Beauty School. And but then what I found really interesting is shortly after that, you you decided that you’re going to go to London, and you spent several monthly interns at Sassoon did. What prompted that?
Sam Brocato 9:21
Well, I mean, I was certainly very curious. And I was watching Modern salon magazine, mostly at that time, as I recall, and I saw some images and I couldn’t understand how they were done. So then I saw a little small ad for the Davies muse. Vidal, Sassoon Academy. I went to my boss and I told him I wanted to go and he was just this amazing guy and I didn’t. At the time, I didn’t understand what it was, but he gives me like a roll $500 and $20 bills. He was skimming the cash. He said go
Chris Baran 9:59
I was gonna Ask his name, but now I’m not going to.
Sam Brocato 10:03
But I’m not sure I’ve tried to track him down numerous times. But yeah, so I went over in 73 ish, as I recall the first time and I stayed a little tiny little place. Right off the debuts and I stayed there the first time for a month. Everybody was there, Fidel was there, Trevor was there. Everybody was there. And then shortly Christopher Brooker was there. Roger Thompson all they’re all there. And we would have these sessions on console. Yeah. And I learned about truffle. The desert.
Chris Baran 10:42
I was gonna say, I recall a lot of the haircuts, I don’t recall.
Sam Brocato 10:49
It was magical.
Chris Baran 10:50
Yeah. But you know, what, just as just one step aside from that, is what I find so unfortunate right now is, so many people might not even know who some of those people who eat they’ll know every if they don’t know Vidal Sassoon that I don’t know what rocky just crawled out from. But, you know, I just did an interview with with Trevor just the other day, and some people here in America don’t just don’t know who Trevor is, yeah. Well, you know, and it’s a shame. I think everybody should know people’s history. And, uh, where did all the stuff coming from,
Sam Brocato 11:21
I read a book that a friend of mine from the seventh grade just sent to me random the years ago, and it was called the history of our future. And I remember a lot about the book, it was about the world and business and all, but the name itself always has resonated with me about everything I do. What’s the history of what’s going to happen tomorrow? Yeah, and to me, that is so important to go back and look at your roots to understand them, because that’s where the some of this stuff started. And make sure you get your story right. And understand, you know, what is this? What is it really about? Because a lot of noble, fabulous people who paid a lot of dues to help us get to the place where we’re sitting right now?
Chris Baran 12:06
Yeah, you know, when I find it that this is a little bit of a, it’s not? Well, it bothers me when I hear people that say, I invented this haircut. Well, you know, if you if you really understand where stuff comes from, you’ll just call the call, you know, you didn’t, you know, and when people say that, if they would understand that they just pay for people that No, they just turn those people off, rather than saying, I’m paying homage to, you know, and I think that that no matter what we do in our industry, if we could just pay homage to the people and honor the people where all of this came from? Yeah, definitely.
Sam Brocato 12:43
You will. And you can’t do that. But you have to do your research.
Chris Baran 12:48
Yeah, well, and just and people are thinking that when you say I invented this versus this is my homage to, you know, you’re actually seen bigger in someone’s eyes, because you recognize where it came from. You knew what it was, and then you paid tribute to that. And I just think that, you know, I went through ego periods to I’m not saying that I didn’t do it. I’m not saying any of that I you know, well, but I think that when you when you really pay homage, you’re seeing so much bigger in people’s eyes than if you let your ego take over and try to say it’s just me, me, me, me,
Sam Brocato 13:22
I do think that one of the great things about doing research and understanding the history of where we’ve been, it gives you a chance to be able to okay, I get that history, I want to point my life in a different direction. And I want to find my path, I will make my path someone will be copied somebody, somewhere will be derivations of that. But at the end of the day, it will be self validating. It will be something that leaves me feeling fulfilled, frustrated, 99% of the time, but
Chris Baran 13:53
fulfilled. But that’s that’s what creativity is of until, isn’t it? Of course, yeah. That that mean? You know, I’ve always said and this has been my MO is I always went. And I’ve told people this before some people that listen to all of our podcasts. If you’ve done that, and you’re one of those one or two, then I would say I was told this well done. I told this to people in a past one. But I’ve said, if you really want to know how something is done, copy what that work is, so you can understand it, then take it and build on your own from there. Because that’s where the secret is. I
Sam Brocato 14:30
think the only thing I would add to that is copy, copy, copy, copy, being yourself being centered, being present. And all of a sudden, unbeknownst to you, you will have you have veered off course from the copy and created the original. And that’s what that’s what humanity is about my opinion and the beauty of our business. If you just keep copying and then all of a sudden you go wait a minute, this is a little different and I’m coming up with but you have to be present. And you have to really want to be informed
Chris Baran 15:00
Yeah, yeah. Words, great words. So I read a little tweak there that you know that your father was a little more than just apparent to you that he was he was a mentor. Yeah. Can you tell us tell us a little bit about him?
Sam Brocato 15:20
Yes. My dad was an architect. He was one of two sons. He had to he had a brother, that was also a very successful architect. And from the minute, I remember, my dad told me that he, when he quit doing residential architecture work was because the women were wise would drive him crazy, changing, changing, changing things. And he said, so I’m going to tell you from experience, you probably don’t want to be a hairdresser, for women. And I did not take his advice. But what I did do with I sat down with my dad for many hours doing drawing and sketches. And working on a thing I caught multiplying haircutting was my cutting edge design system, which we still teach in my salon today. And he helped me understand the the structural integrity of any thing that we built. And so then then we progressed to actually build in hair salons. And I mentioned earlier to you before we got on some of the real estate investments that my wife Holly and I have, or buildings that my dad actually sat down with me, we drew into a design, he would take, he would take a ball of kite string. And so this one farm was 75 800 square feet, and he would tie the kite string to the front desk. And then he would drag it all the way across the song. And if he couldn’t see a line of sight that equaled a minimum of 80% of the space, who would say we have to change it, we have to change it. So smart him he was constantly doing that. And so he’s just wonderful. I mean, he really encouraged me not to say that I am far more my mother than I am my dad, believe it or not. I’m way more like my mom than I am my dad. My dad was a very, he would say to architectural engineer, you know, he was a guy that really would get the fine details. And my mother was just a massive learner. She got seven kids up and out of the house and went straight back to high school college studying, like crazy and right at 11 o’clock at night. So it’s a very interesting combination. She was a country girl, and he was a little more refined city boy with a higher education. And she came with less education. So, but I am a lot more like her my energy and my determination to learn and to never give up and never never really judge myself to try not to judge myself and just move forward. Yeah, yeah. But I was fortunate. My dad’s Great God.
Chris Baran 17:50
Yeah. Well, it sounds like, you know, one thing I you know, and just as little known fact, you know, I’m a part of a group of people, both my son and I and my wife are a part of a franchise of beauty schools. And the one thing that gets me all the time is that when people come in, and they’ll say, Well, you can’t make money in this business. And then they’ll say that should they should go to university or college or whatever, first. And then if they want to get into it, they should. But didn’t, your dad told you something about that he didn’t want you to go to college. And
Sam Brocato 18:25
well, more specifically, he knew that I didn’t have the bandwidth to sit and study and do things the way he had done it. He could see that the way I was more emotive, I like touching things. And it was just a different energy. And I think he had the insight and the wisdom enough to be able to say to be, you know, I don’t know, I don’t know if that would be you for you to try to do what I’ve done, which I didn’t really want to be an architect. It’s pretty boring to me. What they design and finished looks at fabulous. It was just the track on the way to getting there. Yeah, definitely nudge me into it, and then nudge me into it with my own business.
Chris Baran 19:10
That’s amazing. Yeah. So have you always been business minded? Like, are you I find that so many people in our industry, just like they’re, you’re one way, one way or the other. You’re either very, very creative, and you do just want everything to do with just creativity, and yet, the business side can fall off. And that’s why I think a lot of our salons don’t make it they say that they only last but you’re lucky if the last one was bigger. I heard. And this wasn’t about just salons this was business in his totality. 85% of the businesses don’t make it past five years. That’s right. So yeah, so were you always business minded? Was it a
Sam Brocato 19:49
you know, I had someone tell me the other day if you make it through your first 10 year lease in Manhattan, you’re a successful business. You’re 15 Plus Oh, it’s business Monday, I’ll tell you what happened. I opened this a lot. When I opened my own little place, I talked about my best friend and to be at the host house, my mom would help me shampoo and books and stuff like that. And I was just slowing and go and stack up the money, credit cards were just becoming MasterCard, I think it was called was just coming out. So I ended the day with a stack of cash, a few checks, and no credit card debt. And so I was taking the cash and putting it under my mattress and putting the checks in the bank. But that was the only way you get your money back from I didn’t even understand that you were supposed to be depositing all the money, and blah, blah, blah, I really did not understand that. And by the way, my dad was an artist and that way also he was he wasn’t the greatest businessman. He did well, but he wasn’t. So I actually stumbled upon. I stumbled upon a a accountant, a CPA and and then. But right before I stumbled on him, I brought my girlfriend Valerie over to my apartment, and I brought her in the bedroom and lifted up the the bed and there was just rows and rows, but $20 bills stacked up. And she go Wow. And in today’s dollars, I’ve gone back and calculated about $38,000 in cash. So the next day or two Valerie’s mom showed up to get this awesome little bowl cut that I used to give her a beautiful little bowl cut. And she says Sam, why was Bowery in your bedroom? More importantly, what are you doing with all that cash? So that same day, I bought my first piece of investment real estate. She said to me, Okay, Sam, you’re gonna buy this house and it’s gonna have a duplex, and you’re gonna live upstairs and the person downstairs is gonna pay for the electricity, the gas, the mortgage, taxes and everything and you’re gonna live for free. I went
Chris Baran 21:58
Sam Brocato 21:59
And I just hold on to that, Chris. I dug into it from every angle. I at one point, I owned about 130 doors, as I used to call him for another call it 130 toilets. Yeah. And I eventually backed off of that and redistributed it but so yeah, I was kind of forced to understand it because some really smart people stepped into my life and started, started me up a little bit and said, pointed me in the right direction. So a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of fortunate moments, people coming in Angel, a lot of Angel
Chris Baran 22:31
was was one it was a couple of those. Paul Mitchell and and Horst
Sam Brocato 22:38
Pom Pom more than Horst in the way they were so different. Paul was had a loving kind, you know, wonderful soul, he would do anything. And he was so encouraging. And he would come stay with us and all and he encouraged me I started right. He said, Tim, you need to write the book. You tell people the story. And so Paul was one that did that. On the flip side, Horst was a total opposite. I flew to Minneapolis to be with Horst and I wanted to start my own product line. Because I’m assuming 51% of it. You can’t have a product line or I won’t have anything to do with it. Not even Well, I don’t want you to own it. I want you to make it for me. Well, here I am. I didn’t have any clue. The private manufacturer ones I didn’t know. You have told manufacturer and private label and all that. So the next day, someone called me Rocco Altobelli and said, You know what, I actually called him I said, What’s wrong? And why it seems so mean to be fair, I learned from course a lot. Yeah. And so yeah, they both both encourage me in way different ways. Quite different ways.
Chris Baran 23:40
You know, I’m still I get to do these podcasts and talk to all these amazing people. But what gets me is, I don’t know how the hell did you get to meet Paul Mitchell.
Sam Brocato 23:54
So I’ll give a tip. I’m gonna give a tip of the hat to your old alma mater. Yeah, the Edwin smokey Neal was the distributor of for at that time, pretty much just redkin maybe some Revlon and, and Paul and Jay Paul at first but right before JP had called Edwin because they knew him from the smoky world. They called him and they Paul was flying in and Edwin and I become closer and closer friend because I was the youngest newest hottest kid around. So he calls me says I want you meet somebody. This is exactly how I met Paul and and Horst. I met Horsts in the kitchen at the house drinking cayenne pepper. And I met Paul on the front porch of the South smoking pot. And I have to say I wasn’t smoking pot at the time. I was a hardcore runner and a vegetarian. But anyway. So that’s how I first met and then And then Paul came back to town. And I believe Yeah, he said Can you can you come help? Me and I went to a hotel. I go in hotel room and it was just so Dagenham. Everybody was wrapped in this sheet. And they all they said, Can you roll pot over something like that? But anyway, so yeah, and then so that’s how I met. I met Paul. And then Holly and I, he would come stay at the house when he was touring around the country and do his laundry and all that. And we became inseparable friends. He we talked on constantly. And you’re such a good guy.
Chris Baran 25:32
He’s a brilliant, brilliant gentleman, you know, and no matter who you talk to, he always said that, you know that when he was in your life, he made your life better. Yeah. You know. So it’s, it’s just such a shame that we lost him. Yeah. And
Sam Brocato 25:49
it’s interesting, because by the way, my brother Marcus, who was a hairstylist died of pancreatic cancer. Sorry, Paul died of pancreatic cancer. Yeah, of course died of pancreatic cancer. And John Suhag died of pancreatic cancer. I’m sure there’s many many more.
Chris Baran 26:07
Yeah. Well, I’m glad to have good friend who hairdresser as well and had it but it’s fine. I mean, he got through it, believe it or not, because usually you don’t it’s not that but God bless. That was just great. Yeah, so what so you you were in your in the you get graduated of beauty school? You got a you went to systems? You came back when Baton Rouge right? Yeah. Is that where? Yeah.
Sam Brocato 26:43
Raise pretty much in Baton Rouge. Yeah.
Chris Baran 26:45
So but now what sweat you’ve been? You’ve been you’ve educated all over the world?
Sam Brocato 26:50
Pretty much. Yeah. What Tokyo era?
Chris Baran 26:54
I mean, a lot. Yeah. What? What was the switch that got you into education, like what happened?
Sam Brocato 27:04
I would go to London. And, and I was broke. I didn’t have any money. I just started on spending all my money going to London. So I would book classes would really mostly the hairdressers from New Orleans, and they would all come over to Baton Rouge and pay me $250 For a two day intensive. And I would teach them everything I know. And so I’d spend $2,500 Going to London, I’d make $5,000 on that. So I just kept leveraging that, and going more and more frequently. I mean, I was going six times a year for one three year period to London, and I pop over to Paris and check out what the French were doing and once or twice down to Milan or something but I mostly I mostly you know Chris, the thing that interesting, interesting, for me, self is just the idea of capitalism and the game of business always was an integral part of my philosophy and and craft experience. And I think it’s different than for some people I can name people that is quite the same for but I think that part of what drew me to the flame was it you know, was the passion of learning. And it was so much to learn and that’s sort of fine lines it makes sure that corner is just right and working on that damn five point haircut per day. Days and and, but at the end of the day, I ended up with this That’s why I called the book I wrote beautiful business because it’s left brain right brain beautiful creativity, right brain is about the business. And I realized very early on that if I didn’t have a sound foot in the business side of it, I might not be able to perpetuate this this dream job forever and ever. You know, and so far 54 years or so. 53 Yeah, yeah.
Chris Baran 29:02
The It’s interesting what you’re just saying because that right wing right brain left brain, you know, business person creative. Is an I think that there was a gentleman made room shall remain nameless, out of the UK that one time in that it was very early 70s Poo pooed the idea of retailing because he said I’m an artist, not a salesman. Yeah. And and I think, you know, whether that just came from that one point or whether it came from, you know, I think most people feel that sales is is is a harmful act to some people. Yeah. In other words, I don’t you know, I’m at the beginning. I don’t make a lot of money. And if I try to get you to spend on something that I know you need I don’t have the money for it. You probably won’t have the money for it. Yeah. And I think I think that is perpetuated to a degree within our industry. It’s that, you know, you know, people think that upselling, or retailing, or all of the things that we need to do for proper business, so that, and here’s the catch that I’ve always had. So you can provide for your family. That is they kind of throw it away, and just hope that people are going to give them money. And
Sam Brocato 30:26
I, what’s your take? Well, I told you, I cut Aaron’s hair at two o’clock today, before I zip back over here to my apartment to talk to you. And Aaron was, for me, personally, I’m the Calvary of my salon when they need somebody to take care of something. So I step in, and I get, she gets colored and beautiful. And I’m looking at her scalp, I said, Erin, we are working on your scalp, ASAP. She got here missing, she’s got a little bit of scaling. So I immediately said, This is what you’re going to buy, you’re gonna buy scalp theory and feed your head to products. But you’re gonna buy these and you’re going to use them in and I want you back in here in four weeks. And I want to make sure you know that you’re making the progress, and we’re going to get you a healthier scalp. And coincidentally, she’s an architect, she’s probably about 50 Or so she says, Great, I’ll buy two of each. I said well, you don’t really need to do that. But if that’s what you want to do fine. So I really think that we are at a time right now, Chris, where the scalpel trick scarification of scalp is what’s been touted buzzwords is such a huge opportunity for us to make recommendation by really deeply, deeply digging into an understanding of hair Hair grows, and the needs it has, including, of course, the styling, but I mean, you know that that nude girl naked girl makeup look is it’s in the hair, too. That’s what’s going on. Right? Right. So I think more than ever, we need to, we need to find the dialogue. And if you’re struggling with the dialogue, you know, all you have to do at that bar. I mean, just go in there and say give me some great dialogue for speaking with a 1316 20 year old 30 year old woman would curl up. And then you take that and you size it up to what you need in your own salon. And it really, really I think it I think it’s a wonderful time to be making recommendations and personalizing things more than ever.
Chris Baran 32:25
Yeah, and I think that what I love that you said was is to get your as much as I don’t like the word scripting because it makes it sound like you’re just pushing a button and just spitting out the words. But so you learn to say the right thing in the right way to a client so that they buy into what you have to say not buying by not selling. If they have that I’ve had people say well, I will sell I recommend, well, you pick the word. But the reality is, if once you’ve learned some of the right words to say and phraseology is to say to people, you know, the way you take care of your family and and the money you earn is is is so much greater.
Sam Brocato 33:11
Yeah, well, a good example of it, um, you know, the idea of doing something 10,000 times to master it. I mean, I’ve been hacking away playing the guitar since I was 15 years old. I have a guitar right here next to me, I can pick this guitar up and Strama Jackson Browne song, whatever it may be, but I haven’t played it 10,000 times, and unless I will pay it, play it 10,000 times, I’m not going to master it. And I think it’s a discomfort that people have scripted dialogue in the opening part of their career, that that’s where they stumble a little bit when they’re not willing to do it that way. I’ll figure it out. No, you probably won’t figure it out. You’ll learn it and then you’ll build upon it. So
Chris Baran 33:54
it’s the way that comes to my brain is you know, it’s funny, people don’t want to script. But they’ll tell a joke. And the joke is almost verbatim because they’ve developed a joke over X amount of time. And they will use that yeah, you see but but that’s all that’s all that scripting and practicing is is it’s getting dialogue, putting it in your brain saying saying enough times. So it comes off natural and you you don’t have to think about it or stumble across the words. And it just makes it so much more natural. And that’s that’s all it really is. And that’s when we talked about scripting, etc. That’s that’s generally how it comes to me. But, you know, I’m seeing you you said it earlier that you’re more like your mom and your dad with the learning. Yeah, and I know before we were doing all our technical stuff getting ready for the show. Is you said that you over COVID When all of that was that that word again as much as we’re trying to stay away from it. But you this massive learner tell us more about what you were doing? Over COVID. And yeah,
Sam Brocato 35:04
so, of course, we were locked down, fortunately only for about 115 days here in New York City, and my wife and I would go to the salon every day. But even a little bit before that before COVID actually hit, I started investigating some online training to up my game, because I have a fabulous chemist that I’ve worked with for almost 30 years. She’s a master Master. And she can make anything anytime. But I decided I wanted to be able to tinker and do a little more actual brewing stuff myself, partially, because I don’t see me standing behind the chair when I’m 85 years old. I just thought physically I know my, my mentor, Jamison, Shaw stood there until he was at least at God blessing
Chris Baran 35:44
and just you just pass.
Sam Brocato 35:48
And so a part of that I was curious. So I started doing some looking around. And I found a group out of the UK that did some very serious, super high quality online training at a relatively reasonable price. And I just got obsessed with it. I have a small lab in the back of my salon and double did my office and you know, our big spaces in New York City, we just tiny. So I’m in there, I’ve got my laptop, and I’m studying and writing and studying. And along the way. I just taken to certification, that aromatherapy, to full one week courses in aromatherapy, to kind of build out my fragrance profile, my aroma profile, so that when I started actually mixing and makeup, so once I started studying, I started on organic haircare and the PE teacher said, Look, Sam, you know, we think you need to do organic skincare first. And I’m like, I don’t want to do that. And I pushed back and I kept. And then finally one day I said Okay, I’ll do it. So I fell in love with the skincare, I’m not getting into dispute your business, I just, I know my lane, I knew where I want to be. But so I studied and everything’s online. And, you know, taking all the tests I was on I was on it today, I was working on it earlier today on one piece of and I’ve got seven, seven badges now, including marketing, branding. You know, you know, Chris, I went to 55 hours a night class that fit here in branding about seven years ago, you know, I go every every two nights a week. And it was things like that, that just fuel my soul that make me just keep pushing forward. And I’m just curious, I’m just curious, I would recommend anybody that, you know, just do some searching around online, there’s, there’s some good places, particularly out of the UK, for online study, you have to be committed to it. And if you try to do it, you need to understand i i personally have a huge advantage. And that is I can call a manufacturer not not a finished good guy. But somebody who makes like a pure caffeine or pure glycerin or something like that. And I can ask them for a free sample at those guys will send me so much stuff. It’s very, it’s challenging to get the ingredients in tiny quantities to make 50 ml or make 100 ml of that dream shampoo you want to whatever it may be that whatever may be, but I will say that as someone that has loved and still loves touching hair and touching people and being in that space, that’s my happy space. That woman Erin’s only person I saw today. And she and I were just like so connected. It felt so good. I don’t want to stop doing it. But I know at some point, I will Ira so what would I do? I don’t want to get out of the business. I damn sure don’t want to retire. So I’m so that’s why I study so much on particular I’m starting the molecular bio biomolecular chemistry course that starts in about seven weeks online ad hours
Chris Baran 38:57
my my hat’s off to you but and I can tell them I think they convinced you correctly when they said that you should go to skincare because for anybody watching right now, if they look at his skin and they look at my skin I think it has a big result on here so you’re already selling me on it so when we greeted today I told Sam I said Sam I hate you. I said you’re really getting me to to hear because I mean I’m looking at me and I’m looking at you and I said you haven’t aged and I went from brown hair and a red beard to well let’s just call it what it is right now.
Sam Brocato 39:31
So Chris I just want to tell you I see you know how awards in the background and things like that and I’m proud of that I certainly have those but I you You are such an icon and I did some research again before you know we got on this call and I mean you have just so passionately worked and your your your love of teaching and helping other people grow It’s infectious. Is it mate wouldn’t make me go back on the road.
Chris Baran 40:05
Yeah, you know, thank you, first of all, thank you. Secondly, you know, I just think that the reason why people have are ill, you know, the ones that went through all the pain and the bullshit we had to go through and the mistakes we had to make, there was nobody out there to help us. You know. And I think that’s our responsibility. Now. You know, we’ve got it, we have to help the young kids that are going through it, and if we don’t help them, because our business takes a bit longer to get into than working in McDonald’s, I had somebody say to me the other day, well, listen, why would I want to start in a salon and make pick up pick a number? I don’t even know what that is anymore. But make that number when I can make $21 working at McDonald’s? Yeah. And I’ll say, You know what? Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it. You know, if you put in some time and some energy, you can make six figures talking about that, you get half of that you can make six figures, that’s your take home stuff. Whereas if you work in McDonald’s, you’re gonna be making $21 for the rest of your life.
Sam Brocato 41:13
And, you know, I’ve heard and listened to people are in and around the industry talking about, you know, we need to brag more about how much money some people are making. I have a little less comfort that generally speaking, but I will say that, you know, we have a 22 year olds that are making 140 take home plus tips. And, yeah, they have a price point, that’s Manhattan, but they also have a cost of living, that’s Manhattan, New York. Exactly. They work the program, and they’re consistent with it. And, and, and they’re totally committed. And what I noticed, Chris, is that the young people, a lot of them, and we have to remind them, depend on us to be the thing that holds you up more, because we’re here to support you through the discomfort for not quite being sure that you should we want Don’t you do want to do this? Wait a while, everybody, I did that. I was so scary at first, am I gonna make it? Am I right for this? You know, all these crazy people?
Chris Baran 42:17
What about all but to that point, I mean, and I just want to do this, and this is that you have, I always tell people go to places when you’re starting out, go to places that have an amazing training program. So let’s just say I’m not young kid that starting out. I know that what the small town that I live in is not where I want to go to, but I want to learn, I want to, I want to get better at what I want to do. I want to eventually and I will say if I say I want to be like Sam Brucato I don’t mean be Sam Brucato. But I want to be able to take advantage so that I know. I have that person as a mentor that I can just say look at, that’s who idealistically that’s the type of person I want to be but I want to be me. If Do you ever get people that come from smaller areas want to move to New York and then want to work for you?
Sam Brocato 43:11
Yeah, you know, i Director of cutting education. Christy is from Spokane, Washington. And she’s been here and she, you know, you know it Chris block New York is awaiting for anybody, you know, you have to really, really want to be here and pay your dues, the spaces i i Still I’ll see these TV shows and the big apartments and all that. I’m like, look at that bullshit who lives in an apartment like that? So yeah, we have a lot of people do that. And right now we have about seven people, apprentices right now between cutting and styling. And I would say four of them, or five of them are not from here. And we’re we’ve reached the point of actually saying to them, only one out of seven will be here in 21 months. We’ve actually tell them we don’t and we just said Listen, don’t be afraid. You can’t do it. You don’t want to do it. Decide early. Move on, get it done. Yeah. And so yeah, but you can you can go anywhere with as a population if you want to be close to money, you want to make money be around people that are processing a lot of intelligence, and that and that have money to spend, you know processing information processing intelligence, because intelligence is so important to our world now more than ever before, not just information but intelligence and, and have money to spend.
Chris Baran 44:38
I remember Mike, my coach told me is if you want to be a millionaire, you should hang around with five people that are millionaires. Because they say if you want to be a millionaire, if you if you’re not a military, but you hang around five people, you’ll be the sixth. So you just have to hang around with those people that have the intelligence to know how and the wherewithal to give you the information. So some people so Close, close guarded by it, it’s it’s tough that it’s why I always say go to people that are giving, you know, and if they’re willing, if you’re if you see people that are giving, and they have a program, and let’s face it, I tell this everybody, everybody’s so worried about people leaving the salon, everybody leaves a salon. Yeah, it doesn’t matter, we left the salon, we moved on to somewhere else. But you know, if you’re going to teach somebody how to be as good as you do, you got to know they’re gonna go away. And that’s okay. Because it’s a hell of a lot better a hell of a lot better than not giving them the information in their hands.
Sam Brocato 45:38
And the real fault to the person that’s worried about people going away is not built in a brand that the customer wants to stay with. Aaron, the person I did this afternoon, she she had someone you know, that was with us in that last. And she said, I want to be here, I want to keep coming here. I charged $270 for a haircut. She wants to pay 125 or so who should I go to? And I give her three names for 125 135 150, whatever it is, but that building a brand that has elasticity and a presence in the mind and the heart of the consumer. And if you’re worried about your business, you worry about people leaving, you’re worried about the wrong thing. Don’t worry about people quitting worry about customers not coming back. Yeah,
Chris Baran 46:22
I loved I loved that we’re talking prices here. Because the one thing that I think is prevalent in our industry is that so many people are afraid to raise their price. They’re afraid to charge more for fear that somebody’s going going to go away. And it’s such a misaligned concept as you charged, you know, 75 121 5175 before you got to 75, you know, and I think that the more people would realize that, and it was to me, it was very simple. And I’m just gonna use simple math, because that’s not my MO. I’m not a math genius. But people say, Well, what I charged $10 Well, I said, Well, it’s easy. If you want to change this to 15 $15 We’ll give him a $15 haircut right now, when you’re charging 10 Yeah, yeah. Because if you charge if you’ve given him a you know, a value haircut right now, and you raise up a small amount, nobody’s gonna care, because you’re getting that value now. But when you move, you’re gonna give him a $15 haircut. Now you better be given a $25 haircut, keep and make sure that the value is up in there, you
Sam Brocato 47:29
know. So you have to keep going back to the well and keep learning now. I’m a member of intercoiffure. I’m actually on the board right now. We have two meetings a year, I almost never missed. And I sit in those meetings, I sit in those rooms, and I’ve listened. And I’ve done it to thanking 79. And I do it because I know that I need to replenish I need to re sharpen the blade and be ready to keep moving forward with it. Yeah, there’s, there’s a lot I would think that if I were in any town America, including New York, New York gets a little easier because you have eight to 15 million people, whatever the demographic is 20 million radius. But if you’re in your town, you say I want to charge top price, then you need to find out how many people are in the earning capacity, that price and you can back load that and come up with a number it may be a $50 haircut, it may be a 35 it may be a $70 haircut. You do find out who’s doing it. Where are the people are and what do they what are their pain points.
Chris Baran 48:27
Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that’s such an I think if we could, if I could get rid of anything in the insert, if I can, you know, snap my fingers, it would be the fear. Yeah, just a fear of raising prices because you are going to lose some people. And that’s okay. Yeah, you know, but you’ll replace them with a higher price number that truly value what you do.
Sam Brocato 48:49
I’ll tell you what, I have one right now that I can double my price to and I just kinda wish she’d go away. And
Chris Baran 48:59
that’s the one that won’t you could charge $2,000 she’s you know, some people are born bred raised putting a face to yours just to be a pain in the ass for some of us
Sam Brocato 49:08
crazy I am thankful every single day that I get to do it that I get to show up I get to be with these people touch them talk to them and feel their vibe and all this amazing what humanity Wow.
Chris Baran 49:24
Yeah, I read a quote. Just the other day that that you said and I’m gonna just read it here it’s written down. So if I’m looking down you’ll know why I keep it this is what I read in this was your quote and I’ve got a got quotation marks around it. It’s not like we’re sitting around thinking we’re gonna get rich. What we do, we’re let me read that again. It’s not like we’re sitting around thinking we’re gonna get rich. What we do is enrich. Tell me Give me a little more elaborate on that a little bit more.
Sam Brocato 49:58
Well, I can I I think you have to realize you’re in you have to be in the times you live and not the age you are at that age, the age we live in, of people, if humanity. And I think that if you really, particularly right now I personally, Chris, my son does a film we’re calling, I’m ready for him to come show up at the salon, if it’s necessary, become a part of the salon, because I’m so aware of what’s going on on large scale, when it comes to the work we do. I think this is a chance for us as an industry like never before, to show that we are humanity, we were like two miles wide, meaning there’s so many different people to come in. But we only need to be two inches deep. Because there’s so much deep stuff going on that people don’t need it. They want to know that it’s Hey, you know what, he’s chill, I’m gonna go in and, you know, I’m going to enjoy myself. And Sam’s gonna give me a great shape and style and cut, and I’m gonna get great color and all that. So to enrich is to be able to identify the pain points that people have, and then try to fulfill their needs. And right now, people are really worked up through on so many different ways. I’m not even going to get off on that.
Chris Baran 51:10
I just have that, that that was just brilliant, especially when it comes to enrich that you identified people’s problems, and you help them so one of
Sam Brocato 51:18
my favorite sayings right now, pain point, I know that’s not something brand new. But but you know, if you look around as a follow up, right out my front door here, who’s got to be 60 to 8687 years old, he’s homeless. He’s living right down the sidewalk. He looks like an average white guy from Wall Street. But he’s filthy. He’s living in, it’s just terrible. You can’t approach it. And I think about what’s the difference? And except with the grace of God, as the saying goes,
Chris Baran 51:48
yeah. The grace of God go Yeah, exactly.
Sam Brocato 51:52
So I think it’s so important to really be in touch with the times that you’re living in and apply that to the things that you’re passionate about. And if you’re not passionate yet, about being a hairdresser, be patient. Yeah, it’s some some beautiful work.
Chris Baran 52:13
Yeah, no, I agree. 100% on that. The work that we’re there, I mean, everybody looks at you, and they see what you’re doing. And they see you that you’re evolving into, you know, and I’m going to give you the title of chemists right now, whether you want to take that one or not. I like formulator Okay, that’s
Sam Brocato 52:35
my chemists, friends, I know where they are. Scientists.
Chris Baran 52:39
Yeah. But that, you know, you’ve been through that you’ve been through salons, you’ve been through, you know, having things in your life being educators, etc. Just because I want you know, like, to me, it’s really important that people see some of the stuff that we had to climb through, I’ll say stuff, because that’s just better than some of the other words that I use for that. But what was there any tough times that you had to go through? Well, I
Sam Brocato 53:05
didn’t do that I kept telling myself the homework for this conversation was to be write down how many times I opened and closed over the years, it definitely somewhere around seven or eight total that literally there’s I had to close them that didn’t work they sail. And so I would say all the hardest times I’ve ever had directly related to the salon business itself. You know, we had the proverbial big walkout back in from year I remember, it cost me 70,000 A month in lost sales. And Holly was pregnant, and my general manager was pregnant. And it was really, really, really painful. And I took it very personal. And I look back on it as a real gift as a lesson to be learned about leadership, and about expectations of other people. And the expectations need to be based upon the result you’re trying to accomplish in the work that you’re trying to do. And you have this you have this agreement amongst you about the work. You have agreed about integrity and truthfulness and do how do no harm those things. But you really have this this covenant around the work on behalf of the guest. And I didn’t focus on that as much as I thought it was about us, meaning me and my employees and the hairdresser. It wasn’t it wasn’t the interaction with the guests. At that where we took our eye off the ball, the people that left off the ball, I took my eye off the ball and the ball was I used to do classes I would I draw a star on on a flip chart, and I’d say see that star, that’s the guy that’s got a North Star, that’s our customer. I said, I’m over here and you’re over here and you’re over here, and we were all screaming at each other and doing all this shit. And she’s walking out the door said I’m gonna find a place that brings me A piece for quality beauty supplies, I really want to go with Sanctuary, a memorable place. That’s what we’re focusing on. Now, our conversation is all about, we want to be that place. And we don’t want to be that place at the cost of other salons.
Chris Baran 55:16
Yeah. What I really love that you said there and I want to make sure that people listening or watching Get it is that we can have those things are where we have a rough patch. But we survived, we get through, we rebuild, we learn from the mistake that we made. And we grow from there. Yeah, my teacher always talked about the when you have problems, think about it like a like a funnel, you know, you got this open end at the bottom, a big wide open end at the top. And if you think about your success, or the money that you really want to get to is at the top, and I don’t mean metaphorically, I just mean the the or I do mean it metaphorically that where you’re trying to climb up to its bottom, it’s very narrow. At the top, it’s wider. And if you can imagine every time you do something and make a mistake, you’re kind of like bouncing from one side of the, of the funnel to the other. But what I found so life changing for me was when my coach told me that you learn from the mistake, imagine your first bounce, you learn from that mistake, and then you you learn from it, you bounce back and you go up a little higher on the other side, and you learn from that one and you bounce up to the other side. But if you can’t get past that one mistake, that’s when you stay forever stuck, you’re stuck. And you just get stuck in that one position because you didn’t try to move on from the other. We made the choice just to say, I can’t do that, or I won’t go further or I will try to get past this or I’m just going to worry about you know my sympathy for me. And I think that what I love that you said and I’ve seen you and known you I’ve known you way longer than I’ve actually can call you my friend. But I’ve seen how you’ve done that and you’ve always learned from your mistakes you always have been so gracious to say look at that’s where I’ve been at but now this is where I’m gonna go to and you always evolve and go further.
Sam Brocato 57:12
Yeah, yeah. Chris is one of my favorite sayings. Now as an arrogant, being older as is asked forgiveness, not permission. Yeah, time is not on our side. I mean, you know, there’s less time in front of us than there was behind it. We’re not like the 25 year old people and not that I would want to be 25 Again, these precious precious days. I am. I like myself right now probably more than I have ever in my life. It’s just such grace gracious time.
Chris Baran 57:47
This episode is sponsored by the salon associate accelerator from trainers. playbook.com. Are you struggling with the time and cost of associate training? Do you feel like your salon is running you will get your associates on the floor, all with 90% Less time from you. So you can get back to building your business. Get them world class design, finishing color and client care skills they’ll use every day for the rest of their career. While you focus on realizing your vision. Go to trainers playbook.com and get the salon associate accelerator and now back to the show. Listen, I want to I want to throw something out generic right now the I don’t know where the hill the time gone is that the this is just our what I call the rapid fire round. I’m just gonna throw questions to you just like one answer one quick statement sentence whatever.
Sam Brocato 58:47
I made some notes. Oh, you did? I made okay, just in case. So if I look down, because I don’t want to I don’t want to be too spontaneous or talk to think too much. Go ahead. Go ahead.
Chris Baran 58:58
Listen, I don’t care if you listen, this is all about you. And I want people to know you and listen. So you go a little further. I don’t care. What turns you on in the creative process.
Sam Brocato 59:08
Chaos. Oh, yeah, I if the water is too smooth, and even I started splashing. I think like for instance in 2008 as bad as it was, and we took over the salon. I knew how horrible it was. But I knew that we would dig out of it and build something special because everybody was so afraid. This apartment where I’m sitting in right now, some young person owned it. And she she was afraid to be in New York City. And she ran through the doors and I made her a lowball offer and she took it. And so it was chaos. And so to me that you have to have a certain degree of chaos around you. And yeah, that’s what turns me on.
Chris Baran 59:48
Wow. And you know that I think that is one of the most creative or one of the best responses we’ve had to that one. I just love it. What what’s stifles creativity for you?
Sam Brocato 59:58
Well, me for myself the most, you know, what I’ve discovered is that I get in my way as I think everybody does, you get your own way. But what I’ve discovered is I have to consume a copious amount of intelligence. And you notice the young saying, I’m moving away from that information word. Because, to me, I’m, we’re moving away from an information society into an intelligent society, because we just are, that’s what’s happening. So for me, I have to consume quantities of intelligence. And they they keep me disrupted enough to where the chaos is in place. And I’m always like, Okay, we’re gonna figure this out. I drive the people crazy to work around me. You know, some of them are like, Oh, my God, do you ever stop?
Chris Baran 1:00:48
Well, I know, this isn’t one of the questions here. But that sparked one of the questions that I that I did want to ask you is, when you’re formulating you’re in the salon, you’re always seeking information. You know, you people internationally know you. What do you what’s your evening? Like? What do you do in the evening?
Sam Brocato 1:01:09
Yeah, well, I’m pretty much a creature of habit. I like I like, so I finished my day at the salon, I usually ride around, if you ask my staff, you know, just say, he walks out the front door in his gym clothes at five o’clock, I walk down to the cheap little gym down the street, and I work out for an hour, I come back, I got my bag packed up, my wife is usually there 90% of the time. And she and I walked the 1.6 miles to the apartment. And, and we come in I you know, we have dinner together. Sometimes we go out we have a small dinner club group of people we join up together with periodically, and you know, have a glass of red wine. I’m pretty obsessed with some podcasts right now. So I do that. And I try to every single day pick up the guitar and Strama song, I find that it grounds me. So yeah, that’s kind of my basic, basic, evil. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:02:06
Yeah, I think it’s nice. Do things that sort of take your mind off of business as well. Yeah. Okay, so the thing, event show that you’ve done in the past, taken whatever, that you love the most. First thing that comes to your mind?
Sam Brocato 1:02:25
Oh, you mean relative to the industry?
Chris Baran 1:02:28
It doesn’t matter. I mean, it could be whatever. I mean, I had somebody told me about a, a play in New York that they just absolutely loved. So.
Sam Brocato 1:02:39
So. I mean, when it comes to just love, you know, the thing that really moved me deeply moved me right now, and no offense to my wife and my three children. But I have a two and a half year old granddaughter, and to be around her, and hold her, look at her. And look, inquisitiveness, and the look of hope and determination to I mean, she’s, to me, I don’t think you have to have a daughter or granddaughter I jokingly say, I wish I could have skipped kids and gone straight to grandkids. But, but I do think that an understanding of that absorbent mind and heart of people is super important. And you know, the only thing I add to that is I remember the first time I saw Paul Mitchell do this extremely long cut frame face frame and all the way down to this girl’s wife. And it just flowed and it was just I was upset. I was so in love with it. I mean just the material the hair just to look at and the way his hands worked. He just such a graceful master and he wanted to go the opposite direction of what Sassoon not because he didn’t love the dowel, because he wanted to make his own path. And I think that’s something that a lot of us probably would benefit from not everybody but anyway, yeah, that’s something I love.
Chris Baran 1:04:13
Excellent things in life that you disliked the most.
Sam Brocato 1:04:19
You know, I there’s so much division and hatred and ignorance. And I just think that if if there were a way for the mirror to reflect back on us, and we could see the man and the woman in the mirror and say, You know what, I really probably should just keep my mouth shut on this one. Yeah, and note choose your battles. No one has time to fall on the sword so to speak. And again, I just think that that it’s such it’s such a you know, it’s just sad because there’s so much hyper focus on ourselves now. And and And I think if we just chill and realize that this is not a permanent movie that we’re living, we’re just play on one pod for a
Chris Baran 1:05:10
little while. So walk on, by the way.
Sam Brocato 1:05:13
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:05:17
It’s true words, my friend through words. And what is it that you love most about life?
Sam Brocato 1:05:24
I really am at a stage Chris, where we’re on, literally wake up in the morning. And before we go to bed, I’m going, thank God. And so thankful to be able to look out the window. I know that, you know, Holly’s here with me or have a nice glass of water. Right when I wake up. I, you know, I’m super optimistic. I wake up happy. I’m a little more of a morning person. I probably a lot more morning person. But I’m super optimistic. And again, I’ll reflect back. I think our industry is in the sweet spot right now. I really do. And I’m optimistic about that, and thankful.
Chris Baran 1:06:04
Yeah. I want to I want to have you back on because I want to talk more about that. The what was if you had to say what was the most difficult time in your life?
Sam Brocato 1:06:17
Well, the most difficult time in my personal life was sitting with my brother for seven months, as he died of pancreatic cancer. Jesus, I was fortunately set up in a way enough where I can fly home to Louisiana and stay away as much as I need. Of course Holliday was fine with that, cuz he was younger than me. And he died on Monday. And on Thursday, 11am, over 700 people showed up at his memorial. And he was just beautiful person. So I think loss, losing parents and stuff like that is difficult, but it doesn’t come near to losing someone like that. So that was the most painful business wise, it was, it was, you know, a big walkout I had back in the 90s. It was I mean, I went to hospital twice to have them look at my stomach because I had such severe pains in my stomach and the doctor said, you have an iron drum. Your stomach is fine, you’re stressed.
Chris Baran 1:07:19
You have an iron drop.
Sam Brocato 1:07:21
That’s exactly what you said there’s nothing wrong. No, no, no problem.
Chris Baran 1:07:27
Love it. What was the proudest moment of your life?
Sam Brocato 1:07:30
Well, of course, the children having having children
I think the validation of my parents knowing knowing that I’d broken through at a level in the community. I was on the cover of business magazines in our area. I was being asked to speak everywhere from bank gatherings to all these things. So I think that a big part of it and if I if you know if you’re lucky enough to have had your parents, you know, I think that that’s a big part. I can say I won a world championship in London and everybody over there hate to be part.
Chris Baran 1:08:18
Damn, no jealousy there. Whooping artifices. Okay, so the thing that you hate most about dislike the most about our industry?
Sam Brocato 1:08:34
Well, I think we get inside our own heads too much. And I think that if you meet enough people, I remember Jemison. I went to see Jameson edit for the first time and Sarah his wife. He said, Go talk to Sarah. Sarah, this is Sammy. She says he’s shoulder to shoulder the tickets for the day. So she takes us look great machine. There’s a three year deal that was like $3,890. And I’m looking. Wow, that’s amazing. And Sarah looks at me, she goes, that’s just Jameson. And I was doing 500 to 100 a day. And it just blew the lid off of my understanding. I would say to anyone at any stage of your career this listening to this there’s somebody in a glass box ahead of you or above you are out there that you can learn from benefit from that will open your mind you don’t even we don’t even realize the level of intelligence that we can embody still in this in this biological tripper on you know, but here we are. And so, yeah,
Chris Baran 1:09:42
yeah, well, and let’s face it, he put he made some pretty amazing children didn’t meet me with candy and yeah, she’s absolutely wonderful person for a living person that you admire the most.
Sam Brocato 1:09:57
You know what I Just, you know, I’m gonna say that the person I really admire the most I spend the most time with my wife. And, and I admire not just because she’s Holly, and she’s put up with me for all these years. I mean, say it because she represents motherhood, partnership, and the strength of women. And what I’ve learned from for 50 something years have been in my days with women. I, you know, I kept thinking, who definitely every time I kept back, coming back around, we have our differences. I mean, you know, a couple like anybody else, but yeah, that’s my
Chris Baran 1:10:46
personal life living dead, Future Past whatever that you’d want to meet.
Sam Brocato 1:10:58
They I wrote up and down to and I, I don’t know, Chris, I mean, there’s so many. I mean, some people would want to answer some religious leader, some thought leader. I think maybe I’d want to go much further back. And I would want to go back to the earliest moments when people were, were already dressing, you know, and all that. And we were speaking, but we were just forming as, as a creation of you on this path of humanity. I would do, I don’t know who it is, I could probably go do a little digging and come up with, but it would be someone from hundreds of years ago, that I could spend some quality time with and really understand, because then it would shine such a beacon on the path forward, because I have all that knowledge.
Chris Baran 1:11:49
Yeah. Yeah. And a line from from Back to the Future. Remember, make pantyhose. Never forget the line when the young kid that they knew was gonna be the genius. It’s something that people don’t know about you.
Sam Brocato 1:12:07
Well, I was gonna say that, that I’ve spent all this time really learning to be a formulator. And I sit down and I write recipes. Now actually write them out knowledgeably in a way that you can actually make stuff from It Cosmetics. The only other thing I’d say this is kind of weird, because I talked a lot, and I’m pretty sure I’m Private. I’m a private person. Not as shy as I am private. Yeah. Sometimes friends of mine, some people do probably listen to this. I haven’t talked to maybe in a year or even a year and a half, two years. It’s not because I don’t love them just as much as I always have. And just I’m particularly it’s a kind of a private moment for me right now. It’s a much smaller dome of inclusion. And Trump. Yeah. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:13:01
We have more in common than, you know. A month. Where would you go? What would you do? Well, I’m
Sam Brocato 1:13:07
a saltwater Island guy, which I don’t get to do a whole lot of because Holly doesn’t like to do the sunlight too much. So I would split it between couple of weeks and one of the islands maybe talk one of my rich friends that have yachts. Go out of the boat for a couple of weeks. That’s good. I’ll cook. Exactly because they’ve got some bread. That’s great. But anyway, but I would then go up to I have a customer who’s become a good friend of ours has 130 acres in Vermont on the hills, you’ve got a river run into to the 4000 square foot. Place where she’s growing all her food and everything. I go spend a couple of weeks reading just chilling out just really walking around barefoot.
Chris Baran 1:13:50
That’s amazing. What’s your greatest fear?
Sam Brocato 1:13:55
Well, yeah, I just discovered in the last six or seven year that I’ve become a little claustrophobic. Oh, really? Yeah. I’m not afraid to hide. I used to my brothers and I I’m terrified. We used to we did a lot of bridge diving.
Chris Baran 1:14:11
So you just said it my butt pucker?
Sam Brocato 1:14:15
Yeah, I don’t I even in the salon. We have these beautiful candles. I walk in the salon that we have two bathrooms one is larger by white. And I walk in I close the door and all that’s in there is that little light flickering that candle. I love the that. I told Gian one of the guys that worked for him. I said, John, it’s so cool. You go in close the door and all you have is that little flicker of light to scare the shit out of me. I don’t I don’t I’m pretty fearless in a lot of ways. But I think I think I’ve become a little claustrophobic.
Chris Baran 1:14:45
Yeah, friend of yours and mine, Sam via is is probably one of the most claustrophobic people I know. And when we get an elevator, I always try to push them to the back and it’s just this you know, mess. You know? i Yeah. Chris is so them starter kit here. And it’s so pissed off at me. Okay, good, favorite curse word.
Sam Brocato 1:15:08
I just don’t really have a favorite crossword. I mean, I think everybody defaults to thought. But I mean,
Chris Baran 1:15:14
you use them all. Use them all. With gratitude.
Sam Brocato 1:15:17
Yeah. I read the other day that really intelligent people curse a lot.
Chris Baran 1:15:23
They curse a lot. I will be the first guy that will you know, because I do curse a lot. But the reality is there that just shows them right then and there.
Sam Brocato 1:15:34
It’s been more guarded about that at
Chris Baran 1:15:37
Yeah, me too. I’ve been trying. I’ve been trying as well. favorite comfort food?
Sam Brocato 1:15:42
Pasta. I’ll walk over here to Italy, which I know you know been Oh, yeah, fresh, the freshest pasta that maybe the last half hour. And then I’ll I’ll sometimes buy a sauce, tomato sauce, whatever, we’ll buy some fresh Parmesan. That really is I mean, a lot of calories or a lot of whatever carbohydrates and all but absolutely, definitely positively. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:16:05
Yeah. Sometimes you just got to have that comfort stuff that’s going on. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be?
Sam Brocato 1:16:14
About myself? Yeah. I would. I would typically to you, so I go back and change in time. Or
Chris Baran 1:16:28
if you change about yourself, what would that be?
Sam Brocato 1:16:32
I would have definitely spent more time in higher education. Not because it wouldn’t change my trajectory in the world of capitalism or any of that. It’s just that structured learning is a very good guideposts for movement on your life, I think.
Chris Baran 1:16:50
Yeah. What would you say? Your most treasured possession?
Sam Brocato 1:16:59
Well see my most physically treasured something that if I were going to run out the door, I grabbed my Ovation guitar that I bought in the late 70s in a patient plant in Connecticut. So that’s very trivial, but that would, and then, you know, and I don’t possess my family, but it would be It’d be my, my family. I mean, I have all these things. Whatever plaques and honors and stuff, those are all nice. And it means a lot to me. i You know what
Chris Baran 1:17:35
I did you know what I did when we left New York, is I just took pictures of myself because I figured that way if something ever happened in a fire or whatever
Sam Brocato 1:17:45
you have to remember. That’s great. Yeah.
Chris Baran 1:17:49
Okay, something in the industry that you haven’t done, but you’d like to?
Sam Brocato 1:17:53
You know, I talked to Holly about that question a little bit, because I really don’t. I mean, I know I’ve never done although I can’t remember the name now that started extensions in London. 50 years. Oh, yeah.
Chris Baran 1:18:07
Martin Brown. That was what’s his name? Very,
Sam Brocato 1:18:12
very strong. Guy. Oh, yeah. Frankenstein. He liked but
Chris Baran 1:18:16
Sam Brocato 1:18:19
Anyway, I never I’ve never done that. And so from a services standpoint, there’s really I mean, I’ve done so much stuff. I’ve been blessed to do so many things. I built big salon, I mean, the businesses, I built them up, sold them, I’ve closed on them and run the schools and, you know, made product lines, you know, the Brocato line is still out there, in the hands of my former partner. And now we have to get the beauty. But, you know, I don’t you know, I guess if there’s one thing and I watch people around me, I’ve watched people have a brand that goes along and takes off. And it just sort of get out of the way dammit, it’s coming for you. sort of thing. And I never experienced that. We were you know, we’ve had years where we did around 15 million or so aplicado 11 to 15 million. I can’t live with that. But I never saw that 70 to 100. So on a pure capitalistic. Wow, that would have been cool to see. Maybe something like that. But
Chris Baran 1:19:25
yeah. If you had one do over that you could do in your life. What would it be?
Sam Brocato 1:19:31
Well, it would be business, and it would have been an absolute hard. Yes, r&d. I will try 2% of the matrix stock to be involved with the company and move to where you’re headquartered in. Wow. Before he died, he asked me to come join the company. We went up and visited with them and I can be 2% You can keep your business separate. I want you to get in involved with us. And I just had a bad breakup with a former partner. And I was just paranoid about it. And I said, I said no. And so the people who did take the 2% There’s like 125 million in value and more. Yeah, yeah. So but you know what? I said yes to when I sold my phone company, and I’m glad. Yeah, mostly I did. There we go.
Chris Baran 1:20:25
Okay, last one for this. And then I got one more question after it’s not rapid fire. But tomorrow, tomorrow, you couldn’t do hair? What would you do?
Sam Brocato 1:20:36
I would double down on my, my formula and skills, I might even consider getting a chemistry license, and really learn to be a true, I belong to the cosmetic chemists society, I double down on that, I would reengage in my flying lessons that I was taken right before 2008, I gotten my very basic, you can go out and fly around circles around. And so I would, I would spend some good quality time in the air. And I would try to do that finding electric airplane. Because now I’m more worried about the carbon footprint of the gas powered airplane. But that that would be probably what I would do. I’d probably Yeah, that’s it.
Chris Baran 1:21:16
Yeah. And last question. If you have, if you had one wish for industry, what would it be?
Sam Brocato 1:21:24
You know, I wrote something down. And it’s something along the lines of that we and I think John already said it, this is such a goldmine of an opportunity for personal expression, financial growth, contacting people, the people we meet that come in, you know, that can come into our world. And even if you’re in a small town, you still have those people that are really special. They’re all special. Yeah. So I would say let’s get outside of our own heads. And, and, and really look at the customer, the guests and understand at a deep level, what their needs are, what their pain points are, and understand that if they seem like they don’t want us as much as we’d like them to want this is because we haven’t shown them something like Steve Jobs said, I’m not going to ask anybody’s opinion. They don’t know what they want. I’m going to show them what they want. And he so that’s a similar situation for us. Were great, great position right now to really do some great things.
Chris Baran 1:22:27
Love it. And so I just want to do one last thing here. And that’s you know, is anybody even saw that when he pulled the book up? If you got the book can pull that up there that very beautiful business. So that’s it’s available, you can still get that on Amazon, you said you’re gonna be working on a new edition. I
Sam Brocato 1:22:44
really rewritten the outline for the first 10 chapters with my former co writer, which is my wife, Holly. But yeah, so I would probably well, because this is all pre digital. This book is 30 years old. At least or you
Chris Baran 1:23:00
thought it was best seller as well. Yeah, we
Sam Brocato 1:23:01
sold 120,000 copies, I think in New York Times bestsellers. 50,000 so if for those of you are really curious about it, it’s very simple. It’s not not about computers, it’s all about the structure of a salon and
Chris Baran 1:23:18
how to get a sale. Yeah,
Sam Brocato 1:23:20
Chris Baran 1:23:22
Sam I Am I’m not happy that we haven’t had a chance to be eye to eye in a number of years. We have to do it more often. But I can’t thank you enough for you know, the intelligence that you’ve brought to the program to that you put into the industry and and just how honest and open you are and willing to share so I just can’t thank you enough for giving up your time for our peeps that are listening and watching so thank you so much
Sam Brocato 1:23:50
for asking me Chris has just been an honor and I’m really enjoying listening to my way through all the head cases. So much head cases on Yeah, well, that’s
Chris Baran 1:23:59
why if you’re if you’re on this program, or listen to this program, you know, you’re a headcase so anytime, Sam, thank you so much. You’re welcome. Cheers. Bye