Toni and Guy founder

Jeff ArmstrongJeff ArmstrongApril 9, 2018
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9min633820

Toni & Guy is one of the most successful brands to come out of the hairdressing industry. With more than 475 salons across 48 countries, CEO, OBE and co-founder Toni Mascolo and his brother Guy started TONI&GUY back in 1963 with a single salon in Clapham, London. The company expanded successfully through the ingenious creativity, quality and exciting marketing strategy.

‘Early Days’

Having arrived in England from their native Italy in the 1950’s, The Mascolo family settled in Clapham, South London, with eldest sons Toni and Guy both following their father’s footsteps into hairdressing.

A celebrated hairdresser himself, Francesco Mascolo had taught all of his sons to cut hair from an early age and despite Toni’s interest in academic studies and a desire to pursue a career in law, his move to London put an end to that dream and Toni began working as his father’s assistant in a busy London salon.

Toni soon realised how much he enjoyed working as a hairdresser and continued to work alongside his father building a large clientele at Viccari’s salon in Cox Street, Mayfair. When this salon was sold, Francesco secured a place at the award-winning Renato’s in Dover Street, where Guy his younger son joined him to fulfill his apprenticeship.

Following three days of unemployment (the only such period in his lifetime), a young Toni Mascolo grew a moustache to create a more ‘mature’ appearance and became the manager of South London salon, Gerard’s, at just 16. Always keen to better himself, it wasn’t long before Toni moved back to Victoria Street, near Westminster, enjoying a high profile clientele and working gruelling fourteen-hour-long days in an effort to save enough money to buy his mother a house of her own. Meanwhile, Guy moved back to South London where his talent saw him headhunted to join busy Clapham salon, Cecile Moss.

Italian hairdresser Toni Mascolo a co-founder of hairdressing chain ‘Toni and Guy’ with his honorary OBE (Officer of the British Empire) awarded in recognition of services to the British hairdressing industry, in London, Monday, Oct. 27, 2008.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

12th December 1962 saw the tragic loss of their beloved mother and the realisation for Toni and Guy that they would now have to support their father and three younger brothers, the youngest of which, Anthony, was just five years old.

In 1963 Guy was offered the opportunity to take over the salon where he worked. Despite the huge risk involved, Toni elected to leave his well-paid job in a central London salon to join his brother in Clapham, though it would mean abandoning the large, loyal client base he had built.

In January 1963 the first TONI&GUY salon opened its doors and the brothers worked hard to build the business. With a large rent to pay, it was a struggle to survive. Having inherited some busy stylists from the original salon, including a young Pauline O’Donnell (later to be Mascolo, when she marries Toni in 1970), helped to boost the salon’s business, which quickly gained momentum. The brothers’ early promotional activity included leaflet drops in the local area advertising their ‘Italian style’.

A time of extreme change in youth culture, the 1960’s saw an explosion in fashion as attitudes were changing. TONI&GUY offered a unisex service in contrast to the traditional culture of salons and barbershops that were unable to cope with the new graphic shapes for women and men’s longer styles. By the end of 1964 the salon was fully booked and the brothers realised that they were destined for bigger things.

Fast forward to 2010, Toni & Guy where already a force to be reckoned with dominating the entire global sphere and most recommended amongst hairdressers and the industry as a whole.

TONI&GUY further cemented its fashion credentials as the partnership with the British Fashion Council continued to develop throughout the decade.  Toni Mascolo continued to expand the salon network, adding new territories to the ever-expanding global presence. The launch of a new salon group, essensuals London, also saw Toni establish his first franchise salons in North America – with doors opening in New Jersey and Plano, Texas. Toni received further awards thanks to his unique style of leadership, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Fellowship of British Hairdressing.

Toni Mascolo departed us last year. But, his impact and legacy has and will never fail to keep his name alive for centuries to come. His family commented, “It is with deep sorrow that the family announce the passing of founder, leader, husband, and father, Giuseppe Toni Mascolo”. Toni was surrounded by his family at the time of his death.

Toni Mascolo was highly respected within the hairdressing community, he was known as approachable and someone who made time for everyone. It is no surprise that he built up a lengthy list of achievements, which transcended the industry to include business, entrepreneurship and charity. He along with his wife Pauline started the TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation in 2003, which has raised more than £2,014,735 for a variety of causes and organisations. But it wasn’t all about hair, Toni was an avid supporter of Chelsea Football Club, and launched or has been involved with, several independent projects such as coffee shops, property, and most recently his very own pasta sauce. Toni is survived by his wife Pauline, brothers Bruno and Anthony and his children Sacha, Christian and Pierre and his many grandchildren.

‘The Future of the Brand’
With an eye firmly on the future, TONI&GUY continues to take on exciting new challenges and collaborations. 2013 saw label.m receive the ultimate seal of fashion approval, as the range became the ‘Official Haircare product of London Fashion Week’ – a landmark move for the British fashion council and a first for the hairdressing industry. This plus numerous collaborations with key British design talent reinforces TONI&GUY’s position as the fashion-led hairdresser.



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