The co-founder of hairdressing chain Toni &Guy, which closed four Irish salons in January with the loss of 35 jobs, has described the recession as a “great opportunity to go back to reality”.
Toni Mascolo, the British-based chief executive of the company said that the nine remaining Irish salons were “in a position of tremendous strength” and could “really grow the business to the next level” in the next two to three years. “You’ve got a good basic strength of salons that can move upwards. In away, it has been the best way to do it, to cut the [number of] salons. I think it’s a great, great opportunity to go back to reality, go back to really working hard and value the customers and what they stand for.
I think we can only look to the future with excitement.”
The Irish Toni & Guy salons also ran into difficulty in 2007, when an examiner was appointed to Toni & Guy Ireland. Mascolo described this reorganisation as a “longer one” and said it was “quite tough at the time”.
The cost of renting salon space was one of the factors that led to the latest restructuring in Ireland.
‘‘For example, you have a rent review in 2008. Suddenly there’s a recession and your business drops, but the rent review is a couple of months before, so they judge that couple of weeks was not a recession,” said Mascolo.
Mascolo said he had worked through five recessions since the first Toni & Guy salon opened in Clapham in London in 1963, and described himself as knowing ‘‘a little bit’’ about recessions. During the last one in the 1980s, he also overhauled his business.
‘‘At that time, we were forced to look at ourselves and give a better service, give a high standard of hairdressing. Once you get those strong basics, then it settles you for the future.
Of course, we were innovative, with strong education and training [for stylists], and then we suddenly expanded pretty quickly.
Toni and Guy now has more than 400 salons in 41 countries, with more than 8,000 staff and an annual turnover of more than €200million. ‘‘Today is no different. ‘‘What you need is the same thing, with better service, better quality.
‘‘This [recession] is a lot, lot tougher than the other one, so you’ve got to adapt and give real value for money, keep in touch with fashion and give a good service.
‘‘Eventually I think you will get out of it and you can create the pace for the next growth.”
Underpinning his optimism was a belief that Toni & Guy was one of the strongest brands in the world. ‘‘You think of Toni & Guy, you think of Coca-Cola. It’s just as well known as Coca-Cola around the globe,” he said.
“I can tell you because I know it. I got lost in Japan and all I said was ‘Toni & Guy?’ and they replied ‘Ah, Toni & Guy!’, so it’s definitely a powerful, powerful brand.”
Source: The Sunday Business Post Online