A BEAUTIFUL DREAM COME TRUE – Stefano Nizzi, Hairdresser

15 mins read

My story as a hairstylist began more than twenty years ago. Although I may sound trivial, if I had to give a title to my story, I would choose “A Beautiful Dream Came True.” I’m emphasizing that it’s a beautiful dream since my job is to create beauty. 

I have often wondered where my passion came from since I am not a child of artists. Reasoning backward isn’t clear, but it became more evident when I reviewed photos of myself as a child. 

Since elementary school, I was the only child with combed hair- every day. I remember forcing my mother to comb my hair every morning, and that is not all: she had to do it the way I told her to. She was forced to create a hairstyle just as I imagined it. Back in those days, the first glimmers of my love for style and aesthetics could be seen. 

Everything blossomed with a gift. When I was fifteen, my grandfather gave me an electric razor. He was my first test subject, although my very first customer was my brother. He was a reliable and punctual customer: I would take him by force (he was still a baby), and I would always try something new. The beginning of my career.

Stefano and his grandpa.

Over the years, the passion grew so much that I took the decision to abandon my studies during high school to start working in one of Foligno’s historic salons. It was 1999. The beginning of my career – the real one, this time. 

For the first time, I entered a salon to embark on a professional career. After six years of apprenticeship, I achieved the experience I needed to open my first business. I reached my goal despite a momentary interruption due to military service and completing my graduate studies. 

I made a lot of sacrifices. I studied on my own, I worked, and I invested my entire salary in growing and informing myself. At the end of the day, I would test on several fake heads. Such an intense apprenticeship, six very intense years. And it cannot be taken for granted that a 26 years old person, once he has completed such a period, is immediately ready to embark on a solo career. 

I was young, I was a little crazy, and I took the plunge. 

I opened my salon in 2007 in Via Mazzini in Foligno (where we still are today). On the inauguration day, it was snowing. In Foligno, we’re not used to the snow, and I remember it as the touch that was missing to make the event’s setting even more magical. 

A dream came true. The dream came true. 

Stefano at work.

From my very early memories – when I still had no idea what it meant to be a hairdresser – I wanted to open my own salon. From the very first moment, I was working towards this goal. 

Over the past 14 years, the business has grown a lot. We started with three people, and now there are eight of us. We’re still a very young staff, and I’m the oldest. The guys collaborate with great initiative and a strong team spirit. They all know they are fundamental; they understand that the growth of the individual always implies an improvement in the group. We work a lot, and we have a lot of fun; in the meantime, professionals are raised, which increases the quality of our team. 

Success has been with us since the beginning, and this never ceases to amaze me. And to make me proud, especially when I realize that it all stemmed from my strong desire to arrive, to prove that I could have done something good. First of all, to myself, then to the people I care about. 

But the greatest satisfaction comes when I ask my collaborators why they decided to come and work with me. The answer is always the same: “I know I can become a hairdresser here.” They understood that there is room for them to express themselves and learn – it is cristal clear.

I take the merit to understand people who approach this work. Especially young people don’t want to just have a job. They have the passion and hope to move on to cutting (maybe, one day) and express their own art. They want to feel like a complete, finished hairstylist. Sometimes you must start in reverse, with the cut; here, you may begin with the most coveted thing. Giving so much space to my collaborators is one of the ingredients of the team’s success.

Of course, I can’t hide that I’ve had some difficult moments because it’s hard to reconcile private life and a job like this, which swallows up your time. My secret is to have a clear focus. 

If you know the destination you want to head to, the mountains and seas you’ll face will appear a challenging but friendly path. Eventually, the road will clear itself. Always. 

Therefore, it is so difficult for me to identify a particular moment that has marked my path. Instead, it is about many small moments that have contributed to my gratification throughout my career. I believe my victories are mainly due to my vision and mindset focused on growing professionally and personally. 

For example, some time ago, I found an old notebook in which I had jotted down things I was interested in. Things that I would have liked to have in the place I was going to open. Reading this notebook, I realized that most of those things are actually there, right in my salon – the black furniture, the massage chair, and hundreds of other things that one doesn’t even notice anymore. It was all in that wish list that I had expressed back in the day and had even forgotten I had. 

Sure, there were some critical transitions. I’m thinking of the decision to leave school. Or rather, the fact that my parents allowed me to leave school. Yes, because I may not be a child of art as a hairdresser, but I am the son of teachers. It wasn’t easy to convince them. At first, it was a major disappointment for them, not for the school itself but for the fear that my passion was momentary, a flash in the pan. Instead, they were so smart they could understand that that would have been my path and support me for the future. In part, it was also for them – to gratify them – that I decided to finish school by resuming that last year of high school I left unfinished. 

How crazy it is to realize that it was my mother who introduced me to this world. One day she tells me that a hairdresser, one of the biggest in Foligno, was looking for an apprentice. They take me on trial for a week. On Sunday, we received a phone call at home, answered by my mother, telling her that they wanted me. 

It was the first real joy at work. It was just as important as the day my salon opened. It was the crowning achievement of years of hard work and the beginning of a journey marked by great satisfaction. 

My journey has made it possible for me to feel grateful to so many people today. First, to my family, which has had and still has a fundamental role. To my parents, who accepted and supported me with infinite love, despite the effort I asked of them. To my brother, who joined the team three years ago. We never thought, neither he nor I, that one day we would find ourselves working together. Instead, he fell in love with this work, too. He is growing up under my wing, and it makes me really proud. And, of course, to my grandfather, the first investor, the first to believe in me.

Stefano with his brother.

I’m grateful to my staff. Even the people who are no longer part of it today, as I always manage to create and maintain a great relationship with everyone who works with me. I am grateful to the many teachers I have had and the practical advice they gave me. They have been able to push me when I needed it.

I’d like the message from my story to be that a person should never stop believing in their own dreams. If you have a fire burning inside you, there are no obstacles that can separate you from your goal. Grit your teeth and go forward, regardless of external situations, because we all create our own destiny. Every human, relational or professional path will also be characterized by difficulties. Still, you must never stop dreaming and be aware of your own value. 

It is also to convey this message that I have decided to take on the role of trainer. Training is a field in which trust is the key concept. Once you become a trainer, you bring your knowledge to other colleagues who choose you over someone else.

Trust is the common denominator between Stefano as a trainer and those who put their trust in me. Whether they are kids who want to learn the business or clients who choose us to represent their beauty. It’s a responsibility to each other, whether people who are just starting out on their career or salon owners with years of experience behind them, who decide to get involved. You must trust those who invest time, money, and energy in you. 

It’s a way of making your knowledge available, which makes you more efficient at work and gratifies you from a human point of view. You have to make sure that people choose you and do so because they trust what’s behind the product or treatment you offer them. 

When you entrust your beauty to our attention, you must first and foremost trust us. Otherwise, who would ever decide to change hair color?

With our customers, we start from consultation, from knowledge, from the expectations that one cultivates. We talk to the person sitting in front of us, we make them feel comfortable. Only at that point do we plan the creation of a look. Trust is essential in the customer-hairdresser relationship since cut and color are nothing more than means that the hairdresser has to express himself. From the moment you choose an image, it will always represent you. 

I always say that if you don’t like your jacket, you can always take it off; as for the hair, it’s not so simple. It’s quite a responsibility, isn’t it?

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