By LINDSAY CAREY
Martin Gugliotti was named as a recipient of the 40 Under Forty Business Leaders Award given by the Hartford Business Journal for expanding his family’s salon business as well as helping to start a cosmetology school.
Gugliotti’s father opened Gugliotti’s Salon and Spa 27 years ago. He grew up around his father’s salon and was motivated by seeing how the patriarch of the family ran the business.
Although he did not plan to be involved, the young man found himself frequently being called in to help sweep the floor and shampoo someone’s hair.
“It definitely made me feel good to know that I was contributing to the family,” said Gugliotti.
At the age of 16, his older brother took him to hairdressing school to test the waters. Though he had been surrounded by hairdressers, he did not expect to become one. However, once he started school, he realized the hair industry was a good fit for him and stuck with it. His brother, who was also a hairdresser at the family salon, paid for his education.
“I got licensed at 16 and I’ve been in the family business every since,” said Gugliotti.
Now 36, Gugliotti is still behind the chair three days a week between their Hartford and Rocky Hill salons. However, he also plays the role of artistic director for Gugliotti Salon and Spa.
In this role, he helps to coordinate photo shoots, events, and training for other different salons.
During the time when the family decided they wanted to expand the business and add the Rocky Hill location, they began thinking of ways to contribute to education in cosmetology.
“Shortly after college, when my father, brother and I thought about potentially opening another salon, my father came up with the idea out of the blue,” said Gugliotti. “We knew we were good at providing training, and that we could teach better than what the current schools were offering.”
Gugliotti said they found themselves having to spend extra time training their new hairdressers to bridge the gap between school and work. This is how the International Institute of Cosmetology came to be.
Gugliotti took leadership in setting up the curriculum for the school and making sure to hire the right instructors. The International Institute of Cosmetology opened in 2002.
“We were already involved in educating already licensed professionals, but this was the first time we were taking on people from the ground up –the ones that don’t yet know how to hold shears,” said Gugliotti.
Today, the International Institute of Cosmetology trains in two locations. The Gugliottis began with a campus in Wethersfield and three years ago opened a second campus on Whiting Street in Plainville. Gugliotti also lives in Plainville and said he loves the town and the people.
Gugliotti said the school has been well received in town and that he is happy with the location for various reasons. For one thing, the location helps with enrollment.
“We do pull students from the surrounding towns like Southington and Bristol,” said Gugliotti. “We also get to help out the local businesses, because students need to eat lunch and I think that boosts a little bit of the Plainville economy.”
He serves as the Dean of Students for the International Institute of Cosmetology.
“I like teaching and seeing the students develop,” said Gugiliotti. “We try to figure out different ways to teach to make sure students are receiving the information they need to be successful in this field.”
For the dean, the most rewarding part of the job is seeing the students fulfill their dreams.
Gugliotti said he was shocked when found out he was recognized by the Hartford Business Journal as one of its “40 Under Forty Young Business Leaders.”
“It’s been something that has been on my mind to accomplish for quite some time,” said Gugliotti. “It definitely took me surprise to be able to get it at 36. In my mind, I thought it was really going to be coming down to the wire.”
He said he was happy to be recognized for his accomplishments. He credits his success with the overwhelming need to do everything the best he can.
“It’s a blessing and a curse,” said Gugliotti.
He also said he believes his straight forward nature in business has allowed him to gain the respect of the people I work with.
“I think I’m respected,” said Gugliotti. “I give suggestions on how things can be done better. I just lay it out how it is. They may not always like me, but they know that I’m acting with the best interest at heart.”
For up and coming business professionals looking to make their mark, Gugliotti has some words of wisdom.
“It’s not easy, there’s a lot of sacrifice,” said Gugliotti. “To get a business going it takes 100 percent of your attention.”